Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Stark Space of Chaos ~ Insights from the Dark Knight Script

joker behind bars

Recently I've been reading stuff suggested by a Stephanie Palmer in her Screenwriter Starter Kit. Among the blogs, articles, and podcasts she suggested she provided many different links to scripts that are available for viewing online, and I was flipping excited when I saw one of my favorites, The Dark Knight, as one of the firsts. She suggested doing them one at a time (which I totally agreed with) and it was a quick toss up between DK and Christopher Nolan's other incredible work, Inception. (Some of have called it his brain child). But DK happens to be a bigger love of mine, so...Inception will come second.

  Palmer suggested taking notice of the beat of the sequences, the major change in a given scene, see how it plays out into the scheme. It's also giving me a look at the structure of putting it down on paper, how the idea of the scene plays out in type on the page. One of the most interesting things is seeing little things that are different in the script than in the movie--seeing how they changed it when it came to filming.

  One thing really arrested my attention. In the scene when Joker unveils himself, and the bank manager is on the floor, Joker sticks the grenade in his mouth. When Joker moves away in the truck the attached string pulls out of the grenade, and we get a shot of the bank manager looking at the plume of smoke going up in the air. But in the script, he's surrounded by customers that scurry away from him when they see this. (In the movie they're far away in the background, the manager has a solitary presence).

  I immediately had a reaction of dislike to this version--and then tried to figure out why. Quickly realized the reason. It completely changed the interpretation of the scene, which was one that played into the theme of the story arc. The stark, mysterious and ominous landscape, that image of a city both dark with light in the distance, the singularity of an intimate psychological game on ground zero of your mind. An image of you, alone, forced to look at your own image, and discover what it is.

  This scene, if done as it is on the page, takes away the solitary experience. The truth that Joker even speaks of, when he points out that people freak out if "one random person is going to die", but don't if the papers say a truckload of soldiers will be blown up. It makes it personal, intensely personal, when the scene is done as it is on the screen. Private, at least in the frame of the screen. One on one, just you and the embodiment of chaos having a keen look.

  It amazed me, this proof and my own personal experience of it of how one scene plays into the whole. Definitely has been an intriguing lesson.....

  I'll be sharing more as I keep up my study in screenwriting.


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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Inheritance of the Force ~ The New Saga

luke skywalker the force awakens

   Anyone who knows me knows that I am freakin' excited about the upcoming Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. When I first heard about the Star Wars franchise being sold to Disney, it felt...WRONG. And technically I still don't like the idea, I liked Star Wars being its own thing, Lucas the Star Wars god. (Regardless of some fans' opinions). But the idea of upcoming movies being added to the franchise--man, I was excited. And then I was freaking out. What if they ruin it? What if they just load it with a bunch of CGI like the prequels? While I like the prequels, they don't have the beauty of the originals. The Original Trilogy will always be my favorite.

  My worries however started waning when I heard that J.J.Abrams was going to be doing the movies, and that he wanted to go back to the old ways of doing things, going back to the sets, and only using CGI as it was intended. When necessary. I was like, "Oh, finally! Someone after my own heart! Thank God. And I mean that." And then I got to see the leaked photos, go to see the bit of behind the scenes shots, and interviews will J.J, and it just gave my heart relief. It looked awesome. And then...the teaser trailer was awesome. And then...the official trailer just blew me away. That initial backdrop of the speeder racing across the desert with the Destroyer in the distance--it just made my heart stop.

  I am just over the moon with expectation. Not only do I have great confidence (only a little bit of dubiousness left--natural fear. This is, after all, continuing a huge canon of fan-loved material) but I'm eager to see what new things the cast and crew will bring to the saga now. A story should always be organic, while being true to itself.

  But I got to tell you, the best part was "Chewie, we're home." Han Solo and Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon. Ah! Beautiful. I was so overwhelmed I did a weird laugh/squeal, and I said to my dad, "I'm sorry, I'm just so excited!" And he responded, "Ha, I can tell." But then, it's not uncommon that I get those queer looks from people. I'm just passionate, that's all.

  I cannot wait until Christmas. I wonder if I should dress up as Han Solo.

  What are your thoughts? Are you confident that The Force Awakens will live up to its inheritance? You have to admit though--Luke Skywalker looks freakin' good with a beard.


P.S.  As an after note, I thought about titling this "Something Forceful This Way Comes" but then I thought, "Girl, that's just too cheesy. Just stop."

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

2014 Books Read Recap, Round 1

  I promised a recap of my favorite books that I read last year. There's going to be several posts, as I was lucky enough to have a lot! These first five I enjoyed a lot. 

A Case For Christ by Lee Strobel
Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens(finally read that one!)
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (fantastic)
The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis  (absolutely in love with C. S. Lewis's work!  This was brilliant).

 A Case For Christ
   I had read A Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel a few years before when I found A Case For Christ at a thrift store, and was eager to see what research the author had put into forming an argument for the legitimacy of the Christian faith in Jesus's existence and message. I was fascinated by the different aspects of his research, for example learning about the importance people like the Hebrews put on the conciseness of things that were passed down, that nothing be changed. If they allowed such things, then the purity of that heritage couldn't be depended on. Eventually it would just be a story, not their history. This book I intend to read again!

 Paris Letters
  I have been following Janice MacLeod's blog for a few years now, and I LOVE her photos and updates for how she's succeeding with her Etsy business, her books, and the new people she's been connecting with. It's always fun. Especially learning about her life in Paris! She wrote Paris Letters as a way to share her path to getting to where she is now, to how she had to make sacrifices in the beginning to make a way to have her long 2-year (or was it 1 year?) vacation in Paris, to find new inspiration and find something different in life. This read was a happy, fun roller coaster ride. It was just so fun. This is the type of book to curl up with with a nice latte and just have a good time. It certainly inspires you to find a way to have your own long inspiration-filled vacation.

Great Expectations
  I actually watched the 2011 BBC miniseries of this first, which I just completely fell in love with. It just captured my imagination, and spurred me to finally read the book. The book, while having spots that drag out a bit, was a lovely treat. I laughed a bit at Dickens' tendency to carry on a sentence, as if to put himself through an exercise of how long he could keep it going. But the story plot, the characters--they really stood out. Especially the psychology behind. I just enjoyed it so much!! Looking forward to reading more of Dickens' work. I've already read Oliver Twist, which was fun, but I especially looking forward to A Tale of Two Cities and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. (Another miniseries that I love!!)

Ender's Game
  Whoa. This went to the top favs pretty quick--Card's writing is superb, and the way he portrayed live in the training and the war itself--it was a real action-filled study. Had a lot of truth in it. I watched the movie first (often a prerequisite to a lot of my fav books--I read so randomly that books that end up being a favorite often have a movie made after them. But there are tons of treasures that haven't been adapted that I just hold on pedestals), and almost immediately went and checked out the book. Orson Scott Card's writing is sharp and insightful. It's fueled by imagination but lives on a bedrock of logic. He's on my favorite author list. I was lucky enough to find some of his other works at the thrift store! Obviously I piled them all in my cart.

The Great Divorce
  Whoohoo--I LOVED the symbolism and setting that had me guessing and thinking about the circumstances, characters, and meanings behind this merry-go-round of dream-like realities. It was so thought-provoking. I love stories that really make you see things in different ways, keep you guessing, and then present it in a way that makes you sit back and just think about it. You know truth when you touch it. C. S. Lewis is the author I love reading most when I want to read insightful work on Christian ideas/messages. I never finish dissatisfied. He always writes with experiences, conviction, and intellect. Often enough, when I read something from others, it sounds like the same thing you'd hear in Sunday School. I want something that has been lived.

  Reading is always a journey--that's the great thing about it. Just in reading new things you get new ideas, new ways to see things, and best of all--new awesome authors to follow with the anticipation of a pup awaiting a meaty bone. (Okay, perhaps I could have used a better alliteration, but I've been dealing with my pup, so this image came quickly). ;)

  I'll be sharing more books from 2014 soon!

  E. C. S.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Humanity In the Hands of an Innocent~ Edward Scissorhands

  There was a movie that I had seen as a kid. I was absolutely in love with it. Growing up, I could only remember fragments of it, fragments that stuck in my head, blurry but romantic images of what I perceived the story to be.

  Just recently my library started allowing movie rentals up to 4-6 weeks, (yes, wow) and so I've started regularly checking out movies, because I knew I'd be able to get them back on time. I was thrilled to come across Edward Scissorhands--I hadn't seen it in over ten years, and once I got home I popped it in.

  SO different than what my childhood perception of it was. One element was the same--the kindness of Peg, and Edward's need to please, to love, and to be accepted. I love his character.

  But one thing disturbed me--my nostalgic memory portrayed the story as something pure, and bittersweet--and to a great extent it is a strong underlying current. What I didn't remember was all the neighborhood dirtiness, portrayed by the women. They rather reminded me of the people of Sodom, only clad in 60's notstalgic sweetness and pastel colors. It got to me to almost hate it in a way--I disliked Joyce especially, the next-door whore with less class than a dung beetle.

  But when I thought on it a bit, I realized that everything about the movie actually serves a very crucial point. It is essential, despite the distastefulness. Every good person, every...less likeable person...was part of a purpose.

 Peg, the motherly heart that can't stand to alienate anyone, even when to some it would be obvious; her husband, the typical voice of paternal wisdom yet rather blank on those around him, the son who is just minds his own fun, and Kim, the child of the world caught up in her own time.

 Then Edward, the creature born of a mysterious Inventor's imagination. Little by  little he was created, given the heart of an innocent child (figuratively speaking), and at the very last, his master intended to give him hands--hands with with to touch, to feel, to work with. Yet he died there right at his feet, at the crucial moment that would have given him something that he desperately wanted. Hands with which to reach out in gentleness. The Inventor, to me, serves as a very strong, illusive symbolism of that Someone mankind often feels like is not there when we need him.

  Then there is the Neighborhood. The neighborhood that functions like a cesspit of gossip, however innocent or trivial, it gets passed around, smeared on here and there. All the while smiling. All in good fun. And any new things, well--everyone wants a piece of it. Like something to be gobbled up for their own amusement--especially for Joyce, the ravaging machine incarnate.

  From his forsaken loneliness Edward Scissorhands is taken into the world, embraced by Peg and her motherly love, and farcically taken in by the neighborhood with its sweet manners and simpering exterior. In his tenderness and desperate need for acceptance, he trims their hedges, he skewers their kabobs, he lends his creativity to their hairstyles and everything he can touch. Even though he bumbles through their customs, their rules, and struggles not to tear through the clothes they give him, hiding his own beneath.

  Yet, easily, but the slightest thing, it can come tumbling down because the jealousies risen from something that cannot be corrupted, the Innocent is used, framed, cast out. Chased away like a monstrous beast, it's only real defender is the child of the world (Kim) who has recognized purity because it has stood alongside what she has, and she has realized the difference. Recognizing the preciousness, that purity, her own goodness reawakens to the beauty of it and causes her to confront what she once accepted. She craves what Edward represents.She's even beginning to love him.

  It seems that the story is much of a commentary on the fact that humanity at its purest is only victimized by the world, ravaged, and cast out when it can't have its way with it. Even by the painted-pretty societies that pretend to be civilized and open-minded, backed by values that welcome in the lonesome wanderer. When in reality, they are still the savage wilderness, with a false face, waiting for the kill, with the rest of the animals.

  And, perhaps, it is also a question to a mysterious maker to why He didn't give his creation the tools with which to fully make a difference in the world. Why, in the end, he was disarmed. He had so much to offer; but what perhaps made him special, also alienated him from the race he wanted to be part of. I think it is a truth, that perhaps our own humanity is alien to many of us. And to keep it safe, many hide it away, where although safe, its beauty and truth is concealed from where it will do good.

  In the end, it is Kim who makes a sacrifice, along with Edward, who flees to solitary safety. Kim lies about Edward's death, and walks away so that he might survive, even within the cold stone walls of his old home, alone with his own creations. Far away from the eyes of the Neighborhood and the people in it. The only reason that the Kim knows Edward has survived, is because something as simple as snow still falls from the direction of the gated castle. She, and the neighborhood, are blessed with but a dusting of what they could have, as Edward Scissorhands tirelessly creates piece after piece of art, all in memory of the world he wanted, and the girl he loved. But away from everyone else, who were too blind to recognize what they could have had.

  ~ E. C. S.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Books Read In 2014

  I made a goal last year to read 40 books--I actually exceeded that goal with a total of 53. I'm making a goal of reading 50 books this year, since I'm obviously capable of reaching it. So far I've only done 4 (been spending so much time on my business) but I'm sure I'll find a way of reaching that goal! Heaven knows I can't keep away from books for long. I'm currently working on the last books of A Series of Unfortunate Events, and The Complete Making of Indiana Jones. It is incredibly fun and insightful--you can only imagine how fun and interesting it is for me to see what it must have been like to make the movies! Every time I get a book on the making of a film, I get more determined and encouraged to get into the film industry myself.

  This is the list of the books I read in 2014! In later posts I'll be talking about the ones I liked most. There were too many to talk about them all in one! I'd love to hear about what you read in 2014, and your goals for this year!

  Any specific books you're trying to get off your to-read list? On mine is the Grimm Fairytales. And Barnes and Noble has this exquisite edition--even if I do have the collection on Kindle, I'm determined to have THAT GORGEOUS BOOK!

Enjoy! Let me know if you've read any of these yourself!

A Case For Christ by Lee Strobel 

Blessings For Women by J. Countryman company

Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod

The Medea Complex by Rachel Florence Roberts

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Blackwatch by Jenna Burtenshaw

Lost Women of the Bible by Carolyn Custis James

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis

Brian Froud's FaerieLands: The Wild Wood by Lee Child

Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

Speaker of the Dead by Orson Scott Card

Atherton: Rivers of Fire by Patrick Carmen

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn

Marilyn's Last Words: Her Secret Tapes and Mysterious Death by Matthew Smith

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe by J. Randy Taraborrelli

A Series of Unfortunate Events 1-9 by Lemony Snicket

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

The Fairty Tales of Charles Perault

Sisters of Sinai by Janet Soskice

The Problem With Pain by C. S. Lewis

The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Essential Guide by BBC

Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

Forgotten Realms: Dissolution by Richard Lee Byers

The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Doctor Who/Star Trek Assimilation by Scott Tipton, David Tipton, and Tony Lee

The Magic Bullet by Larry Millett

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix by J. K. Rowling

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Maurillier

Agatha Christie The Grand Tour: 
Around the World With the Queen of Mystery
by Agatha Christie

In Defense of Sanity
The Essays of G.K. Chesterson
by G. K. Chesterson and Dale Ahlhquist

 Hope you enjoyed the list! I'll have a lot to say about Chesterson, Juliet Marillier, J. K. Rowling, as well as a few other authors I'm now a fan of!

  ~E. C. S.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Thorin Oakenshield on the Pier of His Fathers

  Some people's soft spot is for romance, the idea of flaming love, or forbidden love--mine has always been true friendship. Any real love, it seems to me, starts with the sincere beginnings of friendship. My favorite theme in The Hobbit always has been, and will be, the friendship between Thorin and Bilbo. I love it. I feel that it isn't sufficiently touched on in the book.

  One thing I loved in the movies was that Thorin was explored more, as a character. In the book, I was very much irritated that someone who had the drive to take back his homeland and lead a gang of rowdy dwarves was portrayed only as a determined, pompous grumpy-gus. I sensed that there was much more to him, much to be admired and known. In the movies I got to know, as we all did, what Thorin believed in, what he feared, what he loved. And his developing friendship with Bilbo--oh man, I loved it.

  And of course that's what makes the end so really heartbreaking. I knew it was coming, but still, they did such a good job (with the movie) that I admit I did cry just a bit. I rarely cry at all, but I can tell you I've always been a sucker for warriors' deaths. Especially ones that I truly care about. Here's an example of two people who found a reason to believe in the other, both of them characters who didn't form such respects and friendships easily. And when Bilbo goes back to Bag End, stating that the person who had employed him was a friend, it made me ponder on the whole journey of their friendship. And I think that's the major backbone of the whole story. It's not just the precursor to Lotr. The events that set that future in motion. It's not just the series of events that brought a homely hobbit from his comfy hole out into the wide world to the point where he is a major mover in the world of men, facing a dragon, negotiating in battle, fighting for those he has traveled with. It's a good example that life often is more about the relationships we form, the iron bonds of friendship that enable us to believe, to keep faith, to realize the value of things.

thorin oakenshield king pics

  In the end, I was wondering--who was Thorin really? Understanding the whole of him, what would I see, not just the tortured warrior and king? I have watched him closely, as he is a favorite character, but I often find that even with close, excited observation of a beloved character I still miss things that I can only reflect back on once the story is over, and I have the whole story arc in its entirety before me. I presume that is what it must be like in some respects, looking back on one's own life, remembering the events that have brought that person from one point to the present. Time and perspective cast illusive beams of light, only bringing illustration when we are prepared and the moment of curious reflection pricks us to look back.

  I think, in the whole, Thorin was a lover of his own country. His people. He had a lot of heart. Bitterness has easy footholds in any human heart, masking much of any possible tenderness. Thorin was driven with the belief that it was his destiny and duty to bring back the stability and glory of Erebor. It was his inheritance to rise it from the ashes that Smaug had left it in. His love was for those who were true of heart, well portrayed by the line (which won my heart the first time I heard it in the original trailer--I knew then it was going to be a great movie!):

   "I would take each and every one of these Dwarves over an army from the Iron Hills. For when I called upon them, they answered. Loyalty. Honor. A willing heart... I can ask no more than that." 

  Tell me that isn't worth remembering.

    As the journey continues, you see how much his determination is turning into something poisoned. I believe we can want/strive for something so hard that it starts becoming something else entirely. A bane. As the group got closer and closer to their goal, we see this needy, almost greedy glint flash occasionally in Thorin's glance. He still remains the dauntless leader that they need throughout it all, fighting for their lives as they try to outwit The Dragon, Smaug--but you can see the change. As Balin's says, he is not himself.

  Those who've read the book knew it would only get worse. That the things we respected would be twisted, only glimpsed here and there in their pure form. In the movie we were mercifully given moments where Thorin forgot about everything, and was reminded by Bilbo of the simple, pure things that matter in life. Things so simple, ordinary, that they make Thorin smile. Because Bilbo does not dwell on gold, or riches, or kingdoms. But the good things of home. Whatever form it takes, meaning for him, his garden, his Hobbit hole, his books. Yet all too soon, regardless of the worries and railings of his fellow dwarves and friends--Thorin descends into madness as we knew he would.

sons of durin pic
  I find it so interesting, how the fear that he would end up the same as his fathers before him turned out to be justified. Like Aragorn, he fears the weakness that has run in his bloodline, claimed the honor of those before him--but unlike Aragorn, who was able to rise above it all, Thorin does have his descent into darkness--his step onto the road of destruction. Thorin falls into the history of his people, his forefathers, into its glory, into its madness--and its end. The sons of Durin do not see the morn after the war. It is a truth that often enough, the things that make a kingdom great bring with them the veins of evil that lead to its demise. In this case, it was the rulers, the bloodline. So obsessed with the riches and glory of what their nation had brought forth that it became a poison.

  Thorin feared this, but was so imbued with the same lifeblood that even the most honorable desires that moved him to regain the lost kingdom for his people did not prevent him from turning back on himself, touching those tempting lusts for gold, for glory, for power. Yet honor can live alongside even the darkest strains of greed. And it is to be thanked that there are those who continue to stand beside us, be the best sort of friends that anyone can hope to have in this world. Those that still believe in us, and remind us of the best of ourselves--challenge us when we turn our back on what is true and good. Remind us of the simple, good things in life.

  I don't believe that Thorin would have been able to come back if it had not been for Bilbo's friendship. Nevertheless, one pays the price for their deeds. In the end they still fall on the sword that they have made for themselves. Some just have the blessing, the privilege of one last defense for what they truly believe in.

  Thorin lived--burned--under the banner of what his people and kingdom stood for, was the impersonation of all his forefathers before him, the good and the evil, in all its tortured complexities. It is a credit to him, and to what he truly believed in, that he was able to come back in time for the final defense. To rise to the challenge, standing taller for a moment then his predecessors. To truly give of himself in a way that could be glorified in song, even as, as so often happens, his bloodline did die away. Our cost in life is terrible. Yet the good we do is greater still.

  The honor of Thorin's life, and how his desires, greed, and righteous fear drove him, will always be memorable. A fallen king--but a fallen king in glory.

  His will always be one of my favorite stories.

  ~Elora Carmen Shore, Pendragon

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Very Fond But Heartbroken Farewell ~ The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

bilbo the battle of five armies
  The journey is over. My heart is broken. Today I saw The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies with the family finally, and it was well worth the wait. The movie was spectacular. The battle carries the whole story, the end leaving us sorrowful, with the feeling of having watched something that happened, not a just another typically structured movie that has its points. I was surprised at how little Smaug featured in it, that his fall would be so soon (or at least what felt so soon). It was somewhat anti-climatic, but I suspect that many scenes were cut from this movie and that more will be added to the attack of Smaug in the extended edition. However, I did love how there was a presence of Smaug throughout the movie, his words--his insights--that figured greatly in the thoughts and fears of the characters. It was as if he was still lurking in the shadows.

   I loved how in the moment and climatic the beginning was. It carried right over from Desolation of Smaug, the danger and fear palpable and immediate. It brought you in, to the level of those suffering the consequences of their actions, and those on the receiving end of the actions of others. The desolation and sadness is truly felt. That's what I loved about the last installment of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit. I'm just heartbroken that it's over, as I knew I would be. 

  What I've loved most in this story, (and in stories in general) was the story of the best sort of friendship. And the friendship of Thorin and Bilbo is the gold in this one. Throughout the trilogy, really--but it comes to a head here. It is what I'm most in love with, the thing I sorrow for most, and what my heart splits for. (Aside from the fact that the movies are done).

   I've never been much taken with the love story between Kili and Tauriel, but it turned out okay for me, in the end--in the end I felt for them. I was wrapped up enough in the story to forget that I'm not a fan of their love story. I liked them well enough. And at the end of that story arc, I love how well it served the characters involved. I cared for them, and what it meant when it came to it.

 I was also intrigued that you got more of glimpse into why Thranduil was such a strange, seemingly cold person. You get a look, however brief, into his history, his own loss. His own madness. It wasn't what I had expected, but something very similar. I loved that you got to know Bard and his strength better--his family is what makes him the man he is. Alfrid presents (in some ways he reminds one of Wormtongue) an interesting aspect to how Bard tries to do well by people, to try to see the possible change one might attain should they chose, and receive the chance. I thought him giving Alfrid a sort of second chance intriguing, though he does not trust him. Only enough to use him in moments of desperation--but even then, in the end, we see that Alfrid will always be a snake simply because he chooses to be--not because he wasn't given a second chance. That's what I appreciated of this aspect of the story. (Although I did expect him to give Alfrid a whack when yanking on the arm of his child, and he didn't--I found that really strange).

  I really enjoyed the storming of Dol Guldur--that was cool. The power of the White Council was stunning and beautiful. Although I didn't like the dark aspect they gave Galadriel, because that was used in Fellowship showing her temptation to the Ring, to something evil--here, in this instance, she is fighting the evil that is Sauron with Light. Yet they make her look like something dark and twisted. Powerful and fearsome, certainly. But her dark image really didn't make sense. But still, overall, very cool, loved it--but really of the opinion that they cut out a lot here as well.

  Over all, you see real people in this story. Pulling together, surviving--pulling away, turning mad, grasping at what pieces of themselves are left--trying to remember what you believe in. And trying to do the part of a friend. I found the movie incredibly real. In this one, it wasn't as much about spectacle and fun as the others were (in my opinion) it was about their relationships in the now. Their own stories, and the difference they can possibly make. The change that their choices will effect.

  You get to savor the sorrow and the joy, the gloried relief of the honorable choice in some instances, the fear of losing all that matters in life and possibly losing sight of yourself. The fear of the true enemy winning is real, even though we have a good idea of how the story ends, especially those of us who read the book. The core of the story is the power that we as individuals have in making our choices. It is simply will we or will we not fight to realize what is right, or possibly something in between. It is never so simple. Priorities are mixed, but in a way that still engages our love and respect.

  In the end, we have the bittersweet return home, remembering the good and the bad, left with the sorrow of loss, but with the blessing of friendships that have been forged. And the discovery of the type of person you yourself are. I love how the very end was, bleeding into the beginning of The Fellowship, leaving us with a taste of the joys that still come, that the story of our lives go on, and we carry our memories with us. The words of Billy Boyd in his Last Goodbye are very fitting.

 And, oh, where the road then takes me,
I cannot tell
We came all this way
But now comes the day
To bid you farewell

Many places I have been
Many sorrows I have seen
But don't regret
Nor will I forget
All who took that road with me

  I probably will be writing more on this, but I just needed to get this down. Can't keep it to myself right now. My heart is too broken! Would love to hear anything you have to share about what you think of the story.

And what a story. Thank you to Tolkien, Peter Jackson, and everyone involved with getting us to care enough to share in the sorrow and the joy. 

  Until next time and another tissue,

  Elora Carmen Shore