Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...
I’m going to do this fast, or I’ll never finish posting them, and I’ll never get to finish typing my own review into the computer.
...and it was pretty rip-roaring kick ass good! with one big flaw I'll get too...
I saw in at 11am in Columbus Ohio at the Marcus Crosswoods Cinema. I won tickets form radio station QFM96.
First off I have to say I really enjoyed it. I actually would give it a 8/10.
As usual I was sea-sick with the overly-sweeping epic pans, followed by extreme ring closeups, and then again with another heaping helping of overly dramatic sweeping shots or overly dramatic slow motion shots. Which are all back in there glory....honestly do we really need to see Frodo wake up and greet everyone in his sick bed IN SLOW MOTION! ...but all in all I loved it and have grown accustomed to PJ's overuses of those 3 things. Dare I say I became a fan, I even read the book this year, and watched the Extended DVD's this past weekend (FOTR) and last night (TTT) before going to see ROTK.
The battle scenes were fantastic, unlike anything before, they make Helm's Deep look like a grade school playground fight. These battle scenes will be talked about for a looooong time, and the end of the Clone Wars is still 2 years away and, even being a huge SW fan, Lucas won't top ROTK's battles.
BUT of course I have some complaints....the one thing I am really pissed about is Christopher Lee, or lack of....because HE'S NOT IN IT! Saruman has a big part in the book's end and the major foil in the first 2 but his fate is dismissed in one sentence towards the beginning. There were things that could have been left out (2 scenes in the beginning of Merry and Pippin drinkin' singin' and smokin' & the origin of Gollum tacked on the beginning seemed not needed and forced, we know he had the ring he was turned bad yadda yadda yadda), and the ending seemed too long, I thought it was going to end a few times, then ANOTHER scene followed, but the one I was waiting for never did...>shakes head< no Saruman...if I would not have read the book it wouldn't bother me as much, but knowing a major character's fate was left to "he's powerless, he can sit in a tower" cheeses me off bigtime. We see Sam get married for crying out loud, he sees Frodo off to the Gray Havens, we see Sam return home to his Family but the major intsrument of the first 2 movies was not even shown, we see a too long version of Gollums unneccesary origin, we see Sauron loose his fingers AGAIN! but there is no Sharkey, no Scourging of the Shire, no Wormtoungue slicing Saruman's throat then getting shot down by the Hobbit's taking back the Shire as their own, there is no damage to the Shire. There is no completion to the story IMHO. In FOTR we caught a glimpse of the Scourging, it makes it seem as if the fact the hobbits went on the Quest to save Middle Earth had no bearing on the Shire. Teh return and everythin is as it was, So why go? What's the Point! Well, the first 2 movies were way better in 4 disk extended version DVD, so will this one....it was still a fun movie and I highly recommend it.
I’ll be honest... most of these are raves.
It's becoming par for the couse, but here's yet another Return of the King review. It's kinda hard to put into proper context what sort of an impact a film like this has on a person. Myself, over the past few years I've yearned for December. Prayed for it to come early. Checked web-sites on a daily basis for any new information, new press shots, new trailer descriptions. Anything to get me overwhelmingly excited and quench my seemily unquenchable thirst.
Then, the day finally comes. When it's all over. Most would laugh or roll their eyes at someone being this excited over a simple movie. However, when you look at the reaction this trilogy is getting, the line between film and quasi-spiritual experience is blurred. To me, it's like losing a loved one. I'll always be able to revisit the memories I have of those people, but never will I see them again, see them do the things that made me fall in love with them in the first place. As the Lord of the Rings trilogy concludes, I know next December will just be another month on the calender. And that's overwhelmingly sad...because the movie's were THAT good.
Return of the King is everything you expect it to be and more. When you actually think about what was accomplished, just sit down and think about it, it really does seem impossible. Yet, the movie raises the bar once again. When Fellowship came out, many people theorized that perhaps this was a new generation's Star Wars. Well, I think any doubts of this can be laid to rest. No longer is it a question of IF this movie franchise will be a classic, but merely if everyone will recognize it as the classic it is. After watching Return of the King, in fact, after watching to whole trilogy, there's an amazing thing that happens. Looking forward to a mere 2 hour film seems like vanity. How could they EVER come close to reaching the amount of brilliance that is packed into this 9 hour trilogy. Other movies, just, don't seem as important.
This isn't really a review, but more a love letter. A love letter to a friend that I'm now parting ways with. Everyone will react differently to these movies, but I never remember geniunely feeling BAD for those that don't love a movie. Right now I do. I hope that everyone who sees this film falls punch-drunk in love with it. I hope that it effects them the say way it effected me. I hope that they cherish their last few days before that friend leaves forever.
Some people have been making noises like the only reason people flipped out for stuff at BNAT this year was because of the filmmakers being in attendance. Nonsense. Not one of the reviewers in this entire article were at BNAT. These are just people who saw it and felt compelled to write in about it.
Yesterday I was privileged to be invited to a press screening of the final installment of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. I must admit that I have many fond childhood memories of reading the novels that J.R.R. Tolkien so eloquently penned. I must admit that I am a fan, and I must insist on being totally truthful. I never enjoyed Harry Potter, the first Matrix movie is amazing. The Cheesy appeal for the old Star Wars are okay. I will not own the DVD or videos. For me I prefer drama and comedy.
In 1998 I learned there would be a motion pictures based upon the novels of J.R.R. Tolkien, I was thrilled. I had no knowledge of Peter Jackson or his creative team. Five years later I am still feeling thrilled. I have been immersed in Middle Earth. If ever in my life up to this point I needed the escapism of LOTR it was the last three years. I hated the statement that these movies needed to be judged as a whole, I feel that each individual film stands by its own merits. These films are not perfect but I accept the flaws as hey I never was given 300 million dollars and told to adapt a story that is second only to the Bible. So I accept occasional cgi flaws, I accept the changes and cuts to the story and, I buy the EE DVDs.
The Return of the King is a moving cinematic experience that for me will stand as a comparison for all epics. I was not prepared for what I was going to experience. My expectations were through the roof and I am still blown away. I care of Frodo, I did not want Middle Earth to fall from the screen and I did not want to go home. This is a Hobbit centric movie. This is about the 4 little ones and how they change the world of Middle Earth. This is about Pippin learning accountability, this is about Merry testing his courage, it is Samwise the Brave, and it is about a fallen hero named Frodo. I loved everything about this movie. The battle for Gondor will never be matched on screen again. I still wanna know where they trained that big spider and, I want to buy some property by the Grey Havens. There was one scene that I can’t forget, spoilers...The Hobbits are back in the Green Dragon, drinking ale, and watching the other patrons dance and sing. There are some unusual and uncomfortable glances to each other and then a hesitant toast. It is a scene of this is what they fought for and these ignorant hobbits have no idea. It was a scene of pain and experiences wanting to be forgotten. Each performer gives their all and that is all we ask. Gollum is evil, violent and amazing. Weta will add a third golden guy to their collection, and PJ will see gold. I don't care about Oscars, I don't care about cash. I care about Middle Earth. I will see this movie again in the theaters at least twice in the theaters and snug up with the novels that will always hold a place in my heart.
One of the great pleasures of this past weekend was being able to thank Peter Jackson face-to-face for making these films and refusing to compromise them. I’ve never looked into eyes more tired than his, but he also looked deeply satisfied with what he’s created. And he should be. I mean, listen to these raves...
If you're more interested in the review, skip the first three paragraphs--though I must say that the story of how I snuck in is a rip-roarin' good yarn if I do say so myself.
Every word of the following is true, I promise:
Don't EVER say lying through your teeth never got you anything. BOY did it ever get me to a nice place. Umbeknownst to the general public, this morning (Monday the 8th) was the official screening day for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King for American critics. This part was actually well known to me, but thanks to my trusty partner in crime Lucas I managed to figure out the exact location and time of the screening for the Arkansas Press. 10am, at the Rave Theater, here in Little Rock, Arkansas. A few clever e-mails, and Lucas managed to get us on 'The List' as "Lucas from National Public Rado" (technically true) and "1 Guest" (that there'd be me). I e-mailed my teachers a BS excuse (plausible, with alibi) for missing class along with a promise to come visit them in their offices later in the day, and at 9:15 I was at the theater waiting in the parking lot for Lucas. At 9:30 I was still waiting. At 9:45 I was getting antsy. At 9:50, I grew a pair, decided Lucas wasn't going to show, and executed a daring, James Bond-esque infiltration to the hottest and least known ticket in town.
Noticing a critic who's badge read Arkansas Democrat Gazette, I grabbed my work badge (which had my name and a real radio station that I work at), pinned it to my shirt, and followed about 12 steps or so behind her. The theater was locked, but her badge got her in, and when she saw me, I was close enough to her that she held the door for me. I'm in. So far, so good. I nonchalantly walked over to the critics' reception table and got some coffee (I hate coffee, but this is a 3 hour movie, and I only got about 4 hours of sleep) and a doughnut. I glanced around and saw the woman who let me in headed down to a theater that had, simply, "Private Screening" posted over the entrance. I took a sip of my coffee, grimaced, and saw in a younger critic's (Free Press) hand a smallish, color ticket with the poster art on one side, and a LOT of words on the other. For a second I panicked. I didn't have one of those. Did I need one to get in? I looked around frantically, paced the lobby a bit, and finally noticed a tiny pile of four or five of them near the coffee. I swiped one. I decided then that if anyone were to ask, I was Lucas with NPR, but forgot to take off my badge. The "Private Screening" theater by now had a long line of press folk in front of it, and I wondered why until I got close. When I got there, there was an intimidating man with a black folder wearing a black suit and a New Line Cinema badge. Near him was a cute blonde overseeing all of this--she also was from New Line. And at the theater's recessed entrance were three men: the theater owner, the other two in security guard uniforms. The first was waving a metal detector baton, the other was simply there to hold stuff if need be. These guys were leaving nothing to chance.
I filed in at the end of the line, but then noticed that it was going very slowly as the metal checks were VERY thorough. Deciding I had plenty of time (and I did), I ducked off to the bathroom for a last minute draining (for the record, this movie is 3 hours and 20 minutes, THEN the credits). I was washing my hands when in the mirror I noticed my badge. I stuffed it in my pocket, preferring to say I simply forgot it and call myself Lucas. I walked back out, and took my place at the tail of the (still) long line. I played it cool and calm. I struck up a conversation with some of the critics there about the upcoming Tim Burton flick "Big Fish" and found out that the press screening for THAT is Wednesday (movie isn't due out till sometime in January, I believe). Then the conversation turned to the Extended Editions of Lord of the Rings and Tracy, the New Line supervisor girl, joined the conversation. As best as I could tell from speaking with her, she was a publicist who frequented the set. I managed to steer her away from the conversation group and talk to her one-on-one and tried my best to keep it moving. She was animated, intelligent, and a Tolkien fan, so this was not hard. And since she was in charge, none of the other folks dared tried to interrupt our conversation. I kept the conversation moving quickly, never letting up. This never gave her the chance to ask who I was. Meanwhile the line got shorter and shorter until I was having to pull my wallet and keys out of my pocket, while metal-detecting radiation rotted my ability to reproduce. Then I simply walked into the theater, and took a good seat. I won.
This review is virtually spoiler-free.
So is it any good? Is the conclusion that we Tolkien fans have been waiting so many long years for worth the blood, sweat, time, and tears it took to manufacter? Definitely! I should qualify this by saying that I loved Fellowship of the Ring dearly, but Two Towers left me more than a bit miffed at the changes. While Return of the King has changes (only 2 really notable ones--neither at all anything worth seriously whining about) to the text, what its only true downfall is are the exclusions. There are several moments in the film where you feel that there used to be a scene there. Not just because, if you know the story, you know what's supposed to happen where, but more like edits that needed just a few days more time to make perfect. This will keep the film from winning best picture (it will get nominated), though I'm fairly confident in saying that the film will get Jackson his much deserved Best Director Oscar. This will also make the Extended Edition easily the best of the three. You really do get a ton of story even if so much is clipped out. As expected, the Battle of the Pelennor Fields is utterly brutal and gruesome and sad and heroic and amazing--much more so than the Battle of Helm's Deep. Each battle really has their own place being a great action sequence, however. Helm's Deep had a feeling in it all like they would eventually win and it was fun watching our heroes kick hard and take names. Pelennor has a feeling of utter despair.
The special effects guys are again to be commended on such magnificent work. Minas Tirith looks absolutely amazing, Gollum actually looks slightly more believable (if that's possible) than he did in Towers, and the Nazgul (particularly the Witch-King of Angmar) are nothing short of awesome. The talent of the folks down at WETA cannot be overstated. They, over three films, have managed to make every single frame of the film feel like Middle-Earth instead of being simply somewhere they filmed at. Here we see spectacular locations from the Black Gates, to Cirith Ungol, to the Court of the White Tree and each feel completely authentic. The effects in the film are remarkably consistent with the only disbelief really coming from looking at the sheer volume of things on screen and knowing it is simply impossible for what you're seeing to really be there. One knock against one effect, however, is that the army that Aragorn brings to the table is a shade of green that belongs more in a Mountain Dew commercial than in an epic masterpiece--minor gripe.
The acting, as always, is spot on with special note again to Sir Ian McKellen for truly being the Gandalf we all know from the books. Fans of the books and films alike will be glad to know that the White Wizard really gets into the thick of battle in this one. He also looks great doing it. Rhys-Davies and Orlando Bloom as Gilmli and Legolas continue to truly immerse themselves in their characters as well. Special note, though, has to go out to John Noble for bringing Denethor to bitter and spiteful life, and again to Bernard Hill for making Theoden the kind of king anyone would follow. Aragorn finally gets to show off some of his heretige, and Viggo Mortensen acts it marvelously. Also coming into their own are Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan. Merry and Pippin truly get their chance to shine in this film (as in the book), and show true courage and spirit. And then there's Elijah Wood's Frodo, Sean Astin's Samwise, and Andy Serkis' Smeagol. Andy actually has the oppurtunity to be himself without the effects as just Smeagol for the first ten minutes or so of the film, showing his downfall and enslavement to the Ring's power, and just like before, his Gollum is cruel in all the right ways. Elijah Wood seems, as usual, to have been born for this role. As Frodo quests the long dark of Torech Ungol and across the Plains of Gorgoroth in Mordor, you really do sense that he's just exhausted--you truly feel that his body will give away at any moment. For the short time he is without his shirt in one scene, check out the scars around his neck where the ring has been hanging. Frodo is a truly powerful role and Elijah fits the bill perfectly. I have mixed, though honest, feelings in saying that I believe that this will be the role he will always be remembered for.
And then there's Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee. If anyone in this movie is going to get nominated for anything, it will be him. No question about it. What you see him go through is truly painful and heartwrenching, and Astin keeps every line in check and every emotion exact. His role is so shockingly powerful that it is hard to describe. Those that have read the book will be glad to know that (my personal favorite chapter) the Choices of Samwise is just as powerful a moment in the movie as it was in the book. I could frankly go on and on about his performance, but really it is simply utterly perfect.
As to my own reaction to the film, I thought the first hour was just a touch weak (Towers' theatrical cut has the same problem for me), but once it clicks, it clicks hard and has an emotional resonance that is simply undeniable. The film has the feeling to me of being just a tiny bit inferior to Fellowship's theatrical cut, and far better than Towers'. I knew how the story went before I walked in, so I made sure to bring quite a few tissues. I'm not afraid to admit that as a stoic male in an age where showing one's emotions is almost cardinal sin, I cried. I cried hard. I cried out of joy, I cried out of sadness, I cried for every reason worth crying for, and I honestly can't think of a better story to have let loose this way for. Also, what you've probably read by now is completely true, the movie ends several times, but each is pure magic.
Looking back, it really is hard to believe the story is over now. Just like reading the book, when it was over I really didn't want it to end. I wanted something, anything, another chapter, another fifteen minutes to spend with these characters and in this world. But "The End" does finally appear, and the last chapter in the book does come to a close. And just like the book, the movie ends appropriately though not quite how you want it to. You really do feel that the story is finished, and when it is all over you can wipe away the tears and think back fondly on a story told that was certainly worth telling.
Like so many others, I truly cannot wait to see it again.
Coda: Just before the film began, Tracy (the New Line chick) asked us to talk to her after the film and give her some general criticism, as well as anything in particular that we felt should be worked on for the Extended Edition. I gave her a mouthful, which she wrote down greedily. She then asked for my name and who I was with. For a split-second, I almost said Lucas with NPR. Then a smile came across my face. "My name is [real name] and I'm with [people I actually work for]," I said. She got a cross look on her face and replied: "I didn't think we gave any tickets to the [people I work for]." I simply smiled and shruged. She shrugged back, shook my hand, and said that she'd make sure that the studio got the feedback. I walked off, went to my car, drove to school, sat down next to my friend Jacob in the computer lab up in Stabler hall. "Well, I'm back."
-We'll just call me "Calta Lanta"
Here’s another for you:
First-time reviewer and the only reason I feel compelled to write is because I have to share how amazing and mind-blowing RETURN OF THE KING was. T-Gun did a great job summing the film up so I won't get into too much detail, but I have to assure every LOTR fan or even semi-fan that this movie will certainly live up to your expectations and more. It is a landmark film and one that exceeds the grandeur and emotion of the also-brilliant first two films. For once, a trilogy improves with each movie, ending in a climax that is so thrilling, so well-written and moving, that you feel as if you were a part of something great, even though you're simply an observer.
I attended a Variety-sponsored screening over the weekend, which meant putting up with Peter Bart's blather. He moderated a brief discussion before the movie started with Bob Shaye (head of New Line) and the great Peter Jackson who was a surprise guest. Jackson got an enthusiastic standing ovation from a mostly industry-filled (RE: Jaded) crowd when Bart announced him. He wore his traditional shorts, sneakers, a red and blue striped shirt, and a tuxedo jacket. A very amusing outfit, to say the least. Bob Shaye was annoying. He kept plugging his crappy New Line movies when everyone just wanted to hear Jackson talk. The only thing he really mentioned was that the end scene where Frodo awakens after the journey and Sam comes in the doorway, giving him a majestic smile, was that the scene was shot separately between the two actors but edited seamlessly so that no one knew the better. He then talked about his next project KING KONG and why he chose it. He said the original made him want to make movies and he first saw it when he was 8 years old. He also said he planned to shoot it in New Zealand and that he would focus on the humanity of King Kong rather than the effects, etc. Now for the movie.
In my honest opinion, the movie was the greatest, grandest spectacle of movie-making magic that I've ever seen. I was too young to have been around for the original STAR WARS craze and can say that LOTR is certainly the STAR WARS of this generation, if not greater. I was enthralled from the first opening sequence where Andy Serkis brilliantly portrays how Smeagol transformed into Gollum. This was a very stark, incredible sequence, heartbreaking and frightening at the same time. To echo T-Gun, please Academy, nominate this man.
The highlights are obviously the battle scenes, but for the first time, we get to see the hobbits finally come into their own, esp. Merry and Pippin who had previously just been comic relief (and in my opinion, I was bored with their Tree Beard scenes in TT). Separating the characters was infinitely better for both of them. We get to see Merry gather his courage and go into battle (loved his relationship with Eowyn) and we get to see Pippin bond with Gandalf (who is AMAZING) and save Faramir's life. The scene where Pippin sings for Faramir's dad while showing Faramir and his men ride into their doom was emotional and touching. That Billy Boyd can sing, by the way! Another beautiful moment is when Aragorn faces the overwhelming number of Orcs, and in slow-motion, turns to his friends and says "For Frodo" before rushing to meet the Orcs. Really awesome scene. Gimli is hilarious and I only wish I got to see more of him and Legolas. Another great scene is when Eowyn kills the Witch Hunter (with Merry's help). Her line had the audience hysterically applauding (I should also add that they applauded after nearly every battle sequence and when Gandalf kicks Faramir's dad's ass).
Sean Astin also deserves enormous praise for making Sam such a well-rounded character (both figuratively and literally). Sam saves Frodo's live on more than one occassion, and Astin's portrayal emphasizes how one person will never have to carry a burden alone if they have friends. I've never been an adult Sean Astin fan; I've always found him to be ingratiating and whiny in interviews, but he impressed me even more than the always-impressive Ian McKellan and Viggo.
Now people will most likely complain that there were at least 6 endings, and this is true. But I honestly wanted it to keep going. I had no problems with the multiple endings and if you think about it, how could Jackson want the journey to end? It must have been difficult for him and so he kept it all in and while it is a little extended (shades of A.I. but much better), you're still left emotionally wrung. The movie also slows considerably every time Arwen and her storyline is mentioned. Even though Liv Tyler and Hugo Weaver are excellent, its hard to get emotionally involved in her storyline. I wanted to see more of Faramir and missed seeing him actually hook up with Eowyn (though you do see them together at the end -- signaling a new alliance between Rohan and Gondor). More Eowyn and Faramir and less Arwen and the elves would have been nice.
To sum it up, I was truly moved by this movie, and the entire journey. I felt like I was part of something so special, so monumental that I wonder if I'll ever see another feat like this for another 20 years. Peter Jackson and his entire cast and crew deserve so much more than just Academy Awards or even record-breaking box office. They should be enormously proud. I was crying on several occassions (yes, I'm a wuss) but like Gandalf says, not all tears are evil. This trilogy overwhelmed me. I can't wait for the DVD for this one.
If you happen to use this review, just call me O-Ren.
A couple of people weighed in from Palm Springs...
I was lucky enough to attend the Palm Springs screening of Return of the King with Ian McKellan on friday. I saw Fellowship hours after it was released, I saw Towers right as it was released at midnight, and now I've seen King before it was released.
I've lived off of AICN reviews in the past so it's my turn to give back.
After mulling this over a lot in my mind, I'll start by answering some basic questions.
Yes, it is on-par with Fellowship and Towers.
No, it is not perfection incarnate.
Yes, it is the film that will probably most improve in the extended edition.
No, it is not obviously better than Fellowship and Towers. It may in fact be better, but it will take me repeated viewings to figure this out, andFellowship and Towers have an edge in that I never watch the theatrical versions of either anymore. Note that there's no way in hell King is worse than either.
OK, with those out of the way, I'll move to a more thematic observation:
The movie feels rushed.
One can look at this in different ways. To say that a 3 hour and 20 minute movie feels rushed is a monumental complement to the filmmakers; the film feels like it goes by in two hours which is rather unbelievable.
Still, rushed means rushed. Rushed means that there are times when emotional energy isn't allowed to build to where it should be. Rushed means that almost everything that can be excised - and some things that can't - are.
I'll start with the good side of rushed.
Part of the reason why the movie goes by so quickly is that there is so much stuff that is just un-fucking-believably amazing. Shelob. Denethor sending Faramir out on a suicide mission to Osgiliath with Pippin singing in the background. The paths of the dead. The lighting of the beacons from Gondor to Rohan. Shelob. Gollum. The paths of the Dead. Eowyn and the witch king. Shelob. Gandalf taking over the defense of Minas Tirith and getting some fighting action in himself. The paths of the dead. Tributes to Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Shelob. "It was the bravest thing he ever did." The paths of the dead. A CGI finale that tops the Ents destroying Isengard at the end of towers. Shelob.
Note: When you go see the movie, make sure you chant "Grond" along with the film at the appropriate time. I tired doing this but no one else in the theater was really picking up on it.
There's so much I left out of that list it's not even funny. If you liked the part in towers where Theoden recites the "Where is the horse and the rider?" poem, there's another poem that gets into this movie that you'll also love. Feel free to guess what it is.
There are probably as many "payoff shots" in this movie as there are in the first two combined. These are shots that are as gorgeous as Boromir on his knees from the side in the shadow of the statue at the end of Fellowship, as gorgeous as the Rohirrim led by Eomer and Gandalf charging into the Uruk-Hai at the end of Towers. You will know them when you see them. They are everywhere.
If you haven't read the book, parts of this movie are going to freak the shit out of you, especially if you care about the characters. Thank the Jackson they moved Shelob to this movie.
God I want to see it again. Now.
Now for the bad.
Some people complained about how Two Towers seemed to drag because Jackson spent so much time on irrelevant scenes like the women and children in the caves seeing their husbands and sons go off to defend the keep. Irrelevant scenes like Aragorn talking to the child - "There is always hope."
These scenes are not - not, not, not, not, not - irrelevant. This is not multiple negatives, this is emphasis. These are the scenes that make us care about the outcome of battles. There are parts of this movie that sometimes make you feel like you need to inject the emotional energy yourself if you want to get anything out of it. They mostly come within the first half hour. For me the first half hour of the movie really felt like the filmmakers were going through the motions. I understand it's incredibly difficult to introduce the movie to everyone and get everyone up to speed. Still, be reassured - about a half hour in, when Gollum, Frodo, and especially Sam reach a "turning" point, the movie jacks up the emotion and becomes a lot better. It's just still not as good as towers.
I hated the Smeagol/Deagol flashback.
OK, now let me give you an example about what I mean about emotional energy.
There's a scene where Gandalf has to ride out from Minas Tirith in order to save Faramir from the Nazgul. In the book, you have Gandalf arrive just when things look beyond hope. You have men on the walls shouting for their captain whom they love. You have Pippin screeching at the top of his lungs for someone to please save Faramir.
In the movie, Gandalf is already running before we even realize there is danger, there are no men calling from the walls.
Peter Jackson is a canny enough filmmaker to film all this stuff - he proved it by including so much of it in the Two Towers. But when you have a lot of movie to get through, it gets cut, and it feels rushed. Although the scene I described is probably the worst example of emotion falling flat, it is not unique. It kinda permeates the movie.
Now let me talk about the cuts.
There are a lot of them. And they hurt. There are so many cuts that it makes me wonder if it is even possible to include _every important scene_ in the Extended Edition. It makes me worried that, as awesome as the Extended Edition is going to be, it won't include everything thats necessary unless it's four hours or longer. We need all those little scenes of men on the walls crying for Faramir. We sure as hell need the Mouth of Sauron. No question about that. We need the confrontation between Gandalf and the Witch King. I think even the little part in the trailer where the King lands on Minas Tirith in front of Gandalf was cut from the movie. I wasn't too hurt by no Voice of Saruman. If I had to choose between having the Voice of Saruman back and having all those little emotion-building scenes from Towers, I would probably choose the latter. Of course I haven't seen the Saruman scene. If I had to make the same choice between Emotion and Mouth of Sauron, that would be a lot tougher, considering the Mouth of Sauron is probably my favorite scene in every book combined.
Not enough Eomer.
Even though there's no confrontation between Gandalf and the Witch King, there are horns of Rohan. And they rock. Elrond rocks, for the first time. Everything about Frodo & Sam rocks. Except...
The journey up the mountain feels rushed. Maybe it had to happen this way because they want the journey to correspond with the battle before the Black Gate, which can't last for very long, but I think maybe this was a bad decision.
The Frodo/Sam/Gollum parts are incredible.
I'm lapsing back into serial complementing of this movie.
Pay no attention to the fact that 2/3 of this review is negative and 1/3 is positive. I loved this movie. I will probably see it more times in theaters than either Fellowship or Towers. I have a feeling the pacing means that 3:20 in a theater will never feel as long as the 3 hrs of either of those two movies.
Did I mention I want to see it again?
In a way, what all of this means is that Lord of the Rings is not over yet. The extended edition is set to have the most impact on this movie of any of them (yes, more than TTT). This means I still have something more to look forward too.
Oh, one beef - The music in this film is the most poorly arranged to match the action of any of the films. Certain scenes are lacking in music entirely and lose a huge amount of emotional energy for it.
OK, I know what it's like to read an early review, so I'm going to conclude with just a little bit more detail about how awesome certain things are.
If you thought Gandalf got shortchanged in Towers, he hugely makes up for it and then some in this movie. Awesome scenes. Awesome character. Awesome ass-kicking. One particularly gruesome scene involving the Siege of Minas Tirith comes straight out of the book. It's gutsy and awesome. Gimli's jokes are not only funny but more appropriate than they were in Towers – no "cross-country" references or some of that other crap. There is a huge difference between 10,000 Uruk Hai at Helms Deep and 200,000 fighters at Pelennor Fields. Each of the 6 endings is awesome and totally necessary.
"It was the bravest thing he ever did."
The book places an emphasis on characters (Bilbo) giving up the ring voluntarily. The movies have continued this in an awesome fashion, extending it to Aragorn in fellowship, and now Sam in a terrific scene. The Eagles are superb. If you have any concerns about the Sammauth Naur, rest assured. It's perfectly done. The movie makes a huge point to tell things from the Hobbits perspectives, and succeeds. I repeat - so many gorgeous camera angles and scenes. Every scene with Theoden is terrific.
This will be the longest I have ever gone between seeing a Lord of the Rings movie the first and second times. I know this isn't something you guys can exactly sympathize with, but believe me, it's going to be hard.
This movie rocks.
And this one...
Last night was a very special night for me, as I was able to attend the very first public screening of Return of the King in Palm Springs. Sir Ian McKellen was there to receive an award from KCET public television, and he also was interviewed before the film. He was a very gracious host, and you can see his love for his fans in every moment he spoke of being Gandalf or Magneto. In one very funny moment, a metal brace from his chair broke off while he was being interviewed, and he held it up with one hand, and put his other hand out and exclaimed “I told you I was Magneto”! He finished the interview by reciting Shakespeare for us for a good five minutes. A truly magical night for those of us in awe of this amazing actor.
Before I review the film, let me give you a little background information on where I stand with The Lord of the Rings. First, I have never read the books, only The Hobbit. I didn’t read any spoilers, so I went in only guessing what would happen. Secondly, I absolutely love the first two movies. I consider them among the greatest films I have ever seen. However, I love The Fellowship of the Ring more than The Two Towers. That’s not to say The Two Towers has many faults. I just loved The Fellowship more – being introduced to the whole story of the Ring, the amazing prologue, etc. The Two Towers is fantastic, and the extended edition is truly an amazing film, almost as good as The Fellowship of the Ring.
So, just like everyone else who loves these movies, my anticipation for Return of the King was off the charts. When I heard Peter Jackson say it was his favorite of the three, Elijah Wood say it was better than the first two combined, etc., I was expecting a whole lot. Harry, I was humbled by Return of the King, and completely blown away, in awe of the amazing accomplishment of Peter Jackson and all involved in bringing this fantastic trilogy to life. I don’t even consider this “best movie of the year”, it extends far beyond that. This is truly the cinematic experience of my lifetime, one that I cannot imagine ever being topped. And I’ve seen lots and lots of movies. This movie (combined with the other two) is going to inspire kids to become directors, actors, composers, cinematographers.. the same way that Star Wars and 2001 inspired some of the great talent working today. It is a truly magical film. Now, on to the review... beware of spoilers!!!!
After the amazing prologue of The Fellowship of the Ring, and Gandalf battling the Balrog in The Two Towers, it is obvious that Peter Jackson knows how to open a movie, and Return of the King is not the exception. Return of the King opens with two hobbits fishing in a boat, Smeagol and a fellow hobbit. The fellow hobbit catches a fish so large that it pulls him in, to the river’s floor. There he see’s the ring, and takes it. When he surfaces, Smeagol is there, and he tries to take the ring. The two fight, and Smeagol ends up murdering the hobbit and stealing the ring. We see him as he slowly transforms into the creature Gollum. Truly an amazing opening, one that casts an even more ominous shadow over Return of the King, as we see that Gollum is actually very capable of murdering anyone who would stand in his way to reclaim the ring.
Return of the King is a very dark movie, with much less humor and lightheartedness than the first two films. In this movie, everyone suffers. The characters we care for are all put through many tortures. Above all, Sam and poor Frodo are put through the ultimate struggle. Their relationship is tested as Gollum tries to convince Frodo that Sam is out to take the ring for himself. When Frodo tells Sam to go home, it broke my heart.
This is Sean Astin’s movie. He is the heart and soul. No matter what Frodo goes through, Sam is there to help. Whether he’s protecting Frodo from Gollum, battling Shelob, or just offering friendship, Sam is true to the end. The moment when the two are climbing Mt. Doom, and Frodo doesn’t have the strength to go on, and Sam exclaims “I cannot carry the ring for you, but I can carry you” hit me over the head like a boulder. What a truly powerful moment.
There are so many moments in this film that will floor you. When you see the Witchking getting suited up for battle, or Gandalf blinding the winged-riders with his staff, this movie is just one cinematic high after another. It is almost overwhelming.
With Return of the King, Peter Jackson has crafted his finest movie. His vision and talent are extraordinary, and rest assured that it all holds true to the end. Cinematographer Andrew Lesnie has also filmed his most amazing movie, as the photography here is the most beautiful of the three movies. Finally, Howard Shore is absolutely perfect with his score, definitely the most accomplished of the three scores.
Again, I have never read the books, so I can’t tell you what is missing or different. But, as a true movie lover, I can easily say that Return of the King is everything I hoped for, and so much more. I will rush out to see this many more times, and just the thought of an extended edition of the film gives me chills. I expect this to take the Oscar for best picture, but if it doesn’t, does it really matter? I mean, which film do more people hold closer to their hearts, Saving Private Ryan or Shakespear in Love? The Fellowship of the Ring or A Beautiful Mind? The Two Towers or Chicago? This movie will long outlast it’s competition and should be placed in high regard from film fans all over the world, for years to come.
LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING
(NEW LINE CINEMA. 200 MINUTES) **** (out of four)
Let’s face facts, folks: there has never been a third chapter to a movie trilogy that has fully delivered or satisfied the way it should have. Return of the Jedi was a good but soulless end to the original Star Wars trilogy, full of wooden acting, an overwhelming sense of trilogy dÃ©jÃ vu and Ewoks. Godfather Part III, also decent, was completely unnecessary, nowhere near as good as the first two and starred Sofia Coppola. The less said about the third parts of the Matrix, Alien and Back To The Future franchises, the better.
Eventually, someone had to break the curse, and it has finally happened. It brings me great pleasure to tell you, though it should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen the first two films, that Peter Jackson’s third and final entry in the Lord of the Rings saga, The Return of the King, is the film to break said nuisance. It’s a vital, exhilarating concluding chapter that successfully entertains and more than stands on its own merits. The New Zealand director has pulled out all the stops to deliver a bigger, darker, more emotionally resonant motion picture experience that is more satisfying than any fantasy film or second sequel that has come before it. And yes, that includes The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers.
Despite shooting all three films at the same time and doing a hell of a job on parts one and two, Jackson’s work on King is his finest hour, more accomplished and assured than ever. Trials and personal dramas that each of the characters endure in their journeys are given as much attention as the massive battle sequences, in particular the breathtaking Battle of Pelennor Fields.
Sharing writing duties once more with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, the director does a fantastic job adapting Tolkien’s final book of the series from page to screen. The trio faithfully capture and translate the late author’s eye for detail, small character idiosyncrasies and themes of friendship, temptation, loyalty and bravery that will please both hardcore fans of Tolkien’s books and fans of the films.
I stated last year that his trio deserved at least an Oscar nomination for their work on adapting The Two Towers (didn’t happen). By taking the slimmest of the three novels and turning it into the richest of films, they deserve not only an Oscar nomination, but quite possibly the award as well.
The large, returning ensemble cast also displays a higher level of acting quality. All have become comfortable, but not complacent, in his or her character. There isn’t a bad performance to be had (John Noble makes a fine addition to the cast as Denethor, the jerk of Middle Earth), with the trio of Sean Astin, Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis being this chapter’s true standouts. Wood does a fine job handling Frodo’s physical and mental struggles with his task, Serkis is once again wonderfully evil as Gollum and Astin’s heartfelt turn as Sam reveals his character to be the true hero of the saga. If there is one minor quibble, it is this: I missed seeing Christopher Lee’s Saurman, whose scenes have been cut and saved for the Extended Edition due in 2004.
On a technical level, this is about as good as it gets. From Howard Shore’s majestic score to Andrew Lesnie’s rich cinematography to Weta Workshop’s eye-popping visual effects, including the terrifying giant spider Shelob and an army of 200,000 orcs waging war on Minas Tirith, the movie dazzles the eye as much as it does the mind and heart.
Looking back to a little over two years ago, I remember that I wasn’t looking forward to these films. Hollywood seemed to be stuck in a rut: while the price tag on films kept going up, the level of quality went in the opposite direction. After the horrible summer movie season of 2001, I had become so jaded with mega-hyped blockbuster wannabe’s that I was convinced this series would just be more of the same: all style, zero substance.
How wonderful it was to be wrong. While the overall quality of big-budget American cinema continues to slide into the sewer, Peter Jackson and his cast and crew of thousands have shown me that quality commercial cinema such as this, the most fully satisfying cinematic trilogy made to date in the history of cinema, is still capable of existing.
Getting the point yet?
I saw it last night at DGA in Hollywood and I'm still blown away. Really, it's impossible to get ready for this thing. I have never seen a movie like this before. Truly, it blows the first two away - in the action scenes, in the tension, in contrast of good v. evil, the emotion, everything. The end is legendary, gollum is incredible, the whole thing is just amazing. The Oliphaunt battle and Ride of the Rohan will literally drop your jaw. The entire Shelob scene had my heart pounding. When the black gate opens and the eagles come (there's one spoiler I guess) it just took my breath away. The dead army - cooler and creepier than you could ever imagine. And Sam and Frodo on the mountain, just utterly fantastic s! tuff. I loved every second of it. Just try and hold back the tears when Theoden rallies his troops, when Eowyn mourns the loss of her king, when the Aragorn cries “For Frodo!” before the black gate as a tide of monsters close in around his army, or when Gandalf takes Frodo’s mangled hand and they walk together on to the silver ship. I wouldn't want to spoil any of the details for anyone. It really is better than the first two, hands down. It's a classic and truly epic, and even knowing all that you know, you will be shocked at what PJ and his crew have been able to accomplish. Completely remarkable. There ya go.
PJ came in after the movie and did about an hour of Q and A. Unfortunately, most of the questions were things covered in the DVDs - how Elijah was cast, Howard Shore stuff, etc. He talked a little about the Hobbit, he said that UA and New Line each have some of the rights, so a deal would have to worked out. But he was kind of non-commital, but there was no "NO" said. Also, he said that Orlando Bloom was originally cast as Faramir, but when they couldn't find a good Legolas, he was cast instead. After the Q and A, PJ graciously stayed for about 25 minutes, signing autographs taking pictures with the fans. He was so nice and polite - HE would say thank you after he would sign an autograph. He signed my little brother's book and PJ personalized the autograph and said "thank you for coming to my movie." It was great to finally meet a hero a! nd have him be totally gracious and a bigger stud than I had imagined.
So it was fantastic, and I can't wait until I can see it again.
If you use this call "The True Nerd"
Anyone? Is it getting through yet?
Landroval's ROTK review.
Dear Harry, Moriarty, AICN, all,
After a brief email correspondence with Harry and Moriarty a few weeks ago, I promised to provide not only a review of the LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING, but also a description of the pre-screening reception with Barrie Osborne, whom produced (in conjunction with Fran Walsh & Peter Jackson) the LOTR movie trilogy.
Back in 1996, when I first read the TIME magazine article that suggested some Hollywood studio had given a green light for the creation of the LOTR movies, it was like a Morgul-blade had been stabbed in my heart. As many LOTR fans may have experienced at that time, I felt that it had been my destiny to one day adapt this masterpiece for the big screen! That it had been my birthright! My precious!
LOTR has been a passion of mine since I first read the books as a boy in the early 80's. Over the years, I have come to claim the self-professed title of "Tolkien Scholar", and Phillipa Boyens would probably consider me one of the feared "guardians of the literature".
My passion for this story went so far and sat so deep, that I actually corresponded briefly with Wingnut Films back in early 1999 for a possible job in New Zealand to participate in this inevitably epic production (I would have worked in the stables, if need be). Yet, as I own and run my own company here in Minnesota, the responsibility to my employees and shareholders was too great, so I tearfully hid the unfinished Wingnut correspondence in my dusty black file cabinet of lost dreams.
Though I did not elope to New Zealand in 1999, I have still been blessed with touching Middle-Earth professionally. Since 2001, my company has had the fortune of designing and publishing a range of official LORD OF THE RINGS board-games, which has allowed me the pleasure of working with such LOTR legends as Ted Naismith directly and John Howe indirectly.
In December 2001, when the FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING was pre-screened at the first Carleton College fund-raiser in Minneapolis, I was fortunate to attend this event and meet the impressive and soft-spoken Mr. Osborne and hear some of his experiences with the production. Now, jump forward to 2003, and I am once again heading downtown Minneapolis to attend another Carleton College LOTR fundraiser and screening with Barrie Osborne. At the same event, my company will be giving away bucket-loads of our LOTR board games to the huge crowd that will be previewing the RETURN OF THE KING. More than a thousand enthusiastic fans will see the film on three screens in the shiny new "block e" cinema in downtown Minneapolis. As I am driving downtown, I am getting really excited for this spectacle and for the final installment in the trilogy.
The pre-screening reception with Mr.Osborne is reserved for high-level donors, college faculty, Twin Cities media personalities, and a few geeks willing to spend the big bucks like myself.
I arrive at the event with my brother-in-law, another big Tolkien fan. The reception is a dressy affair with cocktails and dainty snacks served by a snazzy serving staff. Posters of LOTR: ROTK abound everywhere in the room, and the latest ROTK trailer is running on a large TV in the background. The pre-screening reception is only about an hour long, but after about 15 minutes of waiting, there is no sign of Barrie Osborne! I have a couple of questions in store for him, and I am starting to wonder whether he actually will show up.
Since I promised Harry & Moriarty that I would give some coverage of the reception, I am starting to feel a little silly. It would not be much of an exciting tale without Barrie himself. But then, as I am mulling this over, Barrie arrives and instantly begins to dutifully shake hands and mingle with the crowd.
Now, back in 2001 when I had the pleasure to attend the LOTR:FOTR Barrie Osborne screening, the crowd at the pre-reception was small (about 30-40 people). At that time, to most of the world, LOTR was 'just another movie' and only a few of us knew how huge a phenomenon it had the potential to be. Two blockbuster films later, and presto: The 2003 reception has swelled to a crowded affair with several hundred people in attendance. Barrie himself is immediately swamped with faculty, old friends, and other wine-swilling attendees.
The reception crawls along in this fashion, and the movie is almost ready to start when Barrie is finally presented on the small podium in the reception area. Here he provides us with a few tales and inspirations from the production, including some experiences from the Wellington Premiere of ROTK from which he had just returned. Barrie especially notes how he feels that, to him, LOTR's secret strength comes from the notion that the races of Middle Earth, peoples of different cultures, unite and come together to fight a common foe and achieve a shared and vital goal.
After Barrie's brief presentation, the reception quickly ends, and before I know it, we are at the nice new cinema (complete with that 'new cinema' smell). As we are about to give our tickets at the gate, I finally manage to catch Barrie Osborne for a couple of questions. My main interest is that of THE HOBBIT, and what might be brewing for this very obvious LOTR follow-up. Given the success of LOTR, the production of a HOBBIT movie must certainly be a hot topic within New Line and in Hollywood. Barrie nods knowingly and informs me that there are some IP rights problems with THE HOBBIT to be worked out between a few rival movie studios. Yet, most importantly, he notes that Peter Jackson is keen to do THE HOBBIT -- possibly after King Kong (which is Jackson's current project). This is, of course, great news.
I had heard that Peter Jackson was not crazy about returning to Tolkien after 8 years of hard work with LOTR. So, Barrie's remarks, and Howard Shore's comments in the LOTR:ROTK soundtrack CD slip, have me hopeful that ROTK will not be our final visit to Middle Earth, and that movie-making forces are at work to provide us with the story of a Hobbit who went there and back again (complete with more Gollum and Gandalf goodness, of course).
Slightly off-topic, I also asked Mr. Osborne: 'What went wrong with those Matrix sequels?'. He grins widely and notes in jest that "I did not work on them!" and subsequently declines (understandably enough - this was a LOTR evening) to provide any further insight or opinion on the new Matrix movies. (In case you did not know, Barrie Osborne produced the original Matrix movie).
With all the talk, wine, cocktails, HOBBIT news, and socializing behind me, I am finally ready to rumble. Ready for the steak. Ready for the main attraction. The theater soon grows dark, and the film begins at last.
As with THE TWO TOWERS, the film begins with a powerful flash-back sequence. In THE TWO TOWERS Frodo dreams the Balrog/Gandalf Moria descent for us, and now in the RETURN OF THE KING we are given the back-story of Gollum and how he tragically and violently became ensnared in the history of ring. It is a potent beginning, and a clever choice by the filmmakers given the wonderful impact Gollum had on audiences in THE TWO TOWERS, and the vital role the character plays as the story progresses. This was one of the scenes that I *wished* would be in the movie (and had actually expected to see in the first film), so I was tickled-pink to finally be allowed to see it. It was one of those 'thank god they showed that' moments that can occur when you watch a film adaptation of a novel.
Without too much exposition, we are immediately whisked deep into the story as it left of in THE TWO TOWERS, and events unfold with blistering pace before us. Without a doubt, the ROTK is a far more visceral movie than TTT, and FOTR. Shelob, the Dead of Dunharrow, the numerous battles; Peter Jackson does not hesitate to give us old-fashioned blood 'n guts 'n bones. Heads literally fly.
The ROTK is an emotional and epic movie. During our brief conversation, Barrie Osborne confirmed that this was indeed his favorite movie of the three; he nodded and noted that the 'emotional payoff from three movies' is provided here. He was right! ROTK gives us the whole emotional spectrum, from the sweeping arousal of armies and battle, to the intimate sequences of friendship and loss (I was fond of the Gandalf/Pippin sequences in particular).
What seems to have been widely neglected throughout the general coverage of the LOTR movies, in my opinion, is the fact that LOTR is at its heart, one of the great literary tragedies of our time.
Although the story majestically creates and re-invents the mythic, the heroic, and the epic; at its soul, like Tolkien's silent tears, it laments the passing of time and of beloved things. The passing of friends lost in war, the passing of beautiful rural landscapes as urbanization and industry encroaches, the passing of our years and the dull ache of mortality. Tolkien yearns for what has passed, for mythic ages and languages long gone, for heroes, untouched vistas, and simple emotions. In almost more than mere allegory, the aging Bilbo in Rivendell personifies Tolkien himself, engrossed in ancient languages and songs of the past, dutifully chronicling the passing of events while a new age is being born violently around him. Recall that much of LOTR was written while Tolkien's son was fighting in WWII, and the professor himself safe in his own Rivendell, the old college town of Oxford.
Is the ROTK perfect? No. I have a few quibbles with the choices made by the filmmakers; the Dead of Dunharrow, and the (quickly disappearing) armies that cover the plains of Gorgoroth are especially sore points for me. Yet I can easily forget my small misgivings because the movie truly delivers overall! And it delivers more powerfully than I had dared hope for. Peter Jackson (and Barrie Osborne, of course) have shone a projector light to our minds eye, and have shown us sights that we have never seen. ROTK delivers a spectacle that is not only a great finale for a terrific trilogy, but a truly passionate and successful adaptation of Tolkien's untouchable literary masterpiece.
Perhaps the word 'tragedy' is considered unhealthy to the financial success of a modern-day commercial film? Yet, to my relief, its spirit has thankfully remained intact in this adaptation. In fact, it seems that Jackson goes out of his way to illustrate it. For example, in THE TWO TOWERS, he wisely chooses to include the imagined "Where is the Horse and the Rider" soliloquy for King Theoden, as well as including Arwen's and Elrond's powerful 'vision of her future' inspired by the books appendices. Through the presence of these moments, Jackson, like a tragic sage, allows us to glimpse Tolkien's secret sadness: that the old world of magic and wonders, of earthen values and noble lineages, of hobbits, elves, and wizards, is passing into the west, and we will be left behind. We come to see that only the mundane world of mortal men will endure, and that the magic and wonder on the screen (or in the book) will soon will fade into memory, tale, and myth. The incredible detail and realism of the production, like the books, is the real key to that secret place, that ever-sought 'suspension of disbelief'. LOTR (movie and books), in my opinion, remains the pinnacle of successful escapism (in the positive sense of the word), one that is much more successful than other imagined settings because we keenly feel this imaginary place, this Middle Earth, slowly slipping away. Like life and history, it is passing, fading regardless of how much we want to hang on to this beautiful dream.
Some may find the ending of ROTK long, but I am glad that Peter 'winds us down' and gives us an ending that is both a detailed farewell and an emotional severing. Very importantly, we are given those very crucial scenes of Frodo's bitter-sweet return to life in the Shire, and the suffering that he still bears. For all the pain, the brave deeds and the long journey he undertook, Frodo - in the end - utters those vital and haunting words: "I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me."
I respectfully tap my hat to the creators of these magnificent movies. In my heart of hearts, I will never forgive myself for not abandoning my coat and breakfast to run off and join the New Zealand adventure. Not only have Jackson & Co. masterfully provided us with a great adaptation of the books, and not only have the filmmakers created an epic that David Lean could have envied, but they have thankfully, and powerfully, retained Tolkien's gift to us. The powerful aching emotion of passing. We feel it as this epic fantasy, these characters, this world, sails away into the west, and into our hearts forever.
The world changed.
I felt it in the water
I felt it in the earth
I smelt it in the air
Call me Landroval.
I would be happy to receive personal feedback to this review here.
It makes people wax poetic.
Holy shit, I feel like I have just smoked the best weed in all The Shire! I am eternally high! The Return of the King was in my opinion a perfect finish to what is and always will be considered one of the greatest cinematic accomplishments of all time. Truly awe inspiring stuff. And I do believe that the reason this and all of Lord of the Rings plays so well is because of the intense amount of emotion that every scene seems to carry. I felt great emotion during all of these films, but especially during Return of the King. So much is at stake. Each battle feels so hopeless, so important, that one cannot help being caught up in it. We have traveled so far with all of these characters, we are so attached, that much like the books, we do not want to see them go. But if we were to see them go- this is a great way to do it. Yeah. Emotional is what i took away from Return of the King, a very cool emotional experience.
This was a screening for Backstage West at The Grove in Hollywood. Thanfully Viggo Mortenson would be there after the film to talk to all of us. What a blessing, I get to see Return of the King and then have Aragorn shoot the shit with us! New Line is taking every precaution here since everyone, and I do mean everyone, was scanned and patted down for this screening. People with any kind of cell phone that could take a picture were asked to turn their phone into guest relations.
The film started without previews, immediately throwing us into the movie which does start with a sweet little bit of backstory on Smeagol and how he came to the ring.
It seems a lot of reviewers have already gone into specific plot details so I feel the need to just mention a few of the things I felt really stuck out.
The battle scenes, as I mentioned, intense. A feeling of total dread. There is alot of adrenaline pumping through these scenes. The way Legolas takes control of an Olyphant, the running head on into a sea of Orcs, the catapults, the arrows, the ghost army, the flying nazgul! If there is one thing I wanted more of it is orc heads a