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HARRY'S FIRST IMPRESSIONS ADDED!! What You've Been Waiting For! LORD OF THE RINGS Footage Screened!

Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

We'd have better luck if we were using pigeons, it seems like...

First I get an e-mail from Harry with half a report that looks like it was typed during an epileptic seizure. Then I get a call from France that sounds like someone's got him stuffed in the trunk of a car. He says he wants to dictate the second half of his report to me. So I grab a tape recorder and ask him to speak slowly and clearly.

First there's the report he sent me:

Hey there, HARRY here... Again, I'm stuck on this blasted Web TV hell thing, so the report will be quite shorter or even less longer than I WOULD have liked.

Ok.... So I wake up as the sun starts popping into my window and I'm like... UGH... SUNLIGHT... HISSS hISSSS...

But then I think.... LORD OF THE RINGS FOOTAGE!!!! And my eyes begin increasing into the size of QUINT's squanching device... and equally protruding.

I get dressed in a nice two piece bikini... and decide to head out into CANNES.

THere is this taxi waiting on me, and I pop in. The guy looks at me as though I'm a fat ignorant American... he says something like with 2000 vowels, and I say "OUI" That was a not so bad Men's Magazine ya know?

Anyway... A bit later I arrive at the OLYMPIA theater... Currently among my most favorite theaters in existence! WHy?? Well, that's where the footage was plus.... A SECRET MOVIE I saw tonight with Dr Sotha... Sotha gave me.... OH wait, that's later....

Anyway, I enter the theater... No checking people people, so I just wander on into OLYMPIA 2 screening room. I'm FIRST!!!

Yup, I"m thaat guy.... The first guy in the room.... The jokerr that throws the curve off... The creep that takes the first seat... BUT THIS WAS LORD OF THE FRIGGING RINGS!!!! Where were the other guys?? Where was ONERING and FANDOM and those pirates from Holland? Aren't they supposed to be huger more bigger more enormous LOTR geeks than me?

Ok, they are... they just had to train in from NICE to get here, And I just had to steal a taxi... MUhahahahahaha

Well, I SIt there... thinking... "They could like go ahead and screen it now.... Like right now.... Like please show me the damn footage like now!" BUT noone seemed to be listening to my thoughts... SIGH.... Instead I watched a French dude hook up speakerrs and microphones... SEE? Those other sites missed thaat detail!!!!

Ok, so then Calisuri and Joram show up... THEY have this HOLY MISSION FROM GOD look in their eyes.. This, MAGI thing... Me, I'm all cool sex stud man.... Waiting for the butterflies... Whatever that means...

Ok, So then the place begins filling up with "THE INTERNATIONAL PRESS". Japan, Norway, Germany, England, Taiwan, Pluto, Zimbabwe, Mexico and Planet X... I was in the middle of a multicultural mixing pot.... If everyone shared DNA here... We would probably end up with a Michael Jackson.... It was that diverse.

Anyways... As everyone got settled, WE, THE ONLINE CONTINGENT, sat 3rd ROW center and awaited... THE SECOND COMING...

Off to the side I see Bob Shaye, Peter Jackson and Barrie Osborne all sitting there... Peter is... in Peter GARB (Read my THERE AND BACK AGAIN reports for better description)

Joram on my left and Calisuri on my right begin vibrating.... Shaye takes the mike... DOES The... Don't review this as it isn't finished sort of rap... Peter takes over and gives us a bit of a structure.

NOW... You've probably heard a description of the footage so far.... what scenes were shown... That sort of thing, BUT folks... I'm here to talk about EMOTIONAL DAMAGE that the footage caused.

During the MINES OF MORIA sequence... Joram was exclaiming, "OH SHIT.... FUCK ME..... NO WAY.... AWWWESOME.... OHMYGOD" Now I don't know if his concious brain was aware of this or not, but his jaw was firmly between his ankles and full on ready for John Holmes.

Meanwhile, Calisuri was on my right with eyes like Jim Carrey's when he was doing the WOLF THING overr Cameron Diaz.

Me... I kept my mouth shut, my eyes open... and oh man. You just don't understand.

First, the CAVE TROLL... Sure... It's CG... But not like MUMMY RETURNS CG... THIS is that grade way better than that. AND... The dang creature is ACTING. He's taking a look at his environment... He gets a hurt reaction when shot with a Legolas arrow... (End part one)

Then there's the stuff I attempted to transcribe. Believe it or not, he really does dictate complete with ellipses and words capitalized. Any and all insanity in these paragraphs is entirely his fault, even in the places in parentheses where I've been unable to decipher his excited ranting:

When he kills something, or thinks he's killed something, his face does that "Bruce Lee in ENTER THE DRAGON face contort in anguish and sorrow over the death he's just caused" look. This is because of Randy Cook, the stop motion guy from GHOSTBUSTERS and CAVEMAN, a genuine uber-fan God a la Ray Harryhausen. This creature was... EXTRAORDINARY... and will hitherfore be known as THE ANNOINTED ONE for the way he performed in this sequence. WAY cool.

Okay... the Fellowship is beheading Orcs over here and over there. Cave Troll? Kicking ass. By the way, Cave Troll is exactly King Kong 1933 scale, so imagine trying to kill King Kong with arrows and swords.

OH! OH! OH! OH! OH! OH! Let me tell you about STING! Sting glows!! Sting is like glowing in this really cool way. It glows!

Oh, sorry. Okay. So the Fellowship has cleared this whole area, and it gets to them being surrounded by 100 (sounds like goblins)... NOT ORCS... sheesh, these people... they're like Orcs with bigger eyes, exactly as I was describing two years ago. Really, really sweet looking.

This sequence was still temp effects, and some of the motion was too fast or not fully rendered. The idea of the scene and the tension of the scene was dead on the ball.

Okay, stuck in the MINES OF MORIA, everything is pretty much monochromatic in tones. Gandalf's staff lets off an unearthly white glow. REAL BRIGHT... BLEEDING ALL THE COLOR OUT... Only in the background do you see the yellowish reddish orangeish glow of the Balrog's impending flames. There's a low, low, low, low bass rumble here that gets into your chest and starts shaking your sternum, sort of like you swallowed Mom's vibrator. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. It felt reeeeally good, but creepy at the same time, without the nasty aftertaste.

Gandalf knows what is coming. He's rushing the Fellowship away quickly. (something muffled about pounding in the background) The time for swords and arrows has passed. I was in the fetal position at this point, and poor JORAM! He shat himself, methinks!!

At last there is utter silence. The Fellowship is going down these steps. Goblins (sounds like firing arrows at them) from far above. Legolas returing fire. Arrows to the foreheads, me droogs. Serious ultraviolence. Muhahahahahaha...

Goblins die real good.

This should cause children to take their compound bows to school and kill every goblin in sight. Sad... the youth of today.

Anyway... the music by Howard Shore is in full swing here, and to be honest, my head was buzzing. I was so caught up in the things I was seeing that trying to focus on a single aspect... well, sadly, it was not within me. However, I do know that the score did not take away from my experience.

The bridge sequence is ungodly cool... the sort of ungodly cool that... well... I CANNOT EVEN BEGIN TO DESCRIBE HOW COOL THIS SEQUENCE WAS!! I've never seen anything like it. This scene had all the dramatic intensity of William Friedkin's SORCERER or the original WAGES OF FEAR, but even more cinematic. This is Cinema, big and showing me things my imagination has never conceived of. I was giggly-happy and dumbstruck all at once.

Then I saw the Balrog.

No shit. I've seen the Thing of Shadow and Fire as it breaks through a wall. My god. The things is enormous, horns like a black ram from the pit of Hell itself. Old cracked horns. Fire coming out of the cracked skin. Glowing mean as fuck eyes. Joram went "OhmygodfuckingcoolWOW!!" Calasuri was "....................................." The audience was in mid held-breath when...

Cut. New stuff from TWO TOWERS and RETURN OF THE KING. Applause. Loud hoots and hollers. The audience was leaving brown spots all over the leather of the Olympia II theater seats.

This is about all I can do on here right now. I'll do better when I get back to my Hobbit Hole in Austin. For right now......... bye!!

He then proceeded to babble at me for another 20 minutes about how amazing the footage was and how hardened jaded cynical critics were staggering out of the theater as if they'd had religious visions and how some cute Japanese girl explained why Tolkein never really worked in Japan (terrible translations), and how the film seemed to be a direct line to Tolkein's imagination finally for international audiences, and he told me a little about the Castle where the junket was and how he met Christopher Lee today, and by that point, I had no choice but to hang up on him in disgust.

Let me be perfectly clear about this... I hate each and every one of you bastards who sent in reports on the Cannes presentation of LORD OF THE RINGS footage today. Yeah, sure, I'm glad you sent me your reactions, but... but... YOU SAW IT!! ACK!! What am I supposed to do when I get a report like this first one from our man FROGGY?

Froggy checking in from the Croisette

This morning in Cannes, Peter Jackson did presentations to international media, and international distributors/buyers.

Okay, at the risk of enduring talkback rage, I am about to confess to the unforgivable.


But I did see the 25 minutes of footage. I'm aware of most of the major characters names, and most of the actors, and even though I know some of my assumptions might be incorrect, I thought at least some AICN readers might be interested in the thoughts of a non-Tolkien geek.

The audience response was nothing less than phenomenal. Me? I nearly wet my pants.

The first five or six minutes was footage cut together from the first section of THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. The music was temp-tracked of all things to the godawful introductory music of EMMA, as Gandalf rode through the hills, going past all the little houses embedded in them. It looked pretty cool, but i hated the music, it was all flutes and shit. Then there was at least two or three minutes of that was sequential footage of Ian McKellen as Gandalf arriving at the home of Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm). Let me tell you, they have pulled off what I thought would be impossible: the scale of the hobbits works. You really believe they're about 3 feet tall.

Gandalf enters (with a little difficulty) the small house, and Bilbo is running around. It's his birthday. Cut to a party scene with what looks like a hundred hobbits, and Bilbo makes a speech about it being his Hundred and somethingth. Then he turns a bit dramatic, says "goodbye", and vanishes into thin air.

Gandalf isn't impressed - he's fooling around with 'the ring'.

Then another montage introduced us to Frodo and the other hobbits as they set off, and shots of them being chased by mean fuckers in coats on horseback. I saw those sequences in longer form earlier in the year.

Then, it looked like we cut into a scene that might have been half way in, or could have been towards the end. It involved Gandalf, the hobbits, and Viggo Mortensen having to go THROUGH a mountain. We were told that this was complete, an entire 15 minute sequence from the film, with complete music by Howard Shore.

Let me tell you, this sequence fucking ROCKED. The group enters a chamber that is littered with skeletons of what I think were dwarves. One had a diary that recorded their attempts to fend off an army (unsuccessfully). One of the hobbits accidentally knocks something down a well and the reverberations seem to alert something else in the mountain to their presence.

So then there is this friggin amazing attack sequence of them all getting hit upon by creatures that I think were called Orcs. It's like something out of GLADIATOR.

But that's not the half of it. Then this amazing ugly fucker of a creature bursts in and raises hell. I couldn't believe how real this thing looked. Imagine, if you will, a big, 20-foot-tall squinty eyed smoothskinned beast from the depths of hell, and the fury of Kathie Lee Gifford on crack. ie. pretty fucking nasty.

Anyway, I don't really want to say what happens, but the sequence in which they confront this thing was COMPLETELY gripping. I knew that it wasn't real, but you didn't think at all like the actors weren't interacting with a piece of CGI. IT LOOKED REAL. Even when they're jumping all over it, getting thrown through walls and get assaulted left right and centre, it looked completely real. I had thought that a production coming out of New Zealand was likely to have CGI effects that looked a bit cheap or nasty, but it actually looked like something beyond what we have seen before.

I can't describe what I next saw without conveying what happens in the above sequence. The creature is defeated.

They then try and go further through the mountain - they're looking for some kind of bridge that will get them through the other side. The room they're in is like a hundred football fields, with columns hundreds of feet high. and no light.

Then then get set upon by about a hundred thousand orcs that descend from all directions, including above. they're surrounded. this scene reminded me of that sequence in pitch black, where they're literally surrounded by creatures, and the light from the flamed torch illuminates only the immediate surroundings. it looked horrifying.

But then they are all scared off by something that, unbelievably, is worse. We didn't get to see it, just the impact that this evil has on the orcs. Gandalf says something to the effect of that this force is something that they can't even comprehend battling, and all they can do is run like hell.

So they do. And then came the sequence that literally took my breath away. I don't want to spoil it too much, all it involves is them needing to get from one part of a collapsed staircase to the other. Some jump across. Some get thrown. But how Viggo and Frodo attempt the cross was the best action/suspense scene i've scene at the movies in recent memory. Fuck, it rocked.

Anyway, as I sit here typing this I realise I have to run off and catch Ethan Hawke's CHELSEA WALLS. I have no time here to talk about the last five or six minutes, which was a montage of footage from the other two films. Footage of battles, internal conflicts, Cate Blachett talking to Frodo, and a really creepy final shot of a battered, burnt and fucked-up Elijah Wood seemingly making a decision to put on the ring. Sheeesh - he looks amazing in this film. So final thoughts are:

- This film looks like it will make about incomprehensible money, and more, at the worldwide box. I thought I was interested in seeing the new Star Wars. I'm not anymore. I was so impressed I have decided to go out and buy the books. I really want to know the story, and the characters I only got glimpses of.

- I really think the film/s deliver more than people are expecting, let alone hoping. I can't describe the magnitude of the images.

Gotta run, that's it for now


Okay. Let's put this into perspective. Here's someone who hasn't read the books, and look how excited he got. Hell, the report that ran on French Premiere's site today left me with that same sense of gnawing envy. Thanks for the heads-up on that one, Rudy. I mean... read this excerpt from their report. In some ways, I prefer the reports of non-fans, because there's something pure about the thrill of discovery. Check out these descriptions:

"Frodo almost dies in a thrilling fight against a Green Giant. The deeper they crawl down through the mountain, the stronger tension rises. Each step of a gigantic stairway collapses one after the other behind them before they meet the abyss keeper, a spider devil. This staggering sequence offers us new sensations we didn’t think possible anymore in cinema. The last minutes from episodes 2 and 3 emphasize the size of the production with great battles in gigantic and dreamlike locations. And that is exactly the idea this preview screening left in us : size. Even if we knew it beforehand, we still get blasted by the scope of the finished work. Peter Jackpot gave forms to Tolkien’s world with a stunning vigour. The other good news is Peter Jackson’s style we still find in every shot. As surely as we recognize a Tim Burton skeleton, every single monster, every knight, every detail here is the result of an evolution we can trace back in every movie of this author. That is not that surprising when you see him. He looks exactly the same mischievous way he did when he came over here to present Bad Taste 15 years ago. Nothing compared to all the weeks we will have to wait before we see the first episode of the Trilogy in december 2001."

"A spider devil." I like that. I'm jazzed to see what it is that's left otherwise perfectly rational people grasping at hyperbole. Check out this final report, filed by our own SOLAMEN. You may see this show up again in a Euro-AICN report later today, but I couldn't wait to share this part with you.


Oh my God oh my God oh my God I've seen the 20 minutes preview of The Lord of the Rings oh my God oh my God oh my God... Well that's pretty much what I have said all day long!

I had decided to sleep longer today : no film before 1 pm, except Apocalypse Now Redux at 8.30 am and this film at breakfast, well, no thanks ! I love it but I've seen it once and that's enough for the rest of my life cause it was a real trauma for me ! So it was 11.30 am when I arrived at the Palais des Festival (it's late in Cannes life) and then a friend calls me (God bless the cell phones !) saying that he was in a small cinema in Cannes and that the screening of the preview was about to begin. It was a surprise because we thought it was supposed to take place tomorrow. Well, I ran but invitations was needed. Actually, in Cannes, you always have a friend who has a friend who has a friend... and my friend had a friend ! So I came in.

It was mostly press and television people and of course they asked us not to do any review since it was not really a definitive material but... Well now, here is my review of the LOTR preview! First you have to know that I am a forever fan of the book so I was ready to be very critical about it. What we saw was a montage of the scenes of the first film The Fellowship of the Ring, a few seconds for every passage : Gandalf arriving, meeting back Bilbo, Bilbo's birthday party and disappearance, Frodo discovering about the Ring, then the four Hobbits leaving and being chased by the Black Riders (I only read it in French so I don't really know if they're actually called like that) then meeting Aragorn at the inn, then the battle against the Black Riders and Elrond's house and how the fellowship was formed and began the journey.

Then we saw almost all the Mines of the Moria scenes... They cut it when Gandalf confronts the Balrog (which by the way I never imagined like that) After we saw something really exceptionnal : excerpts from The Two Towers and from The Return of the King and the final moment was when Frodo is about to drop the ring into the lava then turns back and says that he will keep it. So my impression is : Oh my God ! It looks so great and so incredible ! It's not of course the exact way I had imagined it when I had read the book but if it's not my image of it it's anyway images that perfectly match the book and the atmosphere. The landscapes are exactly what they should be, Bilbo's house, in a hole lived a hobbit, and it's a great hole ! The forests are deep and the images are full of atmosphere. About the actors what we saw was not enough to way "wow !" but of course it was well acted and particularly Frodo : its evolution through the film is really sensible as we had glimpses from the beginning to the very end.

What struck me most was the special effects. I must confess that I don't like movies with special effects only, it annoys me cause for me cinema is acting first. Well here not only the special effects are stupendous (wait till you see the Mines of the Moria) but they perfectly integrate the scene. The hobbits, well, they seem to be born like that and they do not contrast at all with tall people ! Everything look like if it has been designed by the best Tolkien specialized drawers. And it was really something full of emotion. About the script, the main fear for European people is still here : we are afraid that to appeal american audiences Peter Jackson may alter the book (most of us don't have a high opinion of American audiences, no offense). Anyway, it was not possible to say if he did alter it or not after what we saw. Anyway what we saw is incredible and as I said before I'm a real fan of the book so I'm supposed to be very critical.

After that, I went to see an Iranian movie about the women condition in Afghanistan. It was a fine film but not really comitted when it should have been more striking with the horrible sufferings that take place there.

Anyway, I still had my head wandering in Lothlorien :)

And the LOTR party will you ask ? Apparently, it would not be on the day it was supposed to be (tonight). To be continued...

Can't wait to get Harry's reaction. Right now, he's up to his neck in interviews for LORD OF THE RINGS, getting 25 various cast and crew members on video for you guys to enjoy later. I'm sure we'll hear from him soon, and I'll be sure to update this article with any further reactions that come rolling in today. Enjoy!!

"Moriarty" out.

P.S.: ROBOGEEK here. I also wanted to point our readers to Crispian Balmer's story for Reuters as well as David Germain's report for the Associated Press - both of which are glowing. Enjoy.

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