Pressing send, I realised I was talking about watching the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy back to back in a cinema, and wondered if I shouldn’t perhaps get a bit more ambitious about life in general. No matter. Let’s start with the easy ones. As Beckett never said.
The cinema had printed out little itineraries for us on maps of Middle Earth! Somebody had thought about this. We had a lunch break scheduled between the first two movies and a quick gap between the last two to stretch our legs. It was essentially like being stuck on a long haul flight, but with more elves, and the occasional inconsiderate silent but deadly fart.
It was a surprisingly varied audience as well – all ages, all types of people and plenty of women, with comic book guys at a minimum. You’d have thought people might come dressed up, dungeons and dragons style, but aside from the fellow in corduroy and a waistcoat who may or may not have been deliberately modelling himself on a rather dapper hobbit, people just came to watch rather than make an occasion of it.
Some iffy sound during the Fellowship of the Ring led to technical difficulties that eventually muted the whole thing, and we saw Ian McKellen and Christopher Lee have that badass wizard fight in complete silence. Then the whole thing stopped. But once that was fixed, things ran smoothly the rest of the time, so all the big meme-tastic lines were there for us to snigger at like loons. One does not simply turn up at a Lord of the Rings marathon without expecting that particular bonding experience.
The Two Towers had its merits – I actually really enjoyed the Merry, Pippin and Treebeard subplot on this watching, as well as the brilliantly vile, eyebrow-less Wormtongue; and Bernard Hill pops up being boss, for starters – but it was starting to get tempting to have a little snooze in the chair.
Fortunately, finales don’t come much better than Return of the King, a movie so accomplished three and a half hours pass by in what seems like moments. When the action moves to Minas Tirith, it’s simply the point of no return, as from then until the closing credits I always find myself liable to burst into tears at practically any point. Pippin singing? Check. Eowyn slaying the nazgul? Check. Sam carrying Frodo the last bit of the way to Mount Doom? Every. Damn. Time. The bit where the hobbits all bow to Aragorn, and he says “my friends, you bow to no-one?” Oh, lawks. *bites knuckle*.
A short round of applause later, and the audience filed out, probably a bit knackered by it all. All these years later after watching them the first time round, I’m not sure it would be possible to ever see these films too many times. And I’m not entirely convinced that if I ever look in the listings and see somewhere showing the complete trilogy all in one day in future, I wouldn’t jump at the chance to do it all over again with the same silly enthusiasm.
So, here’s some things you notice when you’ve watched all three Lord of the Rings films back to back:
You get sore knees sat in a cinema for eleven hours, even if it is a very comfy one.
I don’t know if Sam is my very favourite character or if it would be far better that he kept his mouth shut and didn’t have at least one line that has me bawling in every damn film.
A couple of the same doe-eyed kiddies pop up in different realms in each of the films – it’s very obvious once you spot it. Peter Jackson’s, which makes sense. It’d be weird otherwise.
The hardcore Liverpool LOTR contingent seemed to like Gimli a whole lot. And would grumble and get a bit bored when Arwen came on. Legolas was generally met with a palpable indifference.
I finally paid enough attention to spot Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie as Figwit.
One does not simply fail to realise why Legolas’s proclamation “they’re taking the hobbits to Isengard” got a big laugh.
Female cliché time: Yep, Sean Bean as Boromir is quite possibly the sexiest thing ever. Even more than Ned Stark (in Game of Thrones). And £20 for all that was a bit of a bargain.