This film is great! If you can accept and appreciate that this is a low budget film with amateur (albeit good) actors and actresses, you'll love it :D The story from what I can remember (been a long time since I watched it) is mostly good too, and the costumes and scenery are fantastic. Definitely worth a watch :)
Born of Hope was good, don't get me wrong, but I preferred The Hunt for Gollum. I think I'm in a minority with this (I'm not sure if I've ever met someone else who felt the same way), but I felt that THFG had better production values and a tighter narrative. BOH was very ambitious, and in some ways it succeeded, but I thought that THFG told its story better. They're both definitely worth a watch, though. :D
If I was to sit down and just watch one of them, I'd pick the Hunt for Gollum too, I think. To me it is a much more complete film owing to the tighter narrative you mention. Still, both are great films despite some cheesy lines here and there (there are cheesy lines in Jackson's trilogy too, so that doesn't really bother me) ;)
BoH is great stuff in every way but one- It has a huge mistake right at the heart of it. The threat relies on Arathorn finding out the Necromancer is Sauron. Even though nobody is supposed to know that till the time of TH. Ruined the film for me.
Didn't like Gilrain too much either, there is something to be said for natural looks but make an effort girl. Arathorn (can't remember actors name) though could give Viggo a run for his money in the making my heart melt category. Where did they find him? And could they have him wrapped and sent to my room please!
"make an effort girl" , oh Pretty how that tmade me laugh. I don't watch tele except for the videos I buy so this is all a blue haze to me. But I shall treasure those words. :) Reminds me of a lady I know who said her pastor had become rather weary of all the 'natural' women with their tired faces and untidy hair. He told them "If the barn door needs painting then please just give it a nice coat of paint." The ones that 'got' his meaning either hated him thereafter or badgered their husbands for the money for 'a bucket of paint.'
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