A FEATURE-LENGTH DOCUMENTARY THAT EXPLORES HOW 'THE LORD OF THE RINGS' HAS INFLUENCED WESTERN POPULAR CULTURE OVER THE PAST 50YEARS. 'RINGERS' COVERS TOLKIEN'S INFLUENCE ON POP CULTURE FROM THE PUBLICATION OF THE BOOK IN T... more »HE 50S, THROUGH THE 60S HIPPIECOUNTERCULTURE, 70S ROCK & ROLL & THE CURRENT INTERNET CRAZE.« less
Arlana K. from OAKLAND PARK, FL Reviewed on 8/6/2010...
Hardcore fans will love to see other hardcore fans dressing up and traveling around showing their love for this great story. For those who are new to it you will be amazed by the size and dedication of this fan base.
Ring around the fandom
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 10/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Lord of the Rings" was first published in the mid-1950s, to relatively little notice. Nobody knew -- even the author -- how important this one story would become.
In the years since, however, J.R.R. Tolkien's masterful trilogy has gained a fandom that might just be the most eclectic in all of pop culture. And in "Ringers: Lord of the Fans," we get to see an affectionate love note to the fans who helped establish it as a modern classic, and turned the movies into megahits.
This documentary traces "Lord of the Ring's" influence over the years -- and boy, does it spread wide. In pop culture history we get: Led Zeppelin, the recent cover of "Where There's a Whip There's A Way" by World Without Sundays, who performed at a triumphant Oscar-geek party, and the aborted Beatles movie. Paul would have made a cute Frodo, but it was never to be.
And, of course, Tolkien's work spawned modern fantasy literature, here represented by Terry Pratchett and Terry Brooks, who speak of Tolkien's influence on literature. But media attention isn't all there is -- we get to see a town called Hobbiton, hear about elves and Woodstock, trivia, and a cute little reenactment with action figures.
And of course, there are the new movies. Dominic Monaghan ("Merry") narrates this with a mix of gravity and humour, and there are snippets of actors like Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, Billy Boyd and Ian McKellen being interviewed. And, of course, fans: Fans at parties, at cons, in costume, in rock bands, adoring actors, talking about the books, the movies... fans and more fans.
It tells you something that filmmakers Carlene Cordova and Cliff Broadway have done work for TheOneRing.net for the past few years. Namely: They are Ringers.
And so you can expect a certain amount of affectionate wackiness here. There is not a single dull moment in all of "Ringers: Lord of the Fans," from the Terry-Gilliam-style cartoons to those miniskirted "hobbits" dancing around Leonard Nimoy. Its main flaw is that it is way too short -- I could have used a few more of those costumed fans making armour.
But will it be sneering and mean-spirited towards the fans? Thankfully, no.
"Ringers: Lord of the Fans" is nice. Really nice. Nice to the fans. It's good-hearted, humorous and very geeky; Broadway and Cordova get down there with the fans and treat them as equals. We do get to hear about the more fannish activities (spending six months making a costume), but the fans range from serious and analytical to a bit wacky. They don't look foolish, just geeky and passionate. Which, of course, is precisely what they are.
Ringers, be at peace -- the affectionate "Ringers: Lord of the Fans" is not making fun of you. Instead, it's a quirky, offbeat valentine not only to the fans, but to "Lord of the Rings" itself."
Bless them all, bless them all, the long & the short & the t
Junglies | Morrisville, NC United States | 11/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have always had a thing about fanzines, you know the magazine written by fans for fans which sometimes grows into something more like Relix, for instance. To the uninitiated it is a way into another world so that you no longer feel like an outsider. I really liked the movie tie-dyed for that reason alone although in my case it was an exploration into a US phenomenom which had not crossed the Atlantic except when American Deadheads did!
Having been one of those people, although i will not say which, who read the Lord of the Rings in the 1960's/'70's, I could relate to much of this celebration. There is much within which is a joy to watch including the segments of actor interviews although to some extent I mourn the absence of others in the cast, and there is much amusement too.
i would have preferred not to have to see the re-enactment of 60's and 70's grooviness but it is a harmless distraction. The camerawork is sometimes cliched but at other times somewhat amateurishly fresh but despite those things there is an honesty and sincerity which shines throughout.
This is a labour of love which brings some insight into the mysterious world of the Ringers, their revitalisation through the movies, gives some marvellous views of some of the settings in New Zealand and some quirky though absolutely adorable antics of the Ringers, shall we say, on tour.
This is one of those movies you can watch in all honesty to yourself. It has no pretensions other than to let us into their world. A world of characters as individual as the ones they are interested in. Whether young or old there is a lot for you in this movie. I wish I knew where my old , well worn paperback omnibus (British) edition is now and whose possession it might be in.
On a personal note, it was the Fellowship of the Ring and the first Harry Potter movie which galvanised my youngest son into reading, something which he has continued to do voluntarily to this day. This movie has shown him a different side to the novel and made him aware of the broader enthusiasm in the world for the books so much so that after watching it he began a web search on Rings issues.
This is a great piece of fun for all the family. It made me laugh it made me cry with a twinkle in my eye and for that alone I heartily, without reservation commend it to the readers."
Captivating Documentary on the Tolkien Subculture...
Kim Anehall | Chicago, IL USA | 11/13/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"J.R.R. Tolkien once created a world where elves, dwarves, hobbits, and many other creatures wandered the lands of Middle Earth and other imaginary domains. Within this world politics, economics, science, and many other strange inventions had their place, as the ecosystem had a fantastic environment of fauna and flora. The first written piece, The Hobbit, brought the reading audience to his amazing creation. It also introduced the ring, but at the time, it was still an unknown magical item. Later, the ring's true dark and distant past emerged in the trilogy known as Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit was a bestseller, but Tolkien's trilogy elevated the fantasy genre, as he gained an ever-growing cultish hoard of dedicated followers. The throng of supporters obtained their name after the treacherous ring, as they call themselves - Ringers.
In the documentary Ringers: Lord of the Fans, director Carlene Cordova illustrates a comprehensive perspective of the Ringers from both within and outside. It opens with brief description of the Ringers, as they are several generations of readers, listeners, and watchers. These people are willing to spend a ceaseless amount of time on what they find endearing in an imaginative world acting out their wishes and desires through their creativity fed by Tolkien's literary masterpiece. In more than a few occasions, it borders to fanatical obsession. It also shows a glimpse of who they are in their private lives, as these Ringers come from all corners of the world.
A neatly organized perspective of the 150 hours of footage delivers 97-minutes of Tolkien's enthusiasm through a wide range of approaches. Historical aspects of Tolkien's life and his well-read accomplishments interweave with the affect it had on readers. It also explains how Frodo and his fellowship influenced the world in a social and political perspective, as musicians and writers such as the Beatles and Terry Pratchett developed their own artistic invention in the light of Tolkien. In addition, several artists comment on how Lord of the Rings is one of those books that could only be a book. Yet, there were some animated films, which visually brought the Hobbit and some of The Lord of the Rings books to the silver screen in the form of animation. However, many of these remarks rest on notions with a pre-Peter Jackson mentality. When Jackson undertook the gigantic project of shooting Tolkien's trilogy, he turned the page for the devoted fans of the ring to another chapter.
A heavy part of the documentary depicts the influence of the Lord of the Rings films by Peter Jackson. In a similar fashion of the whole documentary, there are clips from interviews with the main cast and Jackson, who all enlighten the audience about Tolkien's influence on their lives. However, the best comment is made by Jackson who humbly states, "The masterpieces are not the movies... the masterpiece is the book."
There are several intriguing facets within the documentary. However, to hear how many readers of Tolkien exist and how the fantasy novel has brought these different people together in a positive manner is truly amazing. Many of these are obsessive in their approach to the Lord of the Rings. This is probably something that Tolkien tried to avoid, as he presented the notion of evil that emerges through the obsession for the ring. Thus, to hear people selling their house in order to see the world premiere of the third installment of Lord of the Rings in New Zeeland could possibly suggest that they missed one of the major messages in the books, or previous films. Nonetheless, Ringers: The Lord of the Fans offers an interesting view on small fringes of the society while also acknowledging that many Ringers do not necessarily have to be over-zealous. Thus, if you are a Ringer, you might have a fellow Ringer within spitting distance."
You'll Recognize Yourself
Kevin L. Nenstiel | Kearney, Nebraska | 03/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie pretends to be a thoughtful cinematic essay about the history of Tolkein's LotR novels, their movie versions, and the cult of fandom that has grown up around them. Interviews with Tolkein scholars, fantasy writers, and the movie cast and creative team join to serve this message. But as you watch, the real nature of this film starts to peek through: This film is about you.
Maybe you didn't camp for a week in front of the opening of the next installment of the trilogy, but you did discuss it with friends and family for weeks in advance. Maybe you don't dress like an Uruk-hai, but you sing "The Road Goes Ever On and On" in the shower. You wish you could have been part of this grand epic, and you love spending time with others who wish the same thing. This movie affirms that you are not weird, you are just a Ringer.
The film is far from perfect. There are some animations and dorm room re-creations that are just silly. The brief biography of Tolkein and how he wrote his novels is probably old hat if you're enough of a fan to rent this DVD. And if the producers couldn't get the rights to the musical bits from the animated LotR properties, they should have just let them be, because we sure could have done without the chord-crunching cover versions from electric rock bands.
The real life is in the interviews with the Ringers. They are wonderful people, most of whom you'd be happy to split a beer with, and many are the kind you'd be happy to invite into your house for dinner. The Ringers range from a gentle woman who struggled alongside Dr. King and explains why she feels Tolkein was a unifying factor in the Civil Rights Movement, to smart but nerdy people who attend the opening screenings dressed as their favorite characters, to a few zealous fans who seem to need their Haldol stepped up.
One trait many who don't participate in the fan community may find interesting is how many fans double up on their affections. Some interviewees have microphones shoved in their faces while dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi or Captain Jack Sparrow. Thankfully no one is dressed as a Transformer, but you do see t-shirts and lapel pins with trademarked insignia on them. The fan community is remarkably open, fluid, and accepting; if you flinch back because you don't want to get dolled up as Mr. Spock, you're only denying yourself.
Some people have apparently gotten their knickers in a twist because Viggo Mortensen expresses his left-wing anti-war opinions in an interview segment. But hey, these politics are less than two minutes in a ninety minute movie, and if that sort of thing offends you, that's why God gave you a fast-forward button. If you can't handle being challenged, click past it.
All right, let's be honest, this movie is a puff piece. It's as insubstantial as cotton candy, and twice as sweet. But come on, Chuck, if you wanted something meaningful and ponderous, you'd read the books again. If what you really want is to see how the fan community and your fellow Ringers work together to create a movement larger than themselves, this is a pretty fun DVD. It also is a mirror, because deep down, let's be frank, you want to dress up as Frodo as much as the people on screen do. So why deny yourself?"
You have to be a REAL BIG Fan!
U2 Fan | CA | 08/16/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I loved all the amazing facts and weird trivia that this "home-made" style DVD provided. For instance, I never knew that so many rock bands wrote music about Lord of the Rings or that a illegal publication went around the US for awhile. I also enjoyed seeing all the different groups of people who are fans.
My husband, on the other hand, said it was poorly done and left the room before it was over. He has never read the book, I have more than once! I think that people who have lived this story in their head and loved the characters like superstars will relate to the DVD and enjoy it, especially if you are a fan of Dom (who played Pippen) since he narrates.
I now can say I am a "Ringer", just as some say they are "Trekies". I am proud to be."