Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lord of the Rings Marathon

We did it!  

I should have pictures, and I don't.  But since we spent nearly the entire day sitting in a dark room, they wouldn't be very interesting anyway.  (We watched the movies up at Grampa and Gramma Grasshoppers - on their big HDTV.

Sometimes I'm concerned that the kids get their expectations really, really high and are going to be disappointed.   Not so, with LOTR.  They were in boy heaven.  Of course, red vines, chex mix, and Cadbury chocolate eggs  - all in one day - contributed to their joy.  With the books fresh in their minds, we didn't have to stop and explain anything (hallelujah!), not that we would've had time to, anyway.  With the captions on, Tate was able to "get" everything, and I know I picked up some details I had missed in previous viewings.

Oh my goodness, though.  When I said it was an "endurance event" I wasn't kidding!  We have the extended version.  We started watching right at 9am and took little breaks between each disk (two per movie) and meal breaks between movies.  And by the time we finished and got home and to bed it was after 11pm.

And being the geniuses that we are, we picked the weekend we change to Daylight Savings Time, and so lost an extra hour in the night.  Smart.

Yes, the movies are violent.  And yes, some of the characters are gruesome and frightening.  And yes, I let my 11 and 13 year old boys watch.  Because... they have read the books, we've talked a lot about it, and because I believe there's enough good to more than balance out the bad

There is an abundance of websites that explain how Tolkien's Christian worldview comes through in the stories, and probably say it far better than I could.  I won't attempt that here, but I'll mention a couple of things I appreciate.

Good is good.  Yes, some of the good guys are tempted by the power of the ring, but it's pretty clear who the good guys are, and who the bad guys are.  There's none of the moral conflict, so common in "heroes" of many movies.  (Picking randomly... Titanic - you're asked to cheer for a deceitful and immoral relationship, Oceans 11 - we're cheering for a group of thieves?, Pirates of the Caribbean - Jack Sparrow, a lying, thieving, murdering pirate is "cool"?)  In LOTR, I like the heroes.  Aragorn does not wish to lead, to become king, yet he does because it is right.  Galadriel does not accept the ring from Frodo. Knowing that his success will result in diminishing her own power, she says, "I will become less."  The members of The Fellowship put aside their differences to work together for a common purpose, frequently putting their own lives at risk to save others.

Evil is evil.  The bad guys are bad.  Lust for power corrupts and deceives.  Saruman becomes ensnared first by dabbling where he shouldn't, and then completely by his lust for power.

There are lots of things the boys and I have been talking about lately from the stories... self-sacrifice, compassion, loyalty, stewardship (lots to talk about, with Denethor vs. Faramir), perseverance, and friendship.

Not that any of you have been critical, but that's why I let my (fairly young) boys watch something that is unquestionably very violent and gruesome.

P.S.  And, yes, if you notice the time  of posting, I am not at church.  I'm at home.  Sick.  Aaaack.


Doug Hibbard said...

I still haven't watched the extended versions to see if they got closer to the books. Glad you all enjoyed it! I may try and talk Ann into tackling the whole marathon one day, but it's not likely. However, the 3 good Star Wars movies we could probably do.

I do so love Eowyn jabbing the Lord of the Nazgul as she says "I am no man." It does make me keep count of the knives around here though. Great moment.

I will say this for Ocean's Eleven, though: at least they're stealing from a weasely casino in both 11 and 13. Those guys deserved it. And I never quite got the obsession with Pirates of the Caribbean. I had hoped that one would end out with those who behaved nobly will prevail. It didn't quite.

We watched a lousy one this weekend in The Time Traveler's Wife. What's wrong with happy endings? After all, Aragorn gets Arwen!


Herding Grasshoppers said...


That's my favorite scene!

I think I enjoyed watching the movies three consecutive nights just as well, but the "marathon" was a fun day with the boys.

The dB family said...

Phew! That would be exhausting :o)! Congratulations to your boys on getting the books all read! Bub has watched them too, but he was NOT allowed to watch the movies either until he had read the books in their entirety first.

Glad you had a great day, and I hope you're feeling better soon.


leah said...

We have the extended versions for the first two, but Return of the King is the standard length. Your endurance is impressive!

I think your method of "read then watch" is perfect for 11 and 13. They know the story line (so the twists and turns in the plot aren't quite so scary- they know how it turns out), and BOTH parents are right there to explain or discuss any concerns that pop up during the movie (if there were any).

Tolkien and Lewis were friends, and the subtle Christian understory (OK, not so subtle in Lewis's case) is wonderful. I LOVE the LOTR books/movies. I have a huge hardback volume that my brother-in-law gave to me, and I can't wait for the boys to read it when they are older. Though I think I'll start with the Hobbit. I'm not sure how old a child would have to be to get that story line (which is less "dark" in many ways than the LOTR series).

I wonder if they are going to make The Hobbit into a movie?

Herding Grasshoppers said...


"They" are making a movie of The Hobbit. Peter Jackson, who directed LOTR is working on it. Same actor (Ian McKellen) but all different characters otherwise. Not scheduled for release until November (or Dec?) 2011. And it will be in two parts... so it'll be a long wait for the whole thing!

I read The Hobbit aloud to all three of the boys probably two years ago, at least. I'm thinking Gunnar would have been only 5 or 6, and the others 8/9 and 10/11? They all enjoyed it. You're right that it's not nearly as "dark", and especially using their own imaginations. I know that I never imagined the orcs and goblins as horrible as they are in the movies!

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Oh... the other character that overlaps would be Elrond. Maybe they'll get Hugo Weaving back.

Bilbo? He would be much younger, so I wonder if they'll want the same actor or not?

leah said...

Woo hoo! I'm very excited about that. I wonder if they'll use the same actor for Bilbo... he was much younger, but in the books it is often stated that Bilbo hadn't seemed to age much since he took possession of the ring (his chronological age changed, but he didn't seem to age). So they could use the same actor, as long as he hasn't aged too much in real life, lol.

I need to go back and re-read the books. And watch the movies again- we haven't done that in a LONG time. Can't do a marathon now, though- we don't have an all-day sitter, lol!

Kristen@nosmallthing said...

You know, I have not read one of those books yet. Maybe I should...I wonder if my boys (and my girl) would like them...

They are still too young for the movies, but maybe the books...

Hope you're feeling better!!!

Stretch Mark Mama said...

Ever since hubs and I saw the movies when they came out on DVD (extended version), I've been just waiting to read the books to the kids. In a few years, a few years. I just made them suffer through "A Little Princess." :)

Stretch Mark Mama said...

Ever since hubs and I saw the movies when they came out on DVD (extended version), I've been just waiting to read the books to the kids. In a few years, a few years. I just made them suffer through "A Little Princess." :)