With Amazon The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Set to arrive in September this year, there’s been a lot of anticipation among Tolkien fans, sparking discussions about whether the series will live up to expectations. Whatever the outcome, one thing is certain and that is that fans of JRR Tolkien’s work will always be able to enjoy Sir peter jacksonthe extraordinary film trilogy.
All three of Jackson’s films are masterful and still loved by critics and audiences alike, even 20 years later. The groundbreaking trilogy is firmly solidified as a pop culture legend and has subsequently been referenced in tons of movies and TV shows over the years. Some hints are smarter than others, but all aim to honor the fantasy classic with their references. It’s always great fun to spot an unexpected callback to The Lord of the Ringsand luckily, there’s plenty to enjoy.
Sponge Bob SquarePants
In season five of Sponge Bob SquarePants, there is an episode called “Banned in Bikini Bottom” in which the Krusty Krab is arrested. The forced closure of his restaurant causes Mr. Krabs to get creative in order to keep making money. His brilliant idea is to secretly sell Krabby Patties in Spongebob’s house.
At the entrance of the house, a friendly reminder for customers is written on a banner. The message is “KEEP IT SECRET KEEP IT SAFE” which are the exact words Gandalf speaks to Frodo about the Ring in The Fellowship of the Ring. It’s an unexpected and silly thing to appear in a cartoon, but fans of the Rings the trilogy no doubt get a good laugh out of it every time they see it.
After meeting Kim Jong-un and being convinced he was just being misunderstood, Skylark Tonight host Dave Skylark (James Franco) decides not to participate in Kim’s assassination. Dave clashes with his partner, Aaron (Seth Rogen), and the two get into a heated disagreement. Dave mentions that he once believed Aaron was “his Frodo’s Samwise”, but now thinks Aaron better represents Boromir.
It’s clear that in Dave’s mind, there are few people as bad as Boromir. Denethor’s son may have tried to take the Ring from Frodo, but he later repented. Most fans are able to look past Boromir’s flaws and see that he’s actually a good, noble man, so being compared to him isn’t much of an insult. The exchange between Dave and Aaron is hilarious anyway, and a welcome mention of some beloved characters.
When some NASA leaders hold a secret meeting to formulate a plan to recover astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon), they call the gathering “Project Elrond” in honor of the council held at Rivendell. There is a discussion of the title and why it is a good fit for the meeting before the group moves on to more important matters.
One of the funniest things about the scene is that Sean Bean is a part of it. He, of course, played Boromir in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. His direct participation in a discussion on the Council of Elrond is a bit meta and deserves a smile from Rings Fans.
The shrek franchise is no stranger to pay homage to other movies, and many of them require a trained eye and an in-depth knowledge of film history. The reference to The Lord of the Rings is incredibly easy to spot, however. When Shrek has a ring made for Fiona, it looks exactly like Sauron’s ring. It even has a message which is revealed by fire, only this one reads: “I love you”.
When Shrek receives the ring after it has been forged, he fumbles with it as it is too hot and sends it flying high in the air. Fiona reaches out to catch it and it lands perfectly on her finger similar to Frodo in The Prancing Pony. It was a magical moment for both ogres, but for fans of Jackson’s trilogy, it was a welcome acknowledgment of a classic scene.
Although the Middle-earth movies have yet to be released in the timeline stranger things takes place in, the main group of friends were big fans of Tolkien’s books. They reference his work at various points in the series, but the first is about a wooded street the boys refer to as “Mirkwood”.
The resemblance to the dark, sickly forest that Legolas hails from is no doubt why they gave it that name. It’s a great example of how kids love to pretend they live in their favorite fantasy worlds. Unfortunately for Will (Noah Schnapp) and his friends, their universe has all the perils and none of the beautiful magic of Middle-earth, one of the greatest fantasy worlds ever created.
Jim Halpert is well known for his pranks fellow salesman, Dwight Schrute. In the third episode of season five, “Business Ethics”, Jim takes advantage of Dwight’s commitment not to have personal conversations during work hours. Standing well within earshot of Dwight, Jim openly shares a story about one of Dwight’s favorite shows, battle star Galacticaonly it is much more than that.
Jim deliberately messes up the details of the show to piss off Dwight, knowing he can’t answer. Jim’s description of Battlestar Galactica includes characters like Dumbledore, Lando Calrissian and Frodo Baggins. Jim also makes a point of talking about the One Ring and Mordor, which clearly have no place in the conversation. Watching Dwight try not to lose his mind is extremely funny, but hardcore fantasy fans can understand his frustration.
In the episode of Lost called “Additional Instructions”, Charlie makes a sarcastic comment about how great trees are for conversation. Monaghan is well known for his role as Meriadoc Brandybuck in The Lord of the Ringswhere he and his companion Pippin (Billy Boyd) met Treebeard, who is voiced by the excellent John Rhys-Davies.
Charlie’s short remark refers to the fact that Dominic’s character, Merry, spent a good chunk of his time The two towers conversing with Treebeard as they traveled through Fangorn. It is possible that the reference has gone over the heads of some Lost viewers, but fans of The Lord of the Rings would have understood immediately.
In season four episode 26, “Petergeist”, John Herbert rescues Chris from a violent tree that grabs Chris out of bed. Confronting the tree, Herbert shouts “You shall not pass!” before hitting the ground with his walker. The ground then opens up and swallows both Herbert and the tree. They dive deep into the Earth and fight each other before landing in a pool of water underground.
It is a clear reminder of Gandalf’s legendary fight against the Balrog at the Bridge of Khazad-dûm. The unexpected reference is undoubtedly a double-take and one of Herbert’s finest moments.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
It’s no secret that Stephen Colbert is a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings. He made a point of talking about it at every opportunity. Viewers can practically see the stars in her eyes when a cast member from the trilogy appears as a guest on her show. Of all the times he’s made mention of the trilogy, there’s one reference to rule them all.
As we approach the 20th anniversary of The Fellowship of the RingColbert produced a celebratory video alongside several The Lord of the Rings cast members. Together they all rapped about the superiority of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, often poking fun at other film series. They all seemed to be having a lot of fun and honoring movie classics in the process.
This sequel isn’t the most respected in history and a lot of people haven’t even seen it. Those who watched it sometimes say it would have been better if it had never been made, but if it had, then the world would have been a less enjoyable one. The Lord of the Rings reference.
In the opening scene of the film, there is a voice-over narration that recalls what happened in The Sandlotdone in the style of the prologue of The Fellowship of the Ring. The wording is almost exactly the same in some places. It’s pretty clunky and in no way saves the film from failure, but it’s a nice little treat nonetheless.
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