Return of the King reviews

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Kayless
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Postby Kayless » Sun Dec 21, 2003 11:39 pm

Originally posted by Maharlika
...I think I shed a tear or two when everyone bowed down to the four hobbits after Aragorn's coronation.

"My friends, you bow to no one."

Great, great scene. :) Probably my second favorite in the movie.


Originally posted by Maharlika
btw, whatever happened to the elves after Helm' Deep?

I don't think they addressed that. I would guess they went back to Lothlorien (since they were never at Helm's Deep in the books it's impossible to say for certain).

Originally posted by Morlock
Now, although the frog is gonna jump me for my comments above- keep in mind that I started with the negative to get it out of the way. Onto the positive!

Not at all. Everyone has different opinions on what they thought was best, lacking etc. ;) Personally I was aching for those Witch King scenes that never happened. :( They set up their confrontation with the "I will break him" line and then nothing ever happens (though the trailer does have some clips). That's what I'm really looking forward to in the Extended Edition, since those are some of my favorite moments in the novel.

Originally posted by Morlock
Arwen- Big improvement as well. I thought she was out of place in the first two, and was abit pissed off about her replacing the elf from the big in saving Frodo and co. from the Nazgul in LoTR. She was very good in RoTK.

Ironically I didn't like what they did to her in RotK (some freaky unexplained conection with the Ring is suddenly killing her? Okaaay...) :rolleyes:

Originally posted by Morlock
I didn't like the line you mentioned, because it seemed a bit ridicules that they kept on finding their inner strength or second wind or whatever, with so much more mountain to go.

Congrats, you're the only (the only) person I've talked to that didn't like that scene (out of 20+ people IRL, and twice that on various message boards I frequent). But to each his own. ;)

When they're showing clips at the Oscar (when announcing the contenders for Best Supporting Actor) I'll bet that's the one they're going to show for Sean Astin. :D


Originally posted by Morlock
I liked him most in RoTK. I'm very happy and impressed that Jackson didn't try and dim it down- he was dark, confused, conflicted, obssesed etc., like the book. I'm very happy with the scene inside the mountain.

I thought you hated Elijah Wood and thought Frodo was a whelp? :p
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

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Postby Aegis » Sun Dec 21, 2003 11:52 pm

Well, to be honest, Sam bugged me for the most part ;) I'm not denying his acting, which was indeed good, it just urked me the wrong way.

I personally feel the best acting was from Pippin (I should learn the actors names :rolleyes: ).

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Postby HighLordDave » Mon Dec 22, 2003 6:48 am

Originally posted by Morlock
and the trilogy as a whole deserves to sweep the oscars.
If there's one award any man desreves- it's Peter Jackson for best Director.

If you accept the premise that the three Lord of the Rings movies are really one 13 hour movie that happened to be released over the span of three years, Return of the King must win Best Picture and Peter Jackson must win Best Director.

I know all about the Academy's aversion to fantasy movies, but as a production, the Lord of the Rings movies are arguably the most impressive works of cinematic art of the last two decades. Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers were basically snubbed of major awards for the last two years (I believe) because Academy voters were anticipating rewarding Jackson et al in the final year of the trilogy. I only hope it pays of for them

My one big diappointment of the movie: the obligatory dwarf-tossing joke was left out.
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Postby Morlock » Mon Dec 22, 2003 7:38 am

I don't accept the premise that it's one movie.

And if I know the oscars- There's no way Astin will be nominated. There have been too many great supporting performances this year (and I don't think this was one of them).

I think the movie is beyond acting oscars- like Spielberg movies. No one has ever won an acting oscar on a Spielberg picture because the pictures are generaly too many elemants at work to single out the acting. Same thing here- the acting wasn't exactly as good as it gets, whereas most of the other elemants were. If anything, I think they'd go out on a limb and give it to Serkis.
Although they could win at the Screen Actors Guild awards- they're known for eccentric choices.
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Postby der Moench » Mon Dec 22, 2003 7:06 pm

Well, well, well. How does one go about reviewing such a movie? This is apt to get a bit muddled as my thoughts pan out, but here goes ...

First off: my one big Complaint. Ive talked about this in another thread, but it bears repeating: Jackson "humanized" his characters by making them weak in ways that IMHO Tolkien never intended or would accept. I could talk about all the films in this regard, but just sticking to RotK, we have a couple of very telling items:
1) Frodo makes Sam leave him. This is sacrilege. I understand Jackson's intent (to show the divisive power of the ring), but I think he could have achieved that effect (and did) in other ways. One of the great themes of the book is the friendship that these characters have - the trust and strength. Jackson just trashed the entire concept by having Frodo reject Sam that way.
2) Denethor's character has been eviscerated. In the book he is a great, but flawed character. In the movie he is simply insane. Probably time constraints kept Jackson from effectively portraying the character (more about time constraints later), but then he should have had the sense to make him less central, rather than simply bending the character to fit his film. Downplay Denethor if you must, but don't warp him into something that makes no sense and is not true to the book.
3) They played around with Theoden again in this film, too. He at one point rejects the idea of going to Gondor's aid, because Gondor never sent him help against Saruman. As I say in that other thread: they make him far more bitter and without hope than he is in the book. And that is sad, because he is a great character.
4) I won't even dwell on the whole Arwen / Elrond thing. They are both made into entirely different (weak and doubting and tragic) character than they are in the book. Why Jackson decided to do that romance the way he did - or at all! - I will never understand.

So that is the whole "weak" theme. I just think Tolkien was all about heroism, and it is not very PC in this day and age to have heroic characters, so Jackson made them "human." It was the wrong choice.

What else? How about something I liked: I really liked the charge of the Rohirrim. Very, very, very well done. When that initial clash of horse on orc occurred, I almost jumped out of my seat! :) And I loved the riders chanting "Death, death, death!!" before they charged. (Incidentally, that was a bit of a change from the book, too (it normally occurs only after Theoden falls), but I didn't mind the alteration.)

On a related note: Eowyn facing the Nazgul. This is my favorite part of the books. I cry at this part of the reading every time, so for Jackson to live up to my expectations would have been difficult. He didn't. First: it was not dark enough on the Pelennor field. We all know Mordor was covering the area in a dark smoke, but in the movie it was just a cloudy day. You needed that darkness, IMO, to make the scene more intimidating. I was not very scared by the Nazgul. And Miranda Otto (the actress) didn't quite pull it off right, IMO. She needed to laugh and cry at just the right time, and just the right way, but it fell flat.

Gollum story (at beginning): bad idea. Not necessary at this point in the film, IMO. Well done, but it made an already long film longer. If Jackson was faced with limited time, this should have gone first. Throw it on the DVD in FotR, or RofK, but not in theater-release.

And speaking of time constraints: I was getting bored during parts of this film. As I watched the battles, I started to realize that this was a CG film. It kinda disappointed me that so-o-o-o-o-o-o much time and effort was put into catapult shot after catapult shot, and Denethor was ignored. Jackson should have remembered that Tolkien was all about the characters, not the action. We can't care about the action unless we care about the people in it. Morlock says that he cried watching "Godfather," but that TTT was only a "technical achievement." I say the same. I had just watched Kieslowki's "Blue" the week before I saw RotK. I cried watching Blue, but RotK had nowhere near the emotional punch.

Gandalf discussing death: nice touch.

I agree with others here: too many "endings." But I did very much like the scene where the hobbits ride back into Hobbiton, and the old neighbor looks at them and shakes his head. Nice. Also, the final ending with Sam was very good (and true to the book). But by the time the ship leaves, I was literally anxious for the film to end. And that is not good.

Acting was generally good. I think Elijah Wood is quite a good actor, and of course Ian McKellen is excellent.

Oh! Speaking of McKellen: why did Jackson skip the face-out between Gandalf and the lord of the Nazgul? You know, right inside the gate? That could have been an exceptionally cool and powerful scene!

So, there it is. Any comments, Cozette? ;)
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Postby HighLordDave » Mon Dec 22, 2003 7:07 pm

Originally posted by Morlock
I don't accept the premise that it's one movie.

Why not? The principle photography was all done at the same time. It was pitched to New Line and budgeted as a single project. None of the movies have a beginning and an end; in fact, each chapter picks up where the last one left off without so much as recap. I think the Academy voters are considering them to be a single piece (rightly or wrongly) which is why Jackson and the previous installments were snubbed from serious consideration for Best Picture and Best Director.
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Postby Morlock » Mon Dec 22, 2003 7:29 pm

I feel that each section is built like a regular movie, but really- each movie is too different from the other to be one entity, whereas the books were consistant in their feel. That's not at all a bad thing- it just means that for me at least- there will always be a first, second and third LoTR movie.

I think he was snubbed for the regular reasons- the acadamy has never ever awarded a major award to a fantasy film- and they weren't gonna start when they had such tear jurkers like A Beautiful Mind and In The Bedroom, or a unique film like Moulin Rouge. And awarding the second film would be out of place.

But this is the first time since Star Wars that a fantasy movie actualy has a chance (Despite all the hopes and expectations- it would never in a million years beat such an oscar made movie like A Beautiful Mind), and for once- I actualy agree with the popular opinion, and even more so, The LoTR fan club, which I find to be the most annoying fan club ever, voting for LoTR in every poll in the world.

It truely deserves the following oscars: Director, Makeup, VFX, SFX, SFX editing, Cinematography (Although Master and Commander is also diserving), Costumes (M&C deserves it more, but RoTK is a fine achievment in costuming), editing (again- M&C also deserving), music (not last year, but this year- it was one of the best), and Picture- but I have a bit more mixed feelings about this, as it was not my absolute favorite movie of the year.

I specificaly do not feel it deserves any acting oscars, or a screenplay oscar.
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Postby Aegis » Mon Dec 22, 2003 11:46 pm

It definatly deserves the costumes. Every piece used in the movie was made specifically for the movie, and made uniquely, which is an amazing undertaking.

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Postby Morlock » Tue Dec 23, 2003 4:33 am

Originally posted by Aegis
It definatly deserves the costumes. Every piece used in the movie was made specifically for the movie, and made uniquely, which is an amazing undertaking.


But M&C had so much subtleties in the costumes, that you wouldn't find anywhere else. IMO both are deserving. (Cold Mountain will probably take it anyway)
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Postby VonDondu » Tue Dec 23, 2003 10:50 am

I just saw Return of the King (for the first time) last night. (Yeah, I know, it took me a while.) :) I haven't reached a final opinion on it yet, because I need time to ponder it a little more, but here are my initial reactions.

I didn't like it as much as The Fellowship of the Ring, for several reasons. First of all, victories are supposed to be joyful, not hollow, and I just didn't get the sense of jubilation I expected. That was probably because the movie dragged its feet so much when it didn't have to. I think the series took a turn for worse in The Two Towers when it focused on Theoden doubting himself and his men. "We are all doomed. I haven't even lifted my sword yet because I feel like pitying myself for a while. But I will order my men to their deaths so that I can die in peace." After a while, I just got sick of hearing, "It's hopeless, it's hopeless," from everyone except Gimli, whose lines subsequently had a throwaway feel to them. "No chance of success? Certain death? What are we waiting for?"

I'm aware of many of the changes that Peter Jackson made to the story, and my attitude toward that has always been that I won't hold it against him if it results in a better movie. And I heartily approve of some of the changes he made, especially those involving the Aragorn-Arwen-Eowyn subplot, which makes the characters more human and the story more touching. In the books, Aragon struck me as a shallow, arrogant, pompous ass, but in the movies, he's a wonderful, likable character. But I just can't see any value in changing the character of Denethor, among others. Making him insane and unwilling to protect his country did nothing but make an already hopeless situation seem more hopeless, and there wasn't any need for that; Theoden, Gandalf, Aragorn, Pippin, Sam, etc. had already established the hopeless business well enough for my taste.

And speaking of taste, I found it completely tasteless when Eowyn stood on a battlefield literally littered with corpses and said to Theoden, "I'll cry if you die. None of the other people who have fallen here matter to me." Or when Pippin tugged at Gandalf's robes and said, "Stop defending the gates of the city and protecting everybody and come save Faramir, who's more important than everyone else." Or when Gandalf told Pippin, "Don't worry about all of the killing that's going on right now. If you die, it will be okay. We're all going to Heaven." Talk about warm, fuzzy freelings.

Most people seem to complain about the way that the obvious "heroes" like Faramir, Denethor, and even Boromir were needlessly emasculated, but my biggest gripe was the way that Merry and Pippin were treated. In the books, when they pledged their service to Denethor and Theoden, they had every intention of being true soldiers, and they lived up to it. Hobbits weren't helpless people; in fact, in most of the battle scenes, they usually killed their share of foes and even made the first kills in a lot of cases. They didn't hide behind Gandalf's robes or Eowyn's shield and cry, "I'm afraid to die! Protect me!" When the hobbits returned to the Shire, Gandalf abandoned them and said, "It is now your responsibility to protect the Shire. Don't you understand? That's what you have been trained to do." And the hobbits went back and kicked some major butt.

That said, I can still accept the changes made to Merry and Pippin since the movie is more effective if the hobbits are totally helpless. In light of that, Sam's heroics should have seemed even more heroic, but unfortunately, they fell flat. For example, I was afraid that it would be impossible to capture the scene with Shelob effectively on film, and Sam's heroics seemed unappreciated to me. I hate to keep referring to the books, because I don't insist that the movies should have followed the books to the letter, but I just wish that certain scenes had been as good (if not better) as they were in the books, and the scene with Shelob was one that I was especially looking forward to. Shelob is thousands of years old, and no Man, Orc, or Elf has ever survived a direct encounter with her; in fact, no one had even given her a scratch, ever. Not even someone like Aragon could stand toe to toe with her. But the movie didn't convey any sense of that at all; Shelob, as scary as she was, was just a big spider. When Sam stabbed her with Sting (actually, she impaled herself on it when she tried to crush him with her body), it was the first pain she had ever felt in five thousand years, and it was going to take a long time to recover from it. In the book, the orcs were stupefied that someone had actually made her retreat, and they practically wet themselves because they feared that "the mighty Elven warrior" who did it was coming for them next.

Sam's success, of course, was due to the fact that he carried a couple of powerful Elven artifacts and because his rage at Frodo's "death" was magically focused. The star-glass burned with a light of its own, but it burned even brighter if the person wielding it put his own passion into it. And the Elven blade, Sting, was sharp enough to pierce Shelob's relatively soft underbelly. A couple of lines of dialogue could have explained that to everybody, but I guess there wasn't any time for that because it was more important to repeat for the twentieth time that Sauron's forces outnumbered the Men. But the whole point was that when Sam saw that Frodo was hurt, he went ballistic. Have you ever seen the online parody "Lord of the Rings Secret Diaries"? There's a recurring line that goes, "Sam will kill him if he tries anything," and indeed, an angry Sam is a force to be reckoned with. The wonderful thing about Sam's heroics is that he's not self-conscious about it at all, unlike Aragon or Gandalf, for example. Sam isn't even trying to be a hero; he's just doing what comes naturally to him. That's exactly why he's a true hero, and he should be an inspiration to us all. As far as I'm concerned, the movie should have taken all the time it needed to do that instead of glossing over all of the important stuff and giving him so many sappy lines. Sam deserves his due, and he never got enough praise for what he did. Especially since, in the movies, the hobbits are supposed to be so weak and helpless.

On the positive side, well...it's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. It's a dream come true. What more could you ask? :)

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Postby Kayless » Wed Dec 24, 2003 4:05 am

Originally posted by Morlock
But M&C had so much subtleties in the costumes, that you wouldn't find anywhere else. IMO both are deserving. (Cold Mountain will probably take it anyway)

You want subtly? ;) Watch the Appendices on the Extended Editions of the first two LotR films. Theoden's armor, the Nazgul's robes, and other costumes all have details on them that don't even show up on camera (unless they take the time to give you an extreme close up, like they did with the inside of Theoden's armor in the Two Towers Appendices). For example, the Ring Wraiths have elaborate embroidery designs on their faded robes to reflect the fact that they're kings that have fallen into darkness. To the camera it looks like they're just wearing plain black robes, but the detail is there nonetheless. The armor of the elves and orcs was designed not only to reflect the aesthetic tastes and culture of each race, but also their indivisual fighting styles (a collaboration between stunt coordinators and costuming).

The armor smiths, tailors, etc. all put exquisite detail on their creations for LotR, even though most people would never know or appreciate the subtle minutia of their work. I don't know about the costuming in Master in Commander, but I kind of doubt it compares to the years of work that went into LotR's costuming (and indeed every facet of the project).

And if Cold Mountain wins the Oscar I will throw up.
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Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

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Postby ThorinOakensfield » Wed Dec 24, 2003 11:55 pm

Great movie. I'm not going to type up a lenghty review; most of the points have been covered.

-One of the last scenes when Aragorn is getting crowned. He walks up to the hobbits. He bows down. Then there is a shot with all 4 standing side by side (I noticed this the 2nd time I saw the movie). Pippin and Merry are supposed to be taller (since they drank the ent draught) but in this shot (probably the only shot will all 4 on equal placement since the two grew) Pippin is shorter that Frodo (as he was before). I don't believe they were supposed to shrink!

Legolas - one man army

I didn't like the undead army. Yes they come and route Sauron's forces but I felt in a way that they were too strong. I really don't remember too much from the book but this undead army could pretty much storm Mordor and surround Baradur (I would assume atleast Sauron has the power to hold them off).

Relating to the same subject, the end of the siege was somewhat disappointing compared to the end of the battle at Helms Deep. It was going really well. The Rohan charge, the oliphaunts. But as soon as the undead army showed up, the battle pretty much ended. (again I really don't remember how it went in the book). I loved how Theoden, Aragorn and some other soldiers went charging out of the fortress at Helms Deep. Here you could see a man the audience had watched transform from a brain dead creature to a great king. Glorious, heroic etc. In Pellenor Fields we have an army, mostly unfamilar that ends the fight. No Gandalf, no Gondor soldiers.

My favorite scenes: I absolutely loved the retreat from Osgilliath. Theres that great shot of Gandalf charging straight at the party of retreating horsemen which are being harrased by Nazgul. Very impressive sequence.

Also the Rohan charge. WOW! It was amazing. Theoden rallying his men and then charging down. I just love how they sweep right over the orcs. Some of the wide angle, zoom out shots (CG) were just amazing.

hmm my review turned out to be a bit long.

Best movie (all three) I've ever seen.
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Postby Gwalchmai » Fri Jan 09, 2004 4:47 pm

Image
:D
That there; exactly the kinda diversion we coulda used.

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Postby dragon wench » Fri Jan 09, 2004 5:03 pm

@Gwally,
LMAO! That comic is priceless :D
[SPOILER]testingtest12[/SPOILER][SIZE="1"]Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

[SPOILER]testingtest12[/SPOILER][color="Silver"].......All those moments ... will be lost ... in time ... like tears in rain.[/size][/color]