fighting off the TZ disaster
and the CGI enhanced blockbuster beast
in the twilit and allegorical film art of Sir Peter Jackson
by Gary W. Wright
How fitting that in April of 1982 the unique accent, character and landscape of New Zealand filled the Temple Theatre in the allegorical Harley Cokliss film, BATTLETRUCK aka WARLORDS OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY (1982), a New Zealand/United States co-production made with Roger Corman and his New World Pictures. And how apropos that the film saw a fearless and determined hero named Hunter-played by Michael Beck-bring peace and harmony back to a post-apocalyptic New Zealand by defeating an Evil American warlord, Straker-played by James Wainwright-his chief Kiwi quisling, Willie-played by Bruno Lawrence-and his gang of Kiwi thugs, and trashing his monstrous and death dealing Battletruck, an eucatastrophic victory that also allowed Hunter to win the heart of Wainwright’s sweet Kiwi daughter, Corlie-played by Annie McEnroe-in the end. How also fitting that Jamie Selkirk worked as a dubbing editor on BATTLETRUCK.
For the film presciently presaged the arrival of the equally fearless and determined New Zealand film artist, Sir Peter Jackson, and the unique and Selkirk edited film art he would use to defeat Evil American film artists and their Kiwi quislings and bring peace and harmony back to the Temple Theatre after the fatal helicopter crash that killed actor/director/writer Vic Morrow and child extras Renee Chen and Myca Le around 2:20 am in the early morning hours of July 23, 1982 on the John Landis set of the allegorical and Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall produced Landis, Joe Dante, George Miller and Steven Spielberg film, TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE (1983). A feisty and unique Kiwi determination to end the dread allegorical Zone Wars and kick off a whole new era of CGI enhanced film art seen before the arrival of Sir Jackson in the twilit and allegorical Geoffrey Murphy film, THE QUIET EARTH (1985).
Significantly, the film began with Zac Hobson-implicitly linked to George Lucas given the film’s many allusions to the allegorical Lucas film, THX 1138 (1971), and played by Lawrence-waking up one fine and sunny July morning to find himself apparently all alone in Auckland. For all human life in the city had disappeared due to the implementation of the mysterious Operation FLASHLIGHT, a New Zealand/U.S. attempt to create a global energy grid that allowed planes to fly forever without need for fuel. Given the film’s many. Of course, this mysterious July morning reminded us that the TZ disaster occurred early in the morning of July 23, 1982, affirming the implicit TZ disaster addressing intent of THE QUIET EARTH.
This twilit theme was reaffirmed by the fact that the sight of Hobson wandering around an eerily deserted Auckland recalled the sight of Mike Ferris-played by Earl Holliman-wandering around an eerily deserted small town searching desperately for another person in the allegorical Robert Stevens telefilm, ‘Where Is Everybody?’ (1959), the first episode of the original TWILIGHT ZONE telefilm series. Indeed, hearing Hobson call out ‘…where are you?’ as he wandered around Auckland at the beginning of the film implicitly affirmed the film’s link to ‘Where Is Everybody?’ This was a fitting link, as this first TWILIGHT ZONE episode implicitly symbolized the desperate and lonely search for an audience that Rod Serling and company began with that first episode of their storied series, a nascent television series stuck in a twilight zone between cinema and live theatre aimed at an audience stuck in a suburban twilight zone between town and city. A frantic and lonely search that film artists around the world also were also forced to make after July 23, 1982 in a desperate attempt to reconnect with audiences outraged by the TZ disaster, regain their trust and lure them back to the Temple Theatre.
An interest in reassuring and winning over audiences outraged by the TZ disaster implicitly reaffirmed by the appearances of Joanne and Api-played by Alison Routledge and Peter Smith, respectively-a Caucasian woman and Maori man who, with Hobson, created another twilit trio of two males and one female who were trapped, like Chen, Le and Morrow, in the Twilight Zone. The sight of Hobson sacrificing his life, in the end, so that Api and Joanne could restart the human race like a latter day Adam and Eve also implied the hope of Murphy that older film artists like Lucas tainted by the TZ disaster would be replaced by a new generation of film artists who would soothe outraged audiences, bring harmony back to the Temple Theatre, end the dread allegorical Zone Wars and kick off a whole new era of Zone free and computer generated imagery (CGI) enhanced film art. A brave new CGI enhanced film world hinted at in the final scene of THE QUIET EARTH, which saw Hobson escape the deserted Twilight Zone after his self-sacrifice and wind up on a fantastic and interstellar new world. Hopes for a brave new CGI world that were gleefully dashed by Sir Jackson when he pulled film art down from the uplifting interstellar ending of THE QUIET EARTH to the outrageously angry, sarcastic, subversive and violent depths of his first feature ‘film’.
For unlike most sane film artists, who usually make a determined effort to win over audiences to their cause with a high quality first allegorical feature film, the film artist who would one day be synonymous with six of the finest fantasy films of all time united with Selkirk to do everything he could to dismay audiences and cause them to reject him with a shudder of horrified and contemptuous disgust by creating a first allegorical feature ‘film’ that was so deliberately bad, it could not really be called a ‘film’. A cinematic assault so bad and filled with so much realistic gore that it not only put the gory in allegory-and no doubt caused the more sensitive audience members to flee the theatres to vomit on the sidewalk outside-it was fittingly referred to as BAD TASTE (1987).
‘I’m coming to get you bastards!’
The ‘film’ began with Barry-played by Peter O’Herne-a member of the Astro Investigation and Defence Service (AIDS),
searching for the missing people of the small and strangely deserted coastal New Zealand town of Kaihoro. Of course, the strangely deserted town of Kaihoro evoked the strangely deserted town of ‘Where Is Everybody?’ and the eerily silent and deserted streets of Auckland in THE QUIET EARTH, implicitly affirming the film’s interest in the TWILIGHT ZONE and the TZ disaster. The resemblance of Barry to Richard Matheson, a writer on the original TWILIGHT ZONE telefilm series who also worked on TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE, reaffirmed the implicit twilit intent of the assault.
Soon Barry and his three other AIDS Agents-led by the ironically named, cigar smoking and Spielberg resembling Frank, played by Mike Minett-discovered that Kaihoro was deserted because alien and alienated invaders had killed and processed the inhabitants of the town to reinvigorate the sales of Crumb’s Crunchy Delights in their intergalactic fast food chain. This shocking revelation reaffirmed the ‘film’s’ implicitly twilit intent, for it evoked the man eating aliens of the allegorical Richard L. Bare telefilm, ‘To Serve Man’ (1962), from the third season of the original Twilight Zone telefilm series. This shock discovery also implicitly affirmed that BAD TASTE was the first Zone War salvo of Sir Jackson, for the madcap and tragicomic alien invaders of BAD TASTE evoked the equally madcap and tragicomic alien Lectroid invaders all of whom had the first name John in the twilit, allegorical and implicitly David Cronenberg toasting W.D. Richter film, THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI ACROSS THE EIGHTH DIMENSION (1984). Indeed, the madcap aliens would eventually drop their human guises and stumble around in their true rubber alien heads and hands, just like the aliens of THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI ACROSS THE EIGHTH DIMENSION.
This discovery of junk food and profit lusting aliens in their midst led to an all out and ultimately successful AIDS attack on the alienated invaders and their gleefully demented leader, Lord Crumb-played in human form by Doug Wren, and in alien form by Dean Lawrie-who resembled Irv Kershner, the director of the Lucas executive produced and implicitly Spielberg roasting allegorical film, STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980). Significantly, this all out attack evoked the equally determined and violent but snafu plagued and ultimately unsuccessful mission by a small group of Allied commandos led by Mel Gibson’s Captain Paul Kelly to find and rescue an important Japanese ‘defector’-Wang Yu’s Oshiko Imoguchi-on a Japanese held island in the South Pacific in the allegorical Tim Burstall film, ATTACK FORCE Z (1982). Curiously, as the commandos of Z Special Force-including Ted King and Jan Vietch (played by the ironically named John Waters and John P. Law, respectively) who were implicitly linked to indie film artists like David Lynch and Paul Verhoeven-and the island’s Chinese rebels and their martial arts flowing and implicitly Lucas and Oz linked linked leader, Lin Chan-Lang-played by Koo Chuan Hsung-were defeated, in the end, by the island’s Japanese troops and their Francis Coppola resembling commander, Watanabe-played by Lung Shuan-Burstall implied that his belief that Coppola would ultimately defeat Lucas, his Rebels and his Ozian themed film art and the emerging indie film artists of the time with another great film. At any rate, the allusions to ATTACK FORCE Z openly linked BAD TASTE to the fateful year of 1982 and implicitly affirmed the twilit intent of the film and that Sir Jackson couldn’t resist blasting Australian film art and film artists in his first feature film in the perennial antipodean brawl between the two countries.
Significantly, this successful attack on the alienated invaders implied that Sir Jackson was one of the few people on planet Earth who insanely sympathized with Spielberg in those dark years after the TZ disaster, making him a wingnut, indeed. This Spielberg supporting implication was implicitly affirmed by the scarf worn by geeky, bespectacled and clean shaven fellow AIDS man, Derek-played by Jackson. For the scarf shared the ‘cardinal’ maroon and gold colours of USC, where Spielberg’s friend, Lucas, graduated from film school, implicitly linking Derek to Lucas. Thus, with Derek and Frank implicitly linked to Lucas and Spielberg and Barry implicitly linked to Matheson, Sir Jackson implied that the attack of the AIDS men on the alien invaders and the house they had holed up in in Kaihoro symbolized an attack on all of the critics and film artists who had roasted Lucas and Spielberg since the TZ disaster in 1982.
Or perhaps, given the resemblance of Lord Crumb to Kershner, the successful AIDS attack on the junk food lusting aliens symbolically allowed Lucas and Spielberg to triumph over their own beastly blockbuster and movie tie-in merchandise lusts. For the indie New Hollywood film artist dream went south for Lucas and Spielberg soon after STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and its massive avalanche of movie tie-in merchandise were both unleashed in 1980. This implication was possibly affirmed by the end of the ‘film’, which saw Derek chainsaw through Lord Crumb from the top of his head to the bottom of his ass, then pulling on Lord Crumb’s skin to masquerade as Crumb and piloting the alien spaceship back to the alien invader home planet to personally kill all of the aliens, in the end. For this bloody awful conclusion implicitly allowed Lucas to implicitly triumph over Kershner and STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, and anticipated the attempt of Lucas to triumph over his critics with his STAR WARS Millenial Trilogy.
This bloody awful and over the top ending also implicitly affirmed Sir Jackson’s quest to succeed as a wildly original and creative film artist-a film artist who would out-Crumb wild and over the top American cartoonist, Robert Crumb, a goal implicitly affirmed by the gory murders of Robert and Crumb in BAD TASTE-and one day touchdown in the U.S. with a real film that would decimate Planet Hollywood. Unfortunately, while production values were good for such a low budget ‘film’, the ‘film’ was in bad taste, indeed, and was also dumb and out of touch with the Lucas and Spielberg roasting mood of the times. How all too fitting that Sir Jackson would deem his film production company Wingnut Films, as only a wingnut would make such a deliberately dismal ‘film’. Astoundingly, another infernal wingnut was implicitly impressed with this horrifically dismal effort and willing to fund another, for Sir Jackson soon returned with Selkirk to the Temple Theatre with another Wingnut ‘film’. Astoundingly, this second ‘film’ was as bad as the first, as Sir Jackson yet again made no attempt to win over audiences to his cause. In retrospect, this second cinematic assault could also be seen to be the second installment in the willfully awful THE LORD OF THE SCHLOCK trilogy. This second twilit and allegorical ‘film’, MEET THE FEEBLES (1989), also implicitly affirmed the young Sir Jackson’s desire to outcrumb Crumb.
‘What the hell, maybe I can sell it as a snuff movie.’
Indeed, the ‘film’ seemed to written, visualized and directed by Crumb. For the raucous and ribald misadventures of the funny animals of the MEET THE FEEBLES variety show as they struggled though rehearsals for the last televised show evoked the equally raucous and ribald misadventures of the funny animals of Crumb works like FRITZ THE CAT as much as the funny animals of THE MUPPET SHOW. The appearance of Robert the lovestruck hedgehog-voiced by Mark Hadlow-affirmed the implicit interest in roasting Robert Crumb as much as Robert in BAD TASTE. The appearance of some of the larger and more menacing animals in the film like Barry the bulldog, Bletch the walrus and Cedric the boorish Scottish boar-voiced and played by Hadlow, Peter Vere-Jones and Mike Boucher, respectively-also pointed the way to the larger and nastier beasts in the fantasy films to come.
Significantly, the gory ending of the ‘film’, which saw Heidi the spurned hippo-voiced by Hadlow and performed by Danny Mulheron-gunning down most of the Feebles with an automatic rifle like a hippo Terminator not only linked the ‘film’ to the equally horrific violence of BAD TASTE, but also implicitly affirmed a Landis roasting intent of the ‘film’. For this closing shooting spree recalled a similar incident in the allegorical Landis film, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981), that saw David Naughton’s young American college student, David Kessler-convalescing in a London hospital after being attacked by a werewolf while hiking with Griffin Dunne’s Jack Goodman through the moors of East Proctor-experience a horrific nightmare in which his family was gunned down by Nazi monsters while watching the Muppet Show at their home back in the U.S. In fact, Landis was implicitly roasted in the form of the gleefully amoral Trevor the rat-voiced by Brian Sergent-in the film.
The appearance of Trevor the rat also pointed the way to the next and even more angry, despondent, gory and incoherent cinematic assault by Sir Jackson, for the crass and salacious rat was the spitting twin of the legendarily vicious Sumatran rat monkey when the Infernal Wingnut teamed up again with Selkirk, Jim Booth, Peter Dasent, and Stephen Sinclair and Frances Walsh-co-producer, composer and co-writers of MEET THE FEEBLES, respectively-to finish off THE LORD OF THE SCHLOCK trilogy in dismal style with the twilit and allegorical Wingnut Films disaster, DEAD ALIVE (1991).
‘The little bugger bit me!’
Significantly, ‘Simian Raticus’, the Sumatran rat monkey, was not just related to Trevor, but was also a dimunitive relative of cinema’s archetypal blockbuster beast, King Kong, first seen in the allegorical Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack film, KING KONG (1933). Indeed, Ratty was captured in 1957 on a new Skull Island located southwest of Sumatra, anticipating Sir Jackson’s remake of that famous quest to capture and control the blockbuster beast in the new millennia. Ratty was also spirited away from its guardian natives in a prologue that recalled the prologues of the allegorical, Lucas executive produced and Kennedy and Marshall produced Spielberg films, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981) and INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984), and taken back to New Zealand.
Here the pint sized blockbuster beast was placed in a cage at the Wellington Zoo by a zookeeper-played by Tony Hiles-who looked like Dante regular Robert Picardo. This implicit interest in Dante was reaffirmed by the presence of American fantasy/horror/sci fi super fan Forrest J. Ackerman in the crowd of patrons at the Wellington Zoo at the beginning of the ‘film’. For Ackerman openly linked the ‘film’ to Dante via his cameo as a bookstore patron in the allegorical and implicitly Lucas roasting Dante film, THE HOWLING (1981). The presence of Roger-played by Harry Sinclair-reaffirmed the implicit interest in Dante, reminding us that he was a protégé of low budget indie film artist and producer, Roger Corman. Last but not least, the film’s mousy and reluctantly leonine ‘hero’, Lionel Cosgrove-played by Timothy Balme-resembled Dante, implicitly affirming that Sir Jackson was roasting Dante in DEAD ALIVE, perhaps for unleashing such twilit and allegorical cinematic disasters as the Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg produced films GREMLINS (1984) and GREMLINS 2: THE NEW BATCH (1990), on an unsuspecting world. Indeed, both films were alluded to in DEAD ALIVE, reaffirming the implicit Dante roasting intent of DEAD ALIVE.
Thus, the sight of Cosgrove and his sweet and loving girlfriend, Paquita-played by Diana Penalver-terminating hordes of zombies created by his ‘Mum’, Vera-played by Elizabeth Moody-after she was bit by Ratty at the zoo and infected with an undead disease that she passed on to others, and then triumphing over the grotesquely huge blockbuster beast that was ‘Mum’, in the end, implied the hope of Sir Jackson that Dante would triumph over the Dark and inane side that gave the world the dubious likes of GREMLINS and GREMLINS 2: THE NEW BATCH.
Of course, the gratuitously gory battle with the hordes of Kiwi undead and the beastly blockbuster ‘Mum’ evoked the equally gratuitously gory battle that evoked the battle of the intrepid AIDS men with the zombie aliens and Lord Crumb in BAD TASTE, truly bringing THE LORD OF THE SCHLOCK trilogy full circle. Indeed, the sight and sound of Cosgrove cutting his way out of the swollen belly of the monstrous ‘Mum’, in the end, evoked the sight and sound of Derek chainsawing his way through Lord Crumb at the end of BAD TASTE, literally bringing THE LORD OF THE SCHLOCK trilogy fully grisly circle. However, the sight of Cosgrove and sweet Paquita walking away, arm in arm, after the death of ‘Mum’ was a far cry from Derek’s implicit assault on Planet Hollywood in a commandeered alien spaceship at the end of BAD TASTE, implicitly affirming how far Sir Jackson had come since that first ‘film’ and how much his spirits had impressed with the relative success of his first two ‘films’. Unfortunately, Sir Jackson and company somehow managed to make DEAD ALIVE even more angry, despondent, incoherent, violent and willfully bad than BAD TASTE and MEET THE FEEBLES combined. At any rate, Sir Jackson implicitly vomited out all of the twilit and diseased nature of Hollywood film art at the time in THE LORD OF THE SCHLOCK trilogy and cured himself at last, for sanity, harmony and coherence finally prevailed when Sir Jackson teamed up again with Booth, Dasent, Moody, Selkirk and Walsh to implicitly roast Lynch in his first true film, the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced film, HEAVENLY CREATURES (1994).
‘Paul and I are going to Hollywood.
They’re desperately keen to sign us up.
We’re going to be film stars.’
Indeed, it was noticeable that Christchurch schoolgirl, Pauline Parker-Rieper-played by Melanie Lynskey-resembled both David Lynch and his favourite male lead, Kyle MacLachlan, star of such twilit and allegorical moving paintings and telefilms as DUNE (1984), BLUE VELVET (1986), TWIN PEAKS (1990-91) and TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME (1992). To affirm that implicit interest, Pauline’s name and its dimunitive, Paul, evoked MacLachlan’s Paul ‘Maud’dib’ Atreides in DUNE. This implicit interest in Lynch and his film and telefilm art was reaffirmed by the presence of a young boarder in her family’s house, for Laurie-played by Jesse Griffin-looked like a young Lynch and had a name that evoked Piper Laurie’s wily Catherine Martell in TWIN PEAKS. In addition, Parker-Rieper’s mother, Honora Parker-played by Sarah Peirse-resembled Richard Jordan’s loyal House Atreides Master Swordsman, Duncan Idaho in DUNE. The name of her father, Herbert Rieper-played by Simon O’Connor-also reaffirmed the film’s implicit Lynch addressing intent, for it evoked Frank Herbert, author of the allegorical and implicitly Robert A. Heinlein roasting novel, Dune (1965), that inspired DUNE.
The resemblance of Parker-Rieper’s friend, Juliet Hulme, and Juliet’s mother, Hilda-played by Kate Winslet and Diana Kent, respectively-to Laura Palmer and her cousin, Madeleine Ferguson-both played by Sheryl Lee-in TWIN PEAKS and TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME reaffirmed the implicit Lynch addressing intent of HEAVENLY CREATURES. Thus, the rise and fall into madness of Juliet and Pauline that led them to kill Honora, in the end, implicitly symbolized the rise of Lynch from the ashes of DUNE with BLUE VELVET and TWIN PEAKS to his fall with TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME, a sentiment that most people agreed with at the time.
Significantly, despite being another release from Wingnut Films, HEAVENLY CREATURES was a fine allegorical film and a hopeful sign that Sir Jackson was leaving behind the Infernal Wingnut that had unleashed THE LORD OF THE SCHLOCK trilogy on a shocked and disbelieving world, losing interest in outcrumbing Crumb, and moving on to a more mature and thoughtful Heavenly Wingnut stage of his film art career. At any rate, the tactful CGI enhancement of HEAVENLY CREATURES, its delight in the beauty of Christchurch and its surroundings in Spring and Summer and the fantasy Fourth WorId that Juliet and Pauline liked to escape to with its legendary King and Queen and male heir to the throne pointed the way to the lone and embattled heir to the throne of the spectacular and CGI enhanced fantasy films to come that world famous and Heavenly Wingnut indeed would make Sir Jackson. In fact, Sir Jackson was perhaps now already filled with a vague desire to become as renowned as the legendarily fictitious and implicitly Lucas linked New Zealand film artist, Colin McKenzie-played by Thomas Robins-a new ambition hinted at when Sir Jackson wandered down the garden path with Bollinger, Selkirk, Taylor, Walsh and Costa Botes in the allegorical pseudo-documentary, FORGOTTEN SILVER (1995).
Indeed, the sight of McKenzie heading off into the hills of New Zealand to create the allegorical film, SALOME, a historical epic about the implicitly Carrie Fisher linked Salome-played by Maybelle, who was played by Sarah McLeod-and John the Baptist-played by Robins-anticipated the sight of Sir Jackson heading off into the hills of New Zealand to film his epic fantasy films. Indeed, McLeod returned to the first fantasy trilogy as Rosie the beautiful barmaid, implicitly affirming the anticipatory nature of FORGOTTEN SILVER.
Or did it? For Colin and his brother, Brooke-played by Richard Shirtcliffe-created the McKenzie brothers. This evoked Bob and Doug McKenzie-played by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, respectively-of Second City Television (SCTV) fame and the twilit and allegorical Moranis and Thomas film, STRANGE BREW (1983). This implicitly linked the McKenzie brothers to Canada, suggesting that Canadians were being roasted in FORGOTTEN SILVER. As the name of McKenzie’s friend, Stan ‘the Man’ Wilson-played by Peter Corrigan-evoked both special f/x man Stan Winston of James Cameron’s Terminator films and Finance Minister Michael Wilson of the Conservative Government of ex-Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, either Cameron or Mulroney could be the real satirical target of FORGOTTEN SILVER. Making it appropriate that Michael J. Fox helped Sir Jackson stick to the Heavenly Wingnut path when he teamed up again with Lynskey, Selkirk-now also a co-producer-Walsh and HEAVENLY CREATURES director of photography Alun Bollinger, production designer Grant Major and effects man Richard Taylor on the twilit and allegorical film, THE FRIGHTENERS (1996).
‘The kids always get it!’
Curiously, the sight and sound of the implicitly Lucas linked psychic investigator, Frank Bannister-played by Fox-of Hollywood evoking Holloway Road exorcising the small and coastal northern California evoking town of Fairwater-actually, Lyttleton, NZ-of the murderous and implicitly Morrow linked ghost of serial killer John Charles Bartlett-played by Jake Busey-and his living girlfriend, Patricia Ann Bradley-perhaps linked to Morrow’s daughter, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and played by Dee Wallace Stone-reminded us that the northern California based Lucas was doing his best to persuade his fellow film artists to use CGI enhancement to exorcise film and the Temple Theatre of the TZ disaster. Thus, the success of Bannister implied the hope of Sir Jackson and Zemeckis that Lucas would finally exorcise the Temple Theatre of the ghosts of Chen, Le and Morrow and of the TZ disaster with a new and CGI enhanced film or entire STAR WARS trilogy that would kick off a whole new era of daylit and Zone free CGI enhanced film art. Indeed, to affirm the implicit Lucas addressing intent of the film, Cyrus, Judge and Stuart-played by Chi McBride, John Astin and Jim Fyfe, respectively-the ghost that helped Bannister throughout the film, evoked the ghosts of Anakin Skywalker, Ben Kenobi and Yoda-played by Sebastian Shaw, Alec Guinness and Frank Oz, respectively-seen by Luke Skywalker-played by Mark Hamill-at the end of the allegorical, implicitly Spielberg roasting and Lucas executive produced Richard Marquand film, STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983).
The resemblance of Bannister’s love interest, Doctor Lucy Lynskey-played by Trini Alvarado-to Luke’s sister, Princess Leia Organna-played by Carrie Fisher-reaffirmed the implicit Lucas supporting intent of the film. With its nods to TWIN PEAKS and TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME, the film also implicitly roasted Lynch again as in HEAVENLY CREATURES, either in the form of Ray Lynskey-played by Peter Dobson-or FBI Special Agent Milton Dammers-played by Jeffrey Combs-who evoked MacLachlan’s FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper. Indeed, the appearance of Troy Evans as the possibly Walt Disney linked Sheriff Walt Perry affirmed the additional implicit Lynch roasting intent of THE FRIGHTENERS, as he played the principal of Twin Peaks High School in TWIN PEAKS.
THE FRIGHTENERS also implicitly affirmed its interest in exorcising the dread allegorical Zone Wars. For the licence of Bannister’s car was PYZ 732, openly linking Bannister and the film to the July 23, 1982 date of the TZ disaster. Bannister’s ability to literally know when a person’s number was up and they were about to be killed by Bartlett or Bradley by suddenly seeing a CGI enhanced number glow on their forehead also reaffirmed the film’s implicit interest in the Zone, as this eerie ability recalled the similarly eerie ability of Lt. Fitzgerald-played by William Reynolds-to know when his fellow American soldiers were going to die fighting the Japanese in the Phillipines when their faces suddenly glowed in the allegorical Richard L. Bare telefilm, ‘The Purple Testament’ (1960), from the first season of the original TWILIGHT ZONE telefilm series. The film also alluded to the Allan Kroeker telefilm, ‘Something In The Walls’ (1989), from season three of the Eighties TWILIGHT ZONE television series, implicitly reaffirming the film’s link to the Twilight Zone. Of course, the appearance of Wallace-Stone openly linked the film to 1982 via her appearance as Mrs. Mary Thomas in the allegorical and implicitly Lucas addressing Spielberg film, E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL (1982).
Curiously, THE FRIGHTENERS was one of a number twilit and allegorical films like Kathryn Bigelow and James Cameron’s STRANGE DAYS (1995), and Luc Besson’s THE FIFTH ELEMENT (1997) to implicitly urge Lucas to create and return to the Temple Theatre with a CGI enhanced film that would end the dread allegorical Zone Wars and kick off a new CGI enhanced film art era like the allegorical and implicitly Spielberg roasting Lucas film, STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE (1977). That implicit belief that Lucas would save the cinematic day disappeared rather abruptly when Lucas did release a new and implicitly Cameron and Spielberg roasting allegorical film, STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE (1999), for the film was universally hated. Sir Jackson implied that he was one of the many people who had lost faith in Lucas when he teamed up again with Major, McLeod, Moody, Selkirk, Taylor, Walsh and HEAVENLY CREATURES costume designer Ngila Dickson to implicitly reaffirm his commitment to the Heavenly Wingnut path and to astonish and delight the world by combining the higher quality and Fourth World fantasy realm of HEAVENLY CREATURES with the exuberant and creative CGI of THE FRIGHTENERS and the blockbuster beasts and monstrous hordes of THE LORD OF THE SCHLOCK trilogy to create the epic and CGI enhanced allegorical artbuster, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (2001), inspired by the allegorical J.R.R. Tolkien novel, The Lord Of The Rings (1954-55).
‘Just let it go!’
Indeed, Sir Jackson implicitly affirmed his loss of faith in Lucas and his implicit belief that it was time for Lucas to sell the moisture farm and retire right at the beginning of the film by having the implicitly Lucas linked Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins-played by Ian Holm-give up the One Ring of Power to his nephew, Frodo-who curiously resembled a young Justin Trudeau, and was played by Elijah Wood-and leave Bag End in the Hobbiton area of the Shire for Rivendell and the friendship of the implicitly Morrow linked Elrond-played by Hugo Weaving-at the urging of the implicitly Lynch linked Gandalf the Grey-his love of smoking and magic for magic’s sake evoking Lynch’s love of smoking and film art for film art’s sake, and played by Ian McKellen-who was perhaps linked to Gandhi Mohandas in The Lord Of The Rings, given that the names of Gandalf Mithrandir evoked those of the Mahatma. So as to leave the Temple Theatre to a younger generation of film artists symbolized by Frodo and his three Hobbit companions, Meriadoc ‘Merry’ Brandybrook, Samwise ‘Sam’ Gamgee and Peregrin ‘Pippin’ Took-played by Dominic Monaghan, Sean Astin and Billy Boyd, respectively-who would hopefully succeed in doing what earlier generations of film artists had not succeeded in doing-that is, destroy the One Ring of Power-its golden hue evoking Oscar gold-by casting it into the fire of Mount Doom in Mordor and finally break film art free from the beastly CGI enhanced blockbuster lusts and the TZ disaster and end the dread allegorical Zone Wars, brutal fighting between film art for film art’s sake artists and beastly blockbuster profit lusting film artists symbolized by the equally brutal fighting between the Forces of mostly non-CGI enhanced Good and the Forces of often CGI-enhanced Evil-led by the implicit Dark Side of Hollywood, Sauron-played by Sala Baker-so as to end the dread allegorical Zone Wars and bring peace forever to Middle-earth and the Temple Theatre. Curiously, the Forces of Good also had to fight Sauron’s favourite puppet, the implicitly Cameron linked Saruman-played by Christopher Lee-no doubt linked to Cameron due to Cameron jokingly shouting, ‘I’m King of the World!’ as he accepted the Oscar for Best Director at the Academy Awards in 1998, and played by Christopher Lee-despite the fact that the Canadian auteur was simply quoting a line from Leonardo Di Caprio’s implicitly Cameron linked Jack Dawson in TITANIC.
Significantly, it was noticeable in the flashbacks to the earlier battle that saw Elves and Men unite against the Dark Forces of Sauron that Isildur-played by Harry Sinclair-who refused to heed Elrond’s advice and destroy Evil forever in Middle-earth by casting the One Ring of Power that he had cut off the right ring finger of Sauron into the fire of Mount Doom, was implicitly linked to Spielberg. An all too fitting link, given that it was the success of his allegorical film, JAWS (1975), that divided New Hollywood and got some of the film artists of New Hollywood lusting after beastly blockbuster profits and Oscar gold too and anti-commercial New Hollywood film artists rising up to roast and stop them in their allegorical and blockbuster beast roasting film art.
To the delight of audiences, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING was a great, moving and memorable cinematic experience that affirmed that indie film art could be united with CGI enhanced blockbuster to create an artbuster, like Lucas failed to do with STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE but Cameron succeeded in doing with the twilit and allegorical film, TITANIC (1997). A heady, inspiring and uplifting experience that easily won over audiences in need of inspiration so soon after 911. Indeed, how appropriate that, by accident or design, the film began with a voiceover (VO) by Cate Blanchett’s Galadrial that reminded audiences that
…the world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in
the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was…
This VO evoked the new war on terror that had suddenly emerged, implicitly making the struggle to defeat the Dark Forces of Sauron as much a symbolic struggle to defeat the Dark Forces of Osama Bin Laden.
And so the gruesome Gollum who created THE LORD OF THE SCHLOCK trilogy had indeed been replaced by sweet Smeagol-thank God! A discomgollumated Smeagol-played by Andy Serkis-who showed up to help Sir Jackson team up again with Astin, Boyd, Lee, McKellen, Monoghan, Walsh, Weaving, Wood, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING composer Howard Shore and all of the rest of the stellar cast and crew continue the epic and artbusting allegorical battle against the CGI enhanced blockbuster beast in THE TWO TOWERS (2002).
‘This creature is bound to me. And I to him.’
Curiously, Gollum looked, talked, grimaced and acted like Jean Chretien, Liberal Prime Minister of Canada at the time. Indeed, Gollum’s love of killing fish implicitly affirmed his link to Canada, reminding us that successive Liberal Governments led by Prime Minister Chretien in the Nineties foolishly, heedlessly and unrepentantly oversaw the killing of the cod fishery on the Atlantic Coast and then the salmon fishery on the Pacific Coast. This reaffirmed the implicit link of Frodo-played again by Wood-to Justin Trudeau, the heir apparent of the Liberal Party and current Prime Minister of Canada, thus implying that Gamgee-played again by Astin-was implicitly linked to Paul Martin jr., the other big man in the Liberal scene in Canada in 2002. Fittingly implicit links, given that Tolkien implicitly linked the fussy and peace and quiet loving bachelor Bilbo ‘Billy’ Baggins of the Hill in Hobbiton to the equally fussy and peace and harmony loving bachelor Prime Minister William ‘Billy’ King of Parliament Hill in Ottawa throughout the allegorical novel, The Hobbit (1937). Thus, the desperate and determined quest of Frodo, Gollum and Sam to bring the One Ring of Power to Mount Doom and destroy it in the volcanic fire within implied that Sir Jackson was warning Justin Trudeau not to be too eager to reach for national political power in Canada, lest he be warped by it like Chretien.
Unlike the implicitly Cameron linked Saruman-played again by Lee-whose Evil machines and machinations, mutant Uruk-hai were ironically wiped out at his tower at Orthanc with the water that Cameron loved to explore at the end of the film. The film’s implicit interest in Cameron in particular and Canadians in general was reaffirmed by the presence of Bernard Hill as King Theoden of Rohan, for Hill played impressionable and doomed Captain Smith in TITANIC. Thus, Sir Jackson implied that a two pronged Canadian allegorical strategy was at work in THE TWO TOWERS, with the tale of Frodo, Gollum and Sam an implicitly cautionary Canadian political allegory, and the tale of Gandalf-played again by McKellen-and Saruman a cautionary Canadian film artist allegory. With both cautionary allegorical tales linked by Aragorn and Arwen-played by Viggo Mortensen and Liv Tyler, respectively-who were implicitly and modestly linked to Sir Jackson and his film art.
In addition, how fitting that King Theoden was implicitly linked to Sir Ridley Scott, as 2002 was the twentieth anniversary year of the release of the eerily prescient and twilit allegorical Sir Scott film, BLADE RUNNER (2002). It was equally fitting that Edoras, the capital of Rohan, would be situated in the highlands of central Otago. For they were last seen on film in BATTLETRUCK, also celebrating its twentieth anniversary in 2002. The arrival of the implicitly Sean Penn linked Faramir-played by David Wenham-also implicitly reaffirmed that Sir Jackson hoped that the younger generation of film artists would bring harmony back to the Temple Theatre by breaking film art free from the TZ disaster and ending the dread allegorical Zone Wars. An end to cinematic battling also implicitly striven for by Sir Jackson in the victory of mostly real Dwarven, Elven and Human Good over CGI enhanced Evil in the brutal battle of Helm’s Deep at the end of THE TWO TOWERS, and which he implicitly sought to achieve when he returned with the stellar cast and crew of the saga to finish the trilogy in fittingly epic style with the twilit and allegorical artbuster, THE RETURN OF THE KING (2003).
‘Don’t let go.’
Which Sir Jackson and his people pulled off in fine fashion which saw Frodo-played again by Wood-destroy the One Ring of Power in the fire of Mount Doom with the help of Gollum-played again by Serkis-thus ending any concern that young Trudeau would be warped by national political power if he followed in his father’s footsteps and was elected Prime Minister of Canada. Allowing the mostly organic Forces of Good to defeat the CGI enhanced Forces of Evil, thus ending any concern that Sir Jackson would be warped by the success of THE LORD OF THE RINGS and allowing Aragorn-played again by Mortensen-to be crowned King, wed Arwen-played again by Tyler-and peace to return to Middle-earth and the Temple Theatre, in the end. This brought THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy to a satisfying end that was worth the eleven Oscars-including for Best Director and Best Film-showered on the film by the august Academy and that affirmed that Sir Jackson had, indeed, become a Heavenly Wingnut.
Alas, while harmony was brought briefly back to the Temple Theatre, the dread allegorical Zone Wars continued to rage. And so, after resting from his epic Ring quest, Sir Jackson eventually sighed resignedly, teamed up again with Major, Selkirk, Serkis, Taylor, Walsh and THE LORD OF THE RINGS director of photography Andrew Lesnie and returned to Skull Island to capture and kill the beastly blockbuster relative of the vicious Sumatran rat monkey of DEAD ALIVE and also remake the favourite film of Landis and himself in his twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced kongbuster, KING KONG (2005), inspired by the allegorical Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack film, KING KONG (1933).
‘I’m someone you can trust, Ann. I’m a movie producer.’
Curiously, the film began with shots of different caged animals in a zoo-including a MGM evoking lion-evoking similar shots in the zoo scene in DEAD ALIVE-in fact, they were probably shot at the Wellington Zoo again. This implied that Sir Jackson was taking advantage of his newfound fame and fortune to remake DEAD ALIVE on a bigger scale on one level in KING KONG. Significantly, these opening shots of caged zoo animals were intercut with grim and grey shots of Dirty Thirties poverty and despair in the streets of a digitally realized New York and with the exuberant colour of a live and MEET THE FEEBLES evoking human variety show, all to the tune of the jaunty, allegorical and Al Jolson sung Ray Henderson, Sam M. Lewis and Joe Young number, ‘I’m Sitting On Top Of The World’ (1926), which implied that Sir Jackson found his newfound fame and fortune to be a precarious and imprisoning rather than a liberating experience. Imprisonment soon experienced by the naïve and aspiring actress, Ann Darrow-played by Naomi Watts-and by the perhaps Landis linked playwright, Jack Driscoll-played by Adrien Brody-who were kidnapped by the unscrupulous and implicitly Sir Jackson linked film artist, Carl Denham-played by Jack Black-and led off on an unexpected cinematic Venture.
Aboard the ship, it was noticeable that a crate containing a Sumatran rat monkey was hidden in plain sight in the hold, openly linking the film to the film art of Sir Jackson and affirming that he was implicitly roasting himself in the form of the tragicomic Denham in KING KONG. And letting his hair down and having some much needed fun doing it, after the epic and sustained seriousness of THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. But also within the gleeful self-mockery staying serious enough to remind himself not to get too close to or obsessed with the bigger film art he was now able to create, for fear of the slathering and insatiable blockbuster beast turning on him, and trampling him, and squishing him into Kiwi paste, as happened to some unfortunate people in the closing rampage of King Kong-played by Serkis, who also played Lumpy the cook-through a CGI realized New York. In addition, given that the old, tired and battle scarred Kong evoked the equally old, tired and battle scared Lucas by 2005 with the failure of his implicitly Cameron and Spielberg roasting STAR WARS Tragic Trilogy to enfire audiences, the implication was that Kong symbolized Lucas. Indeed, the six bi-planes that strafed Kong atop the Empire State Building at the end of the film evoked the six STAR WARS films, affirming the implicit link of Kong to Lucas.
All of which reminded us that the original KING KONG also had an implicit film artist roasting allegorical intent. For Cooper and Schoedsack implied that the then current and unprecedented decision of Walt Disney to take on Hollywood’s beautiful blonde filled live action feature film art with his own idiosyncratic and feature length hand animated film art would be just as disastrous as the love of the animated blockbuster beast, King Kong, for the beautiful and live action Hollywood blonde, Ann Darrow-played by Fay Wray-in the end. Indeed, the resemblance to Disney of Englehorn-played by Frank Reicher-captain of the Venture, affirmed the implicit intent of the original KING KONG. The choice of Canadian actress Wray to play Darrow also affirmed the implicit intent of the film, reminding us that Disney’s father was a Canadian. The dinosaurs encountered on Skull Island reaffirmed the implicit Disney roasting intent of the original KING KONG, reminding us that the first allegorical hand animated film was Winsor McCay’s GERTIE THE DINOSAUR (1914)-indeed, one of the dinosaurs on Skull Island looked like Gertie.
Alas for Sir Jackson, while it was understandable that he would want to let relax and have some fun after making THE LORD OF THE RINGS, KING KONG was too much like the bloated and mindless blockbuster beasts it was parodying. Certain sequences like the scene that saw Denham and company desperately flee a group of dinosaurs on Skull Island or the battle that saw Kong take on and take out a twilit trio of tyrannosaurs-perhaps meant to evoke the implicit roasts of Cameron, Landis and Spielberg in the STAR WARS Tragic Trilogy-not only went on too long but were way too much gratuitous CGI enhanced mayhem. Sir Jackson implicitly agreed, for he abandoned the CGI enhanced blockbuster beast and New Zealand for the first time for a small and moving American made film that implicitly meditated on another Canadian when he teamed up again with Lesnie and Walsh on the wistfully CGI enhanced and Spielberg co-executive produced allegorical film, THE LOVELY BONES (2009), based on the allegorical novel, The Lovely Bones (2002), by Alice Sebold.
‘Susie’s in the in-between.’
Curiously, the tale of murdered teen Susie Salmon-played by Saoirse Ronan-evoked the tale of murdered teen Laura Palmer in TWIN PEAKS as in HEAVENLY CREATURES. However, in this case Salmon was implicitly linked to Cameron, and her murderer was her creepy bachelor neighbour, George Harvey-played by actor/director/writer Stanley Tucci-implicitly linked to the then bachelor Lucas throughout the film. Indeed, as with the scarf of Derek in BAD TASTE, the sweater and pants Salmon wore alive and dead evoked the colours of USC, the alma mater of Lucas, affirming the implicit Lucas roasting intent of the film. Allusions to the Terminator films and TITANIC also affirmed the film’s implicit interest in Cameron. The resemblance of Detective Len Fenerman-played by Michael Imperiali-who investigated the murder of Salmon, to Mordechai Richler reaffirmed the film’s implicit interest in Canadians. And how appropriate that Susie’s last name was Salmon, given the implicit interest in the decimation of the Pacific salmon run in THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy.
Significantly, after her murder, Salmon spent the rest of the film in a CGI enhanced purgatory that evoked Juliet and Paul’s Fourth World in HEAVENLY CREATURES. A Fourth World that allowed her to influence events in reality enough that she was able to avenge her death by bringing about the death of Harvey, in the end. A death caused by falling backward off a height to his doom, evoking the similar deaths of Gollum and Kong and anticipating another deadly backwards tumble in a Sir Jackson film to come. Thus, by allowing the implicitly Cameron linked Salmon to kill the implicitly Lucas linked Harvey, Sir Jackson implied that he was coming to the support of Cameron and repaying Lucas for implicitly linking Cameron to Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen Dark Jedi Anakin Skywalker throughout the STAR WARS Tragic Trilogy. Not that Cameron needed the support, as he terminated all challengers that year with his allegorical and implicitly Lucas and Martin Scorsese roasting film, AVATAR (2009).
Curiously, and perhaps inspired by Spielberg’s work as an executive producer on THE LOVELY BONES, Sir Jackson acted as a co-producer himself on the allegorical Neill Blomkamp film, DISTRICT 9 (2009). Not surprisingly, given the implicit fear of CGI enhanced blockbuster beasts seen in his own film art, Sir Jackson implied that he sympathized with Blomkamp’s fear that TZ disaster inspired CGI film enhancement would rob film art of its vital humanity and turn it into all CGI digitoons as surely as the implicitly Cameron linked Wikus Van de Merwe-played by Sharlto Copley-transformed into a CGI alien over the course of the film after alien ‘shrimp’ landed in Johannesburg in 1982. An implication that made it ironic that Sir Jackson teamed up with Kennedy and Spielberg to produce the allegorical and all CGI Spielberg film, THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN (2011), a film that saw Sir Jackson implicitly roast himself in the form of the nefarious and Daniel Craig voiced Sakharine and Serkis return as the voice of Captain Archibald Haddock, but whose allegorical intent was otherwise obscured by billions of bilious barnacles.
As for Sir Jackson, he implicitly continued his fascination with Crazy Canucks when he teamed up again with Holm, Lee, Lesnie, McKellen, Serkis, Shore, Taylor, Walsh, Weaving, Wood and Cate Blanchett-who played Galadriel in THE LORD OF THE RINGS-to take on yet another twilit blockbuster beast and another odd bachelor in his next allegorical and CGI enhanced artbuster, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (2012), inspired by The Hobbit.
‘You’ve got the wrong Hobbit!’
Indeed, the film began with Holm’s Bilbo Baggins scribbling away at Bag End wearing a white shirt and red waistcoat, a colour combination that evoked the red and white colours of Canada. This evocation of Canada reminded us that by the time the film appeared, I had appeared on the scene with my Zone War website, setting off a sub-genre of Zone War film art that implicitly addressed my site and myself such as the allegorical Jason Reitman film, YOUNG ADULT (2011). If you liked my message, you created a film that implicitly supported my site and I. Of course, if you did not like my message, you created a film that implicitly roasted my site and I. Sir Jackson implied that he was of the latter opinion. For Azog the Defiler-played by Manu Bennett-the CGI enhanced and super irritating super Orc only mentioned in passing in Chapter One of The Hobbit and who had a particular fondness for harassing the implicitly film artist linked Dwarves, implicitly symbolized the poor ol’ Gardevil and his super irritating Zone War essays. For it was noticeable that in his first embattled appearance, Azog lost his left hand in combat to uncrowned and implicitly Reitman linked Dwarven King, Thorin Oakenshield-played by Richard Armitage. This loss left the super Orc Azog the Righthand forever after, evoking Gary the Wright. This implicit interest in the film artists and film ‘scholars’ of the Greater Toronto Area was supported by Kili-played by Aidan Turner-for he resembled the infamous Jian Ghomeshi.
Sir Jackson also implied that the tragicomic misadventures suffered by the lonely and implicitly Richard Branagh linked bachelor Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins-played by Martin Freeman-and the thirteen implicitly film artist linked and dragon loot lusting Dwarves that he was persuaded to work for as a ‘burglar’ on their quest to travel to Erebor, the Lonely Mountain, to defeat its occupying dragon, Smaug, and to reclaim their mountain kingdom and its treasure symbolized a satirical roast of the various top film artists and their love of box office loot. Sir Jackson also implicitly warned again about the dangers of CGI enhanced blockbuster beasts, as most of the Evildoers were linked to CGI in the film as in THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. In addition, he implicitly linked Bigelow to the humourously androgynous Elvish King of Mirkwood, Thranduil-played by Lee Pace-in a flashback, and then for the rest of the trilogy, perhaps as a result of Bigelow being presented the first Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture for her allegorical and implicitly Lynch addressing film, THE HURT LOCKER (2008).
All of which was a far cinematic cry from the original implicit allegorical intent of Tolkien. For Tolkien implicitly and satirically likened the attempt of President Franklin Roosevelt, the morally stunted and imperialist loot lusting League of Nations and the fussy and middle-aged Canadian bachelor Prime Minister, William ‘Billy’ King, of Parliament Hill in Ottawa to end the Great Depression and bring happiness, health, peace and prosperity back to the world-or the attempt of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, the morally stunted and imperialist loot lusting colonies of the British Empire and the fussy and middle-aged bachelor Prime Minister King to end the Great Depression and bring happiness, health, peace and prosperity back to the world-to the attempt of Thorin Oakenshield, his twelve madcap and dragon loot lusting Dwarf companions and the equally fussy and middle-aged bachelor Hobbit, Bilbo ‘Billy’ Baggins, of the Hill in Hobbiton to end the depressing reign of smug Smaug the acquisitive dragon and bring happiness, health, peace and prosperity back to the abandoned and destitute cities of Dwarves and Men in the vicinity of the Lonely Mountain haunts of Smaug in Middle-earth in a New Deal for Dale, if you will.
Indeed, to support that implication, it was noticeable that Smaug arrived from the north in a roaring wind before devastating the prosperous cities of Dwarves and Men, reminding us that the Roaring Twenties proceeded the Great Depression, and that 1929 began as the Year of the Dragon-and a fittingly Earth linked and gold loving dragon, to boot-before changing to the Year of the Snake in early February in the view of Chinese Astrology. Thus, it was fitting that Smaug died in a great crash from the air after being killed with an arrow by Bard the Bowman, reminding us that the Great Crash of ’29 kicked off the Great Depression-a Great Crash caused by American stock speculators, making it fitting that the letters for USA were hidden within Smaug, on top of Smaug being an anagram for magus. It was also fitting that even after the death of Smaug-a healing catastrophe that Tolkien called an eucatastrophe-the problems the dragon caused would only be cleared up by the Battle Of The Five Armies, anticipating the need for the Second World War to fully clear up the problems caused by the Great Depression.
Incidentally, Tolkien may have been inspired to link either Chamberlain or Roosevelt to Oakenshield by the implicitly Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin linked little men, Hans and Angeleno-played by Harry Earles and Angelo Rosito, respectively-in the allegorical Tod Browning film, FREAKS (1932). A film that implicitly linked Canada to Daisy and Violet Hilton, for the sweet Siamese twins were as joined at the hip as Anglophone and Francophone Canada were to this day at the centre of the country. Indeed, Daisy’s stammering Anglophone lover, Roscoe-played by Rosco Ates-and Violet’s suave Latin, and, presumably, Francophone lover, with the stereotypically Gallic name of Mr. Rogers-played by Demetrius Alexis-affirmed the implicit link of Daisy and Violet Hilton to English and French Canada. Significantly, FREAKS also implicitly warned aspiring German strongman, Adolf Hitler, and his perfect ubermenschen obsessed and ahuman Nazis that they would be swept away by the imperfect but human nations of the world as surely as the swaggering, murderous and Hitler resembling and implicitly linked circus strongman, Hercules-played by Henry Victor-and his implicitly Nazi party linked blonde trapeze artist girlfriend, Cleopatra-played by Olga Baclanova-were swept away by the imperfect but human ‘freaks’ of their travelling circus.
Indeed, the famous wedding banquet scene reaffirmed the implicit intent of FREAKS, for the sight of the film’s idiosyncratic players sitting around a large dining room table evoked then current pictures and newsreels of the equally idiosyncratic players of the League of Nations deliberating around an equally large table. Humourously, the presence of the Mussolini resembling Schlitze the Pinhead-played by Schlitze-affirmed the implicit allusion to the League of Nations. The final transformation of the warm, kindly, law abiding and vitally human players into grim and determined killers crawling through the rain and mud towards the supine and frightened form of Hercules with combat knives in their mouths and hands, in the end, also reaffirmed the implicit intent of FREAKS. For this memorable conclusion evoked the equally startling transformation of the warm, kindly, law abiding and vitally human Allied soldiers into grim and determined killers crawling through the rainy, muddy and bloody quagmire of no man’s land towards the trenches of the Germans and their allies at Gallipoli and the Western Front in World War One in an implicit warning that the same thing would happen again if Hitler and his Nazis did not watch out. For as the Second World War indeed proved, ‘…if you offend one, you offend them all’.
At any rate, despite all of the many changes made to the source material to drag the tale there and back again for a trilogy of films-!madre dios!-THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY was well received by audiences. Encouraging Sir Jackson to team up again with Peirse and the rest of his stellar cast and crew on the allegorical and CGI enhanced artbuster, THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG (2013).
‘You must stay on the path. Do not leave it!’
And so the quest of Oakenshield-played again by Armitage-and his stubborn and stalwart Dwarves to reach Erebor, the Lonely Mountain, kill the greedy dragosaur, Smaug-voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch-and reclaim the mountain kingdom and its treasure continued, aided by burglar Baggins-played again by Freeman-harassed by Azog the Wrighthanded super Dorc-played again by Bennett-and his CGI enhanced Orc followers all the way. As did the link of CGI enhancement to Evil blockbuster beasts, particularly Smaug. A journey that audiences loved, leading Sir Jackson and his talented cast and crew to finish off the epic quest in the allegorical and CGI enhanced artbuster, THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES (2014).
‘What gold is in that mountain is cursed.’
Not surprisingly, Smaug-voiced again by Benedict Cumberbatch-was finally dispatched by Bard-played by Luke Evans-hero of the Dale. And in the battle between Dwarves, Elves, Men and one Hobbit-played again by Freeman-over the riches in Erebor, pesky Azog the implicitly Gardevil linked super Dorc-played again by Bennett-was finally killed-that monstrous beast!-by Oakenshield-played again by Armitage-along with all of his CGI enhanced minions-including a Troll who curiously resembled Pablo Picasso! Allowing the vital, moral and organic Forces of Good to triumph over the CGI enhanced Forces of Evil, and peace to return to the Lonely Mountain and to the Temple Theatre, to the delight and acclaim of audiences. Proving that, in the end, indeed had Sir Jackson transcended his early Dark years and become a Heavenly Wingnut.
Thompson, Kristin. The Frodo Franchise: THE LORD OF THE
RINGS and modern Hollywood. Berkeley, CA: University
of California Press, 2007.
Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit, or, There And Back Again.
London: HarperCollinsPublishers, 2011.