OBJECTIVE: Watch The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring once per every week of 2014.

WHEN: December 17, 2014, 10:19pm. (Week 51, December 14-20.)

WHERE: In the living room of my apartment in Portland, ME.

FORMAT: Blu-ray on a Vizio 47″ LCD HDTV.


PHYSICAL AND MENTAL STATE: Ready to see how Fellowship fits into the franchise.

With The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies out this week (review available now!), I had the opportunity to watch all the films in this Peter Jackson six-parter and see how well they worked together. So, beginning Sunday, I watched one film every night. Yeah, I could have tried to squeeze them into one day, but I got bills to pay, so sorry, I’d rather get to work on time. Anyway, when you watch them all back-to-back, you realize a few things, like…

For starters, thanks to Five Armies, we now know that right before Gandalf shows up for the birthday party, Bilbo has been reminiscing about the events of the Hobbit movies. And since the Hobbit movies are so fucking ridiculous, no matter how exciting it is to see Gandalf, it can be assumed that the look on Bilbo’s face is actually from remembering the time an Elven king picked up six dudes with a CGI elk and cut their heads off with a sword.

“Remember when we dropped a bear man out of the sky?”

Also, I always pictured Bilbo as being right behind the door when he says, “No, thank you!” In Five Armies, we see that he’s in a chair over by his kitchen. For the dialogue to match up, he must have been booking it. But he also magically loses thirteen years’ worth of wrinkles and looks nothing like Martin Freeman, so what the fuck ever.

I heard many complaints about Gandalf’s side quest to learn more about Sauron in the Hobbit movies, but Five Armies really cocks it all up. Back when I watched Smaug, it already bugged me when Gandalf sees an outline of Sauron engulfed in flame, but okay, that was a quick flash, maybe he forgot.

He lives in a world where shit like this happens every other day. He gets a pass.

In Five Armies, though, Sauron tries to take physical form and Gandalf tag teams him with Saruman and Galadriel and he almost dies and Galadriel turns stupid and blue and goes, “BLLLEEEAAAGH!” at Sauron and he has to turn into an eye instead and Galadriel kisses Gandalf back to life and basically I’m saying that that’s a hard day to forget even after sixty years so when you touch a ring and see a big fire eye it’s probably that fucking One Ring and you don’t need to go to the library.

“But Saruman will fail me if I don’t cite my sources!”

Also, when you met up with Saruman to hatch a plan to counter Sauron, what were you lazy fucks doing for the last 60 years???

Okay, Saruman was probably going bowling with Sauron, but Gandalf?

You know, I’m starting to wonder if the only reason Sauron makes such terrible plans is because Gandalf is an even suckier wizard than I previously thought.

But enough about plot holes, let’s talk about…

When I watched just the Lord of the Rings movies together for the first time, I declared The Two Towers to be the best film of the three. Once you allow the mind cocaine that is the Hobbit movies into the mix, however, Fellowship starts to look the best just because of its relatively small doses of CGI and its ability to rein itself the fuck in. But right from the beginning of The Two Towers

…oh no…

…you start to get the feeling that the silly cartoon bullshit of the Hobbit flicks is secretly what Peter Jackson always wanted to do. And by the way, that’s not a mark against the silly bullshit of his earlier films. The silly bullshit in those is just more entertaining and impressive because it wasn’t made inside a computer. If anything, I prefer silly Jackson to serious Jackson. Wait, except for Heavenly Creatures. Okay, fine, I don’t know what I want from Peter Jackson.

Love and understanding?

Anyway, while Fellowship bores the shit out of me, I do like that the small scale adds real tension. When strung end to end, Fellowship‘s cave troll sequence makes you fear for the characters’ lives more than Battle‘s crumbly building fight or Return‘s elephant clusterfuck.

“I’m Legolas! I’m good at everything! Try and stop me, physics!”

For me, Fellowship, even though I don’t like it, now feels like the respectable movie in the middle. It’s the reset button marked “IN CASE OF BULLSHIT” that you press after you finish Five Armies. But then you watch the bullshit build back up all over again.


Seriously, knowing the technical achievement of Gollum will lead to an all-CGI Billy Connolly for no goddamn reason is really sad.

Two Towers Gollum

Making a skinny weirdo monkey creature was nothing compared to the
Herculean special effects task of giving an actor a beard.

You know what? I’m giving you a pass this week, Fellowship. Because right now, you look pretty decent. Treasure it.

Still, let’s not break the tradition of me ending on a silly picture.