I saw Return of the King [RotK] last night at midnight. I got to bed around 4ish and was at work at 7. I am writing this at approximately 20 past 9 a.m. on 17 December 2003. I am a zombie, so bear with if at times I sound a bit incoherent. There are also probably spoilers ahead.
The movie was damn good. I am most glad that I saw the extended Two Towers before RotK, because the extra fleshing it provided was quite helpful. I won’t delve into the standard huzzahs for the cinematography, CGI renderings, WETA creations and all that. Everyone already knows about how sweet that shit looks. Instead I’ll just touch on the high lows and instances of ‘I gotta think about that before I make a decision.’
In no particular order:
Gandalf — what happened to the confident Gandalf from the first and second movies? He seems resigned to defeat, even though he lays the law down upon Denethor a few times, and beats the tar out of plenty of Orcs, he looks damn tired. Of course, he should be tired, after all the work he has done, but he never inspires much hope in me.
Aragorn — Viggo, you got it right, you always had it right. bravo.
E?wyn — She is hotter than Arwen, stronger than Arwen, and cooler than Arwen. She beats the shit out of the Witch-king’s critter, then stands before the Witch-king’s ?ber-morningstar despite its crazy bigness and despite her fear. What a woman. I hope the extended version of RotK covers her romance with Faramir in the Houses of Healing. Good job Miranda.
Arwen — Can eat my ass. Why does she have to be both horsefaced and always apparently on the point of crying? Why does she have to be in the movies at all? gah.
Pippin — Billy Boyd nailed Pippin in this movie much more than in the others. That little smirk on his face at the coronation of Aragorn was perfect. Also, his terrible innocence and gentleness are much more visible.
Merry — Good job I suppose, although I wish he and The?den had built the friendship they had in the book.
The?den — Originally, in TTT, I was pissed at the way he was portrayed. The extended version changed my opinion of him [mostly the burial of his son]. I would follow his ass into battle any day.
Frodo — he is still weak and whiny, but I suppose that is the point. I respect the book version more.
Sam — I’m not the hugest Sean Astin fan, but this really is his movie, and he really is the most deserving of the happy ending. He nailed the character just like Viggo. THANK GOD THERE WASN’T ANOTHER SCRIPTED ‘WE’LL GET THERE MR. FRODO’ SPEECH.
Legolas and Gimli — They change as slow as forests and mountains. Nothing worth sayin’ about them that hasn’t already been said.
Flotsam and Jetsam
None of the changes really rankled me that much apart from Elrond showing up with Narsil-reforged. The Shire was still pristine, but I expected that. It fits with the classical Hollywood narrative format : two men set across a valley, have many adventures, and return home safely. All the action happens in the valley not at home. I actually liked the Dead coming to Minas Tirith. I’d always wanted that to happen in the book.
Grond was wicked awesome, Minas Morgul was wicked awesome, the Witch-king was ridiculous wicked awesome. My only true major beef is that a lot was missing from the theatrical release that would have closed things off a bit better. I’m sure it will end up in the extended version, but the extended version will probably push 4.5 hours if everything is put in. By everything I mean: What happens to Saruman; How does The?den make it to Gondor and What about the Woses; How do E?wyn and Faramir meet; When does Gandalf face the Witch-king, and probably some others I am too tired to think of at the moment.
My favorite scene is also my favorite passage in the book.
Suddenly the king cried to Snowmane and the horse sprang away. Behind him his banner blew in the wind, white horse upon a field of green, but he outpaced it. After him thundered the knights of his house, but he was ever before them. ?omer rode there, the white horsetail on his helm floating in this speed, and the front of the first ?ored roared like a breaker foaming to the shore, but Th?oden could not be overtaken. Fey he seemed, or the battle-fury of his fathers ran like new fire in his veins, and he was borne up on Snowmane like a god of old, even as Orom? the Great in the battle of the Valar when the world was young. His golden shield was uncovered, and lo! it shone like an image of the Sun, and the grass flamed into green about the white feet of his steed. For morning came, morning and a wind from the sea; and darkness was removed, and the host of Mordor wailed, and terror took them, and they fled, and died, and the hoofs of wrath rode over them. And then all the host of Rohan burst into song, and they sang as they slew, for the joy of battle was on them, and the sound of their singing that was fair and terrible came even to the City.
good goddam those orcses were skeered.
there will probably be more after I watch the flik a few more times.