Review: Lord of the Pings
Movie Review written by on Sunday, December 23, 2001
I've never walked out on a movie before. When I pay $9.50 to see a movie (plus $16.50 for snacks), I'm going to sit through every single minute no matter how awful. The resolve to get my money's worth allowed me to watch Jar Jar Binks without even flinching last year.
But I couldn't make it through "Lord of the Pings". This movie contains a scene that is so appalling, so despicable, so vile, so terrible, so crappy, and so gut-wrenching that I simply had to get up, run out of the theater, and puke in the nearest restroom. It was just that bad.
All of the reviews I've read for this movie have been glowing. Movie critics, next-door neighbors, and even Slashdot posters have all hailed the movie as the perfect adaptation of K. S. S. Uolkien's classic story in which a young programmer named Bobbit is caught up in a global war when he accidentally discovers a floppy disk containing a program capable of launching an unstoppable denial-of-service ping storm against any Internet server.
Perfect adaptation? I don't think so! The whole thing is completely ruined by a scene that takes place only 52 seconds into the flick. Brace yourself: big letters appear on the screen that say "An AOL/Time Warner Production".
When I saw those words, I couldn't resist my reflex to get up and hurl. And I didn't dare enter back into the theater afterwards; I simply couldn't bring myself to watch a movie so horribly scarred by those vile words.
The books, thankfully, do not bear the mark of the America's Only Line beast. The trilogy, including "The Fellowship of the Ping", "The Two Firewalls", and "The Return of the Superuser", represent a superb example of literary brilliance.
The motion picture, however, represents a superb example of corporate megalomania gone berserk. Why, exactly, is an Internet Service Provider (and I use the term loosely) famous for "You've Got Spam!" associated with Hollywood? I don't even want to think about it.
I feel like Mr. Bobbit in Book 1, Chapter 4 in which he finally wakes up to discover the truth about the world of Middle-Ether. He leaves behind the quaint computer networks and Linux User Groups of New Hampshire and steps into the larger world filled with demons (not daemons) growing more powerful each day and preparing to enslave mankind by forcing users to pay tribute each and every time they turn a computer on, edit a document, download a webpage, watch a movie, play a music disc -- and worse. Once he realizes the full power of the Dark Lord, Bill Gatesauron of Redmordor Washington, Bobbit's simple life changes forever.
If you haven't already, don't go to see the movie. By forking your money over to AOL/Time Warner, you are helping to fund the very same Big Evil Corporations depicted in the story. Your money will likely be used to pay for bribes to grease the wheels of democracy and get the dreaded SSSCA passed.
Read the book instead. As far as I can tell, the book is not published by a subsidiary of any BECs... I think.
It's a good read. After meeting up with several fellow hackers along with his mentor, Randolph the Unix Wizard, Mr. Bobbit embarks on a journey through Middle-Ether to Finland, the home of the resistance movement against Gatesauron. After many trials, tribulations, and battles, Bobbit is defeated and the Enemy obtains the Ping program. But when it appears all hope is lost, the Dark Lord discovers that the floppy disk has developed several bad sectors and that the Ping was accidentally destroyed forever during Bobbit's long quest.
Umm... I suppose I shouldn't have given away the ending so easily in case anybody here hasn't read the story. I guess it would also be a bad idea to mention that at the very end of the story, Gatesauron says, "Bobbit, I am your father!" before falling into the great chasm of Dev Null where he perishes.
Aw, crap, I gave that away too.
At any rate, because this film is brought to you by the letters A-O-L-T-W, I must give it an F-minus even though I've only seen 53 seconds of it.
Write me at jonsplatz [at] i-want-a-website [dot] com.