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Return of the King

Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 9:16 pm
by Kean
So here's an inevitable thread if I ever saw one. What did you guys think of the last LOTR movie, Return of the King?

Personally, I thought after the disappointing Two Towers, this movie was a return to the tasty goodness that Fellowship of the Ring was. Some really good moments in this last film.

Mind you, while I'm in the same boat as what China Mieville feels about Tolkien (my favourite quote: "Tolkien is the wen on the arse of fantasy literature"), and while I don't think of LOTR as great literature, it's still a fun ride as a series of movies. As a series of novels, it's just not worth ploughing through the endless pages of breathless and melodramatic descriptive prose that Tolkien usually ends up falling into.

So, to summarize: Movies good, books not so much (at least in this particular case).


Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 9:23 pm
by Rad Sechrist
I haven't seen it yet, but I can't wait. I happened to have liked the Two Towers better than Fellowship of the Ring.

Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 9:44 pm
by Kean
I always felt the focus of LOTR's story was the Hobbits (certainly, much of the story is told through their eyes). And in a way, Two Towers strayed from that, and I felt it was focusing more on the humans in that film.

But I didn't like Two Towers primarily because of the multiple battle sequences that dragged on and on (okay, I got it, it's Epic and Really Big) -- I wanted to get back to the meat of the story, which was focussing on Aragorn's rise to the mantle of the King and Frodo & Sam's journey. I guess mostly the battle at Isengaard (sp?) was what soured it for me, because there was no real face to put to that particular battle. For the most part, Merry & Pippin were safe, and what it really was was a bunch of trees running around and blowing stuff up.

I liked the big battles in Return of the Kings primarily because of the fact that each of the main (and even most minor) characters had a real stake in their battles, and it tied to their character arcs a little more closely than Two Towers. It's the characters that I really wanted to follow, and Two Towers kind of left me cold in that respect.

But then, your milage may vary on this. The books (and movies) certainly mean different things to different people.

Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 10:08 pm
by Kean
Oh yeah, and a couple other things. I giggled in the movie when I found out that orcs (or is that goblins? whatever, you'll notice it when you see the movie) spoke with a Kiwi accent.

And there was not enough Gimli. Not nearly enough Gimli.

...and the homoerotic tension between Sam and Frodo? Not nearly as big a payoff in the end as I'd hoped (hey, they could've rewritten the story a little for today's sophisticated moviegoing audience, right?). I'm all about the homoerotic tension, I am.

Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 10:48 pm
by BlindingForce
I think the problem is that you expected it, be it from the books or the movies, to be something else then what they really are. I've read through the books and am going at it a second time around. You have to take the books on one hand and the movies on the other. One will not work in the others medium.

IMO the books are a great piece of literature. Especially the History of Middle Earth which documents most of the history. The movies are ones that nothing will match in a good 10 years. There's no way. A perfect mix of film and digital.

I have tickets for ROTK for tomorrow night so i haven't seen it yet. Some reviewere off of msnbc said it ended 5 times so you should leave at the 3 hour know...don't stay for the last 12 minutes. This guy gets paid to review movies and to write 3 crappy paragraphs online.

The book has multiple endings because there's many characters and storylines going on. It's not just about the hobbits. That's one perception you had of the books and it couldn't be farther from the truth. So right there you're expecting something that just isn't there. You have the race of man, the elves, arwen and elrond, hobbits, ents, orcs, wizards, mordor, etc. etc. You follow the path through hobbit eyes much of the way but it's not the only part of the story. The complexity is what makes it great literature. I can't say I'm the biggest fan of tolkien's work or of the movies. Not by far. I can't tell you specific details...I think it's a waste of time to be so lose the enjoyment of the read and the viewing.'s a trilogy with a beginning, middle, and end. Introductions and setup as well as finality and closure. It's a part of any movie. The book is a journey in the read as much so the characters on their journey. It's long but in the end it's well worth the time.

At this point I'm just tired and rambling.

I appreciate that you can come out and say you don't like the books. They're not for everyone. We each have our own likes and dislikes. For me, it was a turning point. Alot of my outlook on things such as my design and art and how I percieve movie making changed when I read those books and saw the movies. It's an experience that no other has matched up until this point. It has alot to do with getting older too but I've many books in recent years...not alot but many...and nothing has come even close to The Hobbit or LOTR for me.

Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 10:51 pm
by BlindingForce
Kean wrote: ...and the homoerotic tension between Sam and Frodo? Not nearly as big a payoff in the end as I'd hoped (hey, they could've rewritten the story a little for today's sophisticated moviegoing audience, right?). I'm all about the homoerotic tension, I am.
I've had that running joke as well.

Sam: "DON'T WORRY MR. FRODO...I WON'T TOUCH YOUR BAGGINS!" NERDISM (C) 2003 Anthony Schiavino and if you use anywhere this you must cite where the joke came from cause it's too damn funny.

Frodo: "OH SAM."

Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 11:47 pm
by neil
Hehe yeah, I feel like they gave Sam a girlfriend at the end just to establish that he's not gay...

I agree with Kean, that "Return of the King" was a nice change from "The Two Towers," which left behind the heart and soul of the first film for pointless battles with yucky Michael Bay-style direction, and a soap opera like structure that kept cutting away from the main characters. Though many prefer it because it has more "action."

Yeah the protracted ending of "Return of the King" was a bit masturbatory, but I really don't mind when a movie takes its time; a short attention span is a lot more annoying to me. And anyway, this is the end of a 9 hour story, so it sort of deserves its own act. I appreciate the ambition.

I've enjoyed the films mostly because I like the way they've realized the hobbits, and Frodo's position of spiritual terror and burden--certainly not your typical movie hero. That the typical action heroes are secondary is a pretty fresh touch (forgotten in "The Two Towers," unfortunately). And the grand scope and imagination of the effects will hopefully serve as a watershed in leaving behind cheesy CGI tricks for more thoughtful ideas.

Posted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 12:17 am
by Kazu
I was working off of three hours of sleep, I had just driven hundreds of miles running errands and meeting family and friends, I spent a few hours driving around looking for a new apartment and found one for which I signed a lease, spent 6 hours at work, and was working off my drunkenness from an early Christmas dinner with a big cup of coffee as I was rushing to make it to the midnight show that my friend had already bought tickets for, and I sat down, popcorn and soda in hand, and for the whole three and a half hours, I was thoroughly entertained and awed by the end of what I think is the most impressive and cohesive trilogy of films ever made. Good film. They perhaps went a little far with the melodrama, but I feel the filmmakers had the confidence that the audience would go with them, and I think they were right. Loved it. Gonna see it again.

I haven't read the books yet, but I may just do so now. And Anthony, welcome to the board! And that's some funny stuff. For a while during the movie, I was almost expecting Frodo to touch Sam's Baggins. <:P

I love that Peter Jackson directed this trilogy. I have to say that his frenetic, in-your-face style was perfect for the film. The almost haphazard lensing of the film lent well to the feeling of a much bigger story trying to fit into the frame, as if it were busting at the seams. It helps make the tension in every scene, even the slower, more dialogue-driven sections, seem tense. I couldn't help thinking, especially while watching the amazing Gollum, that no one will be able to match up to this level of epic filmmaking for a very long time, and perhaps no one should, since this is one of those serendipitous projects that just "happened", with all players and elements working together at the right time and place. On another note, while I love all of the films, I still like the first one best. And not because it's any better than the others, but because it has such a wonderful rhythm, and it's a story of hope. These are my favorite aspects of my favorite films.

Posted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 9:13 am
by BlindingForce
You're more hardcore then I am. I would say get some sleep but I'm sure you're doing that already.

Read the books. It's an experience.

From the time Bilbo leaves and Gandalf goes to Gondolin to the time Frodo leaves is about 9 years. Gandalf comes back and tells most of his story at the dinner table (lines spread through fellowship...a good idea for film). He searched far and wide for Gollum through the forest of Mirkwood (seen in the Hobbit) with Aragorn and the elves. Frodo, Merry and Pippin are best friends...not Frodo and Sam until later...he is just the gardener. You'll meet the Old Gafer. Travel through Buckland, meet Fatty Bolger, then out through the edge and the borders into the Old Forest that is nastier then Mirkwood ever was. The trees shift and change. The drop sticks and branches on you and drive you down and to the right unless you want to climb the forming cliffs on the left. You'll get captured by Old Man Willow and saved by Tom Bombadil. Meet his wife Goldberry, the daughter of the river. At this time Frodo has a dream of a man on a tower being saved by a giant Eagle...guess who that is.

Out into the Barrow Downs and face the Barrow Wights in an underground tomb. From there you're off to the Inn of the Prancing Pony for a pint, but it's just not as good as the Inn of the Green Dragon in the shire.

This is where I've been for the past week. I'm reading for the second time and it's amazing the stuff you read and forget. I started reading before the movies came out and finished everything about a year ago. So now I'm going on the journey again with fresh eyes. It's even better now. Personally I think overall The Hobbit is a better read so in your travels definately read that book.

Anyway...the board is great. I've been lurking for a little while. I used to frequent a few message boards but alot of people just tend to be downright nasty. Such is not the case here. All talented friendly individuals that have nothing but good to say. Can't wait for volume 1. I would comment more but I have some business to attend to.

Posted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 1:02 pm
by BlindingForce
Forgot to mention Farmer Maggot (actually a hobbit), good friends with Merry, and Frodo stealing his mushrooms frequently as a child...or the Nazgul and their crawling around in the darkness and sniffing while Frodo hides in the shadow of a tree...very very creepy. :)

Posted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 12:11 am
by Kazu
Watched the film a second time tonight, and I think it is pretty much PERFECT. Any misgivings I had about the film before must have been induced by my lack of sleep and active brain cells. This is one of the best films ever made. You can't ask for a much better conclusion to the saga than this.

Posted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 4:43 am
by dik pose
All I really gotta say is that I can't wait for the extended edition 4 disc!!!

This movie was great, but I still like the books more, some story elements were better handled in the film, but the books are just so complete that I have to keep going back to them, simply the greatest story I have ever read (and when I read the Silmarillion and the Unfinished tales the story became tremendously richer)

Hats off to Peter Jackson and crew, they did a damned good job.

Posted: Sat Dec 20, 2003 8:15 pm
by peppermint
ok- i skipped all of your comments, cause it wasn´t released here- it´s going to be on theaters december 25- afraid to read any spoilers
argh- i pretty much can´t wait - since it is one of my favorites books- and the fellowship and the 2 towers are alsoone of my favorites movies.
The books are perfect- the only thing i can complain about is the lack of girls, wich also tolkien handle very well by placing strong ones into the story. Eyowin and galadriel are very good and complex characters.
It´s like the old jorney of the hero -heros- that tolkien fullfilled with simple aspects of life-like hope and courage, and friendship.

and peter jackson didn´t disapoint with me his vision till now. i am pretty sure he won´t in the last one.

i am sure going to cry till i melt. but i will have to wait and see.
i was just curious of you all think.

god i love movies. if i wasn´t a illustrator i would sure be an actress.

Posted: Sat Dec 20, 2003 8:57 pm
by neil
For those of you with knowledge of the books--where exactly are Frodo, Bilbo, and the others going at the end? I know it doesn't really matter, but I was just wondering if there was more detail in the original text. Actually, my guess is that the scene is not in the book.

Posted: Sat Dec 20, 2003 9:42 pm
by dik pose
Neil I am glad you asked, since i became a huge LOTR geek after the first film, I read all the supplemental materials I could find. That scene where they leave IS in the book, its a little different (only Sam is there, no merry and pippen, sam wants to go with frodo, but frodo tells him he is more important to the shire, then frodo tells sam his future which is to have like 8 kids, and be mayor of the shire for many years and rebuild it)

To answer your question on where they are going, its basically a "physical heaven" they are going to the West Lands, an island where the gods live, only the elves are allowed there, so Bilbo and Frodo going is a big deal. Gandalf is originally from there (he is a demi-god of sorts), and many elves used to live there (Galadriel being one) before the "devil" Melchior (Sauron's Master) created a revolt causing many elves to abandon heaven.

Just cause i wanna show off my geekiness, the appendices talks about Legolas and Gimli travelling middle-earth as friends for many years, then leaving for the west lands together, Gimli is the only dwarf ever allowed to the West and it is because of Galadriel's lobbying that he can go there. Tolkien had a complete mythos built for this world, so if you are interested you should read the Silmarillion and the Unfinished Tales. Or just ask me and I will give short versions.