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Posts Tagged ‘Lord of the Rings’

31 Monster Toys #22: Lord of the Rings – Eye of Sauron

October 22nd, 2013 No comments

This is one of the sillier toys in my collection, and that’s saying a lot.

An extensive line of 6″ action figures accompanied the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, and once manufacturer Toy Biz exhausted their list of orcs and hobbits, they released this toy of the chief villain, Sauron. It’s unique in that it’s not a figure at all, since it’s a tower. It’s the fortress of Barad-dûr, and the flaming eye atop it is the incorporeal form of Sauron himself.

As the film depiction of  Barad-dûr is alleged to be nearly twice as tall as the largest skyscraper in our world, and the Eye of Sauron toy is the same height as the standard human figure in the Toy Biz line, it’s…well, it’s just a little bit out of scale. Also, it hews to the Japanese “super-deformed” style of design: big “head,” squat body.

But what’s silliest about it is its action feature: a lever on the back causes the Eye to pivot and light up, while shouting “I seeeee youuuuu!

Which becomes even funnier when it triggers on its own, as mine has done at least a couple of times.

The Eye Of Mordor Is Upon Me

May 27th, 2013 No comments

Last week I found the latest assortment of Lego Lord of the Rings sets at Toys R Us, and among them was this little beauty.

Not only is there an excellent likeness of Christopher Lee beneath Saruman’s hairpieces, but take a closer look at what’s inside the Palantir: a minifig head printed with the Eye of Sauron. That turned it from a “want” into a “must have right now.”

Eventually I can see the Eye doing double-duty in a microscale version of the tower of Barad-dûr, but first I had to get these out of my system…

“Go, Mordor!”

Santa’s sack has a ring in it just for you!

“Sid? Sid? Ever since you touched that radioactive goo, you haven’t been yourself!”

Sure, you thought clowns were scary before…

“Disco Sauron just wants to boogie!”

Dear Diary: Vacation was frustrating. Bought a pretzel, but had no mouth.

Aunt Clara though Sauron was perpetually four years old, and also a girl.

Watercooler conversations were uncomfortable after the new intern arrived.

It was the Sixties. Everyone was experimenting.

He once mimed “grinding all of Middle Earth beneath his booted heel,” but no one really got it.

Hmm. Too “on the nose,” perhaps?

Goodnight eye
Goodnight orc
Goodnight Nazgul by and by

Categories: Toys Tags: ,

The Worst Jobs In The Multiverse #1: Gondorian Beacon Keeper

March 7th, 2013 No comments

You may loathe your job and despise your coworkers, but take solace in this: no matter what you do for a paycheck, somewhere out there in the infinity of worlds someone has it far, far worse.

Consider, if you will, the work of the beacon keepers of Gondor, one of the medieval-esque nations dotting Tolkien’s Middle-Earth.

The entire point of the beacons–at least, as depicted in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film adaptations–is to summon help from the nation of Rohan. Telegraphs haven’t been invented, and you can’t depend on the eagles to show up and carry your message, so the only recourse for sending a quick S.O.S. to the horsemen of the Golden Hall is to construct a series of bonfires set many miles apart. And since they need to be seen from a long way off, the best places to put them are on mountaintops.

So, your job as Gondorian beacon keeper is to sit on a mountain and watch a pile of sticks. They need to be lit at a moment’s notice, so you’d better keep them dry. You’ll only know that it’s time to light them up when you see the next beacon in the chain aflame. And that other pile of sticks is on a distant peak, so you’d best keep an eye on the horizon.

Now, bear in mind that they are only to be lit in an emergency. (Important: do not set your torch too close to the beacon.) And, according to the Encylopedia of Arda, the only recorded incident of their use since they were constructed in year 2510 of the Third Age occurred on March 8, 3019…509 years later. So, odds are good that they’ll never be needed in your lifetime. Or in your father’s lifetime. Or your son’s lifetime. (You can pretty much bet that this is a job that gets passed down familial lines, same as male-pattern baldness.)

But when they’re needed, they’re needed NOW. So keep your torch lit, and keep watching that mountain waaaaaay over there.

Don’t Be Too Proud Of This Technological Terror You’ve Constructed

September 23rd, 2008 No comments

“Doctor, I’m quite certain this isn’t my mum’s flat.”
“Welllll…perhaps she’s gotten herself a new boyfriend.”

Coming in 2011 from Lucasfilm: Indiana Jones and the Star of Death!

“Today Gotham City, tomorrow…Mos Eisley!”

“Smeagol, are you sure this is the path into Mordor?”

The Return of the Return of the King

December 20th, 2004 No comments

Last week saw the DVD release of the “extended cut” of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. As with the previous two films in Peter Jackson’s award-winning trilogy, King had been previously issued on home video in its theatrical release form, with a longer version arriving approximately half a year later.

While this is yet another example of the practice of “double-dipping”–releasing multiple versions of the same title, with each subsequent one ostensibly improved to encourage repeat buying by rapid collectors–at least Jackson and New Line Cinema have been upfront about their intentions since the beginning.

Watching the new DVD with its 50 minutes of additional footage was a vastly different experience than seeing King on opening night. In some places, it was practically a new film.

Although I felt that Jackson’s previous Lord of the Rings flicks were greatly improved by their extended edits, this one seems like a bit of a wash. Neither version is quite right.

The theatrical release was lacking some key scenes, notably the final confrontation with the wizard Saruman. Jackson apparently believed that this scene was merely a leftover from The Two Towers that delayed entry into the new plot. Yet, Saruman was such a major villain in the earlier chapters that it was absurd to dismiss him with a single line of dialogue. The reinstatement of this showdown provides much needed closure.

Similarly, added scenes with Faramir and Eowyn in the Houses of Healing give those characters more satisfying storylines. Both disappeared about halfway through the original version, only to reappear in the closing coronation sequence with only a hint of their off-screen romantic bond.

Other welcome restorations include a face off between Gandalf and the Witch King; and another between Aragorn and the Mouth of Sauron. They aren’t strictly needed, but the former is an iconic moment from the book and the latter features an effective depiction of a memorable character.

On the other hand, the extended edit includes material which seems not only unnecessary, but redundant. The surprise attack of the Army of the Dead at Minas Tirith is spoiled by an earlier, almost identical scene. And was there any call for a Gimli/Legolas drinking game?

Finally, neither version includes a sequence I’d hoped to see: Sam overcoming the stone watchers at the gates of Cirith Ungol. It was shot but, according to Jackson’s DVD commentary, left out for pacing reasons. Pacing reasons? In a four-hour-plus movie? I’d thought that these extended films were meant to be the ultimate “fan service” videos. (Jackson hinted that the missing scene could show up in a future video release. Does that mean that years down the line we’ll get yet another version?)

Of course, none of these comments are meant to detract from the outstanding, monumental work of Jackson and Company. They made so many correct decisions that it’s silly to fault them very much for their handful of blunders. It’s just that, as one of those rabid fans for whom these films were intended, it’s also hard not to wish that they could be just a bit better…

I wonder, ultimately, which versions will be accepted as the “real” deal. I would not want to go back to the truncated edits, but on the other hand, the theatrical cuts were the ones that won all those Oscars.

Multiple versions of movies are nothing new. Many films have been cut down from their original release, either to “improve” them (I once saw a rerelease of Disney’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks from which nearly all of the songs had been removed) or to fit them into a TV time slot. Others have been extended with additional/alternate scenes, and in this digital day and age, some have been completely reedited (notably Touch of Evil and Star Trek: The Motion Picture) in order to fulfill their makers’ intentions.

Heck, we’ve reached the point at which it’s not at all impossible for viewers to reedit a film to their own liking. Perhaps in the future there will be no definitive version of a film; each will exist in thousands of possibilities to suit individual tastes.

In mine, Eowyn is naked and Frodo rides a dinosaur.