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Musings and Meanderings

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Return of the King

We were pretty tired Christmas Day so instead of going to see RotK on Christmas Day we went home and watched the extended DVD version of The Two Towers that the Christensens’ had given us for Christmas. The plan was to go after work on Friday, but that was scotched because everything was sold out Friday night. Liza bought tickets to the 10am matinee for today on Friday night so we got up and going "early" today and finally saw this epic.

Well its long, a bit over 3 hrs, but its very very good. I was very taken by the opening sequence, as it showed Andy Sirkus as he is and not as the CGI Gollum. I wondered if that was the original plan in the movie, or whether these were scenes shot later by Peter Jackson when he saw the popularity and critical acclaim of his role.

An epic of massive proportions. As a long time reader of the trilogy I was very satisfied with the movie. Jackson did all the most important events very well including the Eowyn scene with the Nazgul and the Paths of the Dead sequences for example. The battle of Pelinor Fields was "most righteous" as Bill and Ted would have said. Suspension of belief was no problem watching all those nasty creatures storm Minas Tirith. Some things the movie did better than the books, including this battle, especially Aragorn arriving with the Ghosts of the Northmen and wholloping the bad guys.

Some things were done not so well, such as leaving out the entire Faramir - Eowyn scenes in the Houses of Healing, but I figure strongly that those will be in the exteneded DVD next year. Shelob was however a disappointment. Frankly she looked like an overgrown garden spider, not the last surviving daughter of Ungoliant, one of the Nastiest things Melkur made. I don't like spiders so I expected to be completely grossed out by these scenes, and I wasn't. Tolkein makes a big thing about how disgusting and bloated Shelob is, so I think Jackson missed the boat on this one. Also missing was the entire "mouth of Sauron" bit at the gates. It's a little thing, not sure why they didn't do it.

Another bone of contention was the lighting of the battle of Pelinor fields. One of the over riding points of this period in this battle was that Sauron had extended his black clouds to blot out the sun. Frankly it was just too bright. Picky I know but heck, that what a review does...

I loved the care and time put into making the Grey Havens look completely realistic even though it was only a tiny bit of the end of the movie. Overall the "look" of the scenes was very satisfying for me because instead of trying to reinvent the look of the Lord of the Rings, Jackson dipped deeply into the well of available paintings and illustrations as blueprints for the look of this movie. Minas Tirith is probably the best example of this.

Another thing that I really enjoyed was what a bad ass Gandalf was with his sword. There are several scenes where he is almost ninja like in using his staff and sword. That was just plain fun! I also loved the Legolas scene where he takes down an Oliphant on his own. Shades of Luke and the Snow Walkers lol.

I'm sure I'm missing some important points, and this could go on forever. I was very happy with the casting of trilogy, especially the "Men" supporting characters. I cannot find fault with any of the casting in fact, even if I try real hard. lol.

So now it's over except for the Extended DVD version. Will there EVER be another epic like this. For sure. But not for some time. I doubt there will ever be a better version of the Rings, and also doubt any one will try for sometime. The future of this movie as the jewel in the Trilogy crown in uncertain. Will the Academy break from tradition and vote an epic the best picture? Will Jackson get Best Director? I think the latter is more likely than the former. Liza and I are very strong that Andy Sirkus deserves an Oscar. On the others I am not certain that any stand out over the rest, all were SO DAMN good at their roles.
posted by Mike 11:24 PM


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The musings and meanderings of an overworked and underemployed mind