Monday, May 20, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 11
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
A DOG’S JOURNEY
AVENGERS: ENDGAME
BINGEABLE: Barry
BINGEABLE: RUSSIAN DOLL
BLAST FROM THE PAST: GODSPELL
BLAST FROM THE PAST: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
EXTREMELY WICKED, SHOCKINGLY EVIL, AND VILE
FAERIE TALE THEATRE
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3—PARABELLUM
PET SEMATARY
POMS
THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA
THE HUSTLE
TOLKIEN
UNDERRATED: THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL

TOLKIEN


Where is it playing?: Parks Plaza

What's it rated?: PG-13

What's it worth?: $ Rent it (Karen Garcia)

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)

Dome Karukoski (Tom of Finland, Beauty and the Bastard) directs Nicholas Hoult as John Ronald Reuel (J.R.R.) Tolkien, the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, in a biopic that unravels how Tolkien’s life experiences led to the creation of his stories.

The film does a fairly decent job balancing Tolkien’s past flashbacks and present without boring the audience with too much information. Unfortunately, it’s overly predictable.

We’re introduced to a young Tolkien overcome with a fever and exhaustion in the trenches of Somme during World War l. He’s a second lieutenant on a mission to find his friend in the midst of all the chaos. In these war scenes, delirium (perhaps?) drives him to see what he believes is fire from a dragon; as the gas and smoke clear, there’s the scaly creature. On this self-proclaimed mission, he’s followed by a loyal soldier who won’t leave his side, no matter the situation they find themselves in. Can you believe that his name is Sam (Craig Roberts)? Coincidence? I think not.

During the gruesome scenes of death and gigantic pools of blood, we get a glimpses of Tolkien’s childhood to early adult life before the war. After the unexpected death of his mother, Tolkien and his brother are fostered by a wealthy woman and put into a prestigious boys’ academy.

Although Tolkien loses his mother, he never loses her knack for telling stories. He continues the tradition by telling his own stories to another orphan living in the woman’s foster home, Edith (Lily Collins), who will later become his wife. She encourages him to not only tell stories but to pursue his passion of creating his own language for these narratives—in case you were wondering how he was inspired to come up with the Elvish languages, Sindarin and Quenya.

Credit for his language creation should also go to Tolkien’s professor at Oxford—but back to his teenage years. At the academy, he makes an unlikely friend with the headmaster’s son, Robert (Patrick Gibson), which leads him to make friends with two other boys. His calls this group a brotherhood, but it’s much more than that … it is—wait for it—a fellowship.

It’s an interesting look into the man behind the majestic fantasy worlds he has written for so many to enjoy. I think Karukoski and writers David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford do a good job of packing in as much of Tokien’s life as they could in the movie time frame, but the connections made between Middle Earth and what led to it are frankly boring. For someone who was so imaginative, the writers could have been a little more whimsical about it. The greatest part about the film was Hoult’s delivery of Tolkien, an orphan with not much but the drive to be a storyteller and preserve the fellowship and love he gained in his life.

While I wouldn’t say seeing this film is worth walking to the ends of Mordor for, it’s definitely worth seeing if you want a take on your favorite author’s life. Márienna. (112 min.)




Weekly Poll
How should the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District improve its A-G completion rates?

Align graduation requirements with university entrance requirements.
Ensure that students and parents are well aware of A-Gs and what they are before high school.
Improve support services and summer school classes for students who fall behind.
Completion rates are fine as is. Not everyone wants to go to a four-year college!

| Poll Results