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Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Oh, You're Jealous Now!

I just saw "The Two Towers" with my twelve year old daughter and a friend of mine. Changes in the storyline are fascinating, the movie is great.

Now, non-spoiler alert - I have a Bold Prediction for the third movie: Smeagol Lives! Holy cow, you say, that would totally change the ending. Well, yes, but that's a Good Thing.

First, who is Smeagol? Smeagol is the hapless creature who discovered the Ring way back when, before it passed to Bilbo Baggins. The power of the Ring has nearly consumed him, and we see him as the broken, pitiable, Ring-obsessed Gollum. So, one theme of the story is, can Smeagol be saved, or does evil consume him? This is similar to the challenge faced by Frodo, whose kindness may succeed in redeeming Smeagol.

The book is a bit of a downer on these points. In one sense, the Ring triumphs - Frodo cannot destroy it, and, after a struggle, Gollum claims it for his won. Only through luck (or divine intervention - the same force that originally prompted Bilbo to find the Ring) does Gollum to fall into the Crack of Doom, destroying the Ring. Good guys win, but through God's help, not their own virtue.

So, why might Smeagol live? First, my twelve year would would be thrilled. But thematically, it would show the triumph of human decency, a message that Hollywood might prefer. I might too, so I am not knocking it.

In a re-write for the movie, I can see an "Excorcist" type moment - C'mon, you remember the priest taking the dive after the evil spirit left Linda Blair and possessed him? In my proposed scenario, "Gollum" wrests the ring from Frodo, "Smeagol" reclaims himself, and in a moment of moral clarity leaps into the chasm. Thus Smeagol is triumphant over evil and, with his death, saves us all, so have a Merry Christmas, and don't forget Easter - whoa, Nellie, that may be cutting too close the bone for a Hollywood flick. But it beats the book.

Now for a bit more of a Hollywood moment, suppose "Smeagol" does what Frodo could not, and tosses the Ring into the fire. Once the magic of the Ring is broken, "Smeagol" ages quickly, but with enough time for a touching death scene. I give this a "lamer alert" but I imagine the screen writers considered it, and perhaps it could work.

So, we are predicting a more upbeat ending. But hopefully not overboard. Smeagol Lives! - but not for long.

I have a cool theory about Saruman, too. Sometime in the next fifty-two weeks, I'll try to post it.

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