I couldn’t believe my ears a couple of weeks ago. The young crowd in our office were slagging off The Lord of the Rings. It’s apparently boring and nerdish.
I’d never really questioned its quality before, and it’s not like I grew up with a Middle-earth duvet set or ever read it, although I did read the more child-friendly The Hobbit. But it did make me question why I enjoyed watching the first LOTR film back in 2001. And there was a simple answer: that flaming cartoon!
Rather frustratingly, Ralph Bakshi’s 1978 film only covers the first half of the book and it would always end with the continuity announcer giving viewers a 60-second potted version (500 pages worth!) of the rest of the film, which we would never see and which sounded really boring.
Nevertheless, everyone wanted to see the film, and kids at school would create urban myths about how the filmmaker was dead or on his deathbed, and how it was touch-and-go whether he would ever complete. In reality, United Artists (too busy investing in Heaven’s Gate) refused to fund a sequel.
Children’s urban myths are the best. I remember how a fellow nine-year-old convinced us all that he’d seen a Star Wars prequel called Splinter of the Mind’s Eye in Germany. It existed, of course, but only as a book sequel to the original film, and it was quickly shelved when George Lucas saw the size of the queues.
And until recently, I’d thought that Lucas’s plan to make nine films was another schoolyard porky, but now it appears that Disney will complete the story.
Is Star Wars nerdish? Liking it as an adult probably is, but it certainly wasn’t like that with the original films. If anything, it was the other way round: as kids, how could we resist, as Brian De Palma observed after seeing an early screening, the Power of the Farts.
Elsewhere this week, we’ve got more Christmas stuff – this time things to do during the holiday, a fantastic festive pub quiz and present suggestions for the lovely ladies in your life – and that’s about it.
So make like a hobbit and burrow into the warmth that is the Danish Christmas. Something tells me it’s going to be white.