Have you ever heard Elijah Wood laugh? How to really laugh Straight-up bust with shock and joy? It is Great. He doesn’t really do much in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but you can still see him do it in The Lord of the Rings DVDs if you carefully go through the scene selection menus the return of the King to find one of two hid easter eggs there. Here’s how to find one of the best jokes in the entire film adaptation of Lord of the Rings.
2021 marks The Lord of the Rings 20th anniversary, and we can’t imagine exploring the trilogy in just one story. So we go back and forth every Wednesday year-round, examining how and why the films endure as modern classics. This is Polygon’s Year of the Ring.
It’s a joke call from Dominic Monaghan posing as the German interviewer “Hans Jensen” and asking Elijah Wood increasingly ridiculous questions with a remarkably consistent German accent. It’s a great sucker, but it’s also a good reminder of how different Fan and internet culture was there when these films were released – if these films had come out today, we might be sick of them.
If you’ve never seen the interview, it’s now a lot easier to watch thanks to YouTube than it was in 2004. As he notes in a post-recorded introduction, Wood Monaghans bought Schtick in full and will be taken away for the next eight minutes as “Hans Jensen “Asks him about his beautiful eyes and in the best exchange in the video when he has” front vigs “.
(It’s also worth noting that this prank call is a product of its time – both because it’s a prank call and because Monaghan uses his German character to make blunt statements about her co-star’s sexuality. It’s not terribly egregious, however the joke plays with a discomfort that hints at the everyday homophobia of the early 00s which wasn’t that long ago!)
The video is a joy in part because it’s very funny – effortlessly from flinching absurdly to an angry non-sequitur about Wood’s former dolphin co-star Pinball machine – but it’s also steeped in the meta-narrative surrounding the Lord of the Rings films and how the cast who played their core community became best friends as the trilogy went on film. That friendship was a big part of the film’s folklore – they all got tattoos of the Elvish character for “nine,” a trifle that comes up enough for Dominic Monaghan to talk about it in detail an interview from Entertainment Weekly 2016and Orlando Bloom commemorated the event with a photo he shared on Instagram Around the same time.
The interesting thing about this backstory is the way it is preserved and remembered. It pops up occasionally when, for example, people remember Reddit The time when Viggo Mortensen and Karl Urban bought Gunpla together while doing press in Japan. If the Lord of the rings Films came out, online fandom was very present, but social media was not – fans gathered on what looked like prehistoric internet, exchanged messages and posted on isolated message boards and fan pages. Lots of them like this Viggo Mortensen
Lord of the Rings isn’t the only movie celebrated this way, but it’s one of the biggest blockbuster phenomena at a time when fans were online and movies weren’t. Something like Dominic Monaghan playing a prank on Elijah Wood would not only be hidden on a DVD for the biggest fans, but shared on the movie’s Instagram account. It would be one of many orchestrated stunts for viral advertising – an appearance The masked singer, maybe one more Name is, a shoot with Wired To answer the most frequently searched questions on the Internet, a Jimmy Kimmel Segment reading hate tweets – a long charm offensive that might make people wonder if anyone is in this movie indeed liked each other. (Or possibly confirmed these questions.)
These modern media flashes can have great moments – Tom Holland is promoting it Spider-Man: Homecoming by upstaging Zendaya in drag-on Lip sync battle is a classic of the shape – but they are also a great way to ruin what was previously fun. Now the press tour is
These lines were not drawn so cleanly Lord of the Rings happened. And that’s what it felt like, the way it was event, not projected. Algorithms weren’t as instrumental in deciding who saw what, social media hasn’t sparked outrage and speculation, and online fandom was still primarily a spectator sport – studios were absolutely not looking for court or getting involved with online forums. So the fans were spinning their wheels in relative darkness, and now when we remember these movies we remember this fandom too – which, of course, is an extension of a very long line of people who love the world of Middle-earth.
It is fitting that a trilogy of films about wonderful and frightening myths emerging from the shadows for one final hurray would also spawn its own mythology that feels like one of the last of its kind. That distance between the Internet as it was and the Internet as it is Lord of the Rings feel like a piece of the past, like the following Hobbit Trilogy and upcoming Amazon show never will.
Something that happens on the internet now always happens, is always present and is shared on the same social networks. But with Lord of the RingsAll we have is the stories and a really good prank call.