Despite its obvious attempt to capitalize on Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring, this "unauthorized tribute" to Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien offers an adequate primer on the life and works of history'... more »s most beloved fantasy author. Tolkien biographer Michael Coren lends academic credibility, along with fantasy artists, lesser-known film critics, and other nominal "experts" who comment on Tolkien's vast influence. The majority of this material is well-documented and informative, and Tolkien neophytes will find it interesting. Then, as fast as you can say "snake oil," this video betrays its greedy motivations, showing bogus "behind the scenes" video of an anonymous production (i.e., not the Jackson film), and jumping on the Fellowship bandwagon with cheesy reenactments, parallels to Star Trek fandom, and innocuous speculation about the Jackson film's then-unseen merits. Interviews with Tolkien family members are not included as promised, so viewers are advised to ignore everything but the legitimate factual material. --Jeff Shannon« less
I got what I expected, but not what I'd hoped for...
Christina J. Wiley | Port Orchard, WA United States | 12/12/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The Amazon review is, unfortunately, very accurate on this title. I was very intersted in the first half of the DVD, even though it felt like an ad for Coren's book, but I was truly disgusted with the "making of" nonsense that followed. We are guided through the process of design and creation of Tolkien-esque characters for the production of....THIS VIDEO. That's all it was. It would have been nice if they had even portrayed the FAKE characters correctly, but thier lawyers were too wise for that. The only reference to the real movie was by a comic-store-guy expecting a jump in bussiness. About 40% of the info is watchable, don't bother with the rest."
What a piece of garbage.
Marco | Sydney, NSW Australia | 02/27/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This waste of time pretending to be a documentary is one of the worst things I've ever sat through. It looks like it was made over a weekend by a bunch of teenaged sci-fi dweebs who borrowed their dad's video camera. It was obviously churned out to cash in on the Peter Jackson movie.The back cover is totally misleading. "This exciting documentary features ... interviews with members of Tolkien's family and a host of other experts!" WRONG!!! I didn't see any members of Tolkien's family being interviewed, and the "host of other experts" consists of the following - a nobody who wrote a Tolkien biography I've never heard of, a very boring University professor, a stereotypical comic-collector-nerdy-boy, and some wannabe fantasy artist who nobody has heard of. Oh, and a writer who writes bad fantasy-for-kids, who claims that Tolkien influenced her in the way she develops characters and plot. Duh ... don't you mean influenced you in every aspect of everything you have ever written? The way these 'experts' gush over their claim that if it weren't for the book's acceptance in the USA Tolkien wouldn't be popular at all, and would have disappeared into obscurity is quite sickening. Don't these 'experts' know how popular Lord Of The Rings was in the late 1950's & early 1960's all over the English-speaking world, long before it ever went on sale in the US?The 'experts' describe how the Brother's Hildebrandt made Tolkien popular, all the while paintings that are not by Greg and Tim Hildebrandt are shown behind the voice-over. I assume our intrepid teenage dweebs making rubbish couldn't afford to pay Greg and Tim anything to show their paintings. So we get gushings about Hildebrandt art while watching generic fantasy art by who-knows-who!The worst part is the last 20 mins or so, in which we watch a pack of self-indulgent kids let loose in a special effects facility making really idiotic, amateur, Tolkien-esque video shots - not even a video, just a few shots of them walking around, firing arrows etc. This was so annoying and horrible that I eventually skipped through it.If you really want to know about Tolkien and how he wrote his books, read Humphrey Carpenter's brilliant biography. Give this piece of rubbish a very wide berth. The final sentence on the back cover blurb ... "This is unlike anything you've seen on Earth!" How true that is, and its the like of which I never want to see again."
Don't waste your money
E. Palladino | Bronx, NY USA | 04/27/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This video spends more time showing people designing costumes for an unidentified production of LOTR than time on Tolkien himself. The most ludicrous thing is the portion discussing the paintings of the Brothers Hildebrandt while showing totally unrelated artwork. The people who put this video together should have, at least, identified the artwork while acknowledging that they had no permission to show the actual Hildebrandt paintings. Instead it gives a false impression that the artwork being shown was by the Hildebrandts. Also the dramatic recreations featuring a man who looked nothing like Tolkien were not labeled as recreations and may be misconstrued by people with less knowledge of Tolkien. Almost a total waste."
David Emerson | Minneapolis | 05/31/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This is a pretty amateur production. It appears to have been made in Toronto, using only local sources. One academic is credited as "Professor of English, U of T," and a couple of film reviewers (speculating uselessly about the then-unreleased Peter Jackson films) are described as being from "The Star." Presumably Toronto natives will know who these people are.The other interviewees seem to be scraped together from whoever happened to be available for cheap. The biographer interviewed is not Humphrey Carpenter, but some unknown. In addition, the filmmakers act as if THE SILMARILLION never existed, and seem to feel that the Brothers Hildebrandt were the first artists to depict Tolkien scenes and characters, completely ignoring Tim Kirk and other early Tolkien artists. And the extensive section showing amateur filmmakers trying to put together their own film of Lord of the Rings is irrelevant and self-serving.The biographical material on Tolkien is valid, but nothing appears here that's not in any standard Tolkien documentary or in Carpenter's book. They supplement a few historical photos with some footage of actors pretending to be Tolkien and not doing a very good job of it.On the whole, this video could only be of interest to someone who has only made initial contact with the world of Tolkien; but anyone who has read or seen more should avoid this one."
I liked it, what can I say?
Bill Williams | Boston, MA | 10/11/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"With all the hype around the films it's neat to see the impact that Tolkien's books have had on the world. I think that's what makes this documentary most interesting. I read the other amazon review commenting on the fake portrayal of characters. Not sure if I agree since Tolkien left so much of his fictional work to the imagination of his readers, they made an interpretation, just like Peter Jackson did. I don't think either is right personally but that's the beauty of imagination. Anyways the Doc has some cool stuff in it, I think they could have made it a little shorter since some of the interviews are more interesting than others. I think it's worth a look."