I saw it shortly after release. All those reviews complaining of its butt-numbing length, or of excessive detail about the family tree of Thorin Oakenshield? Perfectly accurate — but you won’t care. The true Tolkien fan will find it’s just about all catnip, thoroughly enjoyable. A great deal of stuff that Tolkien just told us about is now on the screen. Haven’t you always wanted to see Radagast the Brown?
There is a nice balance here between what they included from the books (essentially as much as possible) and the stuff that was invented entire for the movie. With film, you have to see stuff; atmospheric hinting or vague description will not suffice. Radagast is a fine example of this; he looks very different from fellow wizards Gandalf and Saruman, as you might expect. But the movie supplies him with transport which you gotta see to believe — I will not spoil it for you at all. Now that’s creativity!
And someone, somewhere, has been keeping up on oddball fandom theories over the years. I squealed with joy, when Saruman, in a barely audible aside, points out that Radagast is unreliable because of an overindulgence in mushrooms. Deary, deary me, as Esther Friesner would say!
In short, if you enjoyed the first LOTR movies you will just adore this one. In the theater (and this was not one of the first showings) I saw a little girl, dressed as Galadriel, tiara and long flowing white gown all complete. Her parents, who must have funded this costume, were in jeans. Fandom has plainly won the cultural wars for this generation. Let us enjoy our victory!
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