Lord of the Rings Marathon

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.

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12 comments

  1. Mike Rentner

    I couldn’t agree more about Viggo. He was terrible in all three movies. Of all the actors that could have been chosen for this role, he is the worst I can imagine as being reasonably possible. He has terrible posture, he has a weak, squeaky voice, and he has no presence that would suggest that anyone should follow him. And the only time he seems to have groomed himself at all, was at the horrible coronation scene where he looked like a parody of Prince Valiant.
    I don’t know what your allusion to Terminator is. Did I miss something?
    I also didn’t like Sean Astin. He cries in every scene, and he’s a terrible crier.
    But this is still the best movie I’ve seen in a long time. The battle of Pellenor was remarkable in every way, but the thing I especially liked about it was how they showed how brave these people/elves/hobbits/etc. were. That is, they each looked out at the hordes of enemies and you could see the concern on their faces. But despite the very clear danger, they bucked up and faced it, knowing they would likely die. I’ve never seen bravery portrayed so convincingly.

  2. Sasha Castel

    I haven’t seen ROTK yet, but I agree about Viggo. I’m a big fan of Sean Bean, who played Boromir in FOTR, and thought he would make a splendid Aragorn.

  3. os

    agree on Viggo generally and the coronation scene in particular. The pash between Aragorn and Arwen was tripe.
    I also couldn’t understand why there was another scuffle between Frodo and Gollum. Gollum gets the ring, falls back, end of story. And I’d have expected him to have vaporised pretty fast in reality, rather than slowly sinking into the lava with a surprised look on his face.
    The charge scenes were ab fab. Faramir’s knights leaving Minas Tirith and that aerial shot of the Rohirrim charging to the Pelennor were magnificent.
    It was pretty darn good alright.

  4. Niall

    I loved it all, except maybe for the coronation scene at the end. I agree it was a rather flat ending to a dramatic piece. As for Viggo Mortensen, I thought he was magnificent throughout. The climb to Mt Doom was rather too long & drawn out, but had its place to play. The one part I wanted to see was the escape of Sauraman to Hobbiton prior to the return of the hobbits from their quest, and his ultimate demise at the hands of Wormtongue. Other than that, I thought the movies took as much license as was necessary with such a diverse and convoluted story while still managing to portray the thrust of the entire plot.

  5. Scott Wickstein

    Terminator Allusion= Gollum falling into the lava of the volcano with ring in hand…
    As for ‘the scouring of the shire’ I live in hope of the Extended edition. My information is that Sauroman will be appearing in that.

  6. Mike Rentner

    My brother reminded me of one more complaint. Why did they have Frodo hanging on the edge of the precipice? It is almost physically impossible to catch yourself while falling over a cliff, and nearly as impossible to pull someone up from that position, but every movie ever made has this stupid scene.
    It is such a BAD cliche, and it wasn’t in the book, and it wasn’t needed at all. It’s like Peter Jackson was getting tired by the end of the third movie and fell back on really tired cliches and tacky coronation scenes and lots of more useless crying.
    Gollum falling into the lava is a nod to Terminator? That’s like saying that since a Porsche has four wheels and a Yugo has four wheels, that the Porsche is copying the Yugo. It wasn’t a nod to the terminator, it was in the book, which was written several decades before the Terminator. Or am I still missing something?

  7. anemone

    I loved all three movies, and I’m not the most observant person, but one thing I found jarring was near the end of RoTK, when Aragorn/Viggo makes his stirring “Men of the West” battle speech, they’re all on horses. But when they charge, they’re all on foot. Was there a point in the book where they released their horses or something? I don’t see how the editors could have missed that…

  8. Scott Wickstein

    Mike- in the book Gollum just falls in, but it just looked that way to me- compare the Terminator being submerged by the steel and Gollum being swallowed up by the lava.
    I missed that point too anemone!

  9. Ruby Foxburr of Loamsdown

    OMG I can’t believe it!!!!! Lord of the Rings bashing…i’ll have you know that I command Shelob, even King Elessar is scared of me. Anyone who disses this movie shall be prompty thrown to Shelob under his orders. Ok, now back to reality. Viggo Mortensen plays an awesome Aragorn. I believe his acting was perfect and he’s the perfect man for the role. Sean Astin is the only person I could picture playing Samwise. Wouldn’t you be crying too if all that was happening to you? And the crying was essential to the emotional point of the story. I have seen this movie seven times and i’m seeing it again tomorrow, and as many times after that as I can. And, for whoever it was that said they want to see the scouring of the shire, I hate to disappoint you, but he didn’t film it. He said he didn’t like that chapter of the book. I LOVE that chapter, and i’m angry that it’s not there, but oh well. The coronation of Elessar was great, I loved how all the people bowed down to the hobbits and how he sings that song in elvish…and the scene at Mt. Doom was great. I was crying uncontrollably by the end of it, and definitely at the Grey Havens. About the battle at the black gate…the speech by Aragorn was the best, and it was awesome when they all ran up to it instead of riding their horses. When Frodo got back up after Gollum got the Ring at Mt. Doom, I was cheering. That was a great addition, I loved it, and Frodo looks awesome, if evil. There’s one thing that I have to say, and that’s that my favorite scene is the scene where Pippin is singing to Denethor. Who, by the way, I happen to dislike horribly. Also, the scene at Isengard with Merry and Pippin talking before Gandalf and the others show up. This is the most sensational movie that will ever be made, and anyone that disagrees will be thrown to shelob. Any disagreements? Email me, i’ll be glad to argue back. I love to argue, and you won’t win. Cuz if you do, to Shelob you go. (If, by any chance, you happen to think me a total Lord of the Rings freak, you would be right. So don’t get in my face, i’m very very attached to my lord of the rings book, and the movies do perfect justice to it…though I wanted to see Tom Bombadil…*sobs*).

  10. Daisy Brockhouse of Loamsdown

    You evil evil vile person how dare you diss one of the greatest movies ever to grace this planet I mean I thought it was awesome I loved every moment of it I loved the crowing ceremony and everything else I have seen it 7 times already and I plan to see it more I’m a tolkien junkie too my mom read me LotR when I was 2 I have read the books 14 times and I love them and the movies it was perfect and it was one fans prospective of the movie not yours so quit acting like my mom and nitpicking the movie apart its good and as a whole it works despite its MINOR flaws for example the coronation ceremony that was done very well not over done or under done as for denathor does he need an explanation why he is insane Pete gave a very good explanation in my opinion and that’s all I’m going to say on this subject because you are tearing a very good movie to shreds I do recognize you liked the movie but your still a blasphemer and deserve to be eaten by shelob

  11. Derek Zobel

    I don’t get what all you are talking about with Viggo poorly portraying Aragorn. If you would have actually read more of Tolkien than The Lord of the Rings, you would realize that the people of the North, reffered to as the Edain or the Dunedain, have a class of “rangers” that have roamed all about Middle Earth. They do not keep themselves well groomed as there is no point. Aragorn lived in the care of Elrond when he was young (for safe keeping, and to ensure the survival of the line of kings), but as he grew, he chose the path of his people (the Edain, or Dunedain) and became a ranger. Thus the unkept look. The decription of Aragorn that was given in the scene in Bree was indeed sufficient with the movie. Viggo portrayed him better than anyone else I could imagine. This “weak voice” you speak of must have been your own mind.