Read, or enjoy the audio version below...
Warning! I am a satirist! If you do not have a sense of humor or are easily-offended, these blogs may not be for you. May I interest you in an innocuous episode of Peppa Pig instead?
Reverse Shiny Object Syndrome
Shut up and take my money, Gandalf
I don't know if you are familiar with Shiny Object Syndrome, but it is a real phenomenon. It catches even the most focused creatures at unawares. By "focused creature" I mean my cat, whose eyeballs stare right through you as if to say "I know where you sleep and I will cut you."
Shiny Object Syndrome is defined as "the situation where people focus undue attention on an idea that is new and trendy, yet drop this as soon as something new takes its place."
But what if the reverse was true? Something so shiny you return to it time and time again?
For me, this exhibits itself when I am selecting my next movie trilogy to watch. I will invariably land on something wholesome and family-friendly. By family-friendly I am talking about Faces of Death (Warning: NSFW, home, or pretty much anywhere). However, inevitably my thumb always seems to flick through Plex down to the "L" section, where I find, always waiting for me like a sweet, loving, faithful friend who only comes around when they need money, my favorite movie trilogy of all time:
Now, I know that many of my readers prefer Star Wars to The Lord of the Rings. I also recognize that you are the same type of individuals who actually believe that the toilet paper goes on the dispenser the other way, and you like to pronounce it as "supposably." I wish you luck kicking your paint chips habit.
For me, The Lord of the Rings planted itself in my psyche when I was just a prepubescent zit-faced teenager. I would go on to read the trilogy - the entire trilogy, mind you - over 50 times though grade school, because I had no girlfriend, and my human contemporaries wanted to engage in silly nonsense like breathe fresh air and improve their physical fitness. For me, it was nose in the book on my bed on a Saturday at 11am, baby.
Tolkien's immeasurably rich poetry and prose... his unlimited and highly detailed descriptions of Middle-earth down to the vivid details of foliage, roots, and even the genus of each particular flower... his shades of Shakespearean dialogue... his masterful storytelling. I could not put it down.
If you know anything of the history of this epic tale, its author, J.R.R. Tolkien, hammered away it from 1939 to 1954. That is 15 years to you and me. That is commitment. I find this utterly impressive, and so, in honor of this, I will soon be changing my name to J.J.J. Alexander. Look for a branding update soon.
And when the movie trilogy came out? Whoa Nellie. I was hooked. By hooked I mean to say that I had no money for food and heat because I was always at the theater for yet another screening. To date, I have surely seen the movie trilogy over 100 times, mostly because I still have no girlfriend, but also because my wife goes to bed early and I have successfully convinced my children that Benadryl is an essential nightcap.
I am KIDDING. Stop dialing CPS.
I love this trilogy even more than voiceovers. I love it so much that I began work on my own commemorative red-leather-bound-foil-stamped version of it back in 2004, which is the year 15,396 in the Fourth Age of Middle Earth. This version contains extended dialogue and backstory from Tolkien's unpublished works as recorded by his son Christopher Tolkien in The War of the Ring and The Treason of Isengard. I included these passages and in fact penned some of my own because I am continually seeking ways to pay large fines for copyright infringement. The truth of the matter is that I wanted to create an exhaustive version of this grand oeuvre, this behemoth masterpiece: my heart's desire had been so captivated by it since my pizza-faced days.
In my book - completed in 2007 and entitled The Lord of the Rings: 2007 Expanded Edition - I also included photos from Peter Jackson's and New Line Cinema's trilogy where pertinent to the story flow. Now all I have to do is just sit and wait for the lawsuit. If only more people knew!
Why do I love this fantasy? Perhaps because of the reason that everyone loves fantasy. It is an escape from harsh realities. It provides protagonists to root for. It allows travel to faraway places. It is more exciting than watching C-Span. And that is the truth, or I am not your second cousin once removed, on your mother’s side.
I recently got the UHD 4K versions of these gorgeous movies, and let me tell you, I have never seen the fine coarse hairs of Gandalf's nose so clearly. I realize the movie has been color graded, but when I saw Sméagol and Déagol floating down the Anduin, enjoying some lazy fishing, it took my breath away, in much the same way as when I see Bottle Caps candy in the checkout aisle, and I know in my bones that the world is good. The grass was made of real, crisp, sharp greens...the river was a beautiful, rippling bluish-gray, and you could make out every nook and cranny of the tree on the riverbank. Warning! Environmentalists will pass out from sensory overload.
It got me thinking, Shiny Object Syndrome is real. And I suffer from it. But mine is a bit different. The Ring is my shiny object. My precious. It always has been. I have been in love with this story for as long as I can remember, which I think started around the second age of this world by Shire reckoning. For a time, I was even #1 on all of Middle-Earth and Planet Earth on the iOS App Store Game "QuizUp" by Plain Vanilla Corp. in The Lord of the Rings movies category. My username was "I.Am.The.Lord", because I am highly skilled at sacrilege, O yes, my Precious...highly skilled.
In May of 2023, I will celebrate the 35th anniversary of my 15th birthday. For this momentous occasion, you will find me on my couch, wearing my hobbit hair on my feet, donning my pointy ears, and watching the entire 11 hours, 23 minutes and 59 seconds of a bunch of people fussing over whether they should keep or destroy some jewelry.
By the way, I hear Bruce Willis has been cast to play the lead role in the upcoming Lord of the Rings sequel, Old Hobbits Die Hard.
A Tale of Rings And Voiceovers
As voiceover artists, there is so much to appreciate in The Lord of the Rings in the way of voiceovers:
- Cate Blanchett's opening Fellowship monologue with rich hues and sultry, breathy narration
- Christopher Lee's crisp, robust and booming introduction in The Two Towers
- Ian Holm's gentle introduction to the world of Hobbiton in Fellowship
- Ian McKellen's frightening voiceover concerning The Witch King of Angmar in Return of the King
- Gandalf's comforting death prelude as narrated to Pippin ("the grey rain curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass..." PERFECTION!)
- Frodo's melancholy soliloquy of his departure from Middle Earth
You will find yourself wanting for nothing more precious.
Andy Serkis will go down in history as perhaps the quintessential version of Smeagol & Gollum brought to life - ever. With Mocap and ADR, his performance was riveting from start to finish. And that voice...oh that hairball-afflicted voice...
Ever heard the story of how he devised the voice of Gollum? Check it out here.
Apart from the characters and actors themselves, also riveting was this commercial preview of Fellowship of the Ring before it was released:
- Frodo has voiceovers
- Gandalf has voiceovers
- Bilbo has voiceovers
- Faramir has voiceovers
- Gollum has voiceovers
- Sam has voiceovers
- Legolas has voiceovers
- Elrond has voiceovers
- Arwen has voiceovers
- Aragorn has voiceovers
- Treebeard has voiceovers
- Saruman has voiceovers
- The previews have voiceovers
- Pippin even has a song!
- Sauron does not have voiceovers because flaming eyeballs generally do not speak
Nearly every major player provides voiceovers of some kind or another. And they are all set to fantastic scores by Howard Shore, the beautiful floating Annie Lennox ballad and the fluttering Enya refrain.
I was in love with the books, and I am in love with the movies. I was in love with the theatrical editions, and then I fell in love with the extended editions on DVD. Then I was head-over-heels for the Blu-Ray editions. Now I am enraptured with the 4K UHD editions. Each time, I notice something new, and am taken on a journey of epic proportions. Unless of course you are talking about the journey from the perspective of The One Ring itself. That journey is truly a little boring and anticlimactic:
Hand. Hand. River. Dirt. Gollum. Hobbits. Pockets. Pockets. Finger. Envelope. Fire. Hand. Neck. Neck. Finger. Hobbits. Neck. Neck. Neck. Pocket. Finger. LAVA.
Yes. I am a victim of Shiny Object Syndrome, and it is called The Lord of the Rings. It has been my primary creative interest since I was in single-digits. Every year, instinctively, I pull out my red-leather book and dive in again. Every year around the holidays, we journey once more into mp4-land for our annual Mordor Fun Run. Because, as we all know, "one does not simply walk."
So - what voiceover-laden fantasy inspires your creativity? If it does not inspire voiceover memes like this one, then you need to find one trilogy to rule them all, one trilogy to find them; one trilogy to bring them all, and in the darkness with popcorn, soda and licorice bind them...
YOU HAVE MADE IT ALL THE WAY TO THE END, AND I SALUTE YOU.
- Thanks for reading!
- This is not a commercial site, but if you would prefer to hurl large wads of cash at me, please know that I do not refuse such cash gifts if it means I can pretend I am a church
- Check out my whole UNIVERSE of blogs right HERE!
- This is a fourth bullet point.
AND HEY! WAIT JUST A S.E.C.!
- S-UBSCRIBE & S-HARE!: If you enjoyed this blog, please consider subscribing and sharing with friends and family, and encouraging them to subscribe and share. Offer treats for doing so.
- E-NCOURAGE: Go encourage someone else today with a single, simple sentence of affirmation. Tell them, “I like your earrings”, unless of course they are manly men, in which case you should compliment them on the size of their chainsaw.
- C-OMMENT: I want to hear from you. Please feel free to comment below! Comments with lots of “You’re wonderful” or “You’re the best” will receive instant approval and acclaim.