Explores how "The Lord of the Rings" has influenced Western popular culture for the past 50 years. RINGERS explores the real foundations of Middle-earth; a community of true fans who share a common bond. Moving beyond "cult classic" and over several different generations, the film unearths countless people gathered under the banner of 'Ringer' -- academics, musicians, movie stars, authors, filmmakers, and a plethora of pop junkies. Celebrity interviewees include Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Clive Barker, and David Carradine. RINGERS features a dynamic rock-driven score with musicians who were influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien. Several indie recording artists have provided new covers of songs from previous "Rings" adaptations. Produced in association with the popular fan-site TheOneRing.net, RINGERS stands as the most comprehensive film document of the ongoing fandom of "The Lord of the Rings." Narrated by Dominic Monaghan, RINGERS traverses the hippie counter-culture and ...
I attended the premiere of "Ringers" in Park City and have now seen the film three times. Somehow, it got even more enjoyable with each viewing. "Ringers" is a film that will obviously appeal to fans of the books and movies but you do not have to be a Tolkien or "The Lord of the Rings" devotee to enjoy it. The film is smart, interesting, and entertaining and even those few poor souls who have never read the books or seen the films might find Ringers to be a fascinating social study. The filmmakers are obviously very knowledgeable and passionate about Tolkien and this shows from the first frame till the last.
"Ringers" covers Tolkien's influence on pop culture from the original publication of the book in the 50's, through the 60's hippy counter-culture, 70's rock and roll music, and the current internet craze grounded in the website, theonering.net. It contains many satisfying interviews with movie and music celebrities and others known to be Tolkien enthusiasts. The movie celebs include those from the "The Lord of the Rings" films themselves. It has a good share of comments from luminaries in the field of literature as well, each without a hint of literary snobbery. I was pleasantly surprised by the addition of fun graphics and audio that were reminiscent of Monty Python. The somewhat contrived footage of groovy hippies getting way into Tolkien just adds to the wonderful campy feel of the segments. Being a hopeless music freak, I feel that the music is one of the highlights of the film. I often found myself focusing on it, sometimes distracting me from the visuals (but that's just me), which made my multiple viewings even more valuable. Even though there were plenty of Celtic-type tunes included in appropriate spots, the film is mostly driven by pounding rock music, including the miraculous offering of Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On". For those who do not know, several classic rock bands wrote music based on the books and this fact is discussed in the film in satisfying depth. I should also mention that there is some gorgeous footage of New Zealand, the movies' Middle-earth. The filmmakers traveled around the world in their quest to make this film representative of the fans, who come from every part of the planet.
Of course, as expected, there are plenty of fan interviews and anecdotal blurbs. They range from the serious and poignant to the fun and silly. Although the focus appears to be more on the hard-core costumed fans instead of the more mainstream ones, there is a good representation of both. A couple interviews with fans who might be described as being on the outer fringe of fandom caused major chuckles from the audience, but these fans are treated with genuine affection by the interviewer. They are never made to look foolish - only fun-loving and passionate. And passion is what this film is about. Passion for a book...a trio of movies...and the people who created them. Passion for a story that will, no doubt, live on forever because its themes are timeless.
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