Sunday, 5 June 2011

My Favourite Films (5/15) - Fantasy

Favourite Fantasy Film - The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Jackson, 2002)

My dad read ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy to me during my childhood and along with the books of CS Lewis they became one of my favourite fantasy tales. The world of Middle Earth became the fantasy world of choice for my day dreams. It was because of that that when Peter Jackson and New Line Cinemas announced that they were making film adaptations of the books I felt a intense mixture of anticipation and trepidation.

The chance to see a story I loved so much brought to the big screen was always going to be exciting, but with any project like this there’s always that nagging fear that they may fail to produce something that lives up to your expectations and imagination.

However the films presence in this list of genre favourites should suggest that I believe Jackson not only succeeded in doing justice to the books but I actually believed they may have improved on the source material.

As much as I love the books, the films managed to cut out some of the waffling descriptive elements which slow down the pace of the narrative and the long winded explanations of family histories while managing to fully imagine the world of the books that so fascinated me as a child.

It’s one of the most technically impressive film feats I have ever seen, from the camera tricks that made the hobbits convincingly and endearingly small compared to the other characters, to the CG moments which gave the battle scenes such incredible scale; the battles of Helms Deep and Minis Tirith are two of the most spectacular bits of cinema I’ve ever seen.

They’re three films which truly manage to capture the sheer, majestic scale that films are capable of. With each film coming in at around 3 hours Jackson was able to keep the majority of the best moments from the books, with only the scouring of the Shire at the end of the third book as an omission that disappointed me. It was only towards the end of the third film that I also began to feel it dragged at all; up to that point the films had been entertaining enough to justify their fairly epic running times.

It feels like cheating to choose a trilogy as my favourite film in the fantasy genre, so if pushed to select just one I’d probably go for ‘The Twin Towers’ as I still remember being blown away by the ‘Battle of Helms Deep’ when I saw it at the cinema 8 years ago (I actually can’t believe it was 8 years ago). The twelve year old version of me was simply amazed by the spectacle on show and the drama involved; the 20 year old version of me is more self conscious but just as entertained despite it.

However the films are best when considered together and it’s hard to think of many series’ of films that are of as consistently high standard as the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy which is why it’s my choice in the fantasy genre.

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