The Lord of the Rings – The Christmas Classics nobody ever expected

I want to start by saying that this is not a review, it is a discussion about what these movies mean to me, my history with them and why they remind of Christmas and are Holiday Classics for myself. I am only discussing the Peter Jackson Lord of Rings movies and not the books nor the animated version by Ralph Bakshi.

I don’t have photographs of my childhood with these films so I am using images from google, if anyone has an issue with an image I use please email me at my contact email address in the contact me section of this website and I will change it for another.

Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Fellowship of the Ring was released in December of 2001 and I was eight years old, my grandmother had come to visit the day after her and my Grandad went to the cinema to watch a film called The Lord of the Rings.

I remember asking her to tell me about it and she told me it was load of rubbish and was so boring and stupid that she fell asleep not long into the movie, this may be surprising but keep in mind that when she was younger she grew up with the books and while I haven’t read them myself yet I am sure they are quite different to the film adaptations.

After hearing about this boring movie eight year old me left the room to play and knowing myself it was probably Crash Bandicoot on the PS1 although I cant be too sure.

One year later on Christmas day 2002 I opened up one of my presents and it was that boring movie my grandmother told me about, I left it alone for a while as I was more interested in my new toys but on Christmas it has always been tradition for my family to watch a movie together and that year my mother wanted us to watch Lord of the Rings.

I quickly became obsessed with this movie and would play the tape almost daily, I’m not sure what really got me into the films but I do know that I had recently became interested in Wizardry thanks to Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone which was released in theatres around a year prior to when I was gifted Fellowship.

Gandalf the wizard became a favourite character of mine and even my friends, we all began quoting the famous “YOU SHALL NOT PASS” line while playing games in the garden and I we used to love re-watching his battle with the Balrog time and time again.

Another Scene I remember watching vigorously as a child was the fight with the Cave Troll, definitely one of the most intense parts of the movie and for an eight year old it was very memorable as a battle, again this may be due to Harry Potter which also had a troll fight, I dont like comparing the two but in my childhood this makes a lot of sense now that I look back almost 20 years later.

The movie ended on a fairly un-conclusive note so while young, I was still aware that there was more of the story to be told but at that age I was fairly distracted with school, video games and other hobbies so I never gave this much thought until the second movie ended up in my hands.

The Two Towers (2002)

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers released in theatres December 2002 I remember seeing posters for the movie but I was too young to be allowed to see the movie in the cinema, instead I would have to wait until the following Christmas before the tape was finally added to my collection.

I don’t remember the Christmas that I received this very well but I do have some very fond memories of this film and this is probably the video tape out of the entire trilogy which I played the most growing up.

It was the first interaction that the hobbits had with the creature Gollum here played by Andy Serkis who voiced the character and did live action work before the animation. Gollum is easily the best part of the film, he is very funny especially when he starts arguing with his other personality Sméagol.

I always wanted a Treebeard action figure when I was younger thanks to his scenes in the Two Towers, as a nine year old I was very jealous of Merry and Pippin getting to ride in his arms, I think he was a really lovable character and to this day he is still one of my favourite parts of the film.

I could never understand the whole Gandalf the Grey turned Gandalf the White when I was a child, It’s not that I didn’t like the character It was just a little bit too complicated for me to grasp back then, re-watching the film recently I must say it is really impressive how the cinematography, clever use of lighting and editing makes it seem like its Saruman before the big reveal.

The battle scene for Helms Deep was replayed so many times on the video tape that this section began to wear out before the rest of the video did, me and friends would often rewind this part and re-watch it, it is generally a very intense and fun battle scene, the fellowship only manages to get a 300 man army to take on 10’000 orcs so your really on the edge of your seat watching this.

There is also the competition between Legolas and Ghimli which adds some comedy to the scene and of course how can you forget Legolas riding the shield down the stairs while shooting orcs.

Again the film ends on a cliff hanger leaving me only desperate to get part three with me not realising that it would be the final chapter of this story.

The Return of the King (2003)

December 2003 saw the Return of the King hitting theatres but as per usual I wouldnt see the movie until a year later.

2004 was a tough year for my family, money was running low, savings were non existent and due to the stress of making enough money to feed the family my father had to take up a job abroad. One of the most difficult losses especially for my parents was the loss of our house, we couldn’t afford the upkeep so we were forced to move to an old flat in the city.

Its fair to say that I wasn’t expecting Lord of the Rings that year so I was very happy when it was gifted to me by my Auntie on Boxing Day when we did our usual Christmas greetings of the extended family.

Return of the King is easily in my opinion the best film in the trilogy, I have a lot of memories of this movie and they start from the very beginning, the movie opens with two brothers Sméagol and Deagol fishing on a boat, Deagol falls into the water and finds the One Ring, he refuses to give it to Sméagol for his birthday so he gets strangled to death and this starts the rings corruption of Sméagol and the creation of the Gollum.

I used to hate the scene with Denethor eating as it is really gross, I had a weak stomach when I was a kid so I used to close my eyes at this part, I suppose that’s why it always stuck with me.

The army of the undead was unbelievably cool for ten year old me, I used to love the big fight in this film, it had orcs, trolls, elephants and yes even the ghosts!, even Legolas and Ghimli’s competition was continued in the film and most prominently in this scene, it was tons of fun and both my favourite part of the movie and the videogame adaptation that was released.

There is a part of the film after Frodo leaves Sam he gets tricked into entering the cave of the Spider Shelob where he gets injected with a numbing liquid and wrapped in web, this part used to scare me and is really disturbing, when Sam removes the web from Frodo’s face he looks pale and dead and it isn’t revealed until later on that he is still alive.

For many fans the scene where Sam carried Frodo up Mount Doom is one of the most beautiful and memorable and if I ever review these films I will likely fully analyse this moment.

For me one of the most memorable parts of Return of the King was when Frodo refuses to drop the ring into Mount Doom, the entire trilogy had been building up to this moment so it is difficult to see Frodo be so corrupted that he doesn’t want to let go, of course Gollum jumps on top of an invisible Frodo and bits his finger off, this moment snaps Frodo out of his control and he pushes Gollum to his death in turn destroying the ring and saving Middle Earth.

The ending where Frodo, Bilbo and Gandalf go off on the boat I didn’t fully understand when I was younger, I assumed they were going on more adventures, and while this is kind of the case I now realise that they were going to the undying lands where they would settle down until the end of time.

And that’s it, that is all of my fondest childhood memories of Lord of the Rings, as I stated this was not a review but more of my experiences with the films growing up and why I watch them every Christmas, of course they are not Christmas movies but for me they do remind of the holiday and were some of the most memorable gifts I ever received, I know I skipped over a lot of moments in the films and if I ever review them I will do them full justice in a proper review but for now it was nice for me to look back at these epics and why they mean so much to me.

Happy Holidays everybody, I know my Christmas offerings have been less than usual this year, I may try to squeeze one more review out if I am feeling up for it but if not.

Have a great holiday season and I will see you all in 2021 !!

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Thank You for all of your support.

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Spongebob’s Truth or Square (2009) Video Game Review

Spongebob’s Truth or Square is a 2009 action plat-former which shares its name with a TV special that came out previously. The game was released for various video game systems Including the Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, PSP and the Nintendo DS. The DS version was more uniquely made to fit the systems capabilities however minus a few extra stages the PSP version is almost identical to its home-system counterparts.

It’s the Krusty Krabs eleventy seventh Anniversary and Spongebob has lost the Krabby Patty Secret Formula. Plankton offers to use a machine to explore Spongebob’s memories and with a little help from his friends who help him remember his past can Spongebob figure out that happened to the formula?

The In-game hub world takes place during a party at Spongebob’s Pineapple house. I enjoyed this area as it was very interactive allowing players to trigger small animations and upgrade the homes furniture. You are also able to purchase in game character outfits and health upgrades.

The main gameplay is a 3D platformer where the goal is complete a main mission in each stage to find an object from Spongebob’s past. After finishing a stage you can return to find missions allowing you to discover more items.

Discovering sleeping Patricks within each level is not required but can still be done, these are actually fairly challenging to find and can add more game play to what can be considered a very short game.

There are various power-ups in the game that you can find for temporary advances in combat. For me the best powerup was the water propeller which gave Spongebob the ability to shoot water from his body. Sandy, Patrick and Squidward are also available as power-ups to help Spongebob defeat the attacking robots, these were all fine enough but they were not anything special or really that memorable.

There are various giant robots to defeat in the game, these boss fights can be a challenge for younger gamer’s but once you get patterns down they should be defeated with ease.

I played the Nintendo Wii version of the game which was developed by Heavy Iron Studios who also did Battle for Bikini Bottom. The music here is almost entirely recycled from Battle for Bikini Bottom. As it was in that game the music is a ton of fun and suits each area naturally well.

Spongebob’s Truth or Square is not a remarkable game by any means, I will be honest in saying that it is very basic and nothing really stands out. Its a very short game and personally I thought it was extremely easy which made it a little bit boring. I can only really recommend this as a very cheap game and a good choice for very young gamers who have little experience with video games.

4.7/10

My Favourite Spongebob episodes – Pizza Delivery

In this season 1 classic, Squidward and Spongebob are sent to deliver the first ever Krabby Patty Pizza to a hungry customer.

Of course this wouldn’t be a very memorable episode if nothing went wrong in this case it was a losing control of the delivery boat and running out of fuel in the middle of nowhere forcing Spongebob and Squidward to deliver on foot while fighting the urge to eat the cheesy treat.

A much more caring side to Squidward is shown in various scenes where he tries to help Spongebob instead of just focusing on himself. The final scene is very touching and in my opinion really shows the character in a much more positive and sympathetic light than he has been shown in other appearances.

Overall a great episode that packed with laughs and its fair share of emotion.

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

Thank You for all of your support.

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

Anastasia (1997) Review

When I was a child I remember visiting my Grandmother and watching a bunch of Animated movies that she had on old VHS tapes, Anastasia just so happens to be one of those movies, as a kid I thought it was amazing and I watched it all of the time but now that I am an adult I haven’t seen the movie in 13 years.

Until now

Was it as good as I remember?

Anastasia

The first thing that caught my eye was that Anastasia was made by Don Bluth who is famous for some of the greatest animated movies of all time such as An American Tail, The Land before time and the Secret of Nimh. I had a strong feeling that Anastasia would be just as amazing as some of his other work especially since I loved the film with a passion when I was a child.

Let me just begin by saying that the animation was incredible, everything in the film was extremely well detailed, the animation moved very smoothly and the use of a mixture of light and dark colours really helped build up the atmosphere for multiple scenes that were shown throughout the movie. The animation blew me away and it can easily compete with the animation of some of the Disney films of the time.

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The movies plot was really cool if not a little hard to follow.

A party is being thrown to celebrate 300 years of ruling of the Romanov Family, The Dowager Empress Marie is leaving for Paris and a very young Anastasia is sad that Marie is leaving.

Marie gives Anastasia a music box so that she will always remember her, at this point the films villain Rasputin enters the palace and is immediately told to leave, Rasputin says that he will not stop until the entire Romanov Family are dead.

Rasputin sells his soul so that he has the power to for-fill his dark purpose. With his new Dark powers Rasputin Controls the Civilians of the town to charge the palace, with little choice left the Romanov family flee Russia to find safety.

Anastasia and Marie are saved by a servant boy called Dmitri, Marie and Anastasia are about to board a train.

Marie manages to to board the train but Anastasia does not, they grab eachothers hand but they slip from each other and Anastasia falls unconscious.

We cut to 10 years later and Anastasia is leaving an orphanage to try and find her real family and to learn about herself and her past.

The films plot is really well structured and it allows enough time for the audience to be able to understand and sympathise with all the main characters that are introduced throughout the movie.

The music is really hit and miss with me because I love all of the instrumental music used to help build the atmosphere of certain scenes, its really well conducted and the final result being a combination of Choir and Orchestra is something really beautiful to listen too.

I cant say the same for the voice acting or any of the songs that are performed vocally, all vocal performances seemed really emotionless it felt as if the actors and actresses didn’t really want to be lending their voices to the film and because of this it really makes the whole experience a little boring and hard to watch with the exception of Christopher Lloyd who voices Rasputin because he did a remarkable job voicing the films main antagonist, you could really tell that Christopher Lloyd loved playing this role in the film.

I also did not enjoy the majority of the vocal songs for the exact same reasons as I previously stated again with the exception of the movies villain song which was catchy but I wont be adding it to my I-pod any time soon.

Watching Anastasia again really reminded me of a lot of warm childhood memories but it deeply saddens me that I found so many issues with such an important movie from my past.

I may not have enjoyed it as much as I had hoped that I would, but Anastasia will always be a very important film to me as it helps me remember what it was like being a little kid and visiting my Grandmother and even though my grandmother has not yet passed on, this movie will always be one of my fondest memories of her.

I hope you enjoyed my review of Anastasia

Have you got any films from your childhood which are very dear to you?

If you respect my opinion, I will respect yours

By Padawan