So being a geek with obsessive tendencies, I went to the local cinema to watch the Lord of the Rings.
Not just the Return of the King, but the whole lot, from start to finish (although none were extended editions.) My sister joined in happily as well. You might conclude that we are very sad people- I will only say that if your Mum read the Hobbit to you when you were in the cradle, you’d end up a Tolkien freak as well.
ROTK spoilers to follow…
ROTK has got some rave reviews; parts of it were absolute masterpieces. I have to whinge on a few points though.
1. Aragorn. Was it the script, or was it Viggo? Perhaps a bit of both, but there was nothing in this to suggest that we were looking at King Elessar. He might have got confused with the Prince of Denmark.
2. The Coronation. Dreadful. I must say it, the Coronation was the worst scene in the entire trilogy. Aragorn’s outfit looked ridiculous, the crown looked back to front, the speechifying was dreadful. Even the actors seemed rather stiff.
Admittedly this whole section of the book was the hardest of all to put into film. Usually it all works out well. This one was the one stuff up.
3. Denethor. Glenn Reynolds thought that if fictional characters could sue for defemation, Denethor would have had a case. I agree totally. I know it would have been hard to explain ‘why’ Denenthor was driven mad, but Jackson’s solution seemed pretty horrid to me.
4. Frodo and Sam in Mordor. Whole slabs of the story were victims of the cutting floor here. They dress up like orcs, and are in reasonable condition, andthe next thing you know they are on the foot of Mount Doom in terrible condition, and back in their own clothes.
Okay, enough of this whinge. Let’s start handing out roses.
1. Frodo and Sam in Mordor. Sensational acting, guys. Peter Jackson diverted from the text significantly. This is a huge risk, but it worked out wonderfully well. I thought it all made Frodo seem more ‘hobbitlike’ and less ‘Christlike’.
2. The death of the Witch-King of Agmar. My sister and I agreed that this was extremely important to us that this was done properly. It was sensational.
3. Minas Tirith. A splendid visual masterpiece. As was the battle of the Pellenor Fields. I would have liked to have heard the poem The Mounds of Mundburg read out, but Theoden dies so there’s no one to do the reading. And the whole film suffers from a sense of rush. Even at three and a half hours, there’s not really enough time to do everything as well as you’d like, and I suspect the Extended Edition might be used to fill in the gaps. That might push it well over 4 hours, but I wouldn’t mind.
4. Shelob’s Lair. As scary and as vile as you’d wish for.
5. The opening scene with Smeagol and Deagol, and the degradation of Smeagol.
6. Farewell at the Grey Havens. Even a hardcase like me was reaching for the tissues there.
7. Legolas’s Lairy bits. You knew the guy was going to do something spectular after his ‘jump on horse’ bit in Two Towers. Ha!
8. Peter Jackson’s tilt to Terminator 2. That’s a wonderful piece of not taking oneself totally seriously at the climax to the trilogy. Terminator 2 will be forgotten in thirty years time, which will lead movie students in the future to be slightly confused; it’s worth it though.
9. Sauron’s ‘spotlight’ effect.
10. Pippin and the Palantir. Really neat stuff. I wasn’t expecting it to be sticky. If you find one, don’t touch it.
Add your own thoughts, disagreements etcetera. It IS a sensational movie though.