WHEN: July 12, 2014, 12:21am. (Week 28, July 6-12.)
WHERE: In the living room of my apartment in Portland, ME.
FORMAT: Blu-ray on a Vizio 47″ LCD HDTV.
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL STATE: Eating Burger King. Bought onion rings because get it?
Now that the title has grabbed your attention, Team Greyhame, let’s review every magical feat Gandalf wizards up throughout The Fellowship of the Ring.
1. Mini-fireworks for the kiddies. That is barely magic, considering fireworks are a real thing that you may or may not be able to buy right this second. If I ran up with an iPhone, those Hobbit kids would think I’m a wizard, too.
If he conjures up a windowless van, get the hell out of there.
2. A smoke-boat. Exactly what percentage of wizard school is impressing children and stoners?
“I was gonna learn to teleport, but then I got high.”
3. Big crazy fireworks. Again, the fireworks themselves shouldn’t really count as magic, more as sufficiently advanced technology, though I have no idea how far in time and space Gandalf is from 7th-century China. Still, they’re likely enhanced by all sorts of Hogwartsy shit that makes them turn into trees and arrows and flaming lizards of death.
That guy in front is having the funniest death.
4. Sucking all the light out of the room. This is when Gandalf shouts, “Do not take me for some conjurer of cheap tricks!” which is poorly timed, since all he’s conjured up so far are cheap tricks.
It’s like shouting, “I’m not a birthday clown!” while making balloon animals.
5. Wizard fight! Aww yeah! Magic throwdown! Show Saruman who’s boss! Rip his skeleton out! Turn him into a beetle and squish him! Or just… you know… throw him around with the Force, I guess. As long as you win.
6. Talkin’ to moths. Gandalf asks a moth to go get help, but you know what? I barely count this one. Is learning an insect language magic? Also, there’s no moth in the book; an eagle just happens to swing by and rescue him, so for all we know, Gandalf has gone insane and is having conversations with bugs. The big bird passing through the neighborhood could be nothing more than a convenient coincidence. Hell, you probably have a relative that talks to moths.
“Hello, Mister Glitterwings! How was your date with the president?”
7. A glow stick. Yeah, he’s got that rock in the end of his staff that lights up. Nothing fancy, just slightly more convenient than a torch.
But he still has to blow on it.
8. A force field. Fuck yeah!
9. Bridge-crackin’ skills. Double fuck yeah!
He said you weren’t gonna pass and look what’s happening now, bitch!
And then Gandalf dies.
I’ll get personal preference out of the way first. I don’t like the fantasy genre, so if I have to watch a movie with magic in it, I like it to be full of crazy, over-the-top weird stuff. Wizards shouldn’t punch or kick or swing swords, they should turn you into a ferret or make you shit out a papaya whenever you tell a lie. Gandalf’s sorcery consists of cutesy tricks and defensive maneuvers we’ve already seen in Star Wars.
Hooray, two old guys having a Jedi slap fight!
And now, pushing my own tastes aside, Gandalf has some serious inconsistencies with his magic. You can stop the Balrog with a force field? Boy, that sure would come in handy if, say, an avalanche happened.
Hey, how’d this picture get here? What movie is this from?
Or what about cracking the bridge? Gandalf can clearly bust through stone, but earlier the Fellowship has to walk all the way through Moria because the entrance is blocked by… stones.
Also a dead squid.
Hey, remember how Gandalf and Saruman push each other through the air with their staffs? I bet pushing somebody through the air comes in especially handy when your whole crew is trying to leap over some missing stairs.
“You kids got this, I’m tired.” – Gandalf.
You could make the argument that Gandalf’s magic is about cleverness, not power, but he’s not the best strategist either. Like, say, when he cracks the bridge, why doesn’t he immediately run away? Either it worked and the Balrog falls to his death, or it didn’t work and HOLY HELL, WHY WOULD YOU STAY ON THE BRIDGE IF IT DIDN’T WORK?
You’re the fool that should be flying.
At this point, I’m sure people that hate me want to argue that Gandalf’s spells have very meticulous rules and only work when blah blah blah, but to me, magic isn’t for rules. Magic is for fun. Either have no rules and go batshit or explain that the rules are just as hilariously weird or complicated as the effects themselves. Magic already doesn’t make sense, so make it blissfully not make sense.
ONE THING THAT WOULD HAVE IMPROVED THE MOVIE:
If it magically turned into Warlock.
FUCK YEAH, WARLOCK!