We drove to the Egyptian theater and got there with about 15 minutes to spare. We could see film crews and loads of people standing out in front of the theater as we drove into the parking lot. We had a choice between entering the theater from the backside, where the parking lot is, or of going around the building and coming in through the crowd. Well, that was a no-brainer, we decided to take the Red Carpet walk, and walked right by Liv Tyler as she was being interviewed by the press. Inside the theater was a bit of a madhouse, as they were giving out free popcorn and soda, but you had to stand in line, or should I say mob, to get to it. I decided to make a stop in the restroom before the film started, since it was going to be a long haul. We got to our seats with about 5 minutes before they started the introductions.
The head of the AFI (American Film Institute) Associated committe made a nice speech about how she thought we would all look back on this evening as being an historic event. She seemed confident that this film is destined to be marked as a classic, and I couldn't agree more. Then Bob Shaye from New Line got up and said some quick words then introduced Peter Jackson. Peter basically thanked New Line and his producers and writers, and crew, then he introduced the attending cast members. In attendance was Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, Liv Tyler, Sean Bean, John Rhys-Davies, and Orlando Bloom. Once everyone took thier seats, the film began.
I won't bore you all with yet another review of the movie. I have not read any of the reviews written, because I wanted a fresh experience going into the film. I just want to say that I loved it, but will need to see it a few more times to get all the dialogue. I'm not sure if it's that I was sitting near a speaker, or if they just had it cranked up loud, but there were times when I could not hear what was being said. I'm a Line Party leader, so I already know that I'm going to the Tuesday, Midnight show and one of the afternoon shows on Wednesday, that should allow me to catch some of the missing dialogue. Also, I love Pippin and Merry, these two hobbits will have you in stitches. Sure, there are some changes from the book, we all knew going in what some of them were, and there are others, and it will be interesting to see how they develop the next two films around some of these changes. But enough about the film, let's get on to the post-party.
We arrived at the Sunset Room and discovered that most of the seating was either reserved, or already taken. Well, not a problem, we got ourselves some excellent food (including purple potatoes, no kidding) and stood next to a low wall and set the plates there. I got to eat next to Rick Baker, effects makeup maestro (not on this film), and we discussed the film as one fan to another. I watched John Rhys-Davies and Dominic Monaghan walk back and forth through the dining area, and then go into the dance room.
As soon as we finished eating, we went to the room where the music and dance floor were and the first person I ran into was Liv Tyler. Now, the theater manager where I am holding my Line Party had wanted me to invite Liv to our party, so I did. Of course, she said she was leaving town the next morning, and I told her that I figured that was the case, but that I wanted to be able to tell the theater manager that I had asked her. I also had her sign my ALA READ bookmark. She had not seen it before and was quite delighted with it and showed it to all her friends, which included Kate Hudson (Almost Famous). Standing nearby was Heath Ledger (hubba hubba), I got a picture taken with him, he's just too darn cute not to have gotten that. I had a small calendar with the movie pictures in it, and got that signed by several cast members. Dominic Monaghan was first, then Billy Boyd. When I told Billy that I thought he made a perfect hobbit and that I especially loved the jumping on the cave troll's head, his comment was "That was me", to which I said I knew that alreaady. He was quite adorable about it though, so I just had to mention it. Orlando Bloom was next, and was quite sweet to several kids before I got to talk to him. He was wearing the most ourtrageous outfit, which you will see in a picture I post, as soon as I get a chance to get them developed this afternoon. Sean Astin was there, with his father, John Astin. I had Sean sign the book, and while I was standing there, Robert Stack walked by and said something to me, but I have no idea what. Finally, after discovering some delicous desserts, I got the chance to talk with Peter Jackson.
I got a picture with Peter Jackson and had him sign my calendar, with everyone else. I then took a moment to talk to him, because I felt he needed to hear a fans perspective. I told him I loved the film, and that I had been worried it wasn't going to be what I had hoped for, but in the end, it was wonderful. I asked him if he was stressing out over the Tolkien fan's reactions to the film, and he was, but I assured him that most fans should be more than happy with the film. I then told him that I thought I saw him onscreen, and he confirmed that he is for a split second as the hobbits enter Bree. He was very nice, as was just about everyone else from the cast, so I was just floating on cloud nine most of the evening.
Most of the cast started heading out so they could sleep a bit before the long flight to New Zealand, so we decided to make out exit as well. Near the entrance, there is this small waterfall, and they were projecting "The Lord of the Rings" in yellow light through the water. I tried to take a picture of it, so we will see if that comes out. They handed us all free CD's of the soundtrack as we left, and I asked for the Aragorn cover. On the wall outside, in the parking lot, they had another projection, this time of the Ring, don't know how I missed that when we first came in. We waited for our car to be brought out, and I was asked by a fan for my CD, which I declined. I suppose I could have given it away, as I have one, but I actually want to use it as a giveaway at my line party. I only took about 8 pictures, as it just didn't seem the type of place to act too fannish. Although, I do think I came off a bit star struck, but then again, I got to talk to elves and hobbits and Heath Ledger (sigh), so I just don't care if I looked like a fan-geek. I suppose I was expecting that a benefit for the AFI might just be a movie screening, and not the big Hollywood premiere event it was, so I was just so happy to be there. As soon as I get these pictures developed (next few hours) I send them to you to put up. That's about all I have to say, except for a big thank you to all the cast, crew and Peter Jackson for making such a wonderful film version of a beloved book.