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"These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own." G.K.Chesterton

"You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion." G.K.Chesterton

"As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that."C. S. Lewis

"I blog, therefore I am." Anon

Sunday, December 14, 2003

an extended vision

As I, like most others, await with eager expectation the concluding chapter of Peter Jackson's cinematic version of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I would like to make a confession: I was somewhat disappointed by the theatrical version of "The Two Towers" when I saw it last Christmas. A lot of critics enthused wildly that it was better than the first installment, "The Fellowship of the Ring", but that is a view I did not share. Sure there was stirring action, jaw-dropping spectacle and epic battle sequences but something crucial was missing; for all its technical brilliance it lacked heart and soul. Don't get me wrong, it was a good movie ... just not a great one.

I have recently viewed the extended version of The Two Towers and can now happily revise my initial assessment. The extra forty minutes have transformed a good movie into a great motion picture. It is usually rightly said that more is less but in this case more is definitely more - much more. All the pieces fall into place, incidents and events that flashed past previously now have a context and best of all we connect with the characters in a way that makes us really care for them. Let's face it, the most interesting and most "human" character in the theatrical version of Two Towers was computer generated. Gollum stole the show. In the extended version he is still a marvellous creation, but it is the hobbits and humans who shine - And I am not just talking about Frodo and Sam or Aragorn but about King Theoden, Boromir and his young brother Faramir, about Eowyn and yes even Merry and Pippin. The story is now richer and deeper and the characters more fully drawn.

In most extended versions or Director's Cuts the story is padded out with scenes that were wisely discarded on original release. In this case however the extended version of Two Towers is THE definitive version, just as the extended version of The Fellowship is the definitive version of the first installment, and just as the extended version of the Return of the King will undoubtedly be the definitive version when it is finally released. There are no other versions. If you bought either theatrical version when they were first released on DVD you simply must discard them now and purchase the extended versions. They are now obsolete.

And if by chance, dear reader, you have not seen the extended versions of The Fellowship or The Two Towers, please do yourself a favour, drop everything right now and rush out and get yourself a copy. Then gather a few of your closest friends and family, huddle in the glow of your TV screen be prepared to experience something all too rare in our jaded and cynical consumerist society - a movie-making miracle.

And then, get your ticket for the Return of the King...

11:01:00 pm