The Death of Captain America

Death of Captain America

The Death of Captain America is a wonderful Marvel comics storyline from Ed Brubaker. His run on Captain America was incredibly well-written. For non-comics fans, Brubaker wrote the stories that led to The Winter Soldier, which Marvel made into one of their best movies.

Captain America

Captain America (1979)

A recipient of an experimental body enhancement chemical retaliates against his would be killers as a star spangled superhero.”

The American ideal. It’s a little tough to find these days, isn’t it?” – “Not if you know where to look” – “Right on”

Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979)

The star spangled hero must battle a villain’s plan to poison America with a chemical that horrifically accelerates the aging process.”

I want your number when you get out of jail pal! The old people in this town are my friends. And if I hear they’re having problems again, I’m comin’ after you! You got that!”

This is not about that death. I recently purchased the above DVD double feature from Amazon for $3.74. That is just $1.87 per film! It was so not worth it.

These movies are just awful. Clearly intended to capitalize on the success of The Incredible Hulk (itself a ripoff of The Fugitive but at least it was well done), the Captain America movies are just goofy.

First, they are a complete ripoff of, believe it or not, The Six Million Dollar Man. Whenever Steve Rogers/Captain America lifts something, we get the Steve Austin bionic man sound complete with slow motion video. His powers also seem to be nearly the same – fast running, heavy lifting, great eyesight, and super hearing, the last borrowed from The Bionic Woman. Strangely, star Reb Brown had two small parts on The Six Million Dollar Man.

By the way, Steve Rogers is the son of Captain America, though he does don the persona once he too gets super powers. The donning is also part of the problem. Here is Captain America in all his glory:

Captain America

His shield is a painted clear plastic frisbee:

Captain America

I had to watch this at some point because the second film features Christopher Lee as the villain, Miguel. I have now scratched that one off his filmography. I guess I should be thankful that this never made it to series.

Reb Brown did get another shot at stardom. He was Yor in Yor, The Hunter from the Future.

Do yourself a favor and spend the extra bucks to get one of the Chris Evans movies. Your time is too valuable to waste on this bargain bin enterprise.

Rest in Peace, Sir Christopher Lee

Sir Christopher Lee passed away Sunday, June 7th at the age of 93. While 93 is a great age to live to, no age is long enough for those you care about.

Christopher Lee

The last of my childhood heroes passes into the next world. He had such an incredible life. He was a World War 2 veteran, a cousin to Ian Fleming, knew J.R.R. Tolkien, was an accomplished swordsman, played in a metal band, was knighted by the Queen, and has 281 credits on imdb. Rest in peace, Sir Christopher Lee – you will be missed.

Curse you, Netflix! Out of those 281 credits, Netflix is only streaming six and they are not great examples. Only two of these are horror and they are not good. Skip The Bloody Judge and watch Hugo instead. Amazon Prime has eight titles streaming, including three with lifelong friend Peter Cushing (Nothing But the Night, The House that Dripped Blood, and House of the Long Shadows) but I would recommend his wonderful turn as Rochefort in The Three Musketeers.

Goodbye Dracula, Saruman, Scaramanga, Rochefort, Fu Manchu, Tiresias, Rameses I, Death, Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, The Mummy, Frankenstein’s Monster, Lord Summerisle, Professor Sir Alexander Saxton, Jekyll & Hyde (Marlow/Blake), Rasputin, and so many more.

True Confessions – Star Wars & Peter Cushing

I went to see Star Wars for my thirteenth birthday

Star Wars


Obviously, I was enthralled and had seen nothing like it before. I already loved science fiction, having seen mostly the Heston ones on television (Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green, and The Omega Man). However, none of that is why I went to see Star Wars.

Growing up, my first real love wasn’t science fiction or fantasy but horror. I took every opportunity to watch horror movies at home. I loved the Universal classics but my favorite were the relatively new Hammer horror movies. Peter Cushing was my absolute favorite actor with Christopher Lee running a close second. My mom would often watch these with me on weekend afternoons.

One fantastic day, I saw that a new Peter Cushing had come to our local theater and it was rated PG. I had never seen a Peter Cushing movie at the theater before. I was thrilled and asked my mother if we could go see it. She told me no – which she rarely ever did. I can only think the title put her off. That movie was “From Beyond the Grave” and I did not get to see it until I was an adult.

Just before my thirteenth birthday, another new Peter Cushing movie opened at our local theater. That movie was Star Wars. My mom, sister, two of my best friends, and I had a wonderful time. The Empire Strikes Back was even better, even though the Miami Herald spoiled the important plot twist ON THE MORNING THE MOVIE OPENED.

When Phantom Menace was coming out, my wife and father-in-law waited in a line overnight to get tickets. Obviously, crushing disappointment followed that decision. I think that was the last time we ever waited in a serious line for movie tickets.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Still my fifty-year-old self is much the same as my fifteen-year-old self and I am eagerly awaiting Episode VII. Anyway, what reminded me of all of this was the cover of a book I saw in Barnes & Noble. To wit:



Yes, that is Peter Cushing’s likeness on a book jacket some twenty years after his passing. By the way, I was lucky enough to catch a few of his movies on the big screen besides Star Wars, though their quality was uneven. I have seen Sword of the Valiant, Top Secret, Arabian Adventure, Shock Waves, and The House of the Long Shadows (w/ Christopher Lee, Vincent Price, and John Carradine) in the theater.

I also got to see Christopher Lee (92) in The Hobbit movies. Yay Me!

The Return of the Musketeers – A Botched Reunion?

The Return of the Musketeers is the last of the Dumas adaptations on instant Netflix.

Return of the Musketeers

The Return of the Musketeers (1989) – Rated PG

With the British crown hanging in the balance, D’Artagnan (Michael York) implores his band of long-retired Musketeers — Porthos (Frank Finlay), Aramis (Richard Chamberlain) and Athos (Oliver Reed) — to join him for another adventure. Much has changed since Milady de Winter’s death 20 years ago, while other things are eerily similar: For one thing, Milady’s daughter (Kim Cattrall) seems to be following in her mother’s footsteps.

One Line Review: They do indeed return but somewhat worse for wear.

Richard Lester’s The Three Musketeers (1973) is one of the finest swashbucklers ever made, exceeded only by Lester’s The Four Musketeers: Milady’s Revenge. This assumes one counts them as separate films even though they were filmed simultaneously. Both films strode the fine line between comedy and drama masterfully. Both films feature incredible swordplay, fantastic characters, great laughs, and high drama.

One of the biggest challenges to any Three Musketeers adaptation is making each musketeer distinctive. This is where The Musketeer failed dismally. Expanding the adaptation to two films allows the characters room to breathe. D’Artagnon (Michael York) is young, impressionable, and brash. Aramis (Richard Chamberlain) is studying for the priesthood but has a soft spot for the ladies. Porthos (Frank Finlay) is narcissistic, a vain and self-important man but still a loyal friend. Athos (Oliver Reed) is a drunk with a tragic past.

Return of the Musketeers (1989) re-unites the cast, writer (George MacDonald Fraser), and director (Richard Lester). Not only do you have the same actors playing the musketeers but Geraldine Chaplin reprises her role as the Queen and Roy Kinnear as D’Artagnon’s manservant and comic foil Planchet. Even Christopher Lee returns as Rochefort which is odd to say the least.

Kim Cattrall plays Justine de Winter. While young and attractive, she is no Faye Dunaway. Phillippe Noiret is Cardinal Mazarin, not only is he no Charlton Heston but the musketeers even bemoan the loss of Cardinal Richeliu at one point. C. Thomas Howell plays Raoul. Jean-Pierre Cassel has a lot of fun as Cyrano de Bergerac.

With the first two films being absolute classics, what went wrong here? Just about everything. The story was based on Dumas’ Twenty Years Later so historically Cardinal Richeliu could not appear. The director Richard Lester was sick for most of the production. The leading lady dropped out and was replaced by Kim Cattrall.

Then the unthinkable happened. The Spanish crew misunderstood Lester’s directions and the result was that actor Roy Kinnear (Planchet) had a horse accident, breaking his pelvis. Taken to the hospital, he died of a heart attack the next day. Richard Chamberlain (Aramis) quit the film over the incident and Richard Lester essentially stopped directing afterwards.

The upshot of this was that Planchet’s role is mostly shot from behind with a stunt double and a voice actor dubbing in the lines. Aramis’ role is considerably shortened (almost a cameo). The roles of Cyrano de Bergerac, Cardinal Mazarin and the Duke of Beaufort are all dubbed by British actors.

The Return of the Musketeers is still enjoyable but it is very choppy and the timing isn’t right on many of the scenes. There are no incredible setpieces as in the Three Musketeers (the laundry swordfight, the convent swordfight) and The Four Musketeers (the swordfight on ice, breakfast at the bastion). The comedy is also strained.

I think what it most reminds me of is The Expendables. Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Willis, Jet Li, and Statham have all been in great action films. The Expendables itself isn’t great but it evokes a certain nostalgia and it is nice to see all those icons in one film.

People Watch: Michael York would actually reprise his role as D’Artagnon one more time in The Lady Musketeer (2004) though no one else returns.

Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors

Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors is currently available on instant Netflix.

Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965)

“Ominous prophet Dr. Schreck (Peter Cushing) informs five train passengers — including art critic Franklyn Marsh (Christopher Lee) and physician Bob Carroll (Donald Sutherland) — about the grisly details of their imminent deaths in this anthology of eerie vignettes. Schreck tells Marsh that he will be maimed; that Carroll’s new bride has a supernatural secret life; and that architect Jim Dawson (Neil McCallum) will be attacked by a werewolf.”

“The more exact translation would be terror, an unfortunate misnomer for I am the mildest of men.”

Amicus Productions found a niche alongside better-known Hammer Films by setting most of their horror films in the modern era. Most of their horror films are of the portmanteau variety, telling a series of four or five stories in a framework linked by a mysterious character.

Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors is the first horror movie from Amicus. The framing sequences work very well but the individual stories suffer a bit from being rather simplistic. This is evident in the names of the stories, “Werewolf”, “Creeping Vine”, “Voodoo”, “Disembodied Hand”, and “Vampire”. Later Amicus productions would improve screen time by limiting the stories to four.

All of the stories in this and Amicus’ other portmanteau films are horror but none of them are intended to be scary. Most are told in a rather tongue-in-cheek fashion. I find all of the Amicus films to be entertaining but avoid them if you are looking for actual frights.

Another part of the Amicus formula would be to pack as many stars as possible into each film. Peter Cushing is a delight as the mysterious Dr. Schreck, who tells the fortunes that form the basis for each story. Christopher Lee is fun as an irascible art critic. Michael Gough appears as an artist in Lee’s segment. A very young Donald Sutherland anchors the vampire story. Look for Bernard Lee, ‘M’ in the James Bond series until Judi Dench took over, as Hopkins in the plant story.

Strangely, one of the reasons I most recommend this film is that it has never received a DVD or Blu-Ray release in the United States. This may be the only chance you get to see it. Unfortunately this is a pan and scan (not widescreen) transfer and is in relatively poor condition. It is better than VHS quality but not quite up to today’s standards.

People Watch: Isla Blair debuted here as ‘pretty girl’ in the ‘Disembodied Hand” storyline. She would go on to a long and distinguished career in British television (The Final Cut, A Touch of Frost, Fall of Eagles). She has been married for the last 44 years to actor Julian Glover and even played wife to his character in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Sequel-itis: Amicus, the studio behind Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, found that the multi-story horror format worked so well for them that they spent the next decade churning out portmanteau films. Dr. Terror was followed by Torture Garden (1967), The House that Dripped Blood (1971), Asylum (1972), Tales from the Crypt (1972), Vault of Horror (1973), From Beyond the Grave (1974) and finally The Monster Club (1980). All of them except Vault of Horror and The Monster Club starred Peter Cushing.

A Tale of Two Visualists – Tim Burton & Dark Shadows

Yesterday I reviewed Timur Bekmambetov’s Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter and found it wanting. Today I’ll try Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows.

One-Line Review:  (from my daughter) “That was so boring!”

Dark Shadows (2012) – Rated PG-13 for comic horror violence, sexual content, some drug use, language and smoking.

“In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet-or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy…until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive. Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better… “

I love Tim Burton. He has some misfires (Planet of the Apes, Sweeney Todd, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) but he makes just as many classics (Sleepy Hollow, Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands) as well as a movie that is both (Mars Attacks). His visual style is amazing, even in some of his lesser films.

When I heard that Tim Burton was going to remake Dark Shadows, I thought that would be wonderful as he could return to the Hammer-esque gothic stylings of Sleepy Hollow. When I heard that the majority of the film was to be set in 1972, I thought huh I wonder what he’ll do.

The trailer makes Dark Shadows look like a fish out of water comedy a la Splash. Sadly almost all of the laughs are in the trailer (and those are fairly weak). As with Abraham Lincoln we get a preponderance of plot and almost no development of a stock set of characters. The more I watched, the more the film seemed exactly like Abraham Lincoln: visually stylish but with bland characters and banal dialogue.

The bland characters I simply could not understand. Johnny Depp plays wonderfully quirky characters but just sleepwalks through this. Michelle Pfeiffer, long overdue for a return, is normally radiant but just looks a little embarrassed here. Chloe Grace Moretz, absolutely fantastic in Kick-Ass and Let Me In, is terrible here. Burton’s wife Helena Bonham Carter puts in her requisite appearance. Jackie Earle Haley, amazing in Watchmen, has yet to come close to that performance.

I take back part of what I said about Abraham Lincoln. I thought a better cast might have saved the picture but clearly Burton has a better cast and does nothing with it. As with Lincoln, there are scenes that are set well but carried off terribly. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Abraham Lincoln scribe Seth Grahame-Smith also penned the story and screenplay for this movie.

Burton’s visual style is apparent here but unfortunately in obvious ways: the fetishization of a lava lamp, the overuse of a disco ball, an out of time Alice Cooper – all set in a magnificent mansion with ample secret passageways.

I enjoyed some of the visuals, the atmosphere, and cameo appearance by Christopher Lee as a ship’s captain but overall this is a forgettable dud.


Christopher Lee – Horror Movie Month

Christopher Lee is the last living horror legend (acting-wise at least). It is unfortunate that he now disdains the genre that made him famous and especially despises talking about his Dracula years. He has been an incredibly prolific actor and while much of his output is of questionable quality, he still has some great signature roles (Dracula, Saruman, Scaramanga, Rochefort, Fu Manchu).

To the Devil…a Daughter (1976) – Rated R

A heretic priest (Christopher Lee) plots to use a teenage nun (Nastassja Kinski) in a depraved sexual pact with the forces of darkness. But when an American occult novelist (Richard Widmark) uncovers the conspiracy, he must battle an international cabal of evil for the body and soul of the Devil’s child-bride. Can this black magic marriage be stopped before an innocent girl is defiled and becomes the womb of Satan?

This was the last film released by Hammer theatrically. This one is actually pretty good except the ending which is unbelievably anticlimactic. I’d love to discuss that ending but I hate spoilers. It just seems to me that they ran out of funding and felt they had to wrap things up.

If you wondered whatever happened to Honor Blackman after Goldfinger, she has a fairly significant role here as does character actor Denholm Elliott. Nastassja Kinski is quite good in her English language debut as the child bride.

The Resident (2011) – Rated R for violence, language and brief sexuality/nudity

A young doctor moves into a Brooklyn loft and realizes she isn’t alone in her new abode. Now she’s struggling to survive as she attempts to disentangle herself from her landlord, who has a key to her home and a growing obsession for his tenant.

Christopher Lee starring in a brand new Hammer film? with Jeffrey Dean Morgan (John Winchester of Supernatural)? and double Oscar-winner Hilary Swank? Sign me up! Oh wait Christopher Lee has only a small part. And the script is tedious. And the directing is pedestrian.

This movie is a little bit creepy but is filled with giant plotholes and never generates much excitement. If you want to see a new Hammer film, go watch Let Me In

The Bloody Judge (1970) – Rated PG (? seriously? well that’s what Netflix says)

In 1685 England, Alicia Gray (Margaret Lee) is convicted of witchcraft and promptly burned at the stake. Meanwhile, her sister, Mary (Maria Rohm), foolishly falls for Harry Selton (Hans Hass Jr.), who’s critical of the king. When evil Chief Justice Jeffreys (Christopher Lee) learns of the romance, he sends his men to capture Mary, who tries to save her beau from the judge’s wrath by surrendering to his licentious advances. Will her plan work?

Wow! I love Christopher Lee but I actually could not bring myself to like this film. It is directed by Jesus (Jess) Franco, who is an absolutely atrocious director. He directed the last two of Christopher Lee’s Fu Manchu films and I enjoyed those because of Christopher Lee and Tsai Chin and because they are train-wreck fascinating.

The Bloody Judge however is just awful – an incoherent mess of 70s blood and breasts, religion, law, torture, witch hunts, and Christopher Lee the only saving grace in the whole movie. In fact he appears most of the time to be in an entirely different movie.

Peter Cushing – Horror Movie Month

Peter Cushing is my favorite horror actor. He is the only actor I have seen who properly captures the arrogance of Baron Frankenstein (which is good since he portrays Frankenstein six times for Hammer).

Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965)

Ominous prophet Dr. Schreck (Peter Cushing) informs five train passengers — including art critic Franklyn Marsh (Christopher Lee) and physician Bob Carroll (Donald Sutherland) — about the grisly details of their imminent deaths in this anthology of eerie vignettes. Schreck tells Marsh that he will be maimed; that Carroll’s new bride has a supernatural secret life; and that architect Jim Dawson (Neil McCallum) will be attacked by a werewolf.

Of all of Cushing’s films, this is the one I’d most recommend watching. Not because it’s the best but because it has never had a U.S. DVD or Blu-Ray release. While this appears to be sourced from a videotape transfer, the quality isn’t too bad and once it leaves Netflix you won’t be able to catch it anywhere.

Having said this, Dr. Terror is pretty standard fare for a portmanteau film. Cushing and Christopher Lee are wonderful and a very young Donald Sutherland is fun to watch. The movie is enjoyable but nothing special.


Frankenstein Must be Destroyed (1969)

After a drunk wanders into and disrupts his secret lab, Dr. Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) decides he must find a new place to set up shop. Conveniently, he finds an innocent young girl (Veronica Carlson) who happens to have a boyfriend (Simon Ward) employed by the local hospital. Seeing his opportunity, Dr. Frankenstein kidnaps the couple and forces them to take part in a dangerous brain-swapping experiment.

Cushing takes center stage here and this iteration of Frankenstein is his most ruthless. Gone are the almost paternal qualities he had in Frankenstein Created Woman and with one notable exception, his icy performance here is marvelous. The exception is that for some odd reason, there is an implied rape subplot shoehorned into the movie. Judging from character reactions after the incident, it appears as though this was added after normal filming.

The Vampire Lovers (1970) – Rated R

Fanged femme fatale Mircalla Karnstein (Ingrid Pitt) slakes her bloodlust for mortals of girlish figures in this Hammer horror story that has the 19th-century noblewoman stalking the Austrian countryside, bewitching young daughters at every turn. Appearing first as Marcilla, then as Carmilla, the insatiable siren steals women’s hearts and leaves ruin in her wake, but in grieving General von Spielsdorf (Peter Cushing), she may have met her match.

The Vampire Lovers is definitely an acquired taste. Here Hammer films reaches the 1970s and says goodbye to cleavage and hello to nudity! This is where they also play with the “exotic” concept of lesbianism. Peter Cushing is in fine form but is not in much of the film. Ingrid Pitt is the star here and is quite engaging as Mircalla/Marcilla/Carmilla as is Madeline Smith as Emma. The movie is quaint and often comes across as soft porn with the sex scenes removed.

Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) – Rated PG

Devil-worshipping hippies revive Dracula (Christopher Lee) in this groovy 1970s Hammer Studios horror flick set in London. Thinking Dracula’s one cool cat, Johnny (Christopher Neame) and his psychedelic gang resurrect the count. The powerful creature of the night awakens with a mission: to destroy his archnemesis Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing). It’s good vs. evil as Van Helsing faces Dracula in a thrilling final showdown.

Hammer realized after five period Draculas and countless period horror films that audiences wanted modern scares. The idea of bringing Dracula to a modern setting is not a bad one and the opening scene set in 1872 is pretty exciting. Having Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing reprise their roles as Dracula and Van Helsing was a no-brainer so why is this movie not a classic?

The script is hilarious and appears to be written by someone middle-aged who fears what the younger generation is up to. The counterculture is depicted in a mind-boggling fashion and a band is featured in an extended sequence that serves no purpose in the film. Christopher Lee is barely in the film but at least has some dialogue this time out. The fashions are marvelous – too bad the film isn’t.

The Return of the King (Extended version)

Okay for the last day of Sword and Sorcery week, we have Peter Jackson’s masterpiece The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King extended version. Only this third film in the trilogy is available on Netflix instant play.

The Return of the King

WATCH: The Return of the King (2003) – Rated PG-13 for intense epic battle sequences and frightening images

“Accompanied by the duplicitous Gollum (Andy Serkis), hobbits Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) continue their mission to obliterate the One Ring of power in the final chapter of director Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Meanwhile, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) must confront his destiny and lead the fight that will determine Middle Earth’s future. This fantasy tale for the ages bagged 11 Oscars”

Finishing off Sword and Sorcery week with The Return of the King was a no-brainer. The Fellowship of the Ring captured 4 of the 13 Oscars it was nominated for. The Two Towers got 2 of the 6 Oscars it was nominated for and was royally snubbed. It received no nomination at all for costume design, cinematography,  makeup, or any of the performances. Oscar’s tepid response to the first two films in the trilogy was worrisome. An Oscar should not be a popularity contest (though by definition it is) but a recognition of the pinnacle of excellence by one’s peers. Sadly it has always been very hard for genre material to be taken seriously by the Oscars.

Thankfully the people voting decided to recognize Peter Jackson’s achievement with The Return of the King. On the other hand they may have gone too far because The Return of the King swept the awards winning all 11 Oscars that it was nominated for (though still no acting awards). Still it was nice to see a fantasy movie so feted at the Oscars.

There’s really not much to be said review-wise about this movie. If you have not seen The Fellowship of the Ring or The Two Towers, not only should this not interest you but it would be far too confusing to watch. If you have seen them then this movie concludes the story quite well.

Clocking in at well over 4 hours, this version is quite bloated. In fact the denouement seems to go on forever (and they still leave out the scouring of the shire from the book). If you have seen the regular version and wonder whatever happened to Saruman, that question is answered here. That is my favorite added scene and not just because Christopher Lee, one of my favorite actors, is in it. Many other small scenes flesh out the epic storyline but the ending which was too long in the theatrical version is even longer here.

As might be guessed at from the Oscar awards, all the technical aspects of this film are incredible. The music is inspiring – dire, rousing, or uplifting as needed and cued in perfectly. Cinematography has to have boosted New Zealand’s tourism by an amazing amount. Makeup, costuming, and special effects all make this seem real.

The performances, while ignored by the Oscars, are pitch-perfect for the most part. You can really tell and feel that Sam loves Frodo, that Gollum and Frodo are both tormented, that Aragorn is noble and determined, and that Merry and Pippin are frightened and committed.

In short, this film is still amazing some 6 years down the road. We think our children will always think of this as the trilogy and that it will hold up over time even more so than Star Wars did for my generation.  By the way while Frodo is most often thought of as the hero or protagonist of the story, our family is in agreement that Sam is the actual hero.

People Watch: Look for Fringe’s resident eccentric genius Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) in excellent form as Denethor