As anyone who has been following me for a significant length of time knows, I tend to be pretty stingy with 9/10s. This is because I feel many critics hand them out to every other film they like. As long as they’re consistent, that’s fine, but with my scoring system, I wanted to make creators well and truly earn every single point. You want a seven-point passing grade or better? You gotta work for it. Because of this, you won’t see me award this grade often, so when it happens, you can safely bet that I’m discussing a masterpiece.
Hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season! As the final month of the year, December proved to be quite a hectic month. In addition to the obligatory weekly game reviews, I ended up seeing a staggering 14 films (6 in theaters and 8 at home). The good news is that I’ve found a way to manage my time better and write the film reviews without disrupting my pattern. In fact, I used the spare time I had to write two editorials. For a majority of my readers, my piece on the highly unethical viral marketing campaign of Ex Machina was the first editorial of mine they read. Then, in the spirit of Christmas, I wrote an editorial about how gamers are ahead of the curve. They’ve gotten a bad rap over the decades, so I felt they needed something to boost their self-confidence.
WARNING: The premise of this film contains unmarked spoilers for the story thus far.
Two hobbits, Sméagol and Déagol, were fishing in a river when the latter discovered a mysterious ring in the water. Upon seeing it, Sméagol killed his friend for the ring and retreated into the Misty Mountains. Over time, the ring’s power twisted his body and mind until he became a creature named Gollum. It was, in reality, the One Ring, an artifact forged by Sauron the Dark Lord in the Second Age of Arda in his campaign for world conquest. Many centuries have passed since that day. Gollum, having discovered that a hobbit named Frodo Baggins now bears the ring, will stop at nothing to retrieve it.
Meanwhile, Saruman, Sauron’s second-in-command has fallen, betrayed by his own servant, Gríma. At Isengard, Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and King Théoden reunite with Merry and Pippin. Gandalf retrieves Saruman’s palantír. Pippin looks into the stone as the wizard sleeps only to be telepathically assaulted by Sauron. Gandalf concludes that Sauron intends to attack Gondor in retaliation for his defeat at Helm’s Deep. Taking Pippin with him, Gandalf rides to Gondor’s capital city, Minas Tirith as his alliance prepares for one final battle against the forces of Mordor.