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the lord of the rings: the return of the king


And so it ends.

I just came back from seeing The Return of The King, and I must say: Wow.

The Two Towers had been (I admit) slightly dissapointing. Too many liberties taken with the story, for my taste. Mostly, I think that the second movie suffered because it didn't end with a massive cliffhanger (as the book does) but rather carried the "cliffhanger moments" into the beginning of RoT. But RoT being what it is, all is forgiven.

The battle of Minas Tirith has to be the best battle scene I've ever seen, and maybe the best ever put on the big screen. When the Rohirrim charged against the hordes massing outside the city I could only hope that it would last just a little longer. Frodo's and Sam's journey from the gates of Mordor to Mount Doom is a bit cut here and there (no encounter with a company of Orcs, for example), but it retains its essence (I can clearly remember the overpowering dread throughout those 60 pages in the third book).

How the tension was maintained across the wide range of things that were happening at the same time was also very impressive. Eowyn's confrontation with the Nazgul was great (although they skimped on the consequences for both her and Merry. Okay, maybe not skimped--ignored :)).

As far as other things that were missing, well, the "Scouring of the Shire" was the single biggest no-show, but I understand why they had to cut it. I can only hope that the "director's cut" on DVD will include it (assuming they filmed it, that is). No mention of the effect of the Ent's drink on Merry and Pippin, and an oversimplification of what the Palantiri did (including no mention of the role Gondor's Palantir had to play in Denethor's madness). The corniest, most off-place moment was Aragorn asking Gandalf "What does your heart tell you?" which made me roll my eyes. Come on! He's a demigod for crying out loud! (a Maiar, like the Balrog, Saruman and Sauron) What is up with this sappy Titanic-like moment? (DiCapio wasn't around, I checked). I guess it made sense dramatically. Anyway. A few oversimplifications here and there, the most notable being at the end, with a simplified version of the fate of The Fellowship ommiting a number of important details (e.g., Sam's ultimate destination, having been a ringbearer if only for a short time, or some more details about the Three Rings of the Elves). But those are small problems compared to the achievement that was putting LoTR on the big screen. I probably count as one of those "die hard readers" that are usually so hard to please.

So. Great, great movie, and a worthy conclusion to the trilogy (movie-wise that is). If you haven't seen it, try go see it in a theater, it's what it deserves. Now, I just have to wait for the box set with all the extended versions and watch it all over again... :-)

Posted by diego on January 24 2004 at 5:53 PM

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