Comfort Films

Struggling with a herniated disc for the past month, I have found myself immobilized and cranky during April and in dire need of diversion. The weather has been annoyingly volatile too which is standard April weather in this part of the world. It’s either too hot to wear spring clothes or then it’s snowing. Certainly excuses enough to return to my favorite comfort watches on the screen for when I am feeling moody and tired!

Gandalf & Frodo

It’s safe to say that the Lord of the Rings movies by Peter Jackson remain my favorite films of all time. Having rewatched the extended versions of the trilogy again last week for the umpteenth time, I feel like they’re the gift that keeps on giving: each time I discover a new detail or line I hadn’t noticed as much before. Or maybe it’s just me focusing on different themes as I get older – great art grows and changes with the observer. The passion and craft that has gone into the 20 year old masterpieces is as impressive as ever. To this day they stand far above the rest.

There’s something uniquely comforting and uplifting about watching the LOTR films. From the moment the magnificent Shire music by Howard Shore starts to play and Gandalf’s cart is arriving in Hobbiton, it’s as if I’m transported back to the past and greeted by a dear old friend. There are only very few movies, books and games that can create that wholesome, almost therapeutic effect for me. Here is a familiar place under the sun where I can relax and recharge for a little while. The stories and characters of Middle-Earth are like immortal companions and the world like a warm blanket to wrap myself in.

I wonder if we’ll ever see another production of LOTR’s calibre but I doubt it. The movie industry has changed too much and failures like Amazon’s dreadful Rings of Power only serve to drive the point home. Apparently there’s an animated movie coming out by the end of this year called War of the Rohirrim, co-produced by some of Peter Jackson’s old crew, but I’m not holding my breath for anything.

(P.S. Just after posting this today, I learned of the passing of the great Bernard Hill this May 5th. He was a wonderful actor and among my favorite characters in the films. Rest in Peace, Théoden King!)


  1. It does make me wonder, sometimes, how differently we all see things. I watched the three Peter Jackson movies at the cinema as they came out, mostly because it was something of a cultural necessity, but I found it hard to keep my attention on them full-time, even for a single viewing. I certainly never felt like going back and watching any of them again.

    Conversely, I’ve watched the Ralph Bakshi animated version several times and would very happily do so a few more. I saw that one at the cinema, too, and I remember it as a very powerful experience in which I didn’t once find myself thinking “how much longer is this going to go on – I think my legs have gone to sleep.”

    1. Hah well, you know what they say about taste! That said, I don’t think the cinema experience is really the ideal setting to appreciate the LOTR trilogy. Of course it’s very epic and all but it’s also overwhelming and as you say, can become uncomfortable in a bad chair. Re-watching them at home at my leisure, especially also the extended versions, has increased my love for them tenfold over the years. Characters I barely took notice of have grown to be favorites and I keep making connections to other Tolkien works. I don’t think that kind of richness can be taken in at the first viewing.

      As for the Bakshi films I quite enjoyed them but it’s been a very long time ago for me. They seem hard to come by these days but I should probably look into that!

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