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REVIEW – When thirteen half-sized persons find themselves carried away from their families, a desperate world turns to Aragorn son of Arathorn (Viggo Mortensen) for help. This is the premise for Thirteen Lives, the newest film from the visionary director who once played Opie on The Andy Griffith Show.
It has been twenty-one years since Aragorn led the Fellowship of the Ring out of the Mines of Moria, twenty years since he led an elf and a dwarf in an epic quest to rescue a set of halflings in peril, and nineteen years since he helped save Middle Earth. But he’s lost none of his capacity for brooding silences, grumpy outbursts, casual heroics, and overblown fondness for lost causes, last stands, and dying as one of “them.”
Nor has Aragorn foresworn his odd attachment to short, surly, violent allies. Where Gimli son of Gloin was a natural sprinter over short distances, able to run from Rauros Falls to the Riddermark, Aragorn’s new friend and ally, the Penguin (Colin Farrel). is small, flightless, and capable of swimming underwater for long distances before having to resurface again for air.
Fortunately for this new Fellowship, the cave into which they descend is entirely devoid of Bats, and the churning waters in which they swim are entirely devoid of Fish. The mission at the heart of Thirteen Lives had a certainty of death and a small chance of success. Penguin relished the opportunity to go on this Suicide mission with his new Squad.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the film was the inclusion of Luke Skywalker’s uncle, Owen Lars (Joel Edgerton).
Owen was really playing to his strengths in this film. His firm belief that boys are best kept in utterly arid, desert environments as far from the bright center of the universe as possible was borne out in the rescue. While he initially butted heads with the strange, white-haired, wise old man, he was eventually able to Force the boys away from all the water and out of the intense media spotlight. No droids, sand people, or crazy hermits needed.
All in all, Thirteen Lives is a Return of great film making which really hit the Bullseye. It’s so good that we here at Marvelous Movies are filled with a New Hope for the future of feature films.