MOVIES

Hunt For Gollum Already Exists as a Free Fan Film

The fan-film version of “The Hunt for Gollum” takes place in the years leading up to “The Fellowship of the Ring.” It opens with an obligatory narrative exposition during an overlay of epic Middle-earth landscapes before panning up to a title shot. In the 40 minutes that follow, there is some primitive CGI (remember, we’re talking about a minimally funded project created 15 years ago), but it’s a tasteful project and leaves most of the work to the imagination.

The story starts with Gandalf (Patrick O’Connor) and Aragorn (Adrian Webster) discussing unfinished business with Gollum, who is on the loose and looking for his Precious. Aragorn commits to hunting Gollum down before he can cause further damage and proceeds to track the wretched creature, capture him, and then carry him all the way to Mirkwood. There, Gandalf interrogates him and finds out that he has already been captured by Sauron and spilled the beans about his history with the One Ring and “Baggins.”

The story largely comes directly out of “The Lord of the Rings” books, where Gandalf and Aragorn tag team telling the Council of Elrond about their hunt for Gollum and its dire consequences. In true adaptive fashion, the film makes several creative additions and adjustments. Aragorn meets a fellow ranger, confronts orcs, tussles with a Nazgûl, and has a flashback featuring Arwen. Several of these appear to be homages to Peter Jackson’s trilogy, and the influence of those films is obvious throughout. Aragorn even sports a non-canonical beard — a Jacksonian feature that is not Tolkien-approved.

The big question moving forward is whether Warner Bros. can put together a movie that both traces the hunt for Gollum and actually improves on the fan film experience.

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