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User:Hyarion/Reviews/Ringers: Lord of the Fans

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This is a Review of Ringers: Lord of the Fans. Please keep in mind while reading this review that I am not even close to a Purist, I'm all for the movies because they allowed so many new fans to be exposed to the genre and Middle-earth, but if anything this movie has propelled me to dislike the movies and what they have done for the world Tolkien created.

Overall I'm giving the movie two out of five stars. It was not even close to what I was hoping for and expecting for when I shelled out $20. I enjoyed Trekkies much more and I've never even seen any kind of Star Trek episodes or films. But I also realize the Ringers team just did not want to make the movie that I (or most Ringers out there) wanted to see, they filled it with repetition and mundane history that we already know instead of showing what we really wanted to see, the fans.

The movie came in your standard DVD case, fine, no brochure on the inside, just some advertisements, fair enough. Let's take a look at the cover; we see Dominic Monaghan covering a good quarter of the front with "Narrated By Dominic Monaghan" in huge bold letters. What's the title of this movie again, The Documentary of Merry”? No. It's about the FANS, something it seems no one behind this film knew about. I enjoyed the "Special Edition" Sony slapped across the top, oh well, I understand to get a project like this manufactured you have to cave in to the upper-management, i.e. Sony.

The main menu for the DVD

Let's pop the DVD in, oh fun I get to watch some previews I do not want to see, I'll let this one slide since Sony is most likely just trying to squeeze their money from advertisements since obviously the DVD is not going to sell very well. Onto the title screen, it looks like someone photoshoppped in some random images while he was driving to deliver the DVD to the reproduction center. Oh well, I'll give them some more slack, budgeting can be a pain, let's get to the actual movie.

...did I pop in The Fellowship of the Ring by accident? What the heck, that doesn't sound like Cate Blanchett...don't tell me they had Dominic Monaghan do some cheap rip off of the introduction narration... I'm glad they went all out on these blue clouds, very Tolkien-like. This is the first example of the movie trying to appeal to the hippies.

Moving on, we're starting out good, an actual fan, and not a terribly bad looking one at that. We get a quick preview of pretty much the whole movie with some nice music to go along with it, this part I liked. Fans, music, pretty good narration, if only the whole film could have continued like this.

A ringer

In the next segment they try and recap the history of The Lord of the Rings in what looks to be a rip off of the Monty Python cartoon style (I'm sure they did not originate it, but that's just what I remember it from). Next we get to see the first of a series of flash-back settings of a room, the first being in the 50's. Good idea if you think about it, bad idea if you try to implement it in a low-budget film. What they ended up with was what looked to be a rushed high school drama production. To make matters worse they throw in the fact that C.S. Lewis wrote anonymous reviews of The Lord of the Rings, it just degrades the work by making it look like Tolkien needed his friends to write good reviews.

Next Dominic starts to insult Tolkien by mimicking his voice in an attempt to quote something that has relatively nothing to do with the basis of the film, THE FANS. Then they go on about Forrest J. Ackerman, the poor soul who tried to turn The Lord of the Rings into a film way back then, nice history for someone who did not already know it, but what does this have to do with Ringers?? Then they go on about Tolkien keeping his mouth shut after reading there would be quite a few absurd changes to the script in hopes he would collect a large sum of money...are we trying to make the poor guy look bad?

3 annoying cartoons

We then jump ahead to the film trying to make fun of the English with cartoons and we get to see an angel-like C.S. Lewis fly in to spurt some more history, wow that's amazing, now where are the Ringers?! Dominic references another not-so-complimenting quote and is nice enough to translate it into a terrible British accent for us. We move along to some negative reviews of The Lord of the Rings, a nice touch, if we were trying to degrade the books!

In the next scene, we finally get to see some Ringers, it took 10 minutes but at least it looks like they're going to make an appearance. Unfortunately we have to listen to Cliff Broadway, sorry TORners, he just comes off arrogant and annoying to me. A few seconds with a fan and we're off for an interview with Sean Astin and then Billy Boyd...and then John Rhys-Davies...and then Elijah Wood, and then Brian Sibley, and then Colin Duriez... I don't know about you but I was hoping for something other than an Extended Extended Edition of The Lord of the Ring's interviews that give us no new information.

Finally a fan! (and again, not too bad looking). Then Ava gives us an uplifting sermon and informs us that she thinks everybody is rooting for good. WRONG. Later on we'll see that almost everyone's favorite characters are evil. Next up an interview with Viggo Mortensen who we just couldn't fit enough of in the Extended DVDs as well as David Carradine, at least he's a new face and I suppose we can count him as a fan. Then we have Philippa Boyens, John Noble and Ian McKellen give us some more heart warming uplifting messages...am I at church? Wow, another fan, it must be our lucky..."about faith and trust and..." am I in church again? Next. Now we skip over to Orlando Bloom and Liv Tyler that teach us how races can unite to defeat evil, wow, thanks! I'm not even going to continue listing these actors but they throw in some more interviews and continue to randomly tune in music that doesn't go at all with what the person is saying.

Andy Serkis and a fan

Next we get to hear from an actual Ringer, yes I know I'm shocked as well. And then Andy Serkis joins in with his Gollum impersonation which is always nice but man that guy has got to be ready to kill the next person who asks to hear him say "My preciousss". Up comes another fan, two in a row! We're on a roll, unfortunately he blows it by saying he's part of the original generation of the 1960's...first off you're a bit late, for The Lord of the Rings which was released in 1954/55 but thats assuming we're excluding The Hobbit which was released way back in 1937.

Next they throw in some more random hippie music, bright lights, and bad dancing. After that we have some more David Carradine talk and more hippie music and psychedelic imagery. More cringing with Cliff Broadway who manages to screw up a blantly obvious fact about Ace publishing. Now we get to go back to these like 10 second shots of shadow dancing, bright lights and hippie music...are we supposed to be high?! Now Dominic manages to go back to making Tolkien look bad by stating Tolkien only cared about getting rid of Ace because he wasn't getting any money when it was really his publishing company that was upset.

Pyschedelic imagery

Next we go on to learn the 60's books had "irrelevant trippy psychedelic covers", lets keep kicking that name that we call The Lord of the Rings down to the ground. After that we get to hear a quote from Tolkien insulting his fans, ya that's nice. Up next is just more purple dancing women and interviews with the same people. Moving along we try to decipher what Lemmy Kilmister is saying. We learn more about drugs and hippies. And just when you thought it couldn't get anymore hippier we get to see more 10 second shots of dizzying colors and blue people dancing.

Next up an interview with an actual fan, Jymm Magon and he even sounds like a geek, finally someone I can relate to. After that back to hippie music and colors and the UK saying the U.S. was all about smoking and drugs.

Woah, already another fan, Deborah. Unfortunately she fails, all she talks about is protesting this and protesting that...wtf...then something about all being one but then she goes to say we are all different, obviously she's still living in the '60s.

More interviews with the same old people all saying how Middle-earth relates to hippies. But we do actually get about a 15 second clip of photographs of some Ringers. And wtf, this Deborah character is talking about breeding new hippies, HELL no, we dont want any more hippies.

Next up is the Green Party transforming themselves into Ents for a parade and they do a pretty fine job if I may say so. Thanks for including that but how many conventions, gatherings, parties, etc a year do we have?! Where are all those?! Up next is more interviews with actors and with Dominic who looks like he went to extra trouble to make sure his hair looked as if he just got out of bed.

Then we have the music video with Leonard Ni...oh I'm not even going to go there, we all know it. My favorite quote appears right after that by Lemmy Kilmister, "it was a big old basement warehouse place, because they all are you know"...wtf does that have to do with anything?

More interviews with actors...oh wait, a fan, unfortunately its just ramblings about Led Zeppelin followed by more history about the well known Beatles Lord of the Rings movie. We move along to the music section with a history of all the bands who have ever sung about anything remotely related to Tolkien. Lemmy Kilmister shoots off another one of the most amazing quotes in the whole movie where he states a lot of the high pitched singers sing about faeries and how "suspicious" that is.

Now we move on to a history about how there aren't many roadside attractions left...sure it's leading up to their next bit about a Hobbit-like tour but was it really necessary? Cliff Broadway's amazing interviewing talent continues with asking whether someone would like to visit Middle-earth if it was a real place...would you also like to win the lottery if you had the chance? Do tell!

Continuing on to the next segment which is all about the '70s now...is this movie about Tolkien's impact on music or RINGERS. We get to hear Arlo's rendition of The Greatest Adventure which isn't too bad. And YES, more colored dancing shadows, I was getting worried. But they're dancing in front of the images and text we're supposed to be reading, do they want to give us an epileptic attack? We continue on to more colored dancing shadows while we run through the history of the live action film that never happened and Bakshi's animated one.

We get to hear from a fan, yay, and we hear some people not bashing the Bakshi films for once. Then Dominic goes on to list how bad the Return of the King animated film was...it seems all they want to do is bash things to try and sound cool. Although I admit I dont want to see them saying how everything was so amazing it seems the film focuses more on the bad sides of the films than the good sides. World Without Sundays then does a nice rendition of Where There's a Whip There's a Way which I really need to downloa...purchase.

Fan who thinks Frodo is a female roll.

Another fan! Unfortunately his favorite character is Gandorf... Followed by more interviews with Dominic and Ian. Next up a 30 second shot of the camera zooming in on Tolkien's grave...fascinating... Then a history of the Silmarillion...moving on... More terrible acting and dancing in this apartment which all the special features talk about is how amazing of an idea this was...

Yes, a fan! Dressed like Obi-wan...no that is not going to count. Terry Prachett gives us a nice history of Mount Fuji...wow thanks. Up next, a history of fantasy movies, I guess the team was getting low on relevant film to use. Another old interview with PJ which we've all seen. Next up another pretty decent song. Another interview with Elijah Wood tieing in Middle-earth with crap. Oh wait cool, another feminist fan...trying to say Frodo is a female roll, no. no. and NO.

Star Wars fan pretending to be a Tolkien fan

Wait, whats this, an actual video from a line party?! But the film lets us down, not only do we have to listen to more of Cliff but 'Grimlock' cleary states how he's a much bigger Star Wars fan than Lord of the Rings...were you guys that short on footage? Some more cheap acting follows and then a few clips of fans and how they enjoy the Internet, thanks Captain Obvious.

Next up a fan interview but unfortunately not only is she yammering on about Lord of the Peeps, she's wearing a Johnny Depp costume... Oh wait, another interview with a fan who informs us fan fic is separated into two categories, people putting themselves in the book and most likely having sex and people writing about two male characters having sex... She goes on to state how fan fic is pretty much all girls daydreaming about one of the male actors in the film, I personally know a lot, well a few people who are going to be upset by this. Next up a reenactment with figurines imagining having sex with each other. That's something I could have done without.

Next up we have to put up with more Cliff with some geeky fan, but at least its a fan. Cliff points out how she amazingly hand-made one of the kilts for a figure...its a piece of cloth wrapped around its legs, fantastic. I now am going to be working with the Oxford police in guarding off Tolkien's poor grave from any intruders, she states she's going to take her action figures and get a picture taken with them on his grave. The film is followed by more bad acting and psychedelic colored dancing shadows.

Lord of the Peeps

Now we get to see some, you guessed it, mariachi for some reason, a terribly sung song with awful lyrics as if they tried to put the whole thing together in a half hour. Just because someone on the staff is hispanic doesn't mean this is what any of the fans want to see. They manage to make up about 1% of the last 2 minutes with some actual fan interviews afterwards. Again followed by a pretty decent song.

Moving along we have that song from the beginning I liked and a collection of Ring fans over in New Zealand on Red Carpet Tours goofing around, this is what I wanted the movie to be about, the geeks. Next up a Klingon...what movie is this again? Oh well, at least I’m hoping he’s a Ringer so I won’t complain here. Following is a few more shots of some fans and testimonials about how their favorite characters are the evil characters, which contradicts someone's previous statement about everyone wanting good.

Ian McKellen then tells us that the ‘Lord of the Rings’ isn’t actually a character in the books...eh I don’t know Ian, Tolkien goes quite into detail about the many forms Sauron took and his evil deeds, I think we see a great deal about him in the books. Some more testimonials up next, a bit more of what I was hoping for in the film. Next we get to hear some kid say he would kick Lurtz in the "wiener" if he saw him. I hope his parents are proud. And if I was Lurtz I’d say screw Frodo I’m going to bitch-slap this damn kid, let’s see if he’s still smiling after that.

Diane gets off to a good start by telling us how it’s the whole aspect of the world that...oh wait, now she’s talking about the soundtracks and the cast, she probably doesn’t even know that there are books. Next up more interviews with actors, although Viggo does mention the fact that Tolkien despised allegory and that’s something I always have to stress to people so it’s good they included that.

Terry Pratchett informs us that when we’re in a war with another country, we need to realize that we are fighting other human beans, not Orcs...Orcs have feelings too, racist bastard. Then he tells us there’s no such things as evil empires…has he not heard of Microsoft?!

Clive Barker continues to sound like he’s been smoking for 500 years. Next up we get to meet the dad who drags his kid along to the TTT premiere on a school night, apparently that counts as "love" nowadays. Andy Serkis is then forced to do yet another Gollum impression, poor guy.

A few more testimonials, someone saying that they saw the movies over 100 times, quite a few, probably haven’t had time to read the books either. More interviews with PJ, the actors and people in the industry with a couple Ringers thrown in. John Rhys-Davies takes a crack at PJ’s weight, “this is being made by the biggest fan of all”.

Next up we get to listen to girls praising their love for the men in the movies and poor Elijah, it’s not that bad when everyone thinks your hot, what’s bad is when 99% of them are over weight middle-aged women. Followed is a few more clips of Ringers, along with someone who says they aren’t obsessed enough to bring a sign that says ‘elijah lick me’, but oh oh ya I was the first one in line since before 5am.

Then there’s Clarice who had to sell her house to pay for the trip to Wellington. Judging by her outfit it was her "[summer] house". The film continues with a few more clips of Ringers, we’re on a roll. But then right back to actors talking about how spiritual The Lord of the Rings is.

A good collection of ringers saying how The Lord of the Rings impacted them, unfortunately its bland and boring and we have this damn hippie again saying everyone likes The Lord of the Rings because we wanted to be "one" and loved... [expletives removed]

And…it’s a miracle, the credits start rolling, after a while they start to show some fan testimonials, good to see they’re putting a bit more of them in the second part of the movie, unfortunately their choices are just stupid. The first goes on about Hobbits being better lovers because of the feet, but honestly, doesn’t look like she is the best one to know about making love. The next one has to be told which one Strider is, the next one says "great" about 10 times and that's not counting all the "super great"s, woah that’s a bit too much greatness for me. And why on earth did this need a PG-13 rating? Hm, maybe it was the fact that they had to keep showing these close-up crotch shots of greek statues. It would have been a a bit nicer to have a more clean movie with a PG rating for the kids, oh well.

But, if you own the DVD, keep watching the credits roll and wait for the guy in the yellow shirt and hat. He made the whole movie worth it for me, you guys have to see his confession, I was laughing out loud, he just has so much "fiery passion" just bursting out of him. If you own the DVD you really need to check out the special features so you can see the full confession by him. If only the DVD had more like him it would have rocked.

Throughout the film we get to see interviews with the stars and take a little history lesson but there are very few clips of actual fans, what happened? I wanted to see people I could relate with, I wanted to be able to see a person and be able to say "woah, that guy is even geekier than me" but the only actual interviews are of idiots who either make Middle-earth seem like its some whole spiritual thing or it's all about smoking pot and getting high.

Pros:

  • Music, especially the World Without Sundays bits.
  • Camera work and editing really wasn't too bad.
  • The passionate testimonial
  • Illustrations that were included


Cons:

  • Not enough footage of actual Ringers
  • Way too many references to hippies
  • Out of everything out there the movie tends to focus on random things while neglecting everything else.


In the end though, I know the film makers did not have $100 million to spend on the project and I'm sure they did the best to their capabilities. Hopefully other Ringers enjoy it more so than I did and that's all that matters. I probably would be complaining no matter what so try not to take too much offense to the above rant. If you agree or disagree with this article feel free to discuss about it the discussion page


Update: Interesting enough the Ringers team has removed a link to this review on their forums. Sounds like censorship to me especially when many agreed with my points, but whatever, it's their forums, they can choose to do what they like.