Sunday, January 5, 2020

Tolkien biopic extras

So, I saw the Tolkien biopic (simply named TOLKIEN) at a special showing at last summer's Kalamazoo. At the time I thought it a beautiful and respectful film but found the pacing much too slow. Every scene seemed to be about twice the length it felt like it shd have been.

Accordingly, I knew I'd want a copy to re-see the movie at some later time and to have on hand for reference but was in no hurry to pick one up. Recently it occurred to me that there might be special features on the dvd that might be worth checking out --a 'making of' or 'behind the scenes' or 'The Real J. R. R. Tolkien' or the like.

I've now viewed the disk, and while there are some special features, they're sparse.

First, there's the audio commentary by the director, for those who like such things

There's also a gallery: pictures of the director directing

The sneak peaks show trailers for  a strange array of movies I won't be seeing

By far the most worthwhile of all these extras are the deleted scenes (seven in all) and a First Look mini-documentary.

The  mini--documentary mostly shows the lead actor and lead actress talking about the movie, with a few comments by the director thrown in. Basically these represent the idea behind the movie, what they focused on and why.

As for the deleted scenes, it's pretty clear why each was in the film and why each was taken out. Several include a single really good line (like Tolkien's calling Welsh  'the most beautiful language in the world' or Rob Gilson complaining that he's trying to keep up his art in the trenches but 'I keep running out of brown').  But the time spent on build-up wd have slowed the movie even more.

But the best thing about the movie, by far, remains its treatment of trees. It's a rare talent, but the director has managed to capture and convey Tolkien's love of trees. He even comments on this briefly in his commentary on one scene, and it shows up well in the deleted scene with Fr. Francis in a garden.

So, not essential, but not a waste of time either.

--John R.

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