Sir Ian Holm’s passing on June 19 was sad. I dread to think of other household names we might lose during this loser of a year.
- Did you know he was knighted? He was, back in 1998.
- Ash was my favorite character in Alien.
- He was the voice of Skinner, the tiny chef (not the rat) in Ratatouille.
He was in scores of other movies and TV shows that I haven’t seen, but perhaps most notably, he was the beloved Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, and Return of the King.
Sarabeth and I happened to be in the middle of watching the extended editions of this nearly twenty-year-old timeless trilogy when the news of Ian Holm’s passing invaded our newsfeeds.
Obviously, Holm’s character Bilbo Baggins is primarily featured in the first movie, Fellowship, and briefly given screen time in the final chapter, Return of the King. But it’s worth pointing out that his performance in Fellowship is a highlight in a film that is in itself a bright highlight in all of cinema. (Remember that scene where Bilbo turns into a sharp-toothed villain as he reaches for Frodo’s ring?)
Some of my favorite scenes from that movie are the interactions between Bilbo and Gandolf. They really do come across as having a history together, and a deep concern and well-being for one another.
But I’d like to talk about the trilogy as a whole, and make a recommendation. If you haven’t already, check out the nearly-twelve-hours of the extended editions. Not only do you get more Middle Earth, but more backstory that helps support the structure of the theatrical versions.
And beyond that, they come with nearly twelve additional hours of an intricate behind-the-scenes documentary, which is as entertaining as the features themselves. There, you get to enjoy interviews from the cast, the crew, and Peter Jackson himself. Now, you’ve got to to take it from a guy who doesn’t particularly enjoy sitting through documentaries, but these are definitely worth the watch.
And in the end, if you’re like me, you end up just wanting to give Pete Jackson a big hug and thank him for painstakingly making some of the greatest movies of all time (especially the nearly-flawless Return of the King).