For the days leading up to Christmas, Strangers and Aliens presents 24 Christmas movies that aren’t Christmas movies, but really kind of are, for various reasons.
What it’s supposed to be: The opening chapter of Peter Jackson’s epic adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epoch/epic, The Lord of the Rings.
Why it’s a Christmas movie: Frodo and the rest of the “fellowship” leave Rivendale on December 25!
Thoughts: The date that Frodo and the “company of the ring” leave Rivendale is found in an Appendix at the end of The Lord of the Rings, so don’t worry if you are wondering if A. You missed something, or B. I’m crazy. You didn’t and I’m not.
But that date IS something that is important. Tolkien went out of his way to include that date. The day that Frodo and friends chose to step out to destroy the most significant evil the world has ever known was December 25. For Tolkien, this has significance.
Everything Tolkien wrote was to have significance for the plot or themes he was building.
What gives this more significance is that in The Return of the King, when the ring is destroyed, the date of Sauron’s defeat and the destruction of that evil force, is March 25. Now, the significance of March 25 is something I was unaware of until I did some digging, when I found that this is the date of the first Good Friday.
The traditional date celebrating the birth of Christ is the date Tolkien used for the day the course of events leading to the destruction of the ring began. And the date of Christ’s death is marks the destruction of that ring and the beginning of a new era.
This is no accident. Tolkien knew the story he was telling and knew the traditions he was pulling from and knew the themes he wanted to develop.
To Tolkien, Christmas marked the beginning of the end of an era. And Good Friday marked the end of an era. With Christmas, the one who would bring an end to the destructive reign of sin was born; with Good Friday and Christ’s death, the sting of death, sin, was destroyed. Tolkien has gone on record as not liking allegory, but with the themes The Lord of the Rings and the dates he details in the appendixes, he proves that he had no problem with allusion and thematic metaphor.
Is It Naughty or Nice? With Fellowship of the Ring we are given the promise of the best portrayal of Tolkien’s masterpiece of the written word on the silver screen. The following two movies followed through on that promise.
And while it may not be explicit on the screen, the events on the screen do take place on December 25th! That means it’s a Christmas movie, which is icing on the cake!
Santa Ben’s Verdict: Nice.
Your verdict? Let me know below in the comments!
Next: Lady and the Tramp
Previous: I Am Legend
You can follow this series of posts by clicking here: Strange Christmas Movies
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