The Master of the Rings

"OK"

The Master of the Rings Review


I was ready to write off this DVD as a pathetic attempt to cash in on Lord of the Rings fever, and while it certainly is a rush job, The Master of the Rings: The Unauthorized Story Behind J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings", is one of the funniest documentaries I've seen since Trekkies.

The catch is -- the comedy isn't exactly on purpose.

The 60-minute video isn't really about Tolkien but more about his fans and those that followed him. First we experience Rings fans staging a grand "battle" in the game/sport of Dagorhir, fought with foam weapons and armor on an empty field. Their costumes, makeup, and descriptions of their characters are worth the price of the DVD alone. Then Ozzy Osborne look-alike Bob Catley performs his own songs, inspired by Tolkien's books. We get to see Tolkien's old residences, his church (the priest is a huge fan), his regular pub, the Oxford college where he was a professor, and even his grave. Every person interviewed on camera is an exuberant fan; almost every moment of dialogue is spent gushing praise for the deceased author. Some of these people are even comprehensible.

While it's often hilarious, this soon wears thin, as those interviewed have very little to say, unless you're just that obsessed with the minutiae of Tolkien's life (eg. descriptions of his teaching style and rate of speech). Those looking for clips or "making of" footage from the 2001 movie will be sadly disappointed -- though the cover's depiction of a golden ring and four silhouetted hobbits certainly hopes you'll buy the DVD on that premise -- and the few minutes of discussion about the movie at the end of the film are laughable ("I am most disappointed about Ahhhhr-wen..."). The Master of the Rings is hardly a work of art, but for those looking for something to laugh at, rather than with, you've come to the right place.



Facts and Figures

Production compaines: Cromwell Productions Ltd.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Stephen Grant

Producer: Stephen Grant

Starring: J.R.R. Tolkien as Himself (archive footage), Greg Hildebrandt as Himself, Tim Hildebrandt as Himself

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