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Return of the King


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Barbara Nicolosi wrote:

: That Sam gets married, for example, may be all well and good in the book,

: but it is not the story that the film was telling, so it should have been cut.

Good Lord. Rosie is there in the first film. Sam's reticence in asking her to dance at the beginning of the story is a nice contrast to his eager willingness to ask her to marry him at the end -- it is one of many signs that the journey has changed Sam in some way. And of course, for the audience, it helps to have at least ONE Hobbit who doesn't just look back on the Shire with fondness because it's sunny and green -- it helps to know that there's something a little more PERSONAL about the Shire that makes the Shire so important, for at least one hobbit.

And besides, the audience CHEERS when Sam gets married. After all the crap that that guy has gone through over the previous ten hours, we WANT to see him happy.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Peter,

I posted this as a comment on Barb's post:

Regarding Barb's objection to seeing Sam get married at the end of ROTK: I'll quote Peter T. Chattaway:

[insert your previous post here]

I agree with Peter's assessment. Further, Sam is unique in that he is the one who inherits the Shire, who must live with "the burden of knowledge" in the land, knowing at what cost this freedom was purchased. Seeing him get married and start a family gives us the assurance that at least ONE of the Fellowship will enjoy the rewards of a common life, thanks to the efforts of those who put their lives on the line.

Each "ending" of this film has a specific purpose that, when viewed in the perspective of the whole arc, is necessary, and without it, the epic would be lacking crucial resolution. The conclusion has much to do with why the story has lasted: it reminds us that sacrifice is not just a temporary thing, but a loss that leaves a scar. It reminds us that you can't just celebrate the victory of a war and put it behind you.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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well everyone but the men of Rohan. They just dive into battle because they have been summoned.

(M)Leary, I completely agree with you on this. I went to Trilogy Tuesday, which had the unfortunate side effect of completely wearing me out by the time ROTK started. (TV newspeople, costume contests, audience members who redefined "annoying," and copious amounts of applause...) After seeing the battle in TT, I found it hard to really be engaged in the battles in ROTK -- or, I guess, to invest myself in the people fighting those battles? I'm not sure I can pinpoint my problem with the battle scenes. All that to say that when Theoden rode down the line of his troops, gave his speech, and hit their spears, I also got pretty riled up, and when that cavalry rode over the orcs and started to turn the tide of that battle, I was cheering (on the inside). I think a large part of my response to their part in the fight is due to their reasons for being there. The fires were lit, their help was asked for, so they provided.

The conclusion has much to do with why the story has lasted: it reminds us that sacrifice is not just a temporary thing, but a loss that leaves a scar. It reminds us that you can't just celebrate the victory of a war and put it behind you.

I completely agree, Jeffrey! And I'm sure y'all have talked about this further upthread but this is the reason I wanted the scouring of the Shire to be included in this movie. Victory comes at great cost.

It breaks my heart a little bit that so many of the people involved in LOTR felt no compulsion to illuminate (in the films) or admit to (in interviews) the spirituality with which Tolkien infused his writing. But that doesn't mean I can't take away for myself that sense of a higher power's hand working to stay evil. The layers of sacrifice in the LOTR story are present, and whether the screenwriters and actors will it or no, each layer serves (for me) to highlight the sacrifice that was paid for us, the audience. Truly amazing films!

Despite the fact that the third one was, at my theater, preceded by a costume contest.

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I'm sure all of this feels like old news to you critics who saw the film two weeks ago, but I'm still eager to discuss.

Jeffrey, I just read Ralph C. Wood's review you posted previously. He addresses the scene which gave me the most trouble. Was anyone else bothered by this?

Not sure if this is still necessary, but just in case...SPOILERS follow.

So is Denethor the steward of Gondor turned into a caricature of himself, a snarling and drooling oaf rather than a noble pessimist who has good cause for lamenting the loss of past glories that will never return. Tolkien clearly intends Denethor to be a man of our own time in his forlorn despair over the decline of his culture. Yet Jackson robs Denethor even of the logic of his death
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DRose wrote:

: How cruel was it to actually have Denethor see his son open his eyes,

: prompting a look of wonder and perhaps slight hope (if I remember

: correctly) from Denethor, only to have Gandalf rear back on Shadowfax

: and kick Denethor into the fire?

My impression, and I could be wrong, is that Denethor didn't see Faramir open his eyes until AFTER he had been thrown back onto the fire -- he sees Faramir open his eyes, feels a bit of hope, but then, whoops, his robe is on fire. But yeah, this is definitely not one of the better scenes.

BTW, to whoever can answer this question, I'm still waiting to hear -- how does Shelob's stinger get through Frodo's mithril?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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For those of you who went to Trilogy Tuesday, did anything this weird happen at your showing?

Diane

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Frodo's wearing a mithril shirt. My impression is that Shelob's stinger went straight into his belly.

And Peter's right about the order of events at the funeral pyre. Gandalf didn't murder Denethor. He was trying to save Pippin, and Denethor was already doused in oil and ready to burn. I still call it a suicide.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Saw it again last night. The good things get better, the bad things get worse. I'm going to have to down-grade it from an A+ to an A or A- on my review.

I'll talk a little about the worse first:

The first 45 minutes of the film really have a hard time finding soild ground. The first scene with Frodo, Sam, and Gollum is basically a bunch of stuff we've seen before: Sam mistrusting Gollum, Gollum restating the obvious, Frodo sticking up for Sam. But I guess that's to be expected.

What REALLY stood out to me and bothered me this time was just how much flat, sloganeering dialogue there is in this episode; just how awkward the cuts make certain time-jumps; and just how lame the whole Arwen is DYING!! plot is.

So much of what Gandalf and Theoden say in this film is just to stir up hype about the "great battle of our time." In Two Towers, they spread out such statements: "How did it come to this?" "So it begins." In this movie, it's like this: "We come to it at last." "The board is set. The pieces are moving." "The great battle for Middle-Earth..." "The great doom of our time", "Oh Lordy, this is going to be a whopper..." I watched friends of mine bury their faces in their hands several times just wincing at the regularity of sensationalistic statements. When you get back to Bree and you see what characters can accomplish WITHOUT SAYING ANYTHING, you just wish that Jackson had tried more of that "saying more by saying nothing" approach, using the expressiveness of his actors to make his points.

It's also kind of funny how quickly Sam and Frodo cross that great plain of Mordor to the mountain. One moment, they're dressed as orcs and climbing down from Minas Morgul, the next moment they're on the mountainside without the armor. Similarly, when Aragorn decides to ride against the Black Gate, they get there in NO TIME. How much space is there between Minas Tirith and Osgiliath, and how much farther to the Black Gate? Looks like 100 yards.

Even more bewildering: One moment, Merry is near death, the next he is up and smiling and healthy. Same with Eowyn and Faramir. Sure, we talked about this before, but it really is kind of embarrassing. There was a lot of surprised laughter last night when we got the shot of Eowyn and Faramir carefree and smiling at Aragorn's coronation. (And by the way, I realized last night just how corny his speech is. Couldn't they have come up with something poetic or interesting instead of just: "We'll rebuild this land and it will be an age of peace." Yuck. He should have just sung his song... THAT was cool.

And I just feel all the steam go out of the battle when the dead arrive. That should be occasion for cheering, but the cheers didn't come, and you're left watching a rush of digital effects across the battlefield. Disappointing.

Further: The Eye loses its fearsome aspect. It's far less scary than the Nazgul. We see way too much of it. And at the end when the tower falls, it just looks silly.

This doesn't bother me much, but it is kind of a stumper: How in the world can Sam, after nearly killing himself climbing the Endless Stair, just run up those thousand steps of the Minas Morgul tower with spring in his step? That guy's gonna be hurting in the morning, you gotta assume.

Okay, that's my Friday morning rant. I still think the film outshines Two Towers for its high points (and I'll get to those again in a while), but I am more and more convinced that Fellowship, with its two minor stumbles, is by far the superior film.

P.S. Why weren't all of those 6,000 Rohirrim at Helm's Deep? Was it just a matter of not having the time to round them up?

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Thanks for the responses, guys. Don't know what I was thinking. I mean, I'd still call it a suicide, too

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Oh! I forgot to mention this: The most laughter the film got in the theater I saw it in was when they were discussing going up to the Black Gate in order to deflect the attention of the eye from Sam and Frodo. After a few moments of dialogue about the plan Legolas pipes up and says with his piercing metrosexual gaze: "You mean a diversion!"

Ha! That was a riot.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

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Yes. Just another moment in the film when someone says something totally obvious to keep the slowest member of the audience from feeling bad.

I'm going to start calling those the Nicolosi Lines, since they seem aimed at people who still can't keep Merry and Pippin straight. laugh.gif

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Another great inadvertent laugh comes when Aragorn makes his speech, walks down the stairs, and then you see someone approaching him clad in shimmering white. For a brief and terrifying moment, you think Aragorn is marrying Legolas!! 8O

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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The Cinematography?Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. I loved the CLOSE-UPS and the dizzying camera angles inside Shelob's lair and on the stairs of Cirith Ungul.

And what a lively crowd! I've never actually seen people literally sitting on the edge of their seats. Someone a couple of seats down lost it during a crucial scene and was crying loudly. And the cheering, fist-pumping, and raising of glasses! I mean, the crowd applauded the movietickets.com ad before the film started, so I knew I was in for quite a ride with the audience.

SPOILERS

I LOVED the cinematography as well. There was one scene in particular where Gandalf rushes out on his white horse to save the soldiers from the winged Fell Beasts. He lifts his staff high above his head and the light emitting from it turns the beasts away. However, the part that struck me was when the scene shows him heading back toward, (MAKING THE TURN, I believe back to the capital city of Gondor, Minas Tirith also referred to as the White City). The scene illicited Gandalf as being soooo gallant for me. Of course the sound track helped as well.

Also, I thought to myself that as with all wars (leading up the the big one, the "Apocalypse") that there are times in our own particular stories (as well as when light does shine through in the darkness in history as we know it) that strenght IS found if for anything but a fleeting moment? Perhaps JUST AT THE RIGHT TIME that could change the course of history in some almost sort of metaphysical way? Also, in the last part of the movie where Frodo can no longer go on (looks as if he is literally eating dirt) Sam picks him up over his shoulder and carries him. Can we speak metaphorically of this in terms of community? That is that there is nothing wrong with admitting our weaknesses and our NEED for others? The most VISIBLE "other" (hopefully, though not realistically) being the church?

Brandon

"God is so great and merciful that he does not require that we name him precisely. God is even willing to be anonymous for a time. Remember how God led the Three Wise Men from the East to Christ? The Wise Men did not know the God of Israel or Jesus. They worshipped the stars. So God used a star to lure them."--The Twelve Steps for Christians

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I don't have time right now to read all 19 pages that preceed this one, so my apologies if I highlight something that has already been mentioned. I loved the movie, but I also had concerns about some of the dialogue. There were two scenes, though, that seemed so derivative of scenes from other movies that I thought it almost had to be intentional on Peter Jackson's part.

1) Aragorn's rousing speech in front of the Black Gate. This filming of this scene was EXTREMELY similar to Mel Gibson's "Sons of Scotland!" speech in Braveheart -- especially the way Aragorn was riding back and forth on his horse.

2) Theoden's death scene. Eowyn kneels over him and says, "I'm going to save you." Theoden replies, "You already have." That's the same dialogue that was exhanged between Luke and Vader at the end of Return of the Jedi!!! I know the circumstances are different, but I almost got the impression that PJ was trying to give viewers a sense of deja vu.

All in all it was a great film. I'm going to need to see it a few more times before I can decide where it ranks in comparison to the other two.

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Saw it again last night. The good things get better, the bad things get worse. I'm going to have to down-grade it from an A+ to an A or A- on my review.

Jeffrey,

I HATE "the regularity of sensationalistic statements" as well. Especially Aragorn's coronation. So lame. Right. Just stick with the singing bud, at least your voice sounds better than them hokey cliches (and even that isn't THAT awe inspiring, HA!). And of course, I didn't like the digital effects of the green dead people swarming like locus over the orges. I thought to myself, "Hey, if this was all you needed? This should have been done A LONG TIME AGO." And the eye? What's with it blinking as it's going down? "Ah, somebody? I need help over here!" Like it doesn't want to "poke it's eye out?" biggrin.gif Just looked goofy.

Brandon

"God is so great and merciful that he does not require that we name him precisely. God is even willing to be anonymous for a time. Remember how God led the Three Wise Men from the East to Christ? The Wise Men did not know the God of Israel or Jesus. They worshipped the stars. So God used a star to lure them."--The Twelve Steps for Christians

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Saw it again last night. The good things get better, the bad things get worse. I'm going to have to down-grade it from an A+ to an A or A- on my review.

Nitpicky, nitpicky. wink.gif

Seriously, you do raise some legit issues from a cinematic standpoint (ie: pacing, etc), however I don't think any film can stand up to the amount of scrutiny that we're all subjecting this one too. I mean, if was to examine other films that I loved this year, like Lost In Translation and Master and Commander, with the kind of fine tooth comb that you guys expect this one to hold too. Personally, I think that if you're going to be critical on this level, can one really ever award an A+ to anything? That's like saying that the film is perfect, and I think that we can all agreed that nothing is perfect. I personally feel though that if one is going to award grades and such to works of art, this one is deserving of the highest honours.

When you get back to Bree and you see what characters can accomplish WITHOUT SAYING ANYTHING, you just wish that Jackson had tried more of that "saying more by saying nothing" approach, using the expressiveness of his actors to make his points.

You have a point here, however, in Bree the stakes are not nearly as high. I can well imagine that if I were put into a situation I would tend towards the hyperbole. I know I do, in real life, in situations that are far from heroic. And to be honest, if one is going to say that these speeches and statements are "sensationalist", one can at least say that they are authentic. The truth is that people respond better to heroic and over-the-top statements than to "heroic expressiveness." The average person doesn't think like a drama teacher.

It's also kind of funny how quickly Sam and Frodo cross that great plain of Mordor to the mountain. One moment, they're dressed as orcs and climbing down from Minas Morgul, the next moment they're on the mountainside without the armor.

You have a point on this one.

Similarly, when Aragorn decides to ride against the Black Gate, they get there in NO TIME. How much space is there between Minas Tirith and Osgiliath, and how much farther to the Black Gate? Looks like 100 yards.

Go to your bookshelf. Get out your copy of LOTR, and turn to the maps. See how close Minas Tirith, Osgiliath, Minas Morgul and the Black Gate are. They are not 100s of miles apart. It really isn't that far. The time exaggerations of the film (which all films take, because it really is pointless to show someone walking) exist but are not nearly as extreme as you make them out to be.

One moment, Merry is near death, the next he is up and smiling and healthy. Same with Eowyn and Faramir.

Obviously this is somewhat embarrassing, again highlighting why the Houses of Healing sequence should have been put in the theatrical version. But of course you should have picked up on this Jeffrey. I thought you were well versed in the books?

And I just feel all the steam go out of the battle when the dead arrive. That should be occasion for cheering, but the cheers didn't come, and you're left watching a rush of digital effects across the battlefield. Disappointing.

Another valid point, however, I would ask you how you would choose to make this better? It's easy to say "that sucked", now I ask you "how does one portray this element better?"

Why weren't all of those 6,000 Rohirrim at Helm's Deep? Was it just a matter of not having the time to round them up?

Did you miss the part where Gandalf arrives with Eomer and his men? There's an awful lot of Rohirrim there. That's who those guys were, and they do end up turning the tide of that Battle of Helm's Deep. Obviously there were a few more with Theoden, and proabably more that had been dispersed when Eomer is banished, and it might take more than three days to round them all up (which is what Gandalf has). Again if you consult your map you'll see that Rohan is much larger than Pelennor Field and it does actually take days to cross.

The good things get better

BTW, in your effort to justify why ROTK doesn't deserve that high A+ , you failed to mention what those good things were.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Joe Morgenstern in today's Wall Street Journal (sorry, no link. this is from the print edition; the WSJ site costs $$):

"The invisible wizard Peter Jackson makes use of every scene to show us the meaning of magnificence. Never has a filmmaker airmed higher, or acheived more. The third and last installment of the screen epic based on J.R.R. Tolkien's literary classic redefines--steeply upward--the very notion of a major motion picture."

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Anders wrote:

Nitpicky, nitpicky.

Seriously, you do raise some legit issues from a cinematic standpoint (ie: pacing, etc), however I don't think any film can stand up to the amount of scrutiny that we're all subjecting this one too. I mean, if was to examine other films that I loved this year, like Lost In Translation and Master and Commander, with the kind of fine tooth comb that you guys expect this one to hold too. Personally, I think that if you're going to be critical on this level, can one really ever award an A+ to anything? That's like saying that the film is perfect, and I think that we can all agreed that nothing is perfect. I personally feel though that if one is going to award grades and such to works of art, this one is deserving of the highest honours.

I agree. I believe these films, especially the first and the third, will stand up to almost any amount of viewing, but the epic narrative film doesn't exist that picked apart if you have a mind to, and if this film doesn't qualify I don't know what would. I'll see your Return of the King and raise you Lawrence of Arabia, Ghandi, Bridge on the River Kwai -- you name it, it can be quarreled with. Even movies like The Passion of Joan of Arc have frustrating bits that don't make the sense they were meant to because something has been lost or botched.

And all this applies to Fellowship of the Ring. Look at the points Peter raised above, such as Gandalf's inexplicable knowledge of what Gollum told Sauron, etc.

And there's lots more. Why does Jackson mess up the logic of the Mines of Moria scene by putting dwarf bones right inside the front door, so they know something is terribly wrong even before discovering the book?

Why does he make a hobbit, of all Fellowship members, so clumsy and loud as to accidentally wake up the Balrog, when hobbits are known to be stealthier and more silent than even dwarfs, even being known to complain about dwarfish racket, etc?

Let's not forget the silly shouting match that Jackson foists on us in place of the Council of Elrond; and the whole Galadriel Lothlorien disappointment isn't going anywhere either. And doesn't it get just a little bit ridiculous when Aragorn takes on the entire Isengard football team singlehandedly?

Want me to keep going? I never knew moths were distance speed fliers before, did you? And how does this fit into Peter's anthropomorphic munchies issue? We know that some animals in Middle-earth are for eating, such as rabbits, but the Eagles are different, being what Lewis would call Talking Beasts. But now we see that moths can talk to both Wizards and Eagles, or else wizards can, I don't know, hypnotize moths and somehow use them to convey information to Eagles... just what are we to make of this?

How is it that Saruman can pinpoint the Fellowship's position closely enough to hit the snow above them with lightning, but doesn't bother trying to strike the Fellowship itself? Come to think of it, why couldn't Gandalf call on Gwaihir to carry the Fellowship over the mountains? Even if there's a reason, shouldn't the subject come up?

And hang it all, we KNOW Gandalf can kill goblins in a flash, why doesn't he EVER do it? Seriously, consider that Gandalf uses his magic for combat purposes only in the battle with Saruman, and to shatter the bridge at Khazad-Dum, but NOT when the Fellowship is under attack by the watcher in the water, or during the battle scenes in Moria -- AND that other than the two scenes above, plus some fireworks and minor things, Jackson does almost nothing in the first film to establish Gandalf as much of a wizard at all. He doesn't even start fires and stuff that's in the books. I think that's weird, and I've talked to people who, based on the first film and not having read the books, thought Gandalf was kind of pathetic and wimpy.

I'm doing this off the top of my head. I'm sure I could do lots better if I were actually watching the film.

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1) Aragorn's rousing speech in front of the Black Gate. This filming of this scene was EXTREMELY similar to Mel Gibson's "Sons of Scotland!" speech in Braveheart -- especially the way Aragorn was riding back and forth on his horse.

YES.

2) Theoden's death scene. Eowyn kneels over him and says, "I'm going to save you." Theoden replies, "You already have." That's the same dialogue that was exhanged between Luke and Vader at the end of Return of the Jedi!!! I know the circumstances are different, but I almost got the impression that PJ was trying to give viewers a sense of deja vu.

I had the exact same thought.

Anders wrote:

Personally, I think that if you're going to be critical on this level, can one really ever award an A+ to anything?

Well, now we get into the vague, nitpicky, ultimately flawed world of ratings. I give an A+ to films where I come away undistracted by flaws. I come away from ROTK *very* distracted by flaws, and yet *very* enthused by its strengths. I can see obvious things that could have made it better. Thus, no A+. If you want some examples of movies that I'd give an A+, I can give you many. (In the genre of adventure films, I give Fellowship an A+ (barely), Empire Strikes Back an A+, Raiders an A+, and then in the world of art films there are quite a few.)

The truth is that people respond better to heroic and over-the-top statements than to "heroic expressiveness." The average person doesn't think like a drama teacher.

And when directors go for the easy emotional responses in audiences by delivering grand, bland statements, I don't count it a move worthy of applause. Movies should not be made to satisfy "the average person," but to challenge "the average person" to aspire to be more by challenging them.

They are not 100s of miles apart. It really isn't that far. The time exaggerations of the film (which all films take, because it really is pointless to show someone walking) exist but are not nearly as extreme as you make them out to be.

I do know the map, but I would like to have seen something of the journey. Which way did they go? How did they cross the river? How did they rally the troops to make this suicide march? Perhaps we'll get something in the DVD, but it all happened too fast for me. Not a major gripe, mind you, but one that makes me wince when it happens.

Obviously this is somewhat embarrassing, again highlighting why the Houses of Healing sequence should have been put in the theatrical version. But of course you should have picked up on this Jeffrey. I thought you were well versed in the books?

Oh, I know all about the Houses of Healing. But I'm thinking about the people who DON'T, who are sitting there wondering how these folks suddenly rose from near-death to look polished and ready for a party. The movie needed to give us some indication of their rehabilitation, and if it had, it would have given Aragorn a much more dramatic transition into kingship. The DVD, I am fairly confident, will do this, but that doesn't mean it isn't a smoking hole in the theatrical version.

I would ask you how you would choose to make this better? It's easy to say "that sucked", now I ask you "how does one portray this element better?"

Give the dead some limitations. Since this episode is invented by Jackson, letting the Dead take the place of the wild men that he brings to the battle (the Dead only help them win the boats in the book), we need some sense that there is still a BATTLE that happens when they arrive instead of a slaughter that lasts about 30 seconds. It all happened too easily. Show the dead fighting. Show some conflict. Don't give them the ability to charge ahead like a wind... let them stand like undead warriors, who have to march and wrestle and fight. Again, not a big deal, but one that would have given the climax of that battle more "weight."

Did you miss the part where Gandalf arrives with Eomer and his men? There's an awful lot of Rohirrim there.

Are you being sarcastic? Of course I saw that part. But there weren't 6,000.

It's just strange that, defending Helm's Deep, there's no mention of these vast resources waiting in pockets around the country. But they're suddenly there for the taking when Minas Tirith needs help. Again, not a major problem, but one that makes me pause... and if it makes me pause, I'm sure it will make some who haven't read the books pause.

BTW, in your effort to justify why ROTK doesn't deserve that high A+ , you failed to mention what those good things were.

And that is why I said "Okay, that's my Friday morning rant. I still think the film outshines Two Towers for its high points (and I'll get to those again in a while)..."

And I will.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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You know, I was going to applaude your review on your site SDG, but now I think I'll fer'get 'bout it. biggrin.gif J/K'n.

I'm sure that without these "inconsistencies" we would not have much of a trilogy or any number of movies now would we? However, for me it is just that some of these things could be more subtler where it is not as embarrassingly noticeable.

Brandon

"God is so great and merciful that he does not require that we name him precisely. God is even willing to be anonymous for a time. Remember how God led the Three Wise Men from the East to Christ? The Wise Men did not know the God of Israel or Jesus. They worshipped the stars. So God used a star to lure them."--The Twelve Steps for Christians

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Merry Christmas.

Here are some boasts about the

EXTENDED EDITION OF RETURN OF THE KING

from an insider over at AICN. He is saying they haven't made an extended edition cut, but he's talking about scenes they have in hand that they very likely will integrate into the finished work.

I believe this guy, because I know most of these scenes were filmed, and because we've already seen pieces of some of them in the previews.

This is all VERY VERY GOOD NEWS.

BEWARE!! POSSIBLE EXTENDED EDITION SPOILERS!!

- This one isn

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Jeffrey Overstreet wrote:

: . . . Fellowship, with its two minor stumbles . . .

Only two? What are those?

FWIW, the "What's this, a Ranger caught off his guard?" scene STILL bugs me to no end -- Arwen KNOWS that four or five Black Riders are right behind Aragorn and company, she KNOWS that time is of the essence, and she can SEE that Aragorn is urgently busy with something, and she STILL slows down just long enough to have an oh-so-cute moment with her lover?

: It all happened too easily. Show the dead fighting. Show some conflict.

This from the man who said the film had too many fight scenes already. smile.gif

: Remember the scene in which the Witch King is asked what he’s going to

: do with Gandalf, and he says I will break him?

Oh yes. That especially stood out on second viewing, because I knew that the film would do absolutely nothing with that line -- no payoff whatsoever.

: The beginning of this confrontation is one of the $$$ shots in the ROTK

: trailer: the Witch King’s fell beast landing on the ramparts in front of

: Gandalf and Pippin on Shadowfax.

Oh my, yeah, I had forgotten about that.

This reminds me, BTW, will we EVER see that scene in which Eowyn fights off the orcs in TTT? You know, the scene that we get just a brief glimpse of in the preview on the theatrical TFotR DVD?

anders wrote:

: Personally, I think that if you're going to be critical on this level, can one

: really ever award an A+ to anything? That's like saying that the film is

: perfect, and I think that we can all agreed that nothing is perfect.

Indeed, I don't think I ever gave a film a full five stars out of five when I was writing for the Courier, for precisely this reason.

SDG wrote:

: Come to think of it, why couldn't Gandalf call on Gwaihir to carry the

: Fellowship over the mountains?

[ blink ] Now why didn't I think of that? Rats, that's one more thing that's gonna bug me, now. smile.gif

FWIW, a guy in another forum took issue with my claim that the Battle of Pelennor Fields was dramatically superior to the Battle of Helm's Deep:

I will reserve my discussion of this fully for later, but having seen both in short succession, I completely disagree. The Battle for Helm's Deep made sense from a tactical and strategic sense and had a logic that made sense, even if PJ changed it from the book.

The Battle of Pelennor fields made NO SENSE at all from a tactical or strategic standpoint. The entire defense of Gondor was changed beyond all recognition from the book which would be OK IF it still made sense. I take it that PJ decided to run with Denethor is insane and well let's just make the whole defense and the Charge of the Light Brigade, I mean the attempt to retake Osgilliath make no sense... let's get rid of the outer defenses of Minas Tirith, let's make 10,000+ Gondorians almost completely ineffective with bows and arrows and incapable of defending much of anything, let's have them let the orcs cross the river without firing a single arrow at them and wait to attack them until they have had a sporting chance to get off the boats... let's have the average heavily mailed Gondorian able to be simply smacked like a rag doll by even the smallest orcs, and lets have the orcs know how to do things like form a pike wall but have the Gondorians unable to execute any tactics at all other than run until we get cut down by orcs.

And if Minas Tirith was that susceptible to orc catapults, why not reduce the whole city to rubble and walk in afterwards? How do you load a trebuchet in those narrow streets with a piece of stone the size of a city wall? Why do orcs enter the city and not bring any scaling ladders when they have the tallest seige towers you can imagine outside the wall?

Where did the Oliphaunts come from? Before the Rohirrim charge, there's literally wall-to-river orcs filling the Pelennor Fields.. and then after somehow the Rohirrim sweep them away (there aren't ever many dead orcs on the ground, I guess they evaporate), all of a sudden there's a whacking great line of AT-ATs, I mean Oliphaunts pounding across the fields... which were no where in sight 10 minutes before...

Utter chaos and lack of any semblance of rational sense. Great visuals, horrible logic and no sense.

And the less said about the deus ex machina use of the Army of the Dead the better.

That being said, Eowyn and the Witchking was a magnificent scene that redeemed all the nonsensical eye-candy of the rest of the battle. Why PJ omitted the showdown between Gandalf and the Witchking is beyond my ken.

BTW, PJ does a horrible job of conveying the passage of time during the battle. I could only recall one night of the battle passing before the Rohirrim show up, when in reality it had been a couple days of fighting.

The telescoping of everything in time and space at the end really hurts making sense out of anything in the Pelennor Fields/Gates of Morder sequence. It takes them about 5 minutes to march to the Gates of Mordor -- when it took days in reality -- they don't even do anything to indicate days passed. It all leaves one feeling that Middle Earth is about the size of the greater Cleveland metropolitan area...

FWIW, I also posted the following comments to another listserv recently:

One other person has suggested that the stinger might have had a narrow point that could poke through the chain mail. . . . the second time I saw the film, when it got to the scene of Frodo shirtless on the floor, I began looking at his belly to see if there was any sign of a scar there from the stinger ... and there wasn't! At least not that I could see. This is significant, because they DID put a major scar on his shoulder, where the Witch-King stabbed him.

I also found myself noticing stuff like the continuity error in the extended version of TFotR, where Boromir and Aragorn are talking late at night, and you can see Aragorn's hair hang over his ear in one shot and then appear tucked behind his ear in the next shot and then back again, or something like that. And in the shot where we see, from Aragorn's point of view, the canyon leading to the place where the dead warriors live, it was verrrry obvious to me that they had done a zoom on three separate layers of images there, cuz they didn't all sync up properly.

And as much as I love, love, love Rohan and Edoras, I can never see the daylight footage of those places in TTT without thinking that it is not only way too obvious that the footage has been digitally processed, but also that the footage looks kind of flat in tone and colour.

And can you believe they actually put cap codes (or what Ebert calls "crap codes") in the extended versions of the first two films? Cap codes are those annoying brown-black spots that the studios now throw into the centre of the screen every now and then, so that if bootleg copies of the film appear anywhere, they can track where the bootleg came from. They did this, like, five times during the scene by Galadriel's Mirror alone! I think cap codes are stupid to begin with, but I thought putting them in THESE particular films was the dumbest thing I had ever seen -- like, dudes, these films are already on DVD! nobody's gonna bother smuggling a camcorder into the theatre when they can just pirate the existing discs!

Make of all that what you will.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Jeffrey Overstreet wrote:

Well, now we get into the vague, nitpicky, ultimately flawed world of ratings. I give an A+ to films where I come away undistracted by flaws. I come away from ROTK *very* distracted by flaws, and yet *very* enthused by its strengths. I can see obvious things that could have made it better. Thus, no A+. If you want some examples of movies that I'd give an A+, I can give you many. (In the genre of adventure films, I give Fellowship an A+ (barely), Empire Strikes Back an A+, Raiders an A+, and then in the world of art films there are quite a few.)

You aren't distracted by flaws in Empire Strikes Back?

    I'm sure there's lots more where those came from...

    Coming soon: Raiders of the Lost Ark! wink.gif

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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I do agree with some of those complaints about Pelennor Fields.

[An A+ is] like saying that the film is perfect, and I think that we can all agreed that nothing is perfect.

I don't think "A+" means perfect. Teachers give A+ grades to papers all the time. I never took that to mean "perfect". I took it to mean "excellent."

The Lord of the Rings films excel more than most fantasy films ever made. They are among the very best. But the theatrical versions are a mixed bag.

I reluctantly give the extended cut of Fellowship an A+, in spite of (here it comes Peter, the 2 complaints) Galadriel's awful transformation and the near-corny quality of Elrond's council. There are a lot of little moments along the way that make me say "too bad", but for the most part, Fellowship develops characters very well and builds brilliantly to that virtuosic Mines of Moria chapter and then my favorite battle in the whole series, the struggle that breaks the Fellowship... the most visceral, best-choreographed, cheer-winning combat scene. I'd give the theatrical cut an A, because of the stumbling, rushed pace of the thing.

Two Towers gets an A- (theatrical) and perhaps an A (extended cut), but there the reduction of Gimli to dumb punchlines, the diminishment of the dignity of the Ents and Faramir, and the strange diminishment of the fear factor make this one the least compelling of the three. Jackson spends so much time on Helm's Deep that he loses valuable time for character development.

Return of the King... again, these are still early impressions, but I gotta say an "A" for the sections when the film really works.

And those fantastic and successful sections would be:

(for this viewer, anyway)

Frodo, Sam, and Gollum at the Black Gate, as the gates open. Galvanizing. Brilliant. The appearance of the Nazgul is bone-chilling.

The stair sequence... an embellishment, but a pretty good one.

Minas Tirith... the reveal shots. What a stupendous accomplishment in design and cinematography.

Gandalf and Pippin approaching Denethor. "On second thought, best if you don't speak at all."

THE BEACONS. One of the most exhilarating sequences in the trilogy. Awe-inspiring.

Faramir's suicide mission... beautifully directed in accompaniment to the song.

Shelob. Scary stuff. The moment when she binds up Frodo is horrific perfections. Can't wait to see how they did it. Was Astin fighting anything at all?

Inside the caverns of the Dead. Wild. Another embellishment, but it pays off beautifully, and it's this film's only serious attempt to make Aragorn's transition into kingship stick.

Pelennor Fields... It toes the line of being bloated and indulgent (again, a few valuable moments might have been sacrificed to give us a few valuable moments of REAL (not sloganeering) dialogue.) But Jackson's prowess as a maestro of visual spectacle peaks here.

The Rohirrim charge. Theoden's rallying of the troops outshines any of Aragorn's moments in the film, and their charge is breathtaking.

Eowyn versus Witch-King... completely satisfying, although I think it would have been moreso had it not been intercut with Aragorn's somewhat anticlimactic arrival.

The Witch-King's death... one of the most satisfying End-of-the-Villain scenes ever filmed.

Sam carrying Frodo: Go ahead. Smash me in the heart with a sledgehammer.

Mount Doom: Gloriously realized.

The Eagles arrive at the Black Gate: An embellishment, but a fantastic idea. Just a hint of what we'll see in the Battle of Five Armies if The Hobbit gets made.

Frodo's failure: Just as I imagined it (even if Gollum's fate is not.)

The Eagles on Mount Doom: One of the single-most awe-inspiring sights I've ever seen. I had a poster on my wall when I was a kid that had the picture framed in exactly the same way, and I'll bet it was the inspiration for this. Beautiful.

"You Bow to No One": While I disagree with this choice on principle, I'll be darned if it doesn't make me cry anyway.

The return to the Shire: the grouchy hobbit. BRILLIANT.

The Green Dragon: BRILLIANT.

Frodo's smile: BRILLIANT, although I pictured the departure happening into a grey mist, not into a brilliant sunset. I need to check what the book says about that again.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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