They say the Silmarillion is un-filmable. I wouldn’t know, I never finished it. Anyway here comes a group to tell you that not every obscure Tolkien back story is un-doable. This is……………
We begin with a horde of evil descending on the small backwater village, burning the homes and slaughtering the women and children. From here it’s over to our now standard over-wrought voice over introduction. Unlike Jackson who was trying to avoid dumping all of this on you during the council scene, aka the most boring chapter in the book, here it just seems a little pretentious as they talk about blood and water, time and stories and blah blah blah.
Anyway once this nice lady is done we can return to the story at hand where almost an entire family managed to get away with a cart and even some hay. Not that they get far mind you for soon they are ambushed in the road by what I presume to be the same band of Orcs, but could in fact be a completely different band; they all look the same to me.
The father prepares to stand his ground when who should appear but the Rangers, clad in green and ready for a fight.
They are lead by Arathorn son of Arador son of Argonui and of course future father to Aragorn. I’m not sure if the naming thing is a dare or they had only managed to salvage the A section from the baby name book and were unaware that other names existed.
I like to imagine they are constantly shocked and amazed whenever they encounter anybody with a name starting with a different letter.
“Bill ‘eh. What a strange and unusual name.”
Anyway he is joined by little miss friend zoned and mister “friend zoned by someone already in the friend zone”. Forget Sauron and the menace of the one ring clearly this is the greatest curse to be placed upon middle Earth. Anyway they manage to rescue the small cart and Arathorn starts making eyes at the pretty young blonde girl waving a sword about ineffectually. Much to the dismay of little miss friend zoned.
From here they lead them back to their village where we follow them over the next few years as Arathorn becomes the legendary leader of men for affecting solo raids on orcs, tackling mountain trolls and attempting the impossible and actually telling someone how he feels instead of just making goo-goo eyes at the back of their head and getting upset when they don’t automatically know that someone fancies them.
But this shall not be a smooth courtship, no for there are dark forces at work. Orcs are roaming free once more and they are on the hunt for something. A ring. No not that ring. See unlike certain other ‘Tolkien‘ inspired productions this one doesn’t feel the need to ram out of place stuff into it’s movie for poops and giggles. So no skate boarding Legolas, no wizards with poop on their head just the story as it was meant to be seen.
Anyway fortunately they are Orcs so they don’t know what this ring looks like except for that it is a ring and typically worn about the finger. Unfortunately for the free peoples of ‘Middle Earth’ they aren’t aware you can take rings off people and are so brutally murdering them and chopping of their fingers to shove in their little handbags. What does this have to do with our heroes and where were they during the war of the ring? You will have to watch to find out, or you know read a book.
Born of hope is a great example of a fan film playing to its strengths. The plot is decent enough and they keep the run time short to avoid too much padding or waffling. Partly due to the nature of Tolkien and partly due to the budget the movie is distinctly more low fantasy than some will be used to though this doesn’t stop them bringing in at least one cave troll. It’s not a real fantasy movie without a cave troll. Though there are times when you could be mistaken for thinking that you are watching a documentary about medieval life. Said medieval villagers seem to be made up of Britain’s abundant re-enacting community. They don’t do much except surround the cast with cooking, and milling about though they are there to cheer enthusiastically when required.
Speaking of the cast, none are exactly well known but they all seem decent enough to me, nobody comes out on top but nobody seems to be dragging them down either well except for Robert Harvey and Jonah McLafferty as baby Aragorn, I couldn’t accept them in the role at all; completely unbelievable.
In truth I warn you that the story is quite slow paced and it is not needed to enjoy the story of the one ring or concerning any Hobbits what so ever. But that is kind of why I like it, they aren’t fishing for view or hits. They’re not reaching past their budget to bring the army of Balrogs to our screen but are truly passionate about the story they have chosen and what it means to them.
‘Born of Hope’ is available for free on youtube, come on Tolkien fans what else were you going to for an hour? Complain about the notion that Jackson wants to make ‘The Hobbit’ a hard ‘R’ “Y’know for kids!!”