The Hunt for Gollum (review)

It’s the new regular Wednesday feature: a superindie, a movie available for anyone to view that has not gotten a traditional release. It might be available online, or to purchase on DVD from the filmmaker, or some other way that avoids traditional multiplexes and arthouses.

If you’re not already a Tolkien geek, this won’t turn you into one, and if you’re not already a Tolkien geek, you won’t get much out of this… Okay, now that the non-Tolkien geeks are gone: Wow. This is a beautiful little fan film: it’s fan fiction to the Nth degree, a “missing scene” story that Tolkien wrote but Peter Jackson didn’t film for his Lord of the Rings trilogy And rightly so: it wasn’t necessary for the larger telling of the whole big epic, but it’s lovely to see it done up so nicely for, as the proudly fannish creators inform us, “the personal, uncompensated enjoyment of ourselves and other Tolkien fans.” In between the events of The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring, Aragorn (Adrian Webster) attempts to track down Gollum (cleverly CGI’ed, and voiced by Gareth Brough) at the behest of Gandalf (Patrick O’Connor), now that the shriveled little demi-hobbit is determined to reclaim the One Ring from Bilbo Baggins — the danger is that, out and about in Middle Earth, Gollum will be captured by the minions of Sauron and lead them to the Ring. But you already know how that ends… This is, undeniably, a pastiche of Jackson — it wouldn’t exist at all without his big-budget trilogy, but it takes talent to pull off even a pastiche this well. The cinematography, the sound FX, the score, the costumes: the entire production design ranges from hinting at Jackson’s films without outright aping them to, sure, outright aping them. British filmmaker Chris Bouchard pulls it off, particularly the tone of menacing serenity, with such elegant panache, and on a just-about-nonexistent budget, that I would like to see him bring his own original vision to the screen and show us what he can do on his own.

Watch “The Hunt for Gollum” online at thehuntforgollum.com.

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