The Lord of the Rings (1978) (part 1 of 11)

The Cast of Characters:
The Lord of the Rings (1978) (part 1 of 11) Frodo Baggins (Christopher Guard). Our hero, who looks like a cross between a chipmunk and a felt dishcloth. Doesn’t do anything particularly heroic, but gets the most of the very little character development available.
The Lord of the Rings (1978) (part 1 of 11) Sam Gamgee (Michael Sholes). Frodo’s faithful sidekick, sadly given the role of Odious Comic Relief, as well as the most ghastly set of teeth since Steve Buscemi. I’d say there was a subtle subtext here that Sam is deeply in love with Frodo, but it’s more like skywriting with brass band accompaniment.
The Lord of the Rings (1978) (part 1 of 11) Gandalf the Grey (William Squire). Technically a wizard, though his wizardliness mostly consists of carrying a stomach-on-a-stick and providing all the exposition. Presumably has some sort of muscular disorder, because he constantly waves his arms and can’t sit still for five minutes.
The Lord of the Rings (1978) (part 1 of 11) Aragorn (John Hurt). The ugliest “manly” hero ever. Aragorn has been given a broken nose and—for some reason—a miniskirt. John Hurt, the Embarrassed Actor of this movie, does a pretty good job with the poor material he’s given.
The Lord of the Rings (1978) (part 1 of 11) Legolas (Anthony Daniels). The goofiest and most bizarre looking elf ever. Says and does very little.
The Lord of the Rings (1978) (part 1 of 11) Gimli (David Buck). Supposedly a dwarf, but as tall as Aragorn. Gimli says and does even less than Legolas. And he’s even more of an extraneous character than that dwarf in the Dungeons & Dragons movie.
The Lord of the Rings (1978) (part 1 of 11) Gollum (Peter Woodthorpe). Possibly the dumbest looking character in a movie full of them. Gollum isn’t scary or menacing, and moves like a cardboard skeleton with Parkinson’s. Also, he looks like the animated version of the Grinch. Did I mention his loincloth is exactly the same colour as his skin?
The Lord of the Rings (1978) (part 1 of 11) The Black Riders. Actually, the Brown, Limping, Groaning and Snuffling Riders, but let’s not split hairs. Do a very half-arsed and incompetent job of trying to catch Frodo and Company, making me wonder if Sauron would be better off hiring Tiger and Bruno for all his hero-catching needs.
The Lord of the Rings (1978) (part 1 of 11) Saruman AKA Aruman (Fraser Kerr). The White Wizard, who once insisted he was really the Wizard of Many Colours, has mysteriously become the Red Wizard somewhere between book and screen. An unthreatening villain who sounds like all he really needs is a good, stiff drink.
The Lord of the Rings (1978) (part 1 of 11) Merry and Pippin (Simon Chandler and Dominic Guard). Aside from the fact that it’s impossible to tell who’s Merry and who’s Pippin, there really isn’t anything to say here. There’s not a single brain or personality between the two.

[Webmaster’s Note: Special thanks to frequent contributor Jason Sartin for helping to edit this recap. Since I’m one of the few people in the world completely unfamiliar with The Lord of the Rings (the books and the movies), I had to insist that Jet and Jason come up with a recap that would be accessible to non-LOTR fans. So, even if you’ve never read a word of Tolkien, I think they’ve come up with a recap you’ll still enjoy. —Albert]

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Arya

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Multi-Part Article: The Lord of the Rings (1978)

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