Lord of the Rings The Two Towers midnight show

Assuming you’re not avoiding the media or living under a rather large rock, you’ve probably heard that the second chapter of the Lord of the Rings trilogy opened today.

Yes, you’ve guessed right: I’ve already seen it.

A few weeks ago (over a month, actually), the Famous Players Paramount Chinook theatre started selling tickets for opening night. First showing: 12:01am.

Yes, you’ve guessed right: That’s when we saw it.

There were originally just three of us: Adrian, Tamara, and myself. But Jensenne caught wind, and wanted to tag along. The more, the merrier, I say! Besides, then I have more “normal” people to stand around so I don’t look like such a dork being surrounded by obsessed Tolkien fans. (Okay, yes, I was there at midnight for a movie … but it’s a good movie!) And believe me, there were a number of them. They started lining up early. At noon.

Yup, a full twelve hours before the movie started. Why? Good question — I’m sure their lives can’t be so empty of fulfillment that 12 hours is nothing to them. Mind you, Star Wars fans tend more to the obsessive side. Both Tolkien and Star Wars fans are geeky — can’t avoid that one. They get really wrapped up in the story, the characters, the ethos of the whole thing. But there are differences between the two. Tolkien fans dress up as characters. Star Wars fans are the characters.

Then there’s Trekkies. Let’s not go there.

John was the first person in our group to arrive on the scene, and mostly by accident. He was in the theatre for another reason, and happened to notice — at 6:00pm — that the line was already underway. Due to the fortunes of modern technology, the line would form quickly. Our team would fall into place in line, myself being the last to arrive around 9:00pm. (There’s another whole story to that, but I’ll spare you the tangent.)

There were noticeable people in the line. A couple were dressed up in costume. One carried a sign on a staff that read: “One sign to rule them all.” (Hey, I said Tolkien fans were reserved — I didn’t say they were any less geeky than the others.) The group sitting behind us brought “Lord of the Rings” Risk — until that time unopened. The drawback was that none of them had played before. By the time they’d gotten underway, we had to move the line again. The single best way to kill time in line was the guy who’d brought a laptop with a DVD player. I’ll give you three guesses what movie he played.

And no, it wasn’t “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”.

The line formed quickly. Within an hour of my arrival, we’d already had to shuffle the line twice to prevent blocking other doors. By 10:00, there were so many people in line, we couldn’t sit down anymore. Sardines have more room. People had to get creative with ways to keep from going mildly mental standing in the line. Tamara got smart and brought playing cards a Nintendo Gameboy. Which, in retrospect, was her downfall…

A-Channel (a local independent television station) sent out a camera crew to get footage of the freaks in line. Tamara laughed about this, mocking the few at the front who would likely stand out the most. So imagine her surprise, and our amusement, when an A-Channel camera peered over her shoulder as she played Tetris, then thrust a microphone in her face to ask her a question about how she had prepared to stand in line. There’s nothing like actually seeing the look of “Please God, not me…”

Twenty minutes, and we were in the theatre. After standing for well over an hour, it was good to sit down again. Snacks, a quick run through the washroom, and it was magic time…

A little over three hours later, we filtered out of the screening (some of us making fast dashes for the washrooms) and headed off into the quiet Wednesday morning. We made a fairly hasty return home. I had to be at work this morning, as per usual. Three hours’ sleep really doesn’t quite cut it. Good thing work is slow right now.

Yes, you’ve guessed right: I fell asleep at work.