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We love our genre. To we who are gamers and say it proudly, movies are the gospels of our hobby, the canon, and the crap that is sometimes loaded into a cannon and spattered all over the movie screen!

To we who are gamers, a bad genre movie is more than just a loss of ten bucks and an evening. To us, it is nothing short of blasphemy! Movies are the magus of our wisdom, the wellspring of our inspiration. Their characters give us archetypical guides in life. Their music soars in our souls and gets us through life when all conventional methods of motivation fall flat.

Sure, movies are a business, but they are supposed to be serious business, and when they’re dealing with stories that are the hymns of the new millennium, they should be taken with great care. Now, nobody would tolerate a movie depicting Jesus as a drunk or Santa Claus doing rap. People would picket, pull the movie from theaters, and demand the heads of the producers! That we who are gamers do not do such things when our beloved stories are printed on butt floss and developed and called a movie only proves we are far more peaceful than the religious ranters who often accuse us of devil worship.

But ya know, maybe those fanatics have a point. Provided below are detailed reasons as to why we should have started picketing, pirating, pummeling and persecuting a long time ago (in a cinema not too far away . . .)

Of course, bear in mind that in order to give such detailed 'reviews', I had to watch these movies more than once. Is that to say I suffer for my art? Or, do I secretly own some or even all of these things? Did I pay money for them more than once? Well, yes. Well, some. About half of the movies I tear to pieces I bought on DVD. Why? Because, stupid, no religion is complete without total hypocrisy (or is that hypo-crazy?) Besides, since gamers like to share farts around the table like the teens we never grew out of being, I just loves me my stinkers on screen!

You can read all the reviews of bad fantays movies throughout this page, or you can save yourself some serious eyestrain and read them individually using this handy little thing missing from most modern fantasy bestselling novels called Table Of Contents:


Highlander II: The Quickening

Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath Of The Dragon God

Kull The Conqueror

The Mummy Returns

Dragonheart: A New Beginning

Conan The Destroyer

Mazes & Monsters

Lord Of The Rings

Miscellaneous Fun


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Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)

The worst movie of all time! Now, every gamer worth his dice has already done his own rant on this, but since it’s the undisputed champion of genre-raping movies, I have to say my peace.

To begin, let’s say that good characters can have an identity-crisis, but bad movies have a genre-crisis. The original was a fantasy. It made you wonder. It worked a kind of magic with such elements as faith, possibility, and sheer primitive wonder. But now, somehow, all the magical beings are aliens from another planet. It’s worse than how the Medichlorians ruined The Force in the "Star Wars" saga. You can’t change fantasy to sci-fi. You can’t change genres in the middle of a story! Imagine if Weird Al really did get the funding to make "Gandhi II" as an action based comedy? How would that compare to the original "Gandhi"? Um, well, actually that’d be kinda cool. Bad example. Okay, how’s this? Try continuing the story of "Jaws" with a musical directed by Woody Allen, or a follow-up to "The Princess Bride" made into a Wes Craven slasher?

Now, could The Prize have overloaded Conner’s brain? Throughout the original film, the immortals are born at various times throughout thousands of years of history (kind of like entering a Royal Rumble match), but according to this so-called movie, they were renegade aliens banished to earth at the same time. Continuity problems suddenly spread like cancer throughout this entire franchise! For, if they were indeed aliens, why weren’t they aware of it? And if they were rebels, why wouldn’t they stick together on earth? What, to fight for a Prize so one can return? To what, a lost war? Their planet seems to be a total shithole compared to Earth. What’s worse, they’re frickin’ immortal on Earth! Why’d they want to go back? Why’d the producers want this?

Speaking of producers, now is time for the answer to the riddles of the cosmos: How was this movie so bad and why did Sean Connery have anything to do with it? Turns out, when Connery signed for the original, he signed on for a sequel as well. Ooops. But to make matters worse, the insurance companies took over this production, and would often override the director. It got so bad that the director and its stars tried to walk, but the insurance company threatened to enforce their contracts and sue. The director walked out of the premiere 15 minutes in.

Taken on its own, the basic premise of this movie could have been a really cool movie! Renegade aliens banished to Earth and forced to fight for redemption due to some cosmic religious rule? An ozone that rebuilt itself and the renegades can make a difference on this world by shutting down the corporate MicroSo—I mean, "sky shield" technology? I’d be pretty cool. But since when did "Blade Runner" make a good sequel to "Raiders of the Lost Ark"? This premise should have developed as its own sci-fi entity.

Wow, did I get through that infamous shit in only 450 words? Surely I must be missing something! Oh, yeah, the rip-off-the-first-movie-villain-villain, the hedgehog hitmen, Sean Connery disappearing into a ceiling fan, and earlier on reappearing after being killed because Conner called his name—if they could do this, if they could suddenly reappear by calling to each other, why didn’t Conner and Connery just hang together and call each other back whenever killed in the original? Why did Conner go 400 years solo? Why can’t the writers come up with a more imaginative way to include Sean Connery? Obi-Wan Kenobi managed to do it, even with the bad writing of Lucas! What’s the excuse here? Is there one? There can be only one!


Dungeons & Dragons (2000)

The name alone demands, or at least suggests a tour-de-force performance on every level. This name encapsulates a hobby spanning three decades with millions of followers, a property that has almost single-handedly supported an industry begun by such respected names as Tolkien, and a subculture that has been so powerful in peoples’ minds as to draw some of the most infamous press and misconceptions of all time. Surely bringing such a powerful and feared and desired name to the church of the modern age—the theater—would be a powerful, riveting, cinematic event! Um, yeah, right.

The writer/director acquired the rights to "Dungeons & Dragons" from its owners at the time, "TSR" (Tactical Studies Rules) after years of trying and then spent nearly a decade revising the script while he sought funding. He’s a gamer and wanted to see this movie made! Good for him! But it’s all downhill from there. For anyone who is a gamer should instantly recognize that the D&D multiverse has dozens of worlds and literally hundreds of fully developed scenarios (in the form of adventure modules) that enrich the cultures and characters of these mythical lands. In other words, there was an unprecedented amount of time-tested and proven popular story material to draw on for a plot, and instead we got, um, I’m not really sure to make of what we got. Instead of a movie based on Dragonlance, or Castle Amber, or Ravenloft, or the Slave Lords or, shit, the Temple of Elemental Evil, we got a video game.

But it gets worse! With 10 years to revise a script, you’d think that the writer/director would notice huge, gaping plot holes or lack of character development. The heroes are sent to fetch a red magic wand that will control red dragons so the empress can save her throne from the evil "mages". Well, the heroes have to fetch it because only they can. So, the villain couldn’t, right? So, why not leave the damn thing hidden? But, yawn, predictably, the heroes recover it. Well, one does, because only the "chosen one" can enter the vault, leaving the rest of the party outside. Now, at the heart of D&D is the group concept. Leaving everyone outside like red shirts that actually live goes against the grain of everything that made D&D unique. Anyway, our atypical hero gets the magic wand, and immediately gets ambushed outside, so the villain claims it all to his overacting self. So, all the heroes really accomplished was make the villain harder to defeat, because now he can control red dragons! But then, the empress shows up, able to control gold (and far tougher) dragons, and wastes him. So, what did the heroes really accomplish but to give the empress more experience points?

Perhaps the script was subtly trying to really mimic how a D&D game plays out, because in the end the heroes fucked things up pretty good!

But nothing is as fucked up as Jar-Jar Wayans. Marlin Wayans (I don’t care to spell his name right) is the singlemost annoying sidekick ever, on par with the infamous Jar-Jar Binks from "The Phantom Menace". And no, that’s no exageration. And we’re supposed to like this guy? We’re supposed to cry when he dies? Little lesson to Hollywood moviemakers who are paid much more money than I: The central character is the lightning rod for the audience, the one whom we’re supposed to relate to, our conduit to the emotional wavelengths of the movie. If he acts in ways we don’t feel, we resent him. When he cries that Jar-Jar Wayans dies, we not only wonder why, but we wonder why he’s not the next to go down! Moviemaking is an organic process. Scripts are not canon. Depending on the performances (or lack thereof), if it feels good when a hero dies, it’s never too late to revise the story so we hate the dead guy, and have the hero, instead of crying, kick some dirt on the guy and pick his pockets (they’re thieves, after all), then we’d actually like the hero, because he’s doing what we’d do, and we might actually cheer for him in the big battle to come!

As for the rest of the party, they include a dwarf who is as tall as everyone else, and a black (as in Africian) "elf". I’m no racist, but shouldn’t dwarves be short, and since elves are based on Western European myths, shouldn’t they be Caucasian? Would it kill the casting agent to actually test more than the first three or four fools who wander in from out of the LA heat to mooch off the air conditioning? Or, perhaps, just perhaps, did they actively seek out such ridiculous choices? Oh, and I almost forgot the hero himself! Cookie-cutter heroboy all the way. With no acting ability what-so-ever. Perhaps he didn’t take acting as a skill. Or maybe the director was like your classic wizard trying to play a fighter—he put his lowest score on ‘Intelligence’. All in all, at the heart of the D&D game, and perhaps the broadest aspect of its extensive mythos, are the incredibly detailed and interesting characters. In a movie based on role-playing, we got nobody playing a role in any way, shape or form. Shit, the game is acting. Couldn’t these professional "actors", ya know, act a little, develop some character, and make things entertaining?

Like 2nd Edition equipment charts that supply a hero with all the essentials for adventure like fish-hooks and sales of 100 eggs, there is no end to the random crap in this movie to kill your woody any time you’re starting to get remotely excited. Let’s take stock of the miscellaneous shit, shall we?

Didn’t ya know that all oddly-colored people are thieves? And if you want to find the local thieves guild you just have to follow them? Not that the local magistrate would ever think of doing that. Nope. Nor would a master thief ever think to watch and see if he was being followed. Never.

Speaking of the thieves guild, the bossman has himself quite a fancy little maze, which, again, only heroboy can enter, leaving the party with nothing to do. But the bossman has a plan! He wants the gem in the midst of the maze, so he wants heroboy to retrieve it, while he watches. Watches, as in, from ten feet above, from where he could easily break through the bars and retrieve it without having to go through the massive vault door in the first place.

Since we’re on the architecture of this world, the political counsel, a converted theater in Prague with its floor a platform raised above the floor seats made the "great wise mages" look like the Muppet Show. Perhaps this comedy—like the bad casting—was intentional, so it could distract us from the massive platform shoes the princess was wearing, or Jeremy Irons’ so-bad-it’s-still-not-good overacting. Shame on him for even being in this movie. It’s on par with Sean Connery in Highlander II.

The bad guys have a ruined castle, and wandering around it for no apparent reason is a frickin’ beholder! For those who do not play the game, a "beholder" is one of the most deadly creatures, and always operate alone, devouring humanoids. Why one would be touring around a castle of low-level henchmen is like saying tigers are part of a petting zoo. And, in a movie sense, they never do anything with the beastie! You’d think the heroes would run into it sneaking around, or flee from it, or something. Nope. Now you see it, now you don’t. Not explained. Just be confused so you don’t notice all the other holes in the plot. Veg!

The second-in-command bad guy, ‘Damodar’, acts like he’s auditioning for Destro in the never-made "G.I. Joe" movie, wears huge plastic shoulder pads he stole from Sho-Nuff’s dojo, and wears blue lipstick like he’s mad he got turned down for a role in "Priscilla: Queen of the Desert Part II: Thanks For Nothing D&D Movie". In other words, never was there a more laughable villain in a movie. But get ready, because he’s got the most diabolical plan ever! That's right, he's gonna give us a sequel . . .


Kull The Conqueror (1997)

The producers wanted to make a third Conan movie, but Big Arnold had better things to do (like "Batman & Robin"), so they revised the script for an earlier character from the same author, Robert E. Howard, a sort of prototype for Conan, "Kull". What we got was a typical sword-&-sorcery flick with some very funny and a few vomit-inducing choices.

First off, it’s bad enough when you have American accents in a European mythos. What’s far more damaging to fantasy films is to have the characters behave like Americans. Early in the movie, Kull, newly self-crowned as king, frees a priest who is getting publicly tortured for opening his temple to a competing religion. And there was much rejoicing. The problem is, in such a world as Kull’s, the people would have understood why the guy was being dog-whipped. They would have preferred it. The protection of their religious institution provided a center for their fear-filled world. America and the Constitution are of a completely different world-view. When you have these modern ideals trying to be "heroic" in an ancient world it destroys all credibility, and the heroes become American actors walking around a badly designed movie set. It’s like Indians in 1950’s Westerns—none of them were Indians! You just can’t have all the complex exposition of the ways of magic and the universe in a world where the principal characters don’t act like they believe in such things or take it seriously.

But Kull takes nothing seriously. Not even acting school. Kevin Sorbo is just no Arnold (and yes, I just gave Arnold acting credit above anyone else on the planet). Kevin’s okay on TV, but his screen presence muscles just aren’t strong enough to hold up the big screen. You need Atlas-like muscles for that. You need charisma. He doesn’t have it any more than he has whatever mystical thing the heroes need to save the world with today. Maybe there should be a movie called "Quest For Charisma" and have a bunch of bad actors doing a typical bad medieval movie on a quest for a mystical gem that turns the "chosen one" amongst them into Sean Connery.

But life imitates art. While Sorbo-Kull is struggling with acting like a character, Kull-Sorbo is struggling against a bad script and overused ideas. Quite a few lines are tastelessly ripped off from Darth Vader, and the magical incantations dared to be uttered by actors who want future work sound like Cub Scouts inventing ghost stories around a campfire to scare the shit out of each other—and failing. But perhaps the worst problem of all is the rock music soundtrack. As if the American accents and attitude weren’t bad enough, now we have American music! Now, I’m as American as can be, and I like my heavy metal, and it could even work for a fantasy film! Imagine Manowar doing songs for a serious D&D movie (like that not-so-subtle suggestion for a "Batman Begins"-style D&D movie I mentioned earlier), much like "Queen" did for "Highlander"! But this shite, well, it just hurts the ears and takes you even further out of the fantasy world (if that’s possible).

The movie ends with that whole fantasy world behavior problem. When Kull smashes the sacred wall, people cheer. It would be akin to smashing the Ten Commandments. The people of that world would be appalled. Robert Howard wrote that scene in his stories because he invested enough of the character in the world, so he had reason for such an action—it seemed the right thing to do based on the world’s views rather than the formulaic 21st century American movie script—without that necessary character development, it ends on a really false note.

The overall problem was that this was trying to be an action movie, rather than a fantasy movie, but tried to convince us it was a fantasy movie. When we saw this in the theater, I went in full medieval garb (I do Ren Faires), complete with live-steel swords and a battle-axe (the theater manager was that rare cool guy), but I tell ya, if he wasn’t so cool, I would have taken my axe to the projector like Kull did that sacred wall. And I bet that this time, in this world, people would have cheered!


The Mummy Returns (2001)

The original "Mummy" (1999) decided to have fun, to be a campy, Army of Darkness-like fun-filled romp at the Summer box office. And it was great! So, the studio wisely goes with an equally cheesy sequel concept, "The Mummy Returns". Problem was, it wasn’t a sequel. It was a remake. A bad remake.

Everything in this movie is predictable and contrived. It’s just rehash-rehash. The first film surprised us by teasing contrived plotlines and predictable twists, but then having the characters act intelligently rather than like B-movie Average Victim Bastards. It was like playing a good game, and we could believe in the characters because they acted as we would have (or at least as we would have wanted to). But no more. For instance, opening the chest no longer carries with it the fear of the curse. It’s more like a joke box. They just had to open the box because they did it in the first movie. The once funny lines of camp that took the genre tongue-in-cheek and made us laugh in the first movie become self-conscious and self-parody in this movie. It’s all because they’re just trying to ride off the success of the first film.

That this movie was so rushed and unoriginal brings us to the special effects, which aren’t very special. The creatures are all CGI, done so badly that it looks like a video game . . . from 1990. The Scorpion King at the climax is so bad it’s laughable. Poor Rock, whose face got stuck on that monstrosity at the end.

About that ending, by the way. There seems to be a trend, or a curse in late ‘90s and early millennium movies about having huge plot holes at the end of movies. This time, the entire movie sets up getting the Mummy (who looks pretty human, by the way) to the temple, because only he can defeat the Scorpion King, because, well, he’s a mummy! Yet right when he walks in the door, he gets his powers taken away, and he actually says it’s because the gods want him to fight the Scorpion King as a mortal. Well, shit! If he’s mortal, anyone could have fought the Rock! So what was the fucking point of the entire fucking movie?!! That anyone can beat him is proven pretty damn definitively when the hero kicks his ass with standard hero tricks.

The only good thing this movie did was give The Rock a break into the movie biz, and give us a decent movie a year later, The Scorpion King.


Dragonheart: A New Beginning (2000)

Here’s a movie we thought would never get a sequel, due to its only-decent box office performance, but hey, we get a direct-to-video. Okay, let’s check it out.

The movie starts off well enough, with some glorious photography and an attempt to introduce new characters. Unfortunately, its lofty beginning quickly loses altitude like a dragon falling asleep from watching too many bad movies.

In one scene, a guy falls off a dock two feet high and lands in shallow water a few inches deep, and acts like he’s been shot by the Predator. This is the sort of thing that makes Kung-Fu movies unintentionally funny.

Speaking of Kung-Fu, the villains are Asians this time around, but that’s cool. What’s not cool is a whole group of stereotypes all laying dead, but then, on cue, all of them get up to give chase! Yes, they’re all laying dead or at least unconscious, but then as a group they get up and run after our hero! Remember the scene in "UHF" when Weird Rambo guns down the hilltop line of Russians and they fall on cue? Imagine something like that, but actually trying to get us to take it seriously!

This kind of retarded moviemaking prevails throughout the entire show. The only good part was the baby dragon trying to learn to breathe fire and blowing a flaming fart! I’m serious, that was a real scene, and yes, the only scene you will remember in any positive way.


Conan The Destroyer (1984)

I’m a huge fan of Robert E. Howard and his Conan tales—which is precisely why this film was so disappointing. The first film, "Conan The Barbarian", was operatic, brutal, and unique. It was a masterpiece! But this movie, a watered-down attempt to make a talkative, family-friendly Conan, suffers the doom of all movies that defy the theme of their source material—they confuse casual fans and piss off hard core fans, leaving the movie with no fans, and no more sequels, no more franchise, no more money. Smart move, studio suits. But, but, but, they’ve got Big Arnold in the same costume, so it is Conan, right? Wrong. Let me, in a not-so-family-friendly manner, explain why.

Like D&D itself, there is plenty of source material to draw from with which to create a movie based on Conan. Instead they just made up some shit. And this stuff doesn’t give Conan the chance to be himself. He cracks jokes. He does good deeds. No sale. Conan only did what others considered virtue by coincidence. The prevailing theme in Howard’s original stories is that the barbarian has a better understanding of honor, decency and other civilized traits than the rulers of civilization with whom he is often at odds. A contemporary of H.P. Lovecraft, Howard fused his brutal, sexist stories with so much intelligence and dignity that it forced one to question the clearly drawn lines of right and wrong, society and anarchy, so much that the barbarian’s ways seemed much more appealing than those of organized, "safe" society. In short, Conan needs to be in his element, but here, he’s just walking from one Hollywood set to another (some of which were also used for "Dune", filmed at the same time).

Now, like Conan, let’s wander around a bit. First, you have the adventuring party set up like a bad D&D game—they get together for no really believable reason. Then, it’s on to the bad bluescreen when they row out to the isle of the crystal palace. Then, they make the same mistake as the D&D movie would later indulge, that of having the hero do everything while the party stays trapped outside, watching like glorified red shirts. If you’re not going to use the rest of the party for anything, why have ‘em? That 15 minutes of screen time used for silly introductions could have seen Conan raping a few more women or chopping the ears off an evil Mickey Mouse and stealing his chain-mail underwear. They’re rusted-red, after all, and Conan needs those to disguise the fact that, when swimming in ice water, his skin somehow turns red as well, not unlike if you’re in a hot tub on a movie set. The steam rising from the ice water seems a bit suspect too. But nothing makes you suspicious more than Mako’s constipation conjuration. This wizard, who once moved you with mere words, now seems like he has to grunt out a twenty footer just to get the spell components necessary to begin the real casting. This is no fault of Mako, but truly a case where both script and director gave him literally nothing to work with, a shame for such a fine actor as he.

Just like this movie gave Conan nothing to work with. He couldn’t really kill a lot of people, he couldn’t drink to debauchery or piss blood onto the camera. The musical score seems to be like a bad dream Conan keeps trying to forget, whereas in the original film you not only watched it, but listened to it. And, worst of all, since when was Conan a "destroyer"? What the fuck is that title all about? Of all the titles, why "destroyer"? Why not "Conan The Pirate", or "Conan The Conqueror", or "Conan The King"? He was all of these things at various times in his life. After the original film nicely set up where he came from (though he was never a slave), this movie should have been titled "Conan The Cimmerian", and told of his adventures throughout the Hyborian Age Europe.


Mazes & Monsters (1982)

If you’ve never heard of "M&M", you’re probably a new blood gamer, not one of us old crustaceans with our butts rooted to a chair as firmly as to our old school ways. You see, there was a time, a few centuries ago, during the Carter Administration, that role-playing as E-VIL. All RPGs were evil because D&D was evil and there were no other RPGs. Uh-huh. Star Frontiers must be evil too. So must Boot Hill, Marvel Super Heroes and World War II. Personally, I never thought that beating up Nazis was considered an evil act. Then again, how vanquishing demons was considered evil, I don’t know either. But they’re there in the game, right? Well, demons are in the Bible too, aren’t they? Does that make the Bible an introduction to the occult or Satanism? Well, ignoring annoying things like the facts, many preached about how D&D had magic, witches, devils, etc. and they are E-VIL! Magic is evil! Because priests who couldn’t get laid in the 16th and 17th centuries took advantage of the ability to rewrite the Bible’s passage of "Thou shalt not suffer a poisoner to live" to "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live", now all magic is evil. I guess that makes Mickey Mouse, "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice" evil too. For that matter, the entire "Enchanted Kingdom" of Disneyland should be wiped off the planet by crusaders. And Tolkien, a devout Catholic, will burn in Hell for Gandalf’s use of magic to heal an ailing king or defeat the Dark Lord. Ooops, I almost forgot about Merlin helping Arthur establish a Christian Kingdom. Well, ya know how this rhetoric goes. Anyway, since it snuck in from the shadows of subculture in the mid 1970s, D&D inevitably gained popularity, and with it, all the usual detractors, pessimists, and never-see-the-good-in-anything people. Yessir, I’m talking about the mainstream media and the church!

Truth goes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third and finally, it is accepted as self-evident. Roundabouts 1979 / 1980, D&D went somewhere from Stage Zero to Stage Two, warping right through Stage One. It became the media’s favorite whipping boy and the church’s latest desperate ploy to get people to dump money in the collection plate so Father Jingles could go pick up a few more cute choir boys in his new sports car—hey, am I being prejudice without checking the facts? What, all priests aren’t that way? Really? But one did that, so they all must, right? I mean, if one D&D player gets bad grades, they all must get bad grades, right? You mean you can’t judge a mass of millions from the actions of one? Jeez. Golly.

You see, throughout human history, anything that is new or different is sought to be destroyed. We are pack animals. Things alien or foreign, things new and exciting tend to scare the noisy-negative-minority (as in, those still making animalistic as opposed to, say, informed and enlightened, civilized decisions). What man fears he seeks to destroy. I say, man who seeks to destroy rather than overcome and understand so he fears it no more is not a man. But enough of the preamble. Onto eating lots of M&M!

There were some wildly overblown accounts of D&D causing kids to kill each other. Not that anyone has ever been shot over playing cards or sports fans injured over soccer games or anything, but one 16 year-old "genius", advanced into college, disappeared, and D&D, one of his many hobbies along with drugs and alcohol, became the scapegoat. People saw what they wanted to see. And what they really wanted to see was the inevitable movie-of-the-week based on this "Satanic game". The early ‘80s was the time of the "Satanic Panic", taking over where McCarthyism (today’s PTC) and the "Red Scare" left off. D&D was evil, damnit! People just needed the proof. Ahh, thank you TV! Everything that appears on the boob-tube is true, so once D&D was vilified with a made-for-TV movie, concerned "intelligent" parents everywhere had all the "proof" they needed to have their kids stop playing that evil game.

Um, evil game, where everyone works as a team to vanquish evil, where everyone can win, where history, mathematics, teamwork and problem-solving skills are par for the course. No, they’d rather their kids play "Monopoly", a game that is, by definition, illegal, and where you win by forcing your friends into bankruptcy. But Monopoly is traditional. D&D is new. Scary. Forget intelligent decisions or facts. Remember the rallying cry: Don’t bother me with the facts!

"Mazes & Monsters" was written as a novel by Rona Jaffe in about 1980. Now, the book itself doesn’t really go into all the propaganda. In fact, only about half the book has anything to do with gaming at all—the other half is the players trying to manage their somewhat fucked up lives. The book seems to have a heart, offering a lot of defense for gaming, and never really vilifying it in the end. But when it was adapted for TV, the only thing it vilified was quality fantasy moviemaking.

Airing in 1982 and staring a very young Tom Hanks, this movie is a recipe for amazing fits of laughter and surreal moments in time. I actually like this movie for the sake of nostalgia, but as a movie and as a testament to fantasy gaming, it’s one of the worst.

First, the music. Good god. The theme song which blares throughout the movie is enough to make people believe that opera is evil (or whatever the hell that song is supposed to be). We are quickly introduced to the said fucked-up characters from the novel, and, entering last but not least, Robbie, a.k.a. Pardieu (the name of the M&M character played by Robbie / Hanks, though Pardieu becomes the name of both character and character before long, if you follow me). Gaming’s basics are briefly but effectively covered, with emphasis on how much time it takes up, i.e. diverting one’s attention from more serious-minded things like studying in school. Point made, but not driven home. So far, so cheesy, but not bad.

Soon enough, we’re introduced to the psychodrama of low budget, as Pardieu has dreams of his brother, "Hall", at one end of a drain pipe. So, early on, the movie shoots itself in the foot by showing us very clearly that Pardieu will not go insane because of any game, but because of his already insane brother. Perhaps Hall played too much M&M, but we’ll never know, because of a spotty script.

The movie teases us, in that any of the four gamers could be the one who goes nuts, kind of like a preactive who-dun-it? It seems obvious that Hanks will be the crazy guy, but this being his debut role (which to this day he seems to refuse to acknowledge having made—that’s gratitude for ya), all the characters seem plausible. They’re all relatively equal in terms of lack-of-star-power, and each have qualifications for lunacy. The first to do something dumb is Jay Jay, who actually goes to commit suicide—again, not because of any game, but because he’s underage and lonely—by getting lost in the local steam tunnels. But once there, he realizes how cool live gaming would be, and (explained much better in the book) he exits the caves having found a better reason to live than ever before! Now, if this movie is trying to condemn D&D as evil, it’s scored three points against itself already.

Suiciding his M&M character to encourage the game to move to the caverns, Jay Jay takes over as GM, and Pardieu, after the first night in the very scary (because they’re so low-budget) caverns, takes over as the definite psycho. Because playing in the creepy caverns was too much for his psyche (already half consumed by that brain-eating-alien disguised as his ‘70s afro) he now believes he is Pardieu the Holy Man. The game is taking over his life! Cue ominous music here. And now, the movie gets really, um, funny!

Some senseless scenes fill up commercial time, like teasing us with who is going to get lost in the caverns and die, even though we already know it’s not the girl—it’s Pardieu, damnit! You just spent an entire burger joint scene talking about him going crazy. Great opportunities for a comedy movie are missed, like at the Halloween dorm party, where Pardieu should have tried to turn the Frankenstein’s monster coming to the door—instead, it’s just a wasted scene. Pardieu wanders off because the true Dungeon Master (remember, the Great Hall in the sewer) tells him he is ready.

Eventually, Pardieu’s mundane world doper friends realize he’s missing, try to be dramatic, and finally we get to the good stuff! That being, Pardieu Hanks wandering New York, seeing everything in fantasy terms. Some muggers jump him, he tries to "hold" them, sees one as a "gorvil" (actually, Kevin Peter "Predator" Hall in a big green monster suit), and sees his pocket knife as a sword. He freaks out more and more, ending up in the "mazes", actually old electrical access tunnels. Again, it’s a lot of missed opportunity. Seeing the mundane world from a guy-who-thinks-he’s-a-fantasy-character could fill a whole frickin’ movie! "The Fisher King" came close, but this could be more like "Falling Down" done in a fantasy vein. Well, anyway, Pardieu gets to the funniest scene in the movie, "The King of France" (a hobo’s reactionary line to Pardieu’s assurance not to fear him because he’s a holy man). Having read Tolkien earlier in the movie, Pardieu asks about "the two towers", and the bum directs him there, so a young Tom Hanks is off to find the World Trade Center, armed with spells and sword! This is the surreal part. For in the end he’s on the roof, caught by his concerned friends, while attempting to jump off the Trade Center and "fly to heaven".

Now, in the end, Pardieu never goes back to being "Robbie". It tries to make you feel sad because "the game messed him up forever". Personally, I think Robbie got the better deal—ignorance is bliss! He gets to live in his happy world and never get up at 6:00am to go to work. But the movie fails to deliver any point other than "Hey, what was all that gaming about again? I thought it was supposed to be evil. Wasn’t it? How did he go insane?"

The movie was low budget, and it does okay for whatever it was trying to do, but there are a few funny bits to consider. The caverns are about 15’ of set, filmed from different angles to try and convey a larger scale. The lanterns glare on the camera lens. The film is grainy. The music tries to be spooky but Casper is better at causing dramatic tension.

And, worst of all, the players are woefully inept at their own game. This is where gamers count bullets, so-to-speak, with movies. Big mistakes: Never split up in a dungeon. Never jump into a pit full of spikes (although, admittedly, that was when Jay Jay wanted to die, but the movie didn't make that clear). Never waste your questions granted by the all-knowing dead with obvious shit—ask where the damn treasure is! Perhaps they should have asked the skeleton where they could find a richer backer or a better director.

Now, there is one genuine creepy thing coming from this movie—the reporter! The same guy wearing the same trenchcoat seems to appear in a lot of movies, doing basically the same character. You can see him in "The Park Is Mine" and "Strange Brew", amongst others. Maybe Pardieu wanted to live in a fantasy world so he could shut out that guy forever.

Personally, I thought this movie’s 20th anniversary in 2002 should have gotten a "Star Wars"-like Special Edition, with improved digital effects! Imagine the poster! Tom Hanks standing on top of the World Trade Center, waving around a sword, seeing an incoming plane as a dragon! Was that tasteless? Don’t tell me you didn’t find it funny! Besides, despite Hanks wishing this movie away, he seems to secretly return every few years to shoot a new poster for a new video jacket. The 1993 video release, for example, has a clearly aged Hanks posing for the new cover, with his receding hair-line badly airbrushed in.


Lord Of The Rings (1978)

What? Didn't know there was an animated feature of "Rings" made in the '70s? What kind of internet geek who reads this far into worthless movie diatribe are you? Oh, I know, the kind that wants to know the fabulous "101 Reasons Why This Movie Sucks Dead Moose Balls"!

I don't know why I care enough about this movie to list it with 101 bulletpoints. Maybe I have such a deep love for the source material that I have to offset this fantasy film travesty with an addequete amount of ranting rhetoric. Maybe now that the Star Wars prequels have come and gone, there's a lack of complaint for "raping my childhood", since I grew up with this movie amongst others. Maybe certain friends of mine have gotten me caring more about how movies are made. Anyway, whatever the truth, I submit to you the truth about said movie. Enjoy . . .

Be warned: I write these "101 Reasons" with the same respect-of-treatment that the studio and Bakshi gave their so-called movie. This means there is no serious proofreading, no coherent editing, and nothing as simple to use as a spellchecker. Hell, like Bakshi, I didn’t even bother to check my Tolkien references to make sure I knew what I was talking about. So now, on to the 101 Reasons Why Bakshi's LOTR Sucks Dead Moose Balls! Enjoy!

1) Treebeard is depicted as a naked, undead Yosemite Sam with two stalks of celery stuck in his head.

2) Boromir gave up his noble heritage to be a skirt-wearing viking.

3) For all the apparent strength Boromir gained from his career choice, he still let a group of Orcs kill him in a world where they’re such pussies that a larger group cowered when Aragorn just shouted at them.

4) Aragorn, the Native American, seems to be in competition with Boromir for both career choices that make less money (at least vikings take treasure), but also sheer and utter stupidity. I mean, okay, Boromir ignored the advise of a council of the wisest people from every land, but if Aragorn can make armies of Orcs quiver in fear by just a roarin’ at ‘em, why didn’t he just go around roaring (not unlike the balrog) for the rest of the movie, since all everybody fought were, um, Orcs?

5) The balrog has wings, flies, but dies by falling into a pit. Perhaps his fuzzy slippers were just too damn waterlogged and weighed him down.

6) Sam, the bad-toothed inbred son of an Eskimo and Bill Gates, hears Frodo’s heartfelt conviction about barely succeeding in the quest, and is so concerned he stands up and starts whistling, as if to say "Fuck you then, I ain’t goin’ there!"

7) Gandalf really ought to have a real beard as opposed to, say, a solidified torrent of white snot, which seems to have indeed fallen right out of his nostrils.

8) Barliman Butterbur is jealous of Aragorn’s bad career choice, so with his limited hick wisdom is trying to outdo him, mostly by complaining that travelers brought magic to his inn and not realizing its marketing potential, or that bearers of such wondrous treasures probably have more gold amongst them than all his other customers combined, but he berates them anyway. This notwithstanding that anyone carrying around such powerful magic could and would probably just kick his ass for acting like such a jerk anyway.

9) The crowd at the Prancing Pony went through wardrobe, went through makeup, went through catering, but forgot to go through rotoscope-animation. Perhaps they picked up too much ale at catering and forgot.

10) Sam likes to hide in bushes along rivers, probably doing some good pipe-weed, since Gandalf apparently smelled it and yanked him out of the shrubs at once "You little bastard! I don’t even get to smoke in this movie. Since you’re holding out, I’m sending you off to certain doom with Frodo for no other discernible reason. And when the hell did I even mention the Elves, anyway?" Perhaps that pipe-weed gives him the gift of prophecy, as he apparently knows what Gandalf is going to say before he says it.

11) Frodo shouldn’t even need the One Ring, since he has mastered many other mighty magical, immortal powers, such as walking on air in taverns and sleeping in the air above his lounge chair.

12) Gandalf, it seems, is the only one who has any wisdom, for besides being burdened with every single bit of exposition, he is aware of everything beyond the Fourth Wall, as proven by how he stares at the cameraman and threatens to poke his eye out whenever he’s interrupted from doing his best disco dance rendition of said lore.

13) If Ringwraiths can teleport through walls, why was a little ditch so much trouble to cross?

14) Frodo must have been secretly into beastiality, since the Morgul blade in his arm seems to give the Ringwraiths power over not only himself, but his horse as well.

15) The only character continuity in the movie is Sam’s homosexual delight over Frodo, which gets ramped up quite a bit when he sees how gay Legolas is.

16) Saruman the White, Aruman the Red, Saruman the Red, Aruman the White—no wonder the movie didn’t need to go past the Battle of Helm’s Deep, since by that victory alone they beat four major villains, and everyone got enough Experience Points to hit 20th Level and just call it a campaign.

17) (S)Aruman’s wizardry is just his day job, for by night Sauron has taught him hoodoo, as he has seemingly swapped souls with Gollum as proven by their voices and choices. I mean, (S)Aruman spends more time in this movie talking about the precious Ring than Smeagol does, and while Gollum merely sounds drunk and could sober up rather quickly, the wizard whose "voice" is given its own frickin’ chapter title in the book sounds like he just got his nutsack ripped off by Wormtongue and then mistook the packets of gravel for sale for stoning as ocelot spleens and ate the whole bag.

18) And since we’re referencing the real movie adaptions of Middle-earth, i.e. Monty Python, doesn’t Sauron look like the King of the Knights Who Say Ni?

19) They should not have cut the scene at the Council of Elrond where Boromir tries to do the "proper Tolkien thing" and burst into song for no apparent reason. Perhaps his rendition of "Spam" was given a boost by his Wagner-esque apparel and he just stole the show, so Elrond, already jealous for screen time, had this scene overruled and cut. It’s good to be king . . .

20) . . . even if your crown has been replaced by a disco medallion that it seems you got at the Farmer’s County Fair for throwing baseballs at a stack of old milk bottles. Why did the design team try to be real or literal here when they exaggerated everything else? Elrond should have kept that kick-ass halo he had in the Ranklin/Bass version.

21) I understand that animation relies on exaggeration, as any professional cartoonist or animator will tell you in defense of big feet, big noses, etc. but why the hell did they use this to destroy Sam, give everyone disco hair, and replace Middle-earth’s landscape with the most psychedelic scenery seen since Woodstock and then pinch pennies with size on such important matters as, say, the balrog? Or perhaps Orthanc tower? Or even Gandalf’s hat and boots, which Tolkien takes the trouble to say are oversized?

22) I wasn’t aware that Frodo and Pippin were twins.

23) Gandalf the Hunchback. He must have survived his fall with the balrog by doing his best pro-wrestling bump and landing on his big back cushion.

24) Middle-earth’s best kept secret is not the location of the One Ring, but Wormtongue and his ability to defy time-space by teleporting between Edoras and Isengard between the cuts of scenes, in a true instance of "There and back again".

25) Gimili the dwarf, who is as tall as everybody else. Perhaps Dwarves are more industrious and patient than we ever gave them credit for, as he’s apparently been lobbying for the coveted dwarf role in the D&D movie for over two decades. And then he didn’t even get it, but at least his baldness was an inspiration to the makers of that fine film.

26) Orcs! Smart! We use battering ram against solid castle wall. We no pay attention to door ten feet away. Come to think of it, Theoden and everyone else should have just stayed at Edores, since it’s pretty much all open doors and windows. Without a solid wall to attack, the Orcs would have been confused and could have been easily picked off by the archers.

27) Archers, by the way, must always stand in clear view of a shower of arrows, even if there are battlements large enough for two men to hide behind.

28) And warg-wolves must always lead the charge in siege, even against solid walls where ladders (and battering rams) will be necessary.

29) And it’s always imperative to lead the mighty monster army into war with a kazoo!

30) Even though Galadriel avoided the 1970s fashion curse, she just didn’t want to feel left out, so she tossed her Mirror into the bushes and quickly rushed out to the mall and bought a kaleidoscope to mesmerize Frodo and Sam with.

31) In order to ensure they had those huge disco wigs, the hobbits, seemingly thwarted by the low budget they already monopolized by taking rotoscope time away from everybody else, shaved all the hair off their huge hobbit feet and transplanted it to their heads.

32) Waldo is nowhere to be seen, even though he was the perfect candidate for a rotoscoper’s wet dream. Maybe he was rotoscoped as an Orc.

33) Orcs, in case you didn’t know, are sometimes unfinished, wearing nothing but rags, or are escapees from a wax museum and half melted by the balrog’s man-love, causing them to look like the oozing figures that threaten Spaceman Spiff with sit-down talks of Wholesome Principals.

34) Boromir the mighty viking really has to try hard to close a door of paper-thin balsa wood that is easily broken into thin shards by an Orc doing the pex-flex a moment later. He should have watched "The Gamers" and learned from Newmoon about how it’s all in the legs, not the back.

35) Gandalf the wizard, the old man, who leans on a walking staff, can dodge arrows like Spider-man, thereby proving he is in fact hopping between sets, as if his hat changing color between frames wasn’t enough evidence of his secret job as a superhero character.

36) Theoden has a secret life as well, that of Santa Claus. The dead giveaway is that he must go everywhere on his horse, even into caves, just as St. Nick cannot operate without his sleigh. Not convinced yet? How about the Christmas music that plays when he rides to victory? No? Need more proof? All his people are rotoscoped, but he’s totally ‘toon, a ghost like Santa who doesn’t really exist in the same time-space. And, since Gandalf doesn’t actually heal him, he rises from his throne to wage war on (S)Aruman for a wholly different reason—to steal back his red cloak so he can be Santa once again!

37) The Last Alliance of Men and Elves. What can I say? It was an epic, world-changing, heroic battle between, well, a dozen or so people. And do not forget the "heroic" Isildur, who sneaks up from behind and backstabs his enemies, is thwarted by an arrow breaking over his forehead. Perhaps this is why it is ancient and forgotten history—nobody wants to remember it. Or, maybe they just remember it wrong. After all, I didn’t know that the Last Alliance failed.

38) Merry and Pippin must have been part of a package deal when Sam bought Bill the Pony in Hobbiton, since they have no other reason for being on the road with Frodo and Sam.

39) Try though he might, Tolkien, in his fight against publishers, editors, dictionaries and critics to accept "Elves" and other elements of Middle-earth as something besides fairytale "elfs", the creative folks of this fine, fine film decided to make hobbits of various families pale blue, pale green, and many other elfin colors, proving that Tolkien did not, in fact, have a better vision for Middle-earth than they did.

40) Boromir the mighty viking strides across wooden floors in Rivendell without making a sound, yet hobbits, known for their stealth in nature, cannot walk across the earthen floor of the inn without making enough noise to wake the dead. I guess that’s how the evil always finds them and leaves the saving up to guys like poor Boromir.

41) The Black Riders realize that acting villainous is a requisite for their contract, so they stop to water their ghost, teleporting horses during the day, even when they have a clear path to Frodo in the wilderness, and just wait for darkness, as if trying to be menacing. Or maybe they were on break. Union rules, ya know.

42) Aragorn, taking great care to ensure that the One Ring is not reclaimed and the world not plunged into eternal darkness, after seeing the Black Riders close behind, decides the best way to fortify the group’s position is to tell love stories while Frodo and Sam make out by the fire. Perhaps he’s considering another career change, something for the French Court. At least he’ll have a permanent place in Rivendell where all the women hang out. And never mind about the world outside, since the Enemy’s toughest warriors are afraid of crossing the little ditch on the ‘Dell’s border.

43) Why does the director insist on close-up shots of Gandalf’s big ass sitting in a chair? Maybe he was hoping to catch one of Gandalf’s real good butt-rumbling farts, but he missed his que, as he let it a minute or so later, for after doing his disco dance explanation of the fate of the world, he goes outside even though it’s where everybody can hear their secret talk, but it must be one super magic fart, since Frodo smelled it anyway, judging from his reaction (after Gandalf resists the temptation of the Ring). "Yep!" Frodo must be sayin’. "Something’s rotten in Denmark, alright. But it ain’t the Ring!" Maybe that was Gandalf’s plan all along, as Bilbo figured out. He wanted the Ring for himself. So he barged in unannounced on Frodo, having already girded himself against toxins, then took advantage of hobbit-hospitality and ate all of Frodo’s best food and drank all his best booze, building up a Magic Fart to knock Frodo unconscious and then take the Ring without a fight. But little did Gandalf heed his own advice, about how resilient hobbits are.

44) Ahhh, the lovely realism offered by rotoscoping, complete with bloopers, like the Return of the Mighty White Wizard, now the highest of his dignified order, wrapping his cloak around his face as he attempts to remember the proper steps to his disco dance.

45) One wonders why (S)Aruman, if he can shoot nuclear winter fireballs from a hundred miles away with pinpoint accuracy, didn’t just have a band of Orcs find the fellowship and by their presence lace the target, thereby allowing this "wisest of wizards" to blast the heroes in the wilderness, then send the backup group to fetch the One Ring from the ashes.

46) I see no reason to believe that Elrond was Elven or even Half-elven. He just wasn’t gay enough, and even wanted the gay guys gone! In fact, he was more manly than the King of Men, Aragorn, whose skirt is just too difficult to take seriously. Really, how do you climb a snow-ridden mountain slope in that thing? But back to Elrond. For someone whose fate is tied to the One Ring, he seemed awfully indifferent to it. It’s almost as if he was saying "Well, Frodo, I’ve got a Ring of Power already. Tough break for you that you can’t keep yours. Better luck in the next lottery. But I feel sorry enough for you to let you stay in my ski lodge for a few months before you go, since your rich uncle is paying for it. And by the way, don’t use your Ring or give it away, since it might jeopardize my own. Not that I’m jealous or really concerned about you or anything. And shut up, Boromir! All your talk about the power of Frodo’s Ring is exposing me! It’s hard enough to con Gandalf as it is. He has all the exposition, remember? Look at those shifty eyes even as we speak! Oh, yeah, Frodo. Get the fuck outta here and take the gimp with you! Maybe my Ring will fail, maybe it won’t. But at least there’s betting odds. It’s a foregone conclusion that I’ll go insane if I have to listen to any more of Sam’s goofy giggle!"

47) How come "boulders of sword sharpening" are not on the magical items list for the Game Master’s Guide? I guess it’s false advertising when the publisher says they're rules are "complete". Perhaps they figure that most sane warriors use whetstones and don’t need to lug heavy rocks around. Maybe the chest-pack in Holy Grail was full of "boulders of sharpening", given that Boromir’s true origins, like those of any good gamer, are in that holy grail of films.

48) Legolas is a scary, scary man—er, Elf. I mean, watch out, Moria Orc dudes, the guy with no arrow notched in his bow is ready for your charge. Perhaps he’s waiting to use the acoustics of Balin’s Tomb to use the bowstring like a harp, and serenade you all to sleep. Or maybe, given the way he’s dressed, he wants to be tackled by the furries—er, Orcs.

49) Is it just me, or does Rivendell look like a stack of matchstick boxes you might expect to see in a Disney movie about mice?

50) Aragorn. Ranger. King. Strider. Goes about on those long shanks of his, he does, that man of destiny and dignity. Lead the way! Legolas and Gimli will follow as you trip over your own sword scabbard. And the great artistic-minded director will use that take for the rotoscoping. Hmmm, maybe Bakshi was only animating, but Ed Wood was in charge of filming.

51) It’s nice to have a musical score similar to World War II epics such as Patton, but are we forgetting that Tolkien detested allegory and any comparison between Lord of the Rings and WWII? Oh, I forgot, the filmmaker’s knew Middle-earth better than Tolkien did.

52) Pippin is able to hear the approach of a galloping horse, complete with jingle-bells. Okay, good for him. But how come Aragorn the Ranger didn’t hear it? I guess he failed his dice roll.

53) I think maybe Aragorn is just wanting the hobbits to die so he can get on to being king. "Follow me Sam, stay close!" he says, as he’s racing past the stumpy little bastard at a pace no hobbit could possibly match or even do half of.

54) Of the Three Tall Elf Kings, Galadriel and Keleborn do not know the first line of their own lore, as Appendix E in the novel clearly states that how Celeborn’s name was pronounced in this film is exactly how it should not be spoken.

55) The rotoscoping got out of hand when they animated over a crate of camera equipment, making a perfectly square box for Frodo to sit on when deciding to leave the fellowship.

56) I didn’t ever realize that Wormtongue was a hobbit as well. Or maybe a Jawa, who is so upset that he got kicked out of the sandcrawler that he waited for the day when C-3PO—er, Legolas showed up, but was robbed of his chance to get revenge by Triple H—er, Gandalf, who demands all the screen time.

57) The narrator is Tom Cruise. He not only sounds like a whiny bitch, but just like when Big Nose Tom hosted the 2002 Oscars (which, coincidentally, should have been owned by the Lord of the Rings), he does the opening narration and then disappears. Well, he does pop up for one cameo during the Council of Elrond, but that’s it.

58) Hmmm, Tom Cruise, Triple-H. Both have no talent, hog the spotlight, and have huge noses. They are one and the same for their respective industries. Perhaps they were each given one of the Five Rings for Entertainment, and in time, they will be corrupted to being nothing but massive noses that screw every talented individual trying to improve his own trade and the industry along with it. I’d like to see Bakshi try rotoscoping that.

59) Why is it that the Nazgul shuffle around like limp lepers? Disguise to match their cloaks? Perhaps if they were in a populated area, not along the road when their quarry are all who’s around to see them. Besides, they seem to forget their crippled-act immediately to swiftly remount their horses and ride off.

60) It’s a rare known sport dating from ancient days, to line up two armies and have one guy ride between them and take pot-shots, while his enemies cheer him on. Maybe the Orcs and Rohirrim were simply stoned, or the director was, and they were waiting for the command of "Action!"

61) Every war horn sounds the same, from Orcs to Boromir’s to Rohan’s. Can’t the composer make up more than a few notes? Maybe he ran out of paper. Now, this wouldn’t be so bad if the single war horn sound wasn’t so wimpy. It sounds like Donald Duck trying to sing soprano.

62) The Watcher in the Water defies the laws of physics. When it slams the gates of Moria shut, it seems to pinch its tentacles, and yet, we never hear a satisfying monster yelp. What’s up with that?

63) Eowyn never speaks. Then again, neither does Eomer. At least his sister Eowyn gets to be drawn, while poor Eomer has to settle for sketchy rotoscoping, a half-existence comparable to his exile from Rohan. Or, perhaps, he feels like he’s stuck in a 1960’s Disney animated feature.

64) Sauron doesn’t need the One Ring! Because he’s already invisible, and you never see him! Nope. You don’t even get to see Barad-Dur or even Mordor. You see Mt. Doom from a long way off, and only once. Sauron, the guy whose very name is the title of the movie for God’s sake, doesn’t even get to appear outside of his audition for Ni Knights in the prologue. Granted, he’s a villain who stays in the shadows, but you think he’d be mentioned more than once or twice, and might make his presence felt to, I dunno, give some dramatic tension to the movie?

65) Aragorn fights really dirty! Upon escaping from the balrog, a couple of Orcs are waiting for the fellowship on the Dimrill Stair. Aragorn, feeling that Gandalf stole his thunder with the balrog a moment earlier, decides "Fuck the sword, even though I’ve already got it drawn, I’m just gonna thump this Orc in the balls and get bonus points for style!" Well, it’s a helluva junk, I have to say, but I still wonder if Aragorn is ever going to use Anduril as anything but a last resort. But, at least his backstabbing ancestor Isildur would be proud. Hey, points for consistency!

66) Oil and water, red and blue, and then red again. Some things don’t mix well, and some are just jarring. During the prologue, which is done entirely in (bad acted) silhouette, there is a red wash over everything. It feels like you’re in a dark room. But when Deagol finds the One Ring, it’s fully animated and underwater so it’s fully blue, meaning the film not only changes its animation style, but its color palette as well, and then when Deagol resurfaces, yep! we’re right back to hazy red and badly acted silhouette rotoscoping. Wouldn’t it have been better to just do the entire prologue in the same manner without this one jarring shot? Maybe, a little consistency, please? I was fully expecting the animation to suddenly cut to a live action scene at some point. Wait! It did! Did I mention the customers at the Prancing Pony?

67) The title is "J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings". I think this is wholly inaccurate. Tolkien’s name should be lifted. This is clearly Peter Beagle’s and Ralph Bakshi’s "Lord of the Rings." I feel for Beagle, who really tried with the script to be true to the timeless book, but then, you’re dealing with Bakshi, a guy who in 2001 criticized Peter Jackson without his films even being seen yet, saying Jackson would utterly fail to capture Tolkien’s spirit. Goes to show that people can claim they know it all, but "being right" is a title granted only by Time.

68) Boromir announces himself boldly at the Council of Elrond. This really begs the question as to the narrator saying that "All that morning the Council debated . . ." In all that time, no formal introductions were made? Nobody asked each other’s name? They just all sat down and started to argue? Or maybe they were busy playing D&D and it came time for the viking to introduce his new PC called Boromir? Well, if Gimli was lobbying decades ahead for the D&D movie, it stands to reason that Borormir, who clearly became his Character (as opposed to, say, the Prince of Gondor) was ready for Tom Hanks’ role in Mazes & Monsters, which was only a few years off.

69) Frodo gets the fellowship thrown out of Lothlorien. The way the scene with Galadriel’s Mirror was scripted, to those who do not know the story, it sounds absolutely clear that Frodo’s offering of the One Ring to Galadriel directly caused her to tell the fellowship to get lost. I can’t imagine a mainstream audience thinking anything except "Why the fuck do we care about these hobbits? They wake up the balrog and get Gandalf killed. Then they get everybody thrown out of the only sanctuary left to them. Then they get Boromir killed". Supposedly, and as the book makes clear, Merry and Pippin give Boromir the chance to redeem himself and die a hero. But maybe Boromir would have been a real hero if he just lopped Frodo’s head off and took the Ring. Since Bakshi wants to change the themes and meanings of everything, at least Boromir with the Ring would have made for an exciting movie.

70) Aragon’s sword, the Sword That Was Broken, is prominently displayed in Bree, but after Rivendell, it’s Narsil, reforged without any explanation. To the casual moviegoer, this looks, at best, like a continuity error. More likely, it’s just another bit of evidence in a rapidly lengthening list of "Why the fuck should we care about what’s going on in this movie? Obviously, the director doesn’t".

71) The film ends about 71% of the way through the story. Therefore, these 101 reasons why it sucks, like the film, are missing most of their second half. I suppose you could say that the movie’s premature ending, being marketed as a complete story, and no subsequent apologies by the studio can add up to 30 full reasons why it sucks.


And Now For A Few Movies We'd Like To See . . .


"Master And Commando: The Arnold Side Of The World"

"Hey Billy, stop being a little girlie-man and fire da cannon . . ."


"Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The Ring"

Let us see what typical Hollywood sequel-fever will do to a classic tale . . .


"War And Peace With Walt Disney"

His alter-ego is Adolf Hitler—notice how they both have a mustache fetish . . .


"Die Hard V: Hostages At Hogwarts"

John McClaine is buying potions for hair tonic when he realizes a startling resemblance between Snape and Hans Gruber . . .


"Father Of The Corpse Bride"

Steve Martin’s hair has always been unnaturally white . . .


"Rocky VS Rambo"

Not knowing which sequel to favor in promotion, Sly approves a computer simulation of the two icons to let them fight it out, and he will go with the winner . . .


"Butt Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest Hair"

The treasure map is actually the dead man’s underwear and ‘X’ really marks the spot . . .


"Star Wars Episode IV" remake

Starring Hulk Hogan as Darth Vader ("Give in to the dark side, I'm your father, brother!"), Howard Stern as Chewbacca (is it me or does he look a lot like Peter Mayhew in these days?), and Pee Wee Herman as Obi-Wan Kenobi ("This isn’t the bicycle you’re looking for . . .")


"Charlie And The Chocolat"

Having seen a certain romantic Johnny Depp film, Willy Wonka creates a new, love-inducing chocolat for all the kiddies who visit him behind closed (green) doors . . .


"G.I. Joe" by Disney Studios

Every combat soldier will have talking weapons like the flute in H.R. Puff-&-Stuff, Destro will have a song number, everyone else will have to sing and dance every 10 minutes or so, Cobra Commander’s great scheme is to replace the Disney Castle logo with that of the Cobra Temple, and when he removes his mask he is revealed to be Bill Gates . . .


"Rob In Hood"

A dude named ‘Rob’ who lives in ‘da hood’ is going to steal drugs from pimps and give them to their prostitutes, just "Robbin’ the bitch to give to the whore . . ."


"Staarrr Wars"

Captain Solo, Panaka, Lando and Yoda already seem well on their way to being pirates, so why not just let them fulfill their destiny? Don't believe me? Click here and scroll down past the White House planning session . . .


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