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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Rocket Power Review

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Rocket Power was an animated series that came from Klasky Csupo who gave us Rugrats, Rocket Power was aired on Nickelodeon between 1999 until 2004 and it lasted for four seasons.

Great opening credits and a catchy theme song for Rocket Power, its one of my favorite theme songs for the older nickelodeon cartoons.

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Rocket Power is about the gnarly adventures of four children, the two rocket children Otto and Regina as well as their friends Sam and Twister.

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The four protagonists live in a fictional town called Ocean Shore where extreme sports including surfing, skateboarding, roller blading etc is very popular for the locals who live there.

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Every Episode has one of the characters from the show learning a lesson which normally has something to do with sports, one of my favorite episodes is from season 1 when Otto Rocket ditches his dads snowboarding equipment to promote his competitions equipment after he is manipulated by the douche bag in image above.

And after accepting to represent the competitions brand he learns the lesson that the other brand does not care for him and only wants him for profit, its a hard lesson to learn but its a real issue that a lot of celebs go through when they agree to promote certain brands.

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I like most of the characters on the show but my absolute favourites are the Rocket family (Reggie, Otto and their dad Raymundo) as well as Raymundo’s business partner Tito.

I never really liked Sam or Twister as much, I feel that the Rocket Kids have more personality and are genuinely more fleshed out characters.

Rocket Power was a really cool show that I have found more enjoyment from as an adult than I did when it first came out, it has pretty good animation, a fantastic voice cast, memorable characters and a lot of good morals as well as moments from the show that are hard to forget.

I wouldn’t say this is one of my favourite shows as I couldn’t get completely into it, I found the episodes seemed a little repetitive and there wasn’t much character growth in the series but apart from that Rocket Power is well worth a watch to see if you like it.

Normally with these cartoons I would like to talk about the theatrical films as well although Rocket Power didn’t have theatrical a movie (not including the made for TV films) so my opinion is purely based on the show.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Rocket Power

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.

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Sam and Max Hit the Road (1993) PC Review

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Sam and Max Hit the Road is the first release of the popular point and click adventure series which follow two anthropomorphic animal detectives as they try to solve various wacky crimes, the games are based on the original comic book series Sam and Max: Freelance Police which was created by Steve Purcell in 1987.

12333 The game is based on a 1989 comic book release where Sam and Max need to travel to various tourist locations spread across America in order to find a Bigfoot that has gone missing from a local carnival.

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The game play is similar to any-other game of the genre you will need to collect random objects throughout the game and then either give those objects to those who may desire them or they can be used to solve puzzles, the game does add the ability to question suspects in order to gain clues about where the player should head next or how the player can get past some of the more difficult challenges the game has to offer.

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For me although the game was a lot of fun like most point and click adventure games, the best part was the characters and dialogue, the game is filled to the brim with dry humour which coincidentally is one of the only types of humour I genuinely find funny   and let me just say that I was laughing my ass off throughout the majority of this game, I know a lot of people really like max for his psychotic personality and genuinely random moments but I have to admit that it was actually Sams character that I enjoyed the most, I found that Sam provided the majority of that witty dry humour that I love and although Max did this occasionally as well I just found it was funnier coming from Sam,  I don’t think it really helped that for the most part Max was fairy useless in this game, some of the puzzles require you to use Max in order to solve them but honestly this hardly ever happened and for the rest of the game play you take control of Sam which is a shame because I feel that Max would have been useful for a lot more puzzles that he actually was.

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The Dialogue actually uses voice acting which really surprised me and the best part of this is that it was actually quite impressive, of course Sam and Max sound great Max has a more energetic voice which really suits his character and Sam has a more calm and serious voice which really works for him, everyone you speak too also has a unique voice and not one single character sounds the same as another.

Apart from pausing and a few other commands the game completely uses the mouse and I had no issues at all with the general game-play however I did not like the few keyboard keys that were chosen for smaller things, for some reason you need to press F5 to go to the save menu and if I didn’t look up the manual I never would have figured this out, another key that I hated was pressing full stop to skip dialogue, its a really random choice when the developers could have easily chosen a much easier key that wasn’t in use, this wouldn’t be such an issue but when you keep having to speak to characters over and over again it can really get annoying having to keep listening to them repeat the same sentences.

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The art style and visual choices in the game are absolutely outstanding, the colours are bright, the art is smooth and the many smaller details such as the use of shadows, creases in clothes and the density of different materials such as fur really help bring the game to life, not the mention the constant animations that run in the background of the game, the game has a few still image cut-scenes with some basic animation and if you weren’t actually playing the game you might think they were from a cartoon due to how much effort the game designers put into the visuals.

005fe384ddb3e3394a57771f36203588 Sam and Max Hit the Road is a very good game which I think most people would really appreciate if they put aside some time to play it, It’s not perfect but its an innocent title that provides a lot of laughs and will leave you with some fond memories, I cant say I enjoyed it as much as I do Sierra Games but Lucas Art did a great job with this before the series got taken over by Travellers Tales 7/10

I hope you enjoyed my review of Sam and Max Hit the Road for Microsoft Windows and MS DOS.

By the way you can get yourself a copy of this game for fairly cheap via GOG.com

If you respect my opinion, I will respect yours

By Padawan

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

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Tomb Raider 2013 (PC, 360,PS3) Review

I have wanted a really dark, action filled and serious Tomb Raider game for quite some time now, little did I know that in the year of 2013 my dream Tomb Raider game would become a reality.

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A lot of people were sceptical when this game got announced and I am not going to lie I was as well, but can you blame us for being sceptical over a Tomb Raider game with an age rating of 18. The idea of a Tomb Raider game having such a high age recommendation is un-heard of, so how was this new Tomb Raider? lets take a look

You play as Treasure Hunter Lara Croft

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Lara and her crew are on a Research Vessel called the Endurance, Lara and the crew are looking for the Lost Fleet of Kublai Khan. When Lara notices an island in the distance she tells her crew that she wants a closer look, upon approaching the Island the Research Vessel is split in half separating Lara from the rest of the crew. Lara goes searching for the rest of her crew and she eventually finds her friend Sam who is sharing the heat of a fire with a man called Mathias.

Lara falls asleep and awakens to find both Sam and Mathias missing. Later on Lara discovers that Mathias and a bunch of other men have Sam captive and plan to use her as a sacrifice to Himiko the sun queen. Himiko’s soul is transferred to different females generation to generation, when one Himiko gets old or dies her soul is then transferred to the last chosen Himiko, Sam is the female chosen to be part of the soul transfer ceremony.

Also some mysterious force is preventing Lara or anyone else from leaving the island. Lara’s new mission is to find the rest of her crew, rescue Sam and to discover the curse preventing them from leaving the Island.

Tomb raider has such awesome game play, Lara will find multiple tools and weapons through out her adventure such as pickaxe which will allow her climb mountains, rope which she can shoot from her bow to bring down doors and to help her get to hard to reach areas.

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As well as useful tools Lara is also carries a pretty kickass arsenal of weapons this includes a Bow and Arrow, Hand Gun, Shotgun, Assault Rifle and a Grenade Launcher. Each weapon has its own uses the shot gun can be used to destroy wooden barriers that may be blocking your path, the grenade launcher can be used to blow up metal doors and the bow and arrow has multiple uses such as setting fire to wood and explosives and it also helps Lara to use the rope to more of an advantage.

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By far the most useful weapon is the bow and arrow not just because it has multiple uses but it can also be used to take out enemies quietly, if there is a group of enemies Lara can shoot an arrow at a near by wall, this will cause some of the enemies to search away from that area leaving just one poor guy to be killed without anyone else noticing.

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When your not sneaking around and killing bad guys, Lara will stumble across some unfortunate environmental hazards these can include Lara falling into a fast flowing river and having to avoid any obstacles in order to survive, or she may be running across a bridge which is quickly falling to pieces beneath her feet. One of my favourite parts of the game is about half way through Lara is using a parachute and has too avoid trees so that she doesn’t get injured.

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So what happens if you aren’t able to avoid these obstacles? oh dear

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As well as this the game controls perfectly, I played on keyboard and mouse and found no difficulty getting use to the controls what so ever, I even played a bit using an Xbox 360 controller and again the game controlled perfectly so no complaints for that. I do however have one complaint about the game play, There are way too many quick time events in this game, I don’t mind a couple but at least 50 percent of the game play requires them and it really gets annoying after having to use the same quick time events for the same things over and over again through out the game.

Now as it is a Tomb Raider game you will be pleased to know that there are loads of hidden tombs that Lara can raid, when in these tombs you will usually be faced with a puzzle or two before you are able to reach any treasure that hidden within the tomb.

As well some awesome game play, tomb raider also has a really awesome soundtrack, the music is all orchestrated and it sounds beautiful a lot of the time the music made me wonder if it was composed by John Williams because the music really sounds like something out of an Indiana Jones film, as you can tell this suited the game quite nicely.

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A beautiful soundtrack needs some beautiful visuals to go with it and let me just say you wont be let down with the way the game looks. Everything in the game looks amazing and you can tell that the developers really went a long way to make this game as breathtaking to look at as it is to play.

First of all Lara’s new character model is so freaking cool, she has this really awesome roughened up look to her that just says “stand in my way, I dare you” but she also doesn’t look like a complete killing machine which allows the player to sympathise with her character.

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Here are a few pictures of the Island

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Tomb-Raider forest

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Seriously the graphics and visuals in Tomb Raider are amazing, the game would often play a cut scene and when it returned to game play I wouldn’t move for a minute because I thought the cut scene was still playing, yeah the visuals are that good.

Tomb Raider was an incredible game, this is by far my favourite Tomb Raider game ever and it’s also the only Tomb Raider game I have enjoyed enough to actually finish, It has flawless controls, really awesome game play, breathtaking visuals and a beautiful soundtrack, the only problem is the constant quick time events and I really hope they work on those for the sequel.

Tomb Raider was one awesome adventure 9/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Tomb Raider
If you respect my opinion I will respect yours
By Padawan