"Return of the King" fifth viewing commentary.

Viggo Mortensen and Elijah Wood could both eat corn through a picket fence.

Given that I must perforce accept the idea that Denethor is derelict in defense of the city and the women and children were not sent away before the armies of evil encamped outside the walls, what the hell are they doing on the first level of the city when the gates are sundered? Are they too stupid to have removed themselves to the upper levels prior to this action? And would the deaths of people that goddamn stupid be any real loss to the gene pool?

Miranda Otto looks like she's going to throw up every time the script calls for her to do anything but moon at Aragorn. She also has pipecleaner arms, and I am not convinced she could have hacked the head off a Nazgul's mount in two blows (or twenty, for that matter.)

Denethor: he's oil-soaked and sending up shooting flames the size of one of the signal beacons. Having him run the length of the courtyard and plunge into freefall in this condition is ludicrous. If you're going to go that far why not also have one of the Nazgul fly by and chomp him? Yeah, and then have it drop him on top of a spire so he can be impaled as well. Because apparently we just hate Denethor so much it's not enough to kill him once over and be done with it.

The hobbits are way too in touch with their tear ducts.

I would have preferred the orc general not suddenly assume a fearful aspect at the sight of the onrushing Rohirrim. That guy should have gone down with a sneer of defiance.


As a dog returneth to its vomit.

The Mets are talking to Todd Zeile. Kill me now.

(And thank you, Paula, for bringing up such a painful subject. Next time give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it.)
Kingdom roundup, with spoiler.

This post has been delayed by my natural indolence, but I might want to refer to some of this later, so here it is. First, Victor at Rightwing Film Geek pointed to the article in last Sunday's Telegraph, wherein we are informed that "senior British academics" are annoyed with Ridley Scott's Crusader project.

Then Ben Kepple took a crack at rewriting the script, turning it into "Dude, Where's My Sword?"

Let me note at this point, apart from the specious "Brotherhood of Muslims, Jews and Christians" and painting Guy de Lusignan as the villain of the piece, I haven't heard anything egregiously wrong about the basic plot of the story that contradicts what I know about the Crusades (concerning which I am not, admittedly, an expert.) I believe Saladin was considered by contemporary Christians to be quite chivalrous, for a heathen, so that shouldn't be considered revisionist. I am a bit concerned about this quote from Scott:
"At the end of our picture, our heroes defend the Muslims, which was historically correct."
Not sure in what context this could occur, unless he's talking about Balian d'Ibelin keeping the Christians and Jews in Jerusalem from slaughtering the Muslims in the city before surrendering it to Saladin. More research is obviously required, and more detail about the film than has trickled forth so far. While I agree in theory with Victor (supra) that the Crusades were counterattacks against the Muslim expansion and not, as so often mischaracterized by self-mortifying lefties, wars of Christian aggression, I'm not sure Scott has said anything about the film so far to indicate that he's making an apologetic on behalf of Islam. From the Telegraph article:
Sir Ridley's spokesman said that the film portrays the Arabs in a positive light. "It's trying to be fair and we hope that the Muslim world sees the rectification of history."
Trying to be fair is fine. Rectification of history...we'll see.

My spoiler policy: I generally try to avoid spoiling most films until most people interested in seeing them have had a chance to do so, but some films are so poorly conceived I waive the spoiler rule and consider the details more of a forewarning than a ruination. If you're sensitive to that kind of thing stop reading.

Finally, a filming update with spoiler:
Yesterday, they shot one of the most dangerous scenes filmed so far in Loarre: it shows the moment when Balian falls into the forge and burns alive while his workshop burns up around him.
Interesting. One must assume that's the ending, unless they plan to have him rise Phoenix-like from the pyre. Update: Apparently it's not Balian who falls into the forge, it's a priest of some kind. I'm not sure if that's better or worse.


Bill McCabe unfair to Elves.

Legolas-free zone, my eye. Hate the game, Bill, not the player.

(2BC recognizes the value of all members of the Fellowship. Even Boromir, who took way too damn long to die.)

Van Helsing trailer here. I can't make up my mind whether this is going to rule or suck, but I doubt it's going to fall between the poles.