Six films, 1171 minutes, nearly 20 hours…. the one movie marathon to rule them all.
*The Hobbit/ Lord of the Rings spoilers incoming*
In the not too distant past, three hardened souls (myself included) set out on an epic journey of friendship, survival and inner strength, as we battled to the death (figuratively speaking) to watch all six films from The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings saga. And watch we did. Our twenty-hour quest began in the early hours of the morning and ended way, way, way beyond the witching hour. As people from around the nation rose from their slumbers to prepare for work, we willed Frodo and Sam on, begging them to just get on with it and get rid of the Ring already.
As the Ring, along with Gollum, was cast into the fires of Mount Doom, we breathed a huge sigh of elation – before realising that there was literally an hour left of numerous “endings”. But alas, we made it. By hook or by crook, and with levels of willpower only previously seen by Samwise himself (I don’t know how he put up with Frodo for so long), we completed the marathon.
To aid you on your own quests of The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings movie marathoning, I have put together a handful of priceless tips to ease the burden of this task for you. Good luck and Godspeed weary traveller, you’re in for an epic journey.
No rest for the wicked:
Your journey is going to take a while. You will reach a point in the day where Hobbit fatigue will arrest your soul and you will regret your decision to embark on this journey of Middle-Earth discovery. But there isn’t time to rest. Do you see Thorin popping for a cheeky nap on his way to Lonely Mountain? No! Did you see Frodo and Sam stopping to discuss potatoes? Erm…well yes, but you’re not allowed to! If you want to watch all six films in one day, you’re going to have to crack on, as once you get through The Hobbit trilogy, you’re not even halfway there. Seriously, look at the runtimes (extended editions – all bar The Battle of the Five Armies:
- An Unexpected Journey – 175 minutes
- The Desolation of Smaug – 179 minutes
- The Battle of the Five Armies – 144 minutes
- The Fellowship of the Ring – 208 minutes
- The Two Towers – 225 minutes
- The Return of the King – 240 minutes
Which brings me nicely to…
You’re not hardcore unless you live hardcore:
Watch the extended versions. Surely this is wrong, I hear you ask? Yes, these versions are padded out with added landscape shots (we get it, New Zealand is very pretty Peter), and longer versions of already long scenes, but they are also jam-packed with a plethora of excellent new material that genuinely adds to the story and world of Middle-Earth. If I learned one thing from Jack Black in School of Rock (see below), it’s that you’re not hardcore unless you live hardcore. Don’t let yourself get halfway through your marathon and realise the mistake you’ve made by watching the theatrical cuts. It will only send you spiralling into a mass of self-pity and regret, the likes of which only Thorin himself would be able to relate to. Do it properly, watch the extended versions.
Enjoy the banter, whilst it lasts (and whilst you can):
You’ll soon realise just how different a beasts The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies are. Though the sometimes slapstick banter and jokes of The Hobbit trilogy may seem a bit much at first (I’m looking at you Alfrid), you’ll soon be wondering what on (Middle) Earth has happened once you reach the increasingly grim Lord of the Rings films. Gone are the whimsical Dwarves, replaced by the oh-so-serious Aragorn and Frodo. But fear not, Gandalf will still be on hand for some cracking wizard bants – he sure does love calling people fools – as well as Gimli and Legolas who love a bit of wisecracking.
At around hour 15 of your marathon, however, you’ll be wishing they would cut the wisecracks out and get on with taking out those pesky Orcs. But as you descend into the dark nighttime hours, and sleep begins to envelop your eyeballs, remember the light-hearted jokes, remember the banter, and remember that Gandalf will think you’re a fool if you fall asleep.
Never leave a man (or woman) down:
Picture this – you’ve made it four films, and you’re on the home stretch. The Two Towers is ticking along nicely, and the end is almost feeling tangible, when out from nowhere comes a motherf***ing talking tree to try and sabotage your attempts to stay awake. Goddamn Treebeard, who speaks so incredible slowly, that he almost lulls you into sleep.
But don’t let him take you, or your compadres into the land of the sleepy. Now is the time to be vigilant. Keep an eye on your fellow adventurers and do not let them give up. You’re in this together, so have each other’s backs and power on through. If you make it through Treebeard’s yammering on, then you can make it through anything, but you must do it together. Take a leaf out of Samwise’s book, and stay loyal and true to the quest (perhaps not quite to the degree of Sam though, because he’s borderline creepy).
Sustenance, you fools:
If they’re eating, you should be too, is a good rule of thumb. Whilst our heroes on the screen may be doing all of the walking, by the time you hit the halfway point of your marathon you will be feeling every step they take. So eat, drink, and be merry. If alcohol is a must, wait until at least The Two Towers, or your chances of reaching the grand finale will be diminished severely. Also, drink along with Frodo and the gang. Here are some tried and tested favourites:
- Take a drink every time someone says “precious”.
- Take a drink every time Sam says “Mr. Frodo”.
- Take a drink every time Frodo says “Sam”.
- Take a drink every time there is a close up of the Ring.
- Take a drink every time there is a wide-angle shot of the landscape.
Warning: Do not start this game on The Fellowship of the Ring if you intend to make it to the end. You won’t make it out of the Shire.
Samwise is a big fan of potatoes for a reason. Heed his advice, and stock up on grub, you’re going to need it.
So be on your merry ways Middle-Earthians, and enjoy your quests for glory.