LOTR Prequel “Born of Hope:” Your Perfect Weekend Entertainment

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And it’s totally free.

Tolkien super fan Kate Madison emptied her life’s savings to direct and star in indie film, Born of Hope, which tells the story of Aragorn’s parents, Arathorn and Gilraen.

The film begins the moment Aragorn’s future parents meet, as his father Arathorn saves the lovely Gilraen and her family from a band of orcs. Gilraen returns to Taurdal, a Dúnedain village, and the romance buds in the midst of Sauron’s encroaching rise to power.

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Despite a low-budget feel and a lack of the CGI that made Peter Jackson’s LOTR adaptations so visually appealing, the film really does shine. Actor Christopher Dane (Arathorn) puts up an earnest, believable performance – plus, the man really knows how to hold a sword. (Hover around the 21-minute mark for a great kill.)

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Equally impressive is director/producer Kate Madison’s performance as Dúnedain ranger Elgarain. Her story arch is the most powerful of the film and as you watch her pine for Arathorn, she never seems pitiful. The whole plot comes to a heart-wrenching climax around the 50-minute mark, as orcs seek to destroy Arathorn’s bloodline under Sauron’s orders.

Available to watch online, the film runs just over an hour. Admittedly, some props and costumes leave something to be desired, but important elements: the story, the score – even the orcs – don’t fail to impress.

So, if you’re willing to put our modern thirst for CGI aside and embrace Born of Hope for what it is, a passionate story created by passionate fans, it might be a highlight of your weekend.