John Ronald Reuel Tolkien never set out to become a pop icon. But almost 30 years after his death, he has ascended to heights previously reserved for pop stars. For hundreds of thousands, his vivid description of the encha... more »nted land of Middle Earth--and the band of Hobbits, heroes and wizards who set out to save it--have evolved into more than just a fairy tale. Travel to Tolkien's hometown in England. Experience Dagorhir, where participants enact Dark Age battles. Watch Bob Catley perform music from his album "Middle Earth." Get a rare glimpse into the unique work of Roger Garland as he creates images reflecting the world of fantasy. 60 minutes.« less
"I kept looking at the clock to see if it was over yet and forced myself to watch the whole thing. To review all the bad parts would involve me having to watch it again and honestly, I can't think of a good thing to say about it. This is one purhcase I deeply regret."
Great look at the worlds of a genius
Blake Petit | Ama, Louisiana United States | 01/14/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For people hoping to get more insight to Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" movies, this is not the disc to buy. However, if you want to learn more about the man who created the world of Middle-Earth, where he came from, and what came about as a result, this is a wonderfully informative documentary.The film is arranged oddly, with the earlier segments being about the fandom that has surrounded Tolkien's work and the later segments being about Tolkien himself. In the "fandom" section, two particularly good segments include a piece on a Live Action Roleplaying battle with people designated as humans, goblins, archers or swordsmen, and a bit with a musician who dedicated his third album to music inspired by Tolkien. These bits reminded me of the "Trekkies" documentary of a few years ago, where you find yourself thinking how bizarre these people are, while at the same time, experiencing just a touch of regret that you aren't there with them.The second part of the film, the biographical part, gives a lot of insight into Tolkien himself, including an interview with a man who wrote Tolkien's biography, a visit to the church he worshipped at and stops at several of his homes and hangouts, including a club he belonged to with C.S. Lewis.If you're interested in going beyond the story itself and learning where it came from and where it went as a result, this is a great film to watch."
I like "Master of the Rings"
Tim Burgess | Tarrytown, NY | 12/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a longtime fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, I really liked "Master of the Rings". I just got the DVD version, and I love it. This is a nice film for any fan of Dr. Tolkien, as it explores the many ways that people around the world have been inspired by the world that he created. I wasn't expecting stuff from the movie(s), new or old, so I was not disappointed (the word "unauthorized" in the title makes that point clearly). Instead I got to see and hear about Tolkien as a person, as well as about how people have been inspired by his work. The art and music sections were a lot of fun, but my favorites have to be his biographer and then the people from Dagorhir. After seeing those parts, I checked out their website for more information, and then went back and viewed the Dagorhir battle scenes again and again."
Moderately amusing but only slightly informative
Sharon Yvonne | Chicago, United States | 10/12/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This film seems to have gotten higher ratings from most reviewers than the similarly named "J.R.R. Tolkien: Master of the Rings," but yet I actually found it to be more enjoyable to watch than the other one myself. Maybe it's because I didn't spend my own hard-earned cash on this one (I borrowed a library copy), or maybe it's because my expectations were much lower in this case. Whatever the reason, that was my reaction.Neither of these films does a stellar job of presenting the world of Middle-Earth, in my opinion, but somehow this one seemed to have more real emotion and enthusiasm behind it. The long sequence on fans renacting battles might be annoying to some, but I found it to be rather entertaining. I didn't learn anything about Middle-Earth from it, but it entertained me. I also enjoyed the scenes of Oxford and the views of houses where Tolkien lived. Those bits were quite interesting and even informative. Definitely my favorite parts.My LEAST favorite parts, on the other hand, were the unnecessarily lengthy sequences on artists and musicians inspired by Tolkien's works. That sort of thing is worthy of noting in a film like this, but I don't find it to be interesting enough to warrant lavishing the amount of time on it that it was given here. If that portion had been about a third as long as it was, I might have given the film 3 stars instead of two.My overall comment: this DVD is not a COMPLETE waste of time, and you might be entertained and/or amused by some parts of it. But it does not really do justice to its subject. It only scratches the surface and it spends too much time on peripheral matters. I am still waiting for someone to produce a really high quality documentary on JRRT and Middle-Earth."
Stay away from this DVD...
Sean Meade | Columbia, SC USA | 01/14/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"...or you'll regret you spent the money. Instead, buy Carpenter's excellent biography. Or buy Artist and Illustrator. I'm a huge Tolkien fan and this movie was embarassing to watch. I agree with the recent review that the interview with Carpenter was the best (so read his book). It was also nice to see some of the Oxford environs (especially for those of us who aren't English), but the tour guides were total hacks."