Bright Lights Film Journal

Queer for the Rings: Frodo and Sam Find Fellowship

Pretty boys in danger: How yummy!

Poor Frodo Baggins! He spends almost all his time in The Fellowship of the Ring 1) anticipating penetration; 2) suffering penetration; or 3) recovering from penetration. And on those rare occasions when he hasn’t got the penetration blues, Frodo’s wondering if he should stick his finger in a ring, which, when aroused, swells to enormous size and develops a blood-red line down its center (maybe I’m projecting, but it looks like a vagina to me).

But why kvetch, cavil, and complain? The Fellowship of the Ring is a lot like rape: if it’s inevitable (and it sure as hell is), you may as well lie back and enjoy it. Just put your mind on hold and let that booming soundtrack o’erwhelm all capacity for independent thought.

Certainly the rest of America is. The Fellowship, and its near-clone, Harry Potter, are box-office behemoths the likes of which we have not seen since Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace in 1999, soon, of course, to be followed by Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones1 in 2002.2) The gigantic success of these three means we’ve got at least two more Rings in our future, three more Harrys, and four more Star Wars.

Can anyone tell these films apart? What’s the difference between Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobe, Richard Harris as Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, and Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey?3 Who knows? And who cares?4)

So go see young Frodo and his glorious Renaissance ringlets, and sturdy Sam, who looks to have been born with the word “Catcher” imprinted on his forehead, along with two other lovable young lads with big hairy feet5 whose names I didn’t quite catch. They’re quite a pair, those rascals, always in a scrape, and a damned good thing too, or otherwise there’d be no plot. Yes, and don’t forget Legolas the elf, so gay he makes C3P0 look like John Wayne. Aye, there be queer doings down by the Shire. Have a look for yourself, but don’t bend over to pick up the soap.

  1. Did you say “Attack of the Clones”? Is George Lucas capable of irony? Is George Bush? Don’t hold your breath. []
  2. The only real competition for these films in 2001 was Shrek, a jivin’ the classics semi-parody of a quest film whose technical wizardry is almost as soulless, and almost as manipulative, as the Disneyland it mocks. (I confess I did enjoy the “I’m a Believer” conclusion. Monkees rule! []
  3. All three series may be the result of the little-known “British Hams Full Employment Act,” passed in the waning days of the Reagan Administration as a favor to Maggie Thatcher. []
  4. To be fair, Harry Potter is head and shoulders above both The Phantom Menace and The Fellowship of the Ring, although the snobbishness does get a bit thick. I haven’t read the Rowling books (I have a day job), but you have to admire a writer who could tell Steven Spielberg to go fuck himself. (On the other hand, Harry Potter looks an awful lot like a little Steven Spielberg. You just can’t beat the Spielman. []
  5. While we’re on the subject of feet, is anyone else bothered by the Dreamworks “Boy in the Moon” logo? That kid has a “you can kiss my foot for a quarter” attitude that makes my flesh crawl every time. What is Hollywood doing to our children! []