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The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Which Lord of the Rings film is best?  

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Baal_T'shuvah wrote:

: I didn't even know there was one version of Close Encounters of the Same Kind! ;)

Ha! Oh, man. I guess I can only handle so many three/third references in a single sentence. :)

Perhaps that's the title that will be used when Gus Van Sant decides to do a shot for shot remake.

I missed this joke. Is it too late to put a hearty LOL? :) Nice one...

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You know, I haven't pulled the extended DVDs out in a couple of years. I have no idea if I'd benefit that much from buying Blu-rays, too. I mean, I can barely find time to watch the Netflix discs that ship and sit around for three weeks. I don't know when I'd find time to rewatch LOTR just because its picture is a little sharper.

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The Lord of the Rings trilogy is coming to Blu-ray. A complete list of specs is available but no release date has been set.

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More specifically, the extended editions are coming to Blu-Ray. The theatrical editions came out on Blu-Ray last year, in a set that was apparently otherwise indistinguishable from the DVD version of the theatrical editions, right down to the pre-release bonus features.

It doesn't sound like this new Blu-Ray set will have anything new; it will apparently include all the bonus features from the "extended editions" released in 2002-2004 as well as the documentaries that were included with the "limited editions" in 2006, but that's it.

I never got the "limited editions", so I guess I have SOME incentive to get this set... but if picture quality were the only reason to get this set, I'm not sure that I would. I mean, for one thing, I don't have a high-def TV yet and the odds are good that I won't get one for a while, so I wouldn't notice the difference for a long, long time. And, as per the earlier posts in this thread, the reviews of the earlier Blu-Ray set were less superlative than we might have wanted, when it came to the picture quality of those discs. So, there's that.

I'm thinking it might make more sense to wait for the super-duper everything-and-the-kitchen-sink set that's bound to come out when The Hobbit is done.

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'Rings' concert to tour

Film will be projected on a 60-foot screen while the Munich Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Chorale and the Phoenix Boys Choir -- all conducted by Ludwig Wicki -- performs the movie's score.

Tour kicks off a three-year program that will see a similar live-music version of the trilogy's other two films, "The Two Towers" and "The Return of the King," hit the road in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Tours are timed to the 10th anniversaries of the releases of the three films. . . .

Variety, June 3

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I went to a LOTR concert conducted by Shore. It was a lot of fun. I've never seen so many costumed listeners in a symphony hall before.

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AMC theatres will be presenting the extended editions over three nights in advance of the Blu-ray release.

FotR will be shown Tue. June 14th

TTT on Tue. June 21st

RotK on Tue. June 28th

Each film will be accompanied by an introduction with Peter Jackson. It's my understanding that this will be the first time that an extended version of RotK will be made as a theatrical showing. I recently attended a triple feature of these films at the Egyptian theatre in Hollywood, where they showed the extended versions of FotR, TTT, and the theatrical cut of RotK. In a letter from Jackson's production company, it was stated that these three versions are the official "directors cut", and that an extended version of RotK has never been made available for theatrical distribution... 'til now, I guess.

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AMC theatres will be presenting the extended editions over three nights in advance of the Blu-ray release.

FotR will be shown Tue. June 14th

TTT on Tue. June 21st

RotK on Tue. June 28th

Each film will be accompanied by an introduction with Peter Jackson. It's my understanding that this will be the first time that an extended version of RotK will be made as a theatrical showing. I recently attended a triple feature of these films at the Egyptian theatre in Hollywood, where they showed the extended versions of FotR, TTT, and the theatrical cut of RotK. In a letter from Jackson's production company, it was stated that these three versions are the official "directors cut", and that an extended version of RotK has never been made available for theatrical distribution... 'til now, I guess.

I wish I could afford these, but it was either $40 for the 3 movies a single time, or $60 for the whole mega ultra set on Blu-ray. I had to go for the latter. But man, a chance to see them on the big screen again is still SO tempting. If they'd done one of their marathons with popcorn and pop included, I probably would have grabbed some friends to do it.

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My wife has been rewatching these films in the form of the extended-edition DVDs we have. She watches them with the English subtitles turned on while she walks on our treadmill. She walks about a half hour every other day. Yesterday she finished The Two Towers.

I've been delighted at the off-hand comments she'll make about how she'd forgotten just how good these movies are.

She also asked me earlier this week about a particular scene from The Two Towers she didn't remember seeing years ago in the theater. I suggested it might have been added, and yup, she later turned on the commentary track for that scene and heard that very explanation for the scene's inclusion on the extended edition.

Anyone want to put odds on how many days it'll take her to get through Return of the King?

Edited by Christian

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Anyone want to put odds on how many days it'll take her to get through Return of the King?

 

Has she finished Return of the King yet?

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I watched The Fellowship of the Ring with the twins this morning. My favorite comment came from my son, who said -- during the Moria sequence, right after the giant stone staircase toppled forward, thereby allowing the last remaining members of the Fellowship to make it across a gap in the steps -- "That was a pleasant surprise!"

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This morning, I spent my time reading through the infamous draft of Boorman's unproduced Lord of the Rings film. It is certainly the kind of whacked-out adaptation you'd expect from the director of Zardoz and Exorcist II: The Heretic, capturing that blend of Lord of the Rings and psychedelic culture that you find in some of Led Zeppelin's songs. If, in broad strokes, it still holds to the outline of Lord of the Rings, it re-paganizes the pagan mythology that Tolkien had Catholicized, injecting the story with a more distinctly pagan attitude toward magic and sexuality.

But even though the film might be mad, there is some genuine poetry here (the images described on the page are really something else). Some narrative embellishments are even smart enough that even a respectable adaptation would have been wise to keep them. In Boorman's adaptation, Saruman becomes the Mouth of Sauron, the once-great now reduced to a mouthpiece to his dark master. He and Gandalf the White have a confrontation before the Gates of Mordor that utterly humiliates Saruman. (Of course, this being the mad film that it is, once Sauron is defeated and all is set right, Gandalf later spots Saruman performing as a street magician and rolls his eyes.)

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I want to get something off my chest, prompted by rewatching The Two Towers extended edition in the theater the other night.

I do appreciate that these films are, in many ways, an enormous achievement. I love the look of many of the sets, landscapes, costumes, etc. I deeply appreciate the immense amount of work that was put into things like languages, getting all kinds of little details right in ways that most viewers wouldn't even notice. I admire some of the writing, and it's quite impressive how many of Tolkien's words are incorporated. The pacing is generally good, such that even The Two Towers goes by quite breezily for a three-and-a-half hour movie (and without an intermission at that, at least in the theater where there's no pause to change discs). And it can't be denied that the major set pieces are amazing. The siege of Helm's Deep is a sight to behold, and while I need to rewatch Return of the King I'm sure that the siege of Gondor succeeds in topping it.

But. The greatest impression they leave me with, what overwhelms just about everything else, is that they're so silly.

It's strange to me that Peter Jackson's Hobbit movies are so widely derided and mocked while The Lord of the Rings is lauded to the skies, even though all the elements that made The Hobbit: Gilding the Dragon so ridiculous are present in Lord of the Rings too - to a lesser degree, usually, but very clearly present. The same excessive melodrama, which tries to heighten the tension of every scene so much that the dramatic arc is more like a dramatic flat line at the shrillest possible level. The same drunken camera movement. The same outrageous stunts with no regard for their emotional appropriateness. The same corny, overdone action and fight scenes in places where there's no good reason for an action scene at all. The same general bad taste.

These. Are. Not. Good. Movies.

In some places I was really surprised how clearly the seeds of The Hobbit: An Endless Adventure were planted. I laughed in The Hobbit at the part in the barrel-riding scene where Legolas is surfing down the river with each foot on a dwarf's head while shooting orcs, but I had forgotten that he does a similar stunt in Helm's Deep while sliding down a staircase. There are other places, like the appalling Revenge of the Sith-like Force battle between Gandalf and Saruman in Fellowship, that don't remind me of a specific scene in The Hobbit (maybe there is a similar one; I've forgotten a lot) but are surely just as bad.

There are a few extravagant touches, like the skull avalanche, that even admirers of the films admit are too much, but it seems to me that many other parts are just as bad and don't get called out the same way. In the exorcism of Theoden, I almost expected Theoden to start levitating while Gandalf shouted "The power of Christ compels you!" Some of Frodo's experiences, like when he falls into the water in the Dead Marshes and is suddenly surrounded by screaming ghosts, seem to be right out of a B horror movie. (In fact, all the frightening visions Frodo has strike me as far more goofy than scary, and I generally scare very easily.)

But then, it's possible that people didn't notice this scene because it was surrounded by so many other unnecessary falls - into water, off cliffs, you name it. In the book, there's one crucial scene where Gandalf falls into a pit in Moria, and it's a devastating moment. In the films, it's not enough for Sam to run out to the boat to catch Frodo at the end of Fellowship - he has to fall into the water and nearly drown. It's not enough for Denethor, in a breathtakingly dramatic tragic climax, to light his own funeral pyre - he has to light himself on fire, run around crazily, and JUMP OFF THE ROOF. It's not even enough for Aragorn to have his own near-death and resurrection to rival Gandalf's - he has to tussle with a Warg and fall off a cliff, because falling off of random cliffs is just what people do in this cinematic universe. It's like watching The Hobbit: Goblintown IMAX all over again.

This post may not make me any friends, but I'm at the point where I have to post this somewhere. It seems obvious to me that these movies are an enormous achievement but also full of devastating flaws which would be enough to ruin most movies completely, and the over-the-top praise they get in nearly all quarters makes me feel like I'm living in some kind of bizarro world.

Edited by Rushmore

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Yes. The last time I tried to rewatch one of these, I was shocked at how poorly it played. I’ve never had a film series O previously enjoyed sink so low in my estimation over time. 

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I think your critiques are solid, Rushmore.  For many years, I've had no desire to rewatch these.  I sold my extended version DVDs pretty rapidly, after realizing that the extended Return of the King was just an excuse for Jackson to insert several more minutes of violence porn into his movie.  

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I recently rewatched all three extended editions, with friends and jokes about drinking every time: there was a panorama shot, Gimli was the butt of a joke, there was a reference to counting kills, every time someone's addressed as _ son of _.

Obviously, since we're all still alive, we didn't play said drinking game.

I think that indicates how silly, to use Rushmore's term, the films are. And not having watched them since I was a teenager, the B-film elements really stood out, even in Fellowship, not just the wizard force battle, but everything with the Ring Wraiths, and most of the Mines of Moria as well. At the same time, I think Fellowship has enough great moments that the good outweighs the bad, and it's the one that I still like; however, that ratio becomes less favorable with each subsequent film, and Return of the King is certainly not much better than The Hobbit: A Long, Exhausting, Overly Violent Journey.

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