29 June 2011

ROTK Extended Showing

ELF pants, version 2.0 (Shelob's Lair scene)

Last night was the theatrical showing of The Return of the King, and the final showing of The Lord of the Rings. It was, therefore, a very nostalgic and bittersweet event. I spent the car ride to the theater telling stories to my boyfriend about how excited I'd been when I first saw The Return of the King nearly seven years ago; how I'd cried through just about every scene the first time I saw it...and the eleven times afterward. I wore my ELF pants (originally named after the convention I originally designed them for), though part of me still wishes I'd had the guts to go dressed up as Arwen. We ended up missing the lines this time, so to my disappointment, nobody really noticed my pants, my jewellery, or my tattoo. But such is life.

Adding to the nostalgia of the experience was the audience, who was by far the liveliest. There was much Tolkien/LOTR chatter prior to the film's beginning, and this time, when TheOneRing.net's trailer came on, the audience fell silent. When Peter Jackson appeared on-screen, applause filled the theater, and I immediately knew that everyone around me was as hard core a fan as I am. It was unlike the original showings, where people were viewing for the first time; the atmosphere in the theater was one of respect and admiration.

And then Peter spoke - a bit less this time, it seemed, but the quality was not lost. No mention of 'The Hobbit,' but at that point, I didn't care. I'm still in awe of just how humble and personable Peter truly is, even after all the fame and success he has garnered. You don't see many celebrities who are truly honoured by their fans' support. Peter Jackson is just so down-to-earth. After he spoke, more applause broke out.

As soon as the film began, I could feel my eyes welling up. Suddenly I was fourteen again, and embarking on the final part of the journey. Growing up, my adolescence had been defined by Tolkien's works, it seemed, so when the films concluded in 2004, it had sort of coincided with (and signaled) my embarking on my teenage years, an entirely new journey. I heard sniffles here and there in the audience, and could tell I was not the only one getting a little emotional.

One thing I really loved about seeing these films in theaters was the audience participation. Everyone laughs at the same scenes, everyone anticipates the up-comping scenes or dialogue, everyone flinches or is startled by the same scenes (Shelob's Lair, for instance) despite already knowing what is going to happen...And to my surprise, there were even a few scenes in which small rounds of applause broke out.

It was an amazing experience. When it concluded, even more applause. I was actually a bit surprised there was no standing ovation, as I can recall that happening once or twice back in 2004.

It was a bittersweet night: I'm glad I don't have to sit in a movie theater for 4 hours again with no intermissions, but I absolutely loved seeing the films on the big screen again, especially in their extended editions. It felt, in a way, like the journey had ended all over again. But it is not over: now we just have to move on to watching them in Blu-Ray.

And my boyfriend beat me to the punch, but I was going to conclude with a quote from Gandalf (and so to re-quote my boyfriend): "End? No, the journey doesn't end here...We still have two 'Hobbit' movies to make."

Full frontal shot of LOTR pants

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