There are just a handful of movies that I watch every year and The Lord of the Rings are some of those. If you remember our Reel Lists Christmas post, the LOTR are films that I watch around the Christmas season. Ever since their December release each year, I have associated those films with the Christmas holidays.

I had hoped to watch The Fellowship of the Rings again before this post, but was unable to. However, I am planning on sitting down and watching it tonight and am pretty excited about that. Just thought you should know.

Part of our vision at Reel Thinking is to cultivate a community of cinematic thinkers. For too long, it seems that the two – thinking and watching movies – have been separated. However, we hope that our posts assist discussion in reference to this medium. While we want to draw parallels to Scripture and highlight various worldviews, sometimes highlighting the creativity of the film is biblical and that’s what I want to do today.

Before we do that, I need to confess something. Prior to my viewing of The Fellowship of the Rings, I hadn’t read one of Tolkien’s works (don’t judge me). I knew the LOTR and The Hobbit were classics, but I hadn’t read them. I actually didn’t read that much at all until I was ministered to in college through Reformed University Fellowship, but that’s another story.

I went into the film not knowing anything about it, other than it being a classic and that it should be appreciated. I went to the film with other nerds…um…people who knew and loved the books, so I knew I should carry a certain amount of reverence to the cinema that day. Even with this perspective, I wasn’t prepared for what I was going to see.

I remember the musical score alone, caught my attention (I own the CD). However, when the first battle scene came along, I realized I was watching a unique film. The detail and creativity of that opening scene resonated with me. Specifically, as the camera pans the battle scene and arrows knock some goblins off the edge of a cliff, that was creatively captivating. I thought of the detail that must have taken, yet it happened in a matter of seconds. Even though the filmmakers knew this scene would be off the screen almost as soon as it appeared, they still gave great care and detail to it.

[Spoiler] The one scene that made me love the film, and it’s a scene that still resonates with me each time I watch it, was the “death of Gandalf”. As Gandalf falls to his “death” and the fellowship exits the cave, the scene is amazing. The music that accompanies the slow motion movements and expressions of the characters was excellent. It’s a scene I want to drag a bit longer, but it always seems to end too soon. (BTW the music is featured in the Man of Steel trailer).

John Piper once referenced the LOTR films in a sermon calling Christians to use them as a spring-board for worship. That is, when we see the creativity on screen and are moved in awe, see that as worship. However, the Christian’s worship doesn’t merely stop at the screen. There is a Creator behind the screen and I’m not talking about the director. Praise God for creative filmmakers.


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