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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 22-09-2010


With The Return of the King, the greatest fantasy epic in film history draws to a grand and glorious conclusion. Director Peter Jackson’s awe-inspiring adaptation of the Tolkien classic The Lord of the Rings could never fully satisfy those who remain exclusively loyal to Tolkien’s expansive literature, but as a showcase for physical and technical craftsmanship it is unsurpassed in pure scale and ambition, setting milestone after cinematic milestone as the brave yet charmingl… More >>

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

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Comments (5)

Not sure why there’s such a vacuum of information available here on ROTK- the platinum extended edition release.

Its no secret that Peter Jackson has finished the version – and that it contains a whopping 65 minutes of additional footage that was cut from the theatrical version, putting the final movie at four hours and ten minutes. Awesome!

Apparently there was some rumor that New Line Cinema was going to cheap out on the special effects for the extended release version – and go with a cut-rate American outfit instead of the New Zealand firm they’ve worked with on the prior two films – but this was just that – a rumor, as far as I’ve been able to obtain.

New Scenes from the book to appear in the extended release version include the following: Confrontation with Saruman at Isengaard in which the Palantir is acquired (tossed out tower by Wormtongue), Parley with the Mouth of Sauron outside the Black Gates, Merry pledging his swoord and allegiance to Theoden, Sam and Frodo, disguised in Orc garb, marching with (and then escaping from) Orc Troop in Mordor, Eowyn and Faramir meet in the Houses of Healing in Gondor, and finally, a scene in which Aragorn reveals himself to Sauron in the Palantir.

All in all, good stuff. The only liberty it sounds Jackson has taken with the material is that Saruman is killed in the confrontation at Isengaard – falls to his death from the tower – rather than simply cast from the order, stripped of his power and humiliated by Gandolph, as the book. We can certainly live with that, can’t we?
Rating: 5 / 5

…wow. That’s all I can really say for this film. It was inspirational, beautiful, heartrenching, and captivating, making this film amazing. Jackson truly outdid himself for Return of the King. The hopelessness and pain Sam and Frodo are experiencing as they struggle to destroy the Ring is so wonderfully done that you truly feel as if you are with Sam and Frodo as they struggle to climb up the mountain. The love and friendship between the two is so moving that it seriously brought tears to my eyes, and I *rarely* cry.

The acting was simply superb in this film, especially Sean Astin (Sam) and Viggo Mortenson (Aragorn). As always, Miranda Otto was wonderful as Eowyn, as were Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan as Pippin and Merry. The movie flowed exceptionally, and despite its lengthy time, there was not a moment that I wasn’t captivated by Tolkien’s vision of Middle-earth. One of the lines that stands out the most to me is during the moment when Sam and Frodo believe they are going to die while Mt. Doom is erupting is, “I’m glad to be with you, Sam. Here, at the end of all things.” Another beautiful scene is when Aragorn, crowned as the King of Gondor, bows down to the hobbits, telling them, “You bow to no one.” The heartfelt emotion expressed really does make this film the greatest of all three.

As always, the everpresent rivalry between Gimli and Legolas is there, providing comic relief. Surprisingly, Merry and Pippin do not provide any humour other than at the beginning of the film, and are a very chief point in the plot. The two are separated for the first time since the triligy began and must mature, which largely develops their character. The lovable Smeagol has now once more become the treacherous Gollum; though in the beginning Smeagol pleads against his darker side, the Ring takes control of him, adding to the list of enemies.

Fans of the book will happy to find that Shelob is in this movie; in the books it was originally in the second. Also, the Sword that was Broken is in the film as well, while in the book it is carried by Aragorn in all three. Peter Jackson also remains faithful to the warrior side of Eowyn, which is touched upon in the second film. Though the Houses of Healing were cut out, hopefully they will be in the extended DVD version of the film.

I really can’t do this movie justice. It’s impossible to explain how I felt both times I saw the movie as I saw the struggle of Frodo and Sam. This movie isn’t just a war-movie, or a fantasy movie; it’s a movie about love and trust, finding hope in a world that has none, about companionship and fighting until the very end. All three and a half hours of this film is exceptional, and will surely be a classic for years to come.
Rating: 5 / 5

Haha, I was among the first people (besides the New Line Cinema DVD crew and the LotR crew) to see the trailer for Return of the King Extended Edition DVD. Wow, you really gotta love Comic-Con 2k4…

50 minutes…extra scenes…:D

Several of the rumors were dispelled by the appearance at Comic-Con of David Wenham (Faramir) and Billy Boyd (Pippin) and several members of the crew working on putting out the DVD. The trailer showed several wonderful scenes from the Extended.

(If you don’t want any spoilers of this DVD, stop reading now!)

They showed 3 completed scenes at Comic-con. One of thses scenes was following the part in the movie where Aragorn does his “What Say you” to the King of the Dead. Suddenly the dead start to fade away back into the mountain and the gateway-thingy erupts and thousands of skulls tumble out of it and Ara-Gim-Lego try to stay on top of the cascade.

The other two complete scenes shown were a love scene between Eowyn and Faramir and a meeting between Faramir and Pippin.

The trailer of the Extended showed several fun and interesting things, including the showdown with Saruman, Eowyn killing the puffy orc general Gothmog, Gandalf ordering the Witch-King away (Gandalf: Go back to the abyss! Witch-King: This is my power! (lights his sword on fire)), and extended parts of the amazing siege of gondor/battle of the pelennor fields.

Well, sadly this is delayed until December 17th so there is a bit of a wait for us LotR fans.
Rating: 5 / 5

Any review of “Return of the King” has to start from first principles: First, the books are too long to make into a movie, even a trilogy. Second, not everyone has read the books, or liked what they read. Sad but true. Third, of those who have read and liked the books, only a few of us have them mostly memorized. So any successful film production must take into account that parts of the books must be dropped, that the story has to be interesting and accessible to those who haven’t read the trilogy, and that the movies must still honor the trilogy for those who have read – or memorized – Tolkien’s life work. Those are the realities; we must judge the movie on those realities.

You can quibble over some very minor details, but Peter Jackson’s telling of Return of the King balances these principles masterfully. Compression? Yes, of course. When Aragorn and Legolas lost the horses at the entrance to the Paths of the Dead, how, I asked myself, were they going to cross the hundreds of leagues from Erech to the Anduin? Excision? Yes, of course. The confrontation of Gandalf and Saruman. The confrontation with the Mouth of Saruman. The Houses of Healing. Imrahil. But the book trilogy is just too long to fit into three manageable movies. The absolutely critical scenes are all there. The story line is not lost or compromised. I will never know if it appears choppy to those unfamiliar with the books, but for me the compressions and excisions did not seriously detract.

Jackson also had to find a way to make the movie accessible to those who have never read the books. Those challenges included finding some way of demonstrating the pure evil of the One Ring. Those who have not read or do not remember the books don’t know Tolkien’s extended descriptions of what Frodo was experiencing. A movie maker’s tools for making that introspection into exposition are pretty limited. The opening scene between Deagol and Smeagol brilliantly reminds viewers of the absolutely corrupting influence of the one Ring. Only by watching every character be tempted by the Ring, and watching many of those tempted succumb, can strangers to the Trilogy begin to know what Frodo was experiencing. The books are full of other, equally challenging problems for a scriptwriter and a director. Jackson handles them all quite well.

But Jackson also brought his own talents and imagination to the story. Is there anyone who wasn’t transfixed by Jackson’s invented sequence of Faramir’s doomed charge on Osgiliath while Pippin is made to sing for Denethor? It’s the difference between merely filming the book and making a movie. Jackson’s additions range from brilliant to interesting; none of them detract from the story.

Finally, Jackson had to preserve the attention and respect of the sizeable minority of us who cherish the books. Speaking for myself, that moment came when Jackson had Aragorn turn to the crowd after his coronation, and recite, in Elvish, the words of Elendil when he came to Middle Earth. No subtitles; no explanation. Obviously, that line was for hard core fans alone. Having Aragron chant the lines was just icing on the cake.

Brilliant special effects. Superb unity of plot, theme, and character across the three movies – compare Isildur’s half smile when he declines to destroy the Ring at Elrond’s urging with the look on Frodo’s face at the penultimate moment. And the knife’s edge balancing of these principles. This is an excellent adaptation, nearly flawless. Highly recommended.
Rating: 5 / 5

LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING should win the Oscar for best picture, and for three reasons: first, it was easily the best big-budget film of the year. The only films that I believe rival it in quality are small budget films: LOST IN TRANSLATION and AMERICAN SPLENDOUR. Sometimes independent films can pull upsets, but I really don’t expect them to this year. Second, except for the independent films, there isn’t a lot of competition this year, unlike the past two years. Many of the films that were expected to vie for the Oscar have been greeted with some fairly negative reviews, like COLD MOUNTAIN, or mild indifference, like THE LAST SAMURAI. One of the better-reviewed films of the fall, MASTER AND COMMANDER, is a very good adventure film that possesses no obvious advantages over THE RETURN OF THE KING. Third, the Academy has a tendency to correct past neglects. Sometimes this can lead to tragic results, such as 1940 when Jimmy Stewart received the Oscar for Best Actor for THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, to atone for his having not received one in 1939 for MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON. The tragedy lay in the fact that Stewart’s best friend Henry Fonda therefore failed to win for his near legendary performance as Tom Joad in THE GRAPES OF WRATH, one of the greatest performances in the history of American cinema. But in 2004, I expect LORD OF THE RINGS to justly win not merely for the excellence of the third installment of the saga, but for the overall greatness of the three films.

The LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy is unquestionably one of the most successful cinematic treatments of a beloved work of literature the movies have ever seen. I know there are purists who would not have been satisfied by any conceivable film version, and that there are others who are more justifiably bothered by the omission of Tom Bombadil or the schizophrenic treatment of Gollum, but I think anyone willing to cut the movie even the tiniest bit of slack should be able to grant to the great achievement that this movie turned out to be. Of course, ironically it was only the growth of CGI technology that made the filming of this fantasy of lost ancient past possible. Twenty years ago, it would have been inconceivable that Treebeard could have been so satisfyingly come to life. Or Gollum. Or seeing hobbits, humans, elves, dwarves, wizards, and orcs all onscreen at the same time. I can honestly say that there was not a moment that I was consciously looking at special effects rather than balrogs or giant flying eagles or gigantic walking trees.

But all of this could be a kind of criticism–namely, that the success of the film depends merely on technology–if it weren’t for the fact that the movie succeeds on multiple levels. The art design is the most memorable I can ever remember. I’ll forever think of those beautiful pins for the capes that Frodo and Samwise wear all the way from Rivendale to Mordor. The makers of the film got more things right than they needed to, perfecting more detail than anyone could possibly have noticed. Without great acting, however, all of the technology and special effects and art and set design would be a royal place setting for junk, but fortunately the film was both marvelously cast and wonderfully acted. There might have been one or two casting decisions I might have questioned, but by and large the cast was stellar, a few so magnificently that it difficult now to see anyone else in that role. When the film was first announced, much of the debate was over who would portray Gandalf, and I remember some people being upset that not only was Sean Connery (the early favorite) not cast but an openly gay actor in the role instead. But it is now almost impossible to imagine anyone but Ian McKellan in the role. So many smaller roles made the film work, like David Wenham as Faramir (seen only a couple of years ago in the role of “Audrey” in MOULIN ROUGE), or Ian Holm as Bilbo, or Sean Bean as Boromir, or Cate Blanchett as Galadriel. The only weakness in the movie is one that probably couldn’t be overcome (and one that Peter Jackson has acknowledged in interviews): Sauron. What can you do with a bad guy who is merely a giant flaming eyeball? Just not much potential to do much more than what they were able to do.

Peter Jackson deserves a special academy award for serving as the creative force that turned THE LORD OF THE RINGS into one of the great experiences in the history of cinema. Most of all, he deserves enormous credit for making all the technology subservient to the story, and not the other way around. The great battle for Minas Tirith might have devolved into a mere showcase for stellar special effects, like many moments in the past two STAR WARS films have, but not once did he lose touch with the human element, not there or at any other point.
Rating: 5 / 5

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