Today would have been a great day in my life if it was twelve years earlier, or if I were twelve years younger.
Let me explain.
I had the privilege of being in college when the original Lord of the Rings movies were released. Fellowship was released in December of 2001, when I was a sophomore. The Two Towers arrived my junior year, and The Return of the King during my senior year.
And it was a big deal, let me tell you.
Back then, I knew the names of all nine members of the fellowship. I could pronounce Maedhros correctly. I could discuss the merits of Book 4 relative to Book 3. This made me a moderate LotR fan. (The serious LotR fans were able to name Thorin’s ancestors for seventeen generations and conjugate Elvish verbs.)
Back then, at college, the movies were big events. I’d guess that on the night each one was released, about two thirds of the student body showed up at the nearest theater for the midnight screening. It was the social event of the season.
Why? Can’t really say. When I was nineteen or twenty years old, there was something immeasurably cool about watching vast armies chopping each other to pieces. The fact that the armies were entirely digital, with no physical existence to speak, did not reduce the coolness of it. It was cool. It was awesome. It was amazing.
Thirteen years later, it’s no longer cool or awesome or amazing to me. I would venture to say that if someone rounded up those hundreds of Harvey Mudd students who sat is lines outside the theater for six hours in December of 2002, most of the them would express similar feelings. Hence I’ve not bothered to see any of the Hobbit movies.
Why is a particular movie–or anything, for that matter–cool at one stage of life and uninspiring at a later stage? I don’t know. Somebody should investigate that question.