I liked The Lord of the Rings I: The Fellowship of the Ring. I really did. I thought it was an awesome film. Hell, I loved it. It was easily one of the best movies of 2001. (If it was released in 2002, just pretend I said, “It was easily one of the best movies of 2002,” instead.)
I don’t think it was one of the best movies of all time. <ducks> I know, I know. It’s an Oscar waiting to happen. I know everyone loved it. I know people piddled their pants waiting in line to see it and then – even though it’s a bladder-busting 178 minutes – saw it again. I know that my sister has seen it at least four (five? six?) times now. I know that it’s one of the biggest box office grossers of all time.
And that’s what keeps bugging me. The IMDb has it ranked 12th on the list of The Top Grossing Movies of All Time at the USA Box Office. The LotR has grossed a whopping $291,149,457 since it was released. That is just a ridiculous amount of money. (That’s almost as much as Bill Gates made in the time it took him to watch the film!) I mean, I honestly liked the movie. But was it in the same class – as a film, as a piece of our culture, as (dare I say?) art – as Star Wars or Jaws or Raiders of the Lost Ark? I don’t think so.
It was a terrific movie, but it wasn’t original. There were amazing special effects, but if I go to a multi-million dollar production, I’m expecting amazing special effects. There were no (as far as I know) particularly “ground-breaking” special effects.
It is an old story, y’know? I haven’t read the book(s) in years – over a decade! – and yet I still knew everything that was going to happen. And, more importantly, I don’t think that the film has done anything to make a lasting cultural impression on society. I can’t remember any specific lines from the movie. There was no, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat,” or, “Flying through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, boy,” or even the thrilling soundtrack of Raiders to stick in your head for years after you leave the theater.
It just bugs me that some people (mostly idiot reporters and E!-type newsmagazines) are acting like LotR is this generation’s E.T.. I don’t think in ten years there will be a re-release of LotR because it was such a world-shifting movie. I think people are confusing box office receipts with quality. I think it’s important to remember that there are more theaters now than there were last year, or five or twenty years ago. I also think it’s important to remember that movie tickets are $9.00 now and they were only $4.00 as recently as five years ago. Plus, there are just a whole bunch more people in America now, right?
But that’s just my opinion.
Responses to “Box Office Record Breakers”
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I agree in some way, but I dare say that it is at least on the level of Indiana Jones (Star Wars is above those two) – albeit a bit more slower in the storytelling. Neither of the three are high art though. And I think LotR is better than E.T. LotR is watchable, E.T. isn’t.
Lord of the Rings doesn’t really need to be a sociological impression because it already did, when the books came out. It is just a cool idea that worked really well.