Introduction To Viggo Mortensen
If you look in my interests you'll see that under movies I've listed The Lord of The Rings trilogy as some of my favorites. I'd been a fan of the books since I first read them when I was twelve? And have continued to read them at least once a year since them. So it was with great trepidation that I approached the movies. In fact when The Fellowship was released I had no plans to go and see them. It wasn't until my brother told me he had gone and enjoyed them that I decided to.(If anything he's been a bigger fan of the books then me, and is usually pickier about movies then me.)
I was stunned. Peter Jackson's interpretation of the books was wondrous. I know that people had complaints about elements being left out or changed, but he was using another medium to tell the same story and needed to adapt it to suit the requirements of film. You can't do the same things with video as you can with a novel, and as an audience member you are beholden to leave any and all preconceived ideas behind. What you want, and what Mr. Jackson succeeded in doing, is someone who is going to remain faithful to the ideas and vision of the original.
These movies served another purpose for me aside from entertainment, they introduced me to an artist who I may never have experienced otherwise. Poet, painter, photographer, and actor Viggo Mortensen. I know that reams of stuff has been written on him, and that people are probably heartily sick of hearing about him by now, but tough shit. The guys brilliant and that's not just P.R. Anyone that can lift a movie out of typical Walt Disney banallity like he did with Hidalgo deserves a medal for a performing. Without him that movie would have sunk into cliche and emotional manipulation. By sheer force of will, and the inherent integrity of his performance, his times on screen(which thankfully predominated)lifted the movie to heights it probably didn't deserve.(As for the true story b.s. anyone who can do math would tell you that a 3,000 mile race in Africa would require the participants to travel down from where they started to Johannesburg)
I'm as cynical as the next person when it comes movie people, so when I first heard about him being "more then just an actor" it was with a measure of disbelief. But then I read some of his stuff that someone had put on the net illegally (if you want to read his poems go to www.perceval.com and order a book don't steal from a writer) and was impressed. I ordered a copy of Coincidence and Memory, a compilation of Poems, Photos, and Prints dating back to the seventies. It is a really good introduction to the work of an important artist(if you want to read a full blown review of the book follow the link to my store and download my review for $2.50)
I'm torn right now between buying one of two things. I would like to get some more memory for this old machine that I'm running, and a fancier sound card, but now that I'm writing about this, and with Canadian dollar strengthening against the American, this might be the time to order a couple of more books. The two I want are photos he took of the ghost dance performed during the filming of Hidalgo, and a book of photos of horses he has just produced. For fun I may also pick up a c.d. of his spoken word performances with music by Buckethead. They sound wildly anarchic
If you've got forty of fifty bucks to spare, give yourself a treat and order one of his books, you'll be glad you did.