And In the End…
By Dwip January 9, 2004, 12:52 am Comments (13) RSS Feed for this post

Being a review of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King.

Yeah, I FINALLY saw the thing. After being snowed in, sick, and whatever else, Suzanne and I went, saw it, and had an entirely enjoyable evening, one of the better I’ve had lately.

Anyway. Like, damn. DAMN. Words practically fail me to describe this movie, this series. The best I can come up with is to go find Peter Jackson and grovel before him for a while until he unceremoniously boots me out into the street as being an embarrasment. I suspect I might need to fight some other people to get there, though.

I’ll take a few shots at the really good stuff, first:

The Mount Doom climax. More or less, that’s exactly how it happened inside my head, up to and including laying on the rock watching the lava go by. In fact, the general ability of these movies to do that astonishes me.

Minas Tirith in general. I was worried, sort of, because what you see of Gondor in TTT looks vaguely crappy. Instead, in RotK, I’m suddenly inspired to go build the model because it looks sweet.

Rohan in general. I’m not sure I ever picked up on the Mongavikings bit before, but the way it turned out rocks. Plus the musical theme they get is nifty.

Frodo wakes up, and Frodo catches the last boat out of town. Genuine emotion in movies is a hard thing for me. I got this really goofy grin on my face when Frodo sees Gandalf, and that sort of stayed with me. Frodo catching the boat is probably my favorite scene in the entire story, and the movie did a very decent job of doing justice to it.

Shelob. Sort of generic horror-movieish at the start, but I JUMPED in my seat when Frodo got stuck, to Suzanne’s amusement. It’s hard to get that out of me, most days. Plus the CGI rocked.

Gollum. Like, duh.

The Smeagol/Deagol opening. A lot of people didn’t like this, but I did. Felt like a good spot, it did.

Most of the Pellenor fields, just for existing. Eowyn’s Big Day, obviously.

I’ve been amazed, constantly, at how for the most part the actors that play the assorted characters look EXACTLY like how I’d think they looked. The acting as a whole, of course, was stellar. Frodo and Sam get bonus points for making me like them this time around, whereas in the books it’s like “can we PLEASE get some more Aragorn time already?”

My evil base is going to look EXACTLY like Minas Morgul with the light show on. That rocked.

That having been said, some issues:

Dialogue. I kept waiting for certain trademark lines, and when they didn’t show up, it threw me. That’s a problem of mine from all three films, actually. It fades on repeat showings, though the Council of Elrond STILL annoys me for some reason.

Legolas goes ‘phant surfing. The CGI sucked for parts, and the climbing bit annoyed me. Then I liked it and it was ok.

Denethor. If they screwed anything in the movie, they screwed Denethor. Him and Saruman. Show us some palantirs, Pete. Sheesh. I expect any problems I have with these two things will be calmed once the real films[1] actually show up on DVD and I can watch the whole movie.

Faramir/Eowyn. “Houses of Healing? You mean there are Houses of Healing? Crap.” Again, I expect that when the real movie shows up, this will go away.

I suppose the Scouring of the Shire could go here, but unlike a lot of people, I can’t really work myself up enough to care. Oh well.

I sort of thought Arwen should have showed up a bit earlier than she did, and done more than she did, like maybe showed up instead of Elrond and pulled another Arwen Warrior Princess bit, because if you’re going to make the change you might as well do it right and they were building for it. Ah well.

Really, that’s about it. My complaints about the series as a whole are pretty negligible. The dialogue thing throws me some. The Council of Elrond. I still can’t decide if I like Osgiliath in TTT or not. A scant few issues with assorted things in RotK that I suspect will end up fixed.

My compliments about the series, though? Words fail. I feel that I’ve been witness to one of the Great Cinema Achievements Of Our Time, one that in time may be ranked with, say, Star Wars and Indiana Jones. I am profoundly greatful for having been there to see it.

[1] – Real films, to be defined as the extended editions. Because that’s really what they are, and trying to pretend otherwise is only going to get you ignored by me a lot.


Movies and Television Comments (13) RSS Feed for this post
Comments on And In the End…
avatar Comment by Regina #1
January 9, 2004 at 12:16 pm

Want to be made even happier?

Supposedly, the extended version of RotK will be somewhere in the range of FIVE HOURS.

avatar Comment by Regina #2
January 9, 2004 at 12:19 pm

D’oh. It was supposed to say *insert aliens here* after that, except Moveable Type eats angle brackets. Arrgh.

avatar Comment by Dwip #3
January 9, 2004 at 1:59 pm

Five hours, eh? Yeah, that should fix any lingering issues I had with deleted scenes. And then some.

avatar Comment by Whir #4
January 10, 2004 at 1:16 am

And then mine too.

avatar Comment by Regina #5
January 10, 2004 at 7:51 am

On the downside, there are also rumors that New Line balked at the price WETA quoted to do the FX for the extended edition of RotK and are going to hire someone else to do them. That better just be a rumor. Foolish New Line.

avatar Comment by Dwip #6
January 10, 2004 at 6:57 pm

Yeah New Line. Get with the program, here. It’s not like LotR didn’t just make you richer than God, here.

avatar Comment by Marechal #7
January 11, 2004 at 8:26 am

Richer than God? Blasphemy.

On the whole, however, much nodding. I’m all about the acting done in ROTK and the entire movie series. Spectacular.

And Gollum… I daresay flawless.

Minas Morgul owned.

But yeah, the dialogue, was hurting. Also, I for one was not a fan of Legolas playing invincible and downing that oliphaunt. No. And Denethor got screwed out of at least one good scene. In fact, I was shocked they didn’t show Denethor & his palantir. That was crucial. Arwen kind of had a disjointed role in ROTK. Saruman dropped off the face of Middle Earth apparently. I think they could have done the Battle before Minas Tirith a little differently… I didn’t completely get the “impending doom” sense … they cut back and forth a little too much there, they needed to linger a bit more on the whole “OhmyGodthereareaquarterofamillionorcsbeatingdownourdoor”. Could have tweaked that a bit better. And ending the battle with a five second sweep by the spirits left me a little unsatisfied. Blink and you miss it.

Gandalf (Ian) deserves … well … all the medals we can possibly pin to his chest for his acting throughout the series.

And although I may come down harshly on PJ for his heresy in ROTK and TTT (I can find very little of any note to gripe about for FOTR), I do appreciate what he has done and I think it is quite spectacular–flaws and all. I own his movies after all. Patron, I am. So I don’t think he did that bad of a job with LOTR. :p

avatar Comment by Regina #8
January 11, 2004 at 11:49 am

Wow. Marechal and I agree!

And did anybody else think the Witch King deserved way more screen time? But I hear he gets it in the extended edition, so that is cool.

Hearing Minas Morgul on the soundtrack is almost funny. It sounds so out of place coming right after all the stirring Minas Tirith songs and then Faramir & Co. riding off to war. But after you get over the shock, it’s cool. :)

avatar Comment by Regina #9
January 11, 2004 at 1:57 pm

Houses of Healing were definitely filmed, and they will be in the extended edition.

avatar Comment by Timmeh! #10
January 11, 2004 at 12:21 pm

As far as I know, no Houses of the Healing was filmed. I do wish they would have put the Rangers and Elrond’s sons in the movie though. Saruman in the extended doesn’t get much time, and because there is no scouring, it’s totally different than the books. Rohan was pretty much what I saw in my head, but Edoras should have been a bit more lush. Golden Hall, hello? Still a great adaptation of book to film.

avatar Comment by Timmeh! #11
January 11, 2004 at 10:45 pm

Cool! Where do you get the info? Most of what I find is spotty at best.

avatar Comment by Regina #12
January 12, 2004 at 4:56 am

Google “return of the king” + “deleted scenes” or “return of the king” + “extended edition.” ;)

I know for sure that HoH were filmed, because someone posted a link to a pic of Aragorn with Eowyn in the Houses on the RotK imdb board. Unfortunately, that board’s gotten so many messages that the orginal message got shoved out.

avatar Comment by Timmeh! #13
January 12, 2004 at 8:06 am

theonering.net is where I get most of my info, but they seem to jump on stories and not verify them first. Being I don’t go there much I prol’y miss a lot of updates.