Peter Jackson’s unequalled masterpiece fantasy achievement of a thrice-blessed trilogy, Lord of the Hugs, er, Rings was the ultimate realization of the fabled Tolkien story. (Or is it storied Tolkien fable?) That hulking beast of a narrative will not have to suffer interpretation again until some new medium is invented, like when we all start watching little plays produced by tiny nano-Peter Jacksons, nano-actors and nano-costume designers who’ll live in the nano-Hollywoods we’ll all have implanted in our optic nerves by Sony.
The universally lauded epic had only one fairly major flaw. It had…what must be…the longest…most drawn out… epilogue…in the…hissss-tory of cinema. Almost like, everyone involved knew that they had done such a good job that no one would mind sitting through a 25-MINUTE POSTSCRIPT!
Much of this lengthy coda was taken up by — there’s nothing else for it — a hobbit hug orgy. After being rescued by giant eagles from the rock in the middle of Mt Doom’s lava river, Frodo awakes in a soft-focus fluff cloud of a bed. After a few choice words with a weirdly giggly old Dame Maggie Smith, er, Gandalf the Wizard, he’s accosted by his two giddy hobbit buddies in a cringe-worthy slow-motion hug frolic…in bed.
For an eternity it seems, minutes even, Frodo and Pinkus and Marty, or whatever their names, are in full-out fur-flying hug-o-rama-lama, while one-by-one the rest of the Fellowship, the adult faction, wander in, to leer regally at the spectacle of these child-like creatures coming this close to losing it and getting it on — whatever it is that hobbits might do.
Gimli, the strapping dwarf, is first, and seems to be casting his gimlet eyes with a special appreciation for frolicking with smooth hobbit flesh — that which is not covered by fur, that is. He’s been there, it appears.
Then comes Legolas, the elf, and the only one in the room who looks remotely — or legally! — huggable…since he’s also the one that most resembles an actual GIRL.
Then comes Aragorn, nice enough looking fellow, in theory, but not going to get hugged by this blog-hobbit until he gets a hose-down and a shampoo-rinse-shampoo-again. Whoof!
And that’s just the beginning. In the bedroom section of the sequence most all of the action features Frodo, Pupkin and…the other one. Faithful Sam, the other lava rock Eagle rescuee made his appearance but did not partake, just looked on wistfully at the excessive hobbit PDA. Later though, at the harbor, yet another more complete round of gratuitous hugs ensues and Sam gets his fair share. Actually he gets a little more…and a little more…and then, being Frodo’s special friend gets even more. Frodo plants an especially loooooong nibble-the-cooties kiss on the scalp. Ick.
Now artistic license is one thing, but Lance Shears, my 14-year-old son and our region’s most sought-after Tolkien impersonator (“JRR has left the building.”) assures me that there is no such scene in the book. He reports (Sorry. Never made it through the books myself. What are they about?) that the comparable scene in print comprises those few pithy words between Galdalf and Frodo and that’s about it (Hur hur. He said it.) Period. And though I haven’t seen it since sometime in storied and fabled 70s — the Middle Epoch of the last Demi-Century…that nameless span between the Hippie Interlude and the Age of the Nerds — I can guestimate that Ralph Bakshi had no such episode in his blessedly abbreviated, single-picture, animated Lord opus.
So if this is any evidence of how committed Jackson is to the Hollywood Hug Principle, I fear…nay, I dread what he might have in mind for the male lead and the title character in his upcoming we’ll-never-need-another-remake of King Kong.
(Stop by Cinema Squeeze for the latest on Hollywood hugs.)