Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Bicycles; Tolkien

I've now finally become a city person.

I was a bit busy today and all things seemed hazy. I had to go here and there and attend a meeting or two. I was leaving home to attend the businesses and had a thought: maybe I should take out my bicycle. I hadn't been cycling since I put the bicycle away for Winter (of course at the gym, but that's not the same thing). I could make the trip twice as fast as walking.

But the idea wore me out. I got to thinking that I'd arrive breathing heavily, hot, sweaty, tired, face all red. No no. That's not me.

And I decided to walk. It turned out to be a good idea, since I had just plenty of time (well, I skipped one of the meetings, which made some two good hours more).

But it was somewhat odd to me: why didn't I want to ride a bike? I was once a heavy supporter of cycling. We even had great ideas of becoming great bicycle cultivators, my friend Arttu and I. At one point we had some 30 vintage bicycles (well, some of them were so called projects, with parts missing and all). I ride an old bicycle even now, but I no longer think of collecting them. I even hate messing with the brakes and tyres and stuff - instead I'm thinking of getting the damn junk to the real repairman. I don't want to get my hands on grease.

And this is why I'm now finally a city person. Walking is what one does in the city, not riding a bike and not driving a car. Well, maybe buses and trolleys are for city persons, too, but if one wants to be cheap, one walks. (And there are no trolleys in Turku. Or subways.)


I watched Ralph Bakshi's animated version of Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" (1979) the other night. It was a very disappointing experience, even though my memory of it wasn't very good in the first place. I had seen the film some 15-16 years back and hadn't liked it, but I liked it even less now. It was clear that Bakshi's backers had lost their faith during the filming process and everything gets more hasty when the end approaches. It was badly narrated, badly edited, odd-looking film that felt like no one really knew what it really should be. Someone (maybe Bakshi) felt it should be very artsy (just look at those colours and lines and odd shapes in the scenes with the ring wraiths), but someone also felt it should be very easy to look at and cutesy (Frodo Baggins especially with his large eyes and cuddly hair which make him almost ghastly).

And why on Earth did they use the technique of photographing the men first and then drawing on them and colouring them, when it was used only on orchs (and some men and elves when they are running)? Why isn't on all the time? And why are there so few orchs? It looks like they are having some sort of gang war, not the War of the Ring!

A friend said that Bakshi's version is better than Peter Jackson's hyperdrive version. I couldn't agree less. Bakshi's version is maybe more artful, but Jackson at least brings the happenings and the people to life. And it's entertaining, while Bakshi is almost torture.

Well, two points for trying. If it was another book, I'd give it only one (or one and a half).

I remember reading that Bernardo Bertolucci and Stanley Kubrick also dreamt of filming "The Lord of the Rings". Is this true? Or am I mixing this with something else? (Did they plan to film Hammett's "Red Harvest" and I was reading about this at the same time when I was reading about the film versions of Tolkien?) Certainly John Boorman meant to film Tolkien, but instead he made "Excalibur". He would've been better at drama of Tolkien than Jackson, who is more at home with action. (Action Jackson!)

Well, it seems it's time to go to bed...

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