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Customer Review

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Must-have for fans but whiny and self-indulgent, 3 Oct. 2004
This review is from: There and Back Again: An Actor's Tale - A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Lord of the Rings (Hardcover)
A better title for this book would have been "Me! Me! Me" or "Poor me!" or "Three years of imaginary slights from fellow cast members revisited".
For fans of the movie franchise this reveals some things that have never been discussed in public before and as such constitutes a 'must have', but when it comes to the real 'meat' of acting in the movies, from Astin or any other cast member, this is very much an offering for vegetarians. Instead what one gets is 'the private diary of Sean Astin, aged 14 3/4' - or at least that's how it reads. Despite the impression that this is a book about LOTR it's over a hundred pages before Astin really gets onto the subject, and then we're into a long barrage of 'damning with faint praise' or long rants about imagined slights from fellow actors. At one point Astin argues that he's not a Hollywood brat, but this book seems to make a very strong case that he is - and an insecure, arrogant, bitter, hypocritical and self-obsessed one at that.
Most of Astin's fellow-actors are criticised over extremely trivial things. So we get complaints about Mortensen's 'trench warfare' in bombarding the writers with suggestions, complaints about Bloom not stopping a conversation with a Hollywood bigwig at Cannes when the obviously-more-important Mr Astin arrives, or complaints about McKellen and Holm (real actors, Sean!) not having the hypocrisy to repay his 'Your acting's fantastic' compliment.
Given that large sections of the book are given over to public apologies to those he's abused in interviews in the past (Peter Jackson and Andy Serkis) you'd think he'd have known better and learnt from past mistakes, but alas not. Repetition is everywhere so that eg we're told he doesn't like John Howe's work as much as Alan Lee's not once, not twice, not three times, and he takes stances on situations where he hasn't even checked his basic facts (for the record Billy Boyd is the oldest of the hobbits, not Sean, and his 9/11 Two Towers speech contains sentences written by Tolkien not written from scratch by Walsh and Boyens).
That being said it's a book that's hard to put down. It's an addictive, if at times unpleasant, read leaving one wondering at the end if Astin means to be deliberately malicious or is just not clever enough to realise the huge gaff he's made in putting his private whines and petty whinges into the public domain.
All that being said, fans of the movie will love the gossip and unique perspective on what it was like to get involved with these movies.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Jul 2013 11:20:28 BDT
Could not agree more with this review. Absolutely a revealing book, but surely not in the way the author intended!
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