Friday, December 05, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) ****

PG-13, 223 min. (special extended edition)
Director: Peter Jackson
Writers: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, J.R.R. Tolkien (novel)
Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Andy Serkis, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, Bernard Hill, Miranda Otto, David Wenham, Christopher Lee, Brad Dourif, Liv Tyler, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Karl Urban, Bruce Hopkins, Sala Baker, Sean Bean, John Noble

OK. A little warning here. This ain’t gonna be much of a review. The Penny Thoughts format is supposed to be flexible in that way. Hopefully at some point I’ll get around to posting my original review of this movie to make up for it; but for now, I’m just going to tell a funny story. And frankly, I’m sure this story will be funnier to me than anyone else.

So, I have a daughter who is developmentally delayed. She’s pretty smart, but her language capabilities are way behind. She’s about to turn seven and she operates at about a three-year old level in terms of her communication skills. We also have an eight-month-old baby. She identifies him often saying, “Baby!” followed by his name, almost incessantly. When she does figure out how to communicate something, she latches on and doesn’t let go.

We watch a movie with the whole family almost every Friday night. Well… my daughter and the baby don’t really watch. They’re mainly just present. My daughter has never really been into television entertainment. We eat pizza in the living room for the first half of the movie. We take an intermission and my daughter and the baby go to sleep before we finish the movie. I’m never really sure whether she pays much attention to the movies at all, but she loves the ritual of the whole thing.

Anyway, we’re settling in to “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”. Gollum shows up for the first time and my daughter starts talking, repeating a phrase over and over. Her enunciation isn’t the best so it takes a couple times for us to understand what she’s saying. “Bad baby. Bad baby. Bad Baby!” She’s calling Gollum a bad baby.

I’m sure it was just a visual impression rather than an observation of his behavior, although he doesn’t make a very good impression on Sam at first either, or ever. Any time Gollum shows up on screen, she starts chanting, “Bad baby. Bad baby!” The rest of the time she’s silent. We laugh at her observation, and she looks at us like she’s accomplished something. It’s a good family moment.

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