‘Vaporous’ Opinions …

Regarding your recent coverage of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:

Both the news article by Tim Drake (“The Hobbits Are Here: Catholics Hope the Movie Lives Up to the Book,” Dec. 9-15) and the movie review by John Prizer (“Frodo Lives!”, Jan. 6-12) were lacking in moral direction and clarity.

Mr. Drake quoted a father who is made to seem virtuous for waiting to take his young sons, ages 5 and 7, to the movie until after he reads the books to them; then he will also let them see the Harry Potter movie.

Mr. Prizer makes a fleeting, vague remark that kids under 12 shouldn't see The Lord of the Rings because the violence is too “intense.”

What both writers should have done is to make a quick trip to the Web site of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (http://www.nccbuscc.-org). There they would have been able to access the bishops’ review of The Lord of the Rings and would have discovered the rating of A-III, recommending the movie for adults because the images of evil are so sinister as to be inappropriate even for adolescents (not to mention those under 12 — somebody tell that to Dad, quick, before he traumatizes his kids).

After taking into account the bishops’ review, we decided our almost 16-year-old, who has read Tolkien's trilogy twice and belongs to a Tolkien discussion club, would be mature enough to handle the movie. But our younger adolescent and pre-adolescent children were not going to see it at this time.

If Register [writers and] reviewers are not going to use some discretion regarding recommended viewer ages, no matter how great a movie might be, perhaps your readers would prefer to get a logical, well-thought-out opinion from our bishops and spare themselves the uninformed and vaporous opinions of reviewers and the friends they decide to quote for their articles!

PAUL AND PAT HERBERT Racine, Wisconsin

… or ‘Wonderful’ Work?

Thank you for John Prizer's great review of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (“Frodo Lives!”, Jan. 6-12). It is an awesome movie, and stayed quite close to the books.

I have only read the Lord of the Rings trilogy three times, while my brother has read the trilogy 18 times, plus many of Tolkien's other works. And we both have really enjoyed watching The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

Mr. Prizer did a wonderful job reviewing this movie — except for one little point concerning the dwarf: If I was in Middle Earth, I would most definitely be a dwarf, so saying that one of my brethren provides comic relief … well, just watch the next movie and see how many heads “comic relief” takes.

PETER IPPOLITI St. Meinrad, Indiana