Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...
Yes, seriously. A spy chose her name from LEGALLY BLONDE in order to write a RETURN OF THE KING review. This is what I love about AICN. You see the most fascinating collisions of taste sometimes...
And, yes, I have seen RETURN OF THE KING. Feels like the only film I’ve seen in recent memory, and it left me utterly exhausted as a film fan. It’s remarkable stuff, and I promise... as soon as I’m on the other side of a deadline that is crushing me at the moment, I’ll have a review together. For now... here’s Elle.
This is my first time EVER writing a review. Here goes...
I saw the DG screening of RotK yesterday and I would like to give you one female's perspective. If you haven't read the books be forewarned - I do give some things away.
I loved the movie. It was a satisfying end to the trilogy. Gandalf is impressive, the king returns, Merry and Pippin are separated and each have a chance at valor, Legolas is studly in battle, Sam gives another moving performance, Gimli is great comic releif, you get to see Bilbo again, etc. I literally jumped in my seat several times - even though I knew what was coming. The cinematography, the music, the acting...all in keeping with the epic scope of this story. PJ does an excellent job, once again, of bringing it to life.
The movie is largely faithful to the book...except there's a line in the movie that claims that Arwen's fate is somehow linked to the fate of the ring - i.e. she'll die if the ring isn't destroyed - which I don't remember in the book - am I wrong here? Also I think the movie puts too much emphasis on the help of "the dead" in the battle at Minas Tirith - I realize the battle could not have been won without them, just as it couln't have been won without the riders of Rohan or the Eagles, but the movie makes it seem like "the dead" could have won the battle on their own – that doesn't ring true to me. Overall, VERY minor things.
Indeed, after viewing the second movie, the Two Towers, for the first time, I was amazed at what a good job Jackson did in editing this massive and seemingly convoluted book down to something that could be enthusiastically followed by most moviegoers. Obviously cuts were necessary but the way he made the heart of the story come to life really surprised me. In my opinion that was perhaps his greatest feat of the trilogy- Fellowship is easier to grasp on its own, and RotK is the climax so it has that going for it. The second part of any trilogy is the hardest in some respects.
Now let's get specific...
The opening sequence with Gollum's history is very satisfying for those who have read the book, however it does not necessarily make him more sympathetic, indeed he is less sympathetic in this movie than he was in the last. The part he ultimately plays in the end is well portrayed, but, even after all the build up in the second movie about his possible role, once it happens it is never revisited. Just a simple "Well, looks like Gollum did play a part after all," would have been enough - instead it was almost as if he had never existed.
I agree with Aldini the ommission of Saruman's demise is disappointing. When evil is defeated in the end it is not quite as rewarding as it could be because it is this nameless faceless evil and not a flesh and blood character that is destroyed. Indeed, the fall of the evil eye almost seems comic...you decide.
There was one battle between good and evil that was entirely satifying - the one between Eowyn and the Lord of the Nazgul. She defeats the evil creature in a marvelous show of bravery. Then the event is completely forgotten for the rest of the movie! Here is a bad guy the audience loves to hate – everyone cheered when he fell. So Saruman is ommitted...here is a chance to really enjoy the defeat of evil. Good. And yet it isn't mentioned again! You don't even see Eowyn again until the very end and even then she neither speaks nor is spoken to.
Frankly, there was another deletion that I felt hurt the movie - the union of Faramir and Eowyn. They are standing together at the end of the movie - a quick nod towards those who have read the books, but for those who have not it is meaningless. The joining of the kingdoms of Gondor and Rohan is nothing to overlook. And after all these two characters have suffered, the audience deserves to see them happy. Bad call. I hope there is something in the extended cut - does anyone know? If you haven't seen the extended cut of Two Towers DO! After viewing it I felt the terrible gaps in Faramir's story were definitely filled in.
There ARE half a dozen endings too this movie but it isn't like there is one twist after another - Aldini's statement could have been misinterpretted this way. The ending is just in keeping with Tolkein's style. One farewell speech after another as the members of the Fellowship go their separate ways. Closure upon closure upon closure - it is, after all, a very long story.
Overall, very good, definitely deserves Oscar consideration. I am glad this collosal and magnificent story was finally made accessible for the masses. The books are still amazing.
Call me Elle Woods.
I’ll say this. In some ways, I think KING may be the most problematic of the three films in its theatrical version. That’s not to say it’s a bad film or a lesser film or anything like that. It’s just... there is an ambition and a scale to this movie that makes it a daunting juggling act, and in a world where running time and release dates are a consideration, perhaps the material didn’t quite get the fine-tuning it needed.
But more on that later...