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Ringers: Lord of the Fans by Carlene Cordova (Dir)
Review by jan howard (The Wombat) finder
Planet BB Entertainment DVD  ISBN/ITEM#: RINGLOFAN
Date: Nov 22, 2005 / Show Official Info /

Worth a Hugo? Yes!

In a hole in the ground, or in a room unbeknownst by most of the outside world, lived a hobbit, elf, a wizard or merely a transfixed human. This was the world I moved to in 1964 when I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings for the first, but not the last, time.

I immediately identified with Pippin. Maybe it was that "fool of a Took" that resonated with me. Yes, I organized birthday parties for Bilbo and Frodo. I put up on my walls all the Middle-earth posters and sold them to pay for the two "Conferences on Middle-earth" I chaired in 1969 and 1971. The conference papers led to A Tolkien Compass, edited by Jared Lobdell, an excellent collection of essays on the world of Middle-earth and its creator.

I read the books before paperback! I travelled the world comparing where I was to where I might be in Middle-earth. I was an ersatz Hobbit. I even had some hair on my toes. [Back then I even had some hair on my head, but that is another story.]

Then the world changed. The Lord of the Rings was still being read, but not by as many. It became a book that one's parents had read.

Then in 2001 the world changed again. Peter Jackson et al. brought a magnificent, albeit somewhat flawed or altered, The Lord of the Rings to the silver screen. Qualms aside, it is one of the few films I've seen more than once or even twice. I've even worn off some "1s" and "0s" from the soundtrack CDs. I'll probably mark the end of September each year by watching the film on the Saturday closest to 22 September and inviting other hobbits, elves, etc., over for the day.

The above is prelude to my feelings about Ringer. Yes, if you wait long enough, you will even see my name in the credits in 1.5 point type. I had contributed material on the 60s to the filmmakers which they used.

However, while I may have mentioned this fact to you, had Ringer been ordinary or bad, I wouldn't have sat down to write this paean to the film. It is excellent.

This film is by fans about fans and how it impacted them. The fans are not limited to readers such as I, but actors, musicians, and others.

The books hit home for lots of us. They also caused lovely fights between academics which is delightfully mentioned and captured. The books still do.

The film captures with a sense of humor and history the 50 years since The Lord of the Rings (TLOTR) first appeared along with some back story on the appearance of The Hobbit. It is a delightful film filled with the craziness and joy of each decade since books appeared.

It touches on how TLOTR influenced pop music in more than one decade. You can even see and hear Leonard Nimoy sing "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" with cute young things capering about his feet. Well, he is a little bit better than Shatner, but I digress.

The film also touches on how the film has effected and impacted on the lives of fans new and old. The craziness of the 60s is not all that different in way or feel from the craziness of the Naughts.

Costume madness? It was there in the 60s and is back with a vengeance now, and you see it in the film.

While I'm not a media fan as such, I was able to see the Premiere of Ringers at the Newport Beach Film Festival. I arrived early planning on getting my ticket and then wandering about Newport. Not in the cards. I ended up joining the Line Party. I didn't realize that was what it was until later. Where their parents may have come to my conferences, I was joining them for their version. I loved it.

The film brings out the fun and madness of these parties. It records how the love of a book/film binds fans of yore with today's fans. We love[d] the books, and we love the film! I'm not saying something new by noting, we are family!

The film gets folk from the past as well as the present, including the film's actors, to talk about their love for the books and film. Listen to actors, musicians, scholars, fans speak from their hearts.

I went to watch the film filled with some skepticism. I left feeling this was one "hot shit" film.

My criticism, if it be called that, is that the film like TLOTR, is too short. I wish, the director would have interviewed more folk from the 60s and 70s. This generation, and Peter Jackson comes from it, was the one that made the books popular and film possible. That being said, it is still a very good film.

If you have read the books, watched the films [obviously more than once] and wondered more than once "Now where in Middle-earth am I?," this film is for you.

BUY IT! Rent it!

DO SEE IT!!!!!

[Then you can nominate it for the Hugo. Actually it falls under two categories: Long Media Presentation as well as Nonfiction. Hell, nominate RINGERS for both! Yes, I think, it is THAT good!]

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