Of all the documentaries devoted to J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy classic, Ringers: Lord of the Fans is the first and only one to respectfully honor the good-natured depth and breadth of Lord of the Rings fandom. Like Peter Jackson with his… More
Of all the documentaries devoted to J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy classic, Ringers: Lord of the Fans is the first and only one to respectfully honor the good-natured depth and breadth of Lord of the Rings fandom. Like Peter Jackson with his phenomenal Lord of the Rings film trilogy, director Carlene Cordova and cowriter Cliff Broadway (cofounders of theonering.net, the definitive LOTR fan site) were the perfect team to create this wildly entertaining tribute. The film's globetrotting ambition is constantly impressive, but Ringers remains keenly focused on its lively exploration of Rings fan devotion, presented here with a flawless combination of informative objectivity and insider enthusiasm. From the inspiration behind Tolkien's Middle-earth and the immediate success of The Hobbit upon its 1937 publication, to the hippie embrace of Rings mythology in the late 1960s and the revival of fandom in the wake of Jackson's trilogy, Ringers (the accepted nickname of devotees) has it all: Influential authors such as Clive Barker, Terry Pratchett, and Terry Brooks offer their Rings-related insights along with such Tolkien-inspired musicians as Rush's Geddy Lee and Motorhead's Lenny Kilmister, and literally hundreds of fans provide affectionate testimonials to the source of their devotion. Peter Jackson and most of the LOTR trilogy's primary cast are also included in the constant flow of interviews.
Dedicated to Tolkien as a valentine by smart and dedicated fans, the film generates its own infectious goodwill; it's so fun to watch that even non-fans will concede (to borrow a phrase from another world of fandom) that resistance is futile. (Oh, and speaking of Star Trek, the vintage clip of Leonard Nimoy singing his novelty hit "Bilbo Baggins" is absolutely priceless.) Actor Dominic Monaghan ("Merry" from Jackson's trilogy, before joining the ensemble cast of Lost) perfectly delivers the film's eloquent narration, which runs the LOTR gamut from intellectual appreciation to the hilarious eccentricities of über-fan obsession. Unfailingly noble in spirit and delightfully comprehensive, Ringers is a collector's gift that can proudly stand alongside Tolkien's books and Jackson's timeless movie trilogy. --Jeff Shannon