Mick LaSalle is a movie critic for the San Francisco Chronicle http://www.sfgate.com and while, when I first started reading the Chronicle about 12 years ago, I found him entertaining, he has become something of a pompous, over-educated blowhard that should really stop reviewing films.
Let me preface this by saying that, in general the Chronicle is very useful to me, since these days, I am able to read a review, go to, and enjoy nearly any film that they give a poor review to, since my opinion will almost always be the reverse. I don’t know where they went wrong, but they are a seriously disgruntled group of critcs that have long ago forgotten what it means to simply say if a movie is entertaining or not. Mick LaSalle takes the cake as probably one of the worst critics there though.
What has brought on my recent rant is his review of The Return of the King. He gave it a decent rating, which is fine, but it’s his written review that drives me nuts. There is nothing original or introspective about it, since that is what I believe he is trying to do with it and it embarasses the very pseudo-intellectual facades that it tries to wear. In fact, the part about trying to tie in parallels to the Nazis was directly lifted from his review of The Two Towers. While I don’t have a copy of the old review sitting next to me, it seems to ring very close to being a carbon copy on that bit.
The orcs are Nazis thing is worn out as well. From all that I can tell, the original trilogy was published in the mid 1950’s and if anything it would seem that the forces of evil in The Lord of the Rings would draw closer parallels to Communist Russia than to Nazi Germany which had ended in the previous decade. The USSR was seen as the threat at the time, unlike Germany which was in ruins. It forced an unkown homogeneous goal on all those under its control, unlike the Nazis who had a specific goal. And it spread without control, enveloping and changing those that took in as its own. So, I don’t see the Nazi parallels, but more the perceived notions of what Communism reprsented to those in Democratic states at the time.
Anyways, Mick needs to do some research, get out a bit more, and maybe start drinking if he doesn’t or stop if he does. His reviews are vapid and overwrought with the kinds of things someone who took too many film classes says when they can’t make films and are filled with nothing but envy of those that create great masterpieces like Peter Jackson has done with this trilogy.