The Fellowship of the Ring Celebrates it’s 10th Anniversary: Why The Lord of the Rings is the Perfect Christmas Movie!
It’s December 17th, 2001. I’m 13 years old and consider myself the luckiest fucking kid in the world. My brother won tickets to see an advance screening of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and decided to bring his little brother along for the ride. No one is cooler than me at this moment, right? I mean who the hell doesn’t think Lord of the Rings is the greatest shit since explosions? Granted my obsession only cost me my self-esteem with the opposite sex for, oh, 6 years? But it was worth it.
The crowd has a feeling. The only comparable vibe came two years previous with the premiere of Star Wars: Episode I. I can only hope that this film doesn’t end with the same cinematic blue balls and tears of disappointment that the other did. There’s energy, an excitement in the air. If you’re a movie fan, you know there’s a difference between seeing a movie with a disengaged crowd and the electricity of a premiere. You know you are part of something; where everyone is just as excited to be there as you are.
Now just to comment, I’m the slowest goddamn reader on the planet. Forcing me to re-read this article at gunpoint would still take some time. But none-the-less I labored through Tolkien’s novels because the scope and escapism those books created was exactly what my 13-year-old self was looking for at the time. It’s cool, and I’m completely oblivious to how anyone could think it not.
So, needless to say, I’m pumped.
One of the local radio stations is hosting the screening. They introduce the film. The screen darkens. Howard Shore’s remarkable score cues and I’m taken to a place I never thought I’d see: Middle-Fucking-Earth.
Ten years later, I’m sitting on my girlfriend’s couch and we’re exchanging presents early because she’s heading out of town. What I open makes me think and reflect, LOTR on Blue-Ray. Ten years later and I still think about sitting in that theatre. Walking out of that film, I was floored. I had witnessed something. What I had spent months imagining, picturing every minute detail, I watched it come to life. After that moment, I knew I wanted to be involved in film. That’s the kind of impact a movie can have on someone. It can shape their life; define who they want to be. That’s what LOTR did for me.
But I digress. I don’t mean to go on about my raging clue for LOTR, I simply mean to reflect on the fact that in ten years time these films have left a true legacy and something worth celebrating. And given that it’s the holiday season I also wish to point out the truly serendipitous correlations these films have with the season. These films were born and raised throughout the holidays. December 19th, 2001 marked the debut of TFTR, and for the 4 years following the Christmas break would coincide with either the sequels or the release of the Extended DVD’s.
If you are unfamiliar with the Extended DVD’s (why are you reading this article?) you’re missing out. The content of these discs is as massive as the films themselves. The holiday break marks a period where without school or work you’re free to do what you wish at your leisure. However, the horrible ironic twist is that the weather is usually such shit you just stay in and watch movies.
So it only makes sense that over the Christmas break you’d have the time to watch a NINE-HOUR MOVIE and not feel like you wasted it. LOTR has evolved into the perfect holiday film because it’s a cinematic experience that takes dedication of time and attention. The nostalgia of the film has grown with the holiday season, and the break provides you with the time to relive it. To quote George Lucas “It’s like poetry.” It just works.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s cold out. I’m going to watch a movie…
Happy Holidays and Happy Anniversary Lord of the Rings!