12.20.2003

MOVIES - Reviews of the King

Here are some less than enthusiastic reviews of Return of the King
*MAJOR SPOILERS*
:


Peter Price
Some scenes are just laughable. Take Arwen's future-dream sequence, for example. Here, she observes her brat son, who's supposedly the future King of Gondor, Eldarion, running around the woods. I mean, is that REALLY necessary? There are dream sequences enough, without having to swoop to new lows with yet more tacky, unsubtle and highly cheesy moments such as this. And how come Elrond manages to ride from Imladris to Dunharrow in what seems less than days, when it took the Fellowship weeks at the very least, if not months, to reach the Southern lands? Its almost as if all the toils of FotR were for nothing, just filling out a few hours of movie-time. Such decisions by PJ are terribly wayward, inconsistent, and fallible. Where was Saruman? Where was Wormtongue? Where were the Sons of Elrond, and the Rangers of the North?
Where was the rest of the nation of Gondor? Does PJ expect us to believe that the great country that Boromir wanted to save so much consisted solely of Minas Tirith and a few hundred men in and around ruined Osgiliath? Where is the true size and scope of the "Battle to end all battles" the end of the Third Age? Between Minas Tirith and Mordor itself, there is supposedly the whole city of Osgiliath and the great wooded province of Ithilen, as well as the great field of the Pelennor. In the book, this landmass stretches for approximately 50 miles, yet in the movie, they look literally on each others doorsteps, as if there's only a couple of miles between them.


Johnny Dark

What this movie seems to be about is defending white people against black people. Because it is a fantasy, all the black folks are ugly and, like African cannibals, try to eat each other when they get pissed.


Tinfang Gelion

How is it possible? Arwen's life tied to the Ring? A dead tree that has flowers? No Black Breath? No Mouth of Sauron? Elrond comes to Dunharrow in a flash, and it took the Fellowship how long to get to the point of Boromir's death. Where is the Stone of Erech? No knights from Dol Amroth? No Crossroads for Frodo & Sam? Frodo & Sam don't actually spend days walking across the Gorgoroth? What happened with the Watchers at the Tower of Cirith Ungol? Why did Theoden question even going to Gondor's aid and then suddenly some burning wood changes his mind? No Red Arrow. No Ghan-buri-ghan. No sons of Elrond, no Rangers of the North. No finding the sapling on the mountainside.
And on, and on, and on....


Chip Douglas

At the end or TTT Gandalf proclaimed the beginning of the battle for middle earth and Gollum mentioned "Her". In ROTJ they spent at least half an hour pondering what to do next and "She" does not appear for another hour after that. Shelob does get another mention when Gollum does a watered down version of everybody's favorite Oscar clip from TTT, but like the totally unnecessary Galadriel montage in the second part, this riverbank exchange between Gollum and Smeagol only serves to remind the audience of what has gone before, instead of pushing the story further. I was also sligtly dissapointed in the long awaited Gollum origin prologue. The effect of Smeagol transforming into Gollum was not very convincing and should perhaps have been kept as a deleted scene. Oh. I forgot. There are no deleted scenes on LOTR dvds, only reenstated ones.

The omission of Saruman after building him up as the only phycical bad guy is simply inexcusable. Especialy since he is just left up in his tower guarded by Treebeard while everybody goes off to live happily ever after. I noticed Peter Jackson's customary cameo and his very cute children did not end up on the cutting room floor! And dont tell me Saruman will be on the Extended Cut, because if you insist the longer versions are better that would mean Jackson couldt do it right in a mere three hour plus theatrical cut. He managed to do it in The Fellowship, clearly the longest part of the Lord of the Rings, so why not on the other two? Furthermore, the extended version of TTT in which Merry and Pippin drank from the the Entwash did not have any effect on ROTK, where they had not grown an inch!

What exactly did we get instead of Saruman at the beginning? A celebration in Rohan (not in the book) where Merry and Pippin are dancing on a table and some unnesisary FOTR flashbacks (Was this just an excuse to put Sean Bean back in the credits?). At least there were no Dwarf tossing jokes and only one squence with Arwen and Elrond this time, more or less needed to tie up loose ends from TTT (unlike Saruman ofcourse). We find out that both of them can look into the future, and Arwen is dying because she is somehow connected to the fate of the ring. The rest of this subpplot will probably be seen on that extended cut, because after Elrond tells Aragorn about it, he takes his sword and forgets all about his dying love for the rest of the film! Even after his coronation he immediatly heads for the first blonde in a dress, in that case Legolas.



Melvalar

The worst flaw has to be Denethor's portrayal, because it robs the Steward of his dignity. John Noble is not to blame; rather, the Monty Python-esque level to which the script has consigned him. When Gandalf unceremoniously clouts Denethor, many unenlightened kids in our audience laughed. One even called for the wizard to 'do it again!'

Is this the kind of audience Tolkien would have wanted?

Without the Mouth of Sauron, Aragorn's confrontation with Sauron lacks palpable punch. It becomes a lame contrast with the 'Fellowship' prologue; the rumored 'return' of Sauron would have overcompensated for a missing scene.

The hobbits return to the Shire, replete with recycled shots from 'Fellowship.' Frodo's illness generates very little tension; the four hobbits seem poised to order a mushroom pizza from the Green Dragon. Even the vaunted conclusion lacks dramatic focus -- Ian Holm's make-up is more frightening than the orcs! We never learn what befalls the remaining Fellowship members afterward.

The only scenes that genuinely moved me were Faramir's painful rejection by Denethor and Eowyn's gentle rebuff from Aragorn. These actually brought tears to my eyes.


Disappointed

Nothing is explained. There is absolutely NO foreshadowing for The Paths of the Dead, who appeared to be nothing more than a giant street-sweeper or a tidal wave. So incredibly disappointing, and so incredibly GREEN. It would have been so much more effective if they had been rendered a little more ambiguously and not so goofy looking....more like a living human being. Could have been much scarier, but instead felt like Diz-nee ghosts.

Should I even mention Denethor. I think I will. Now......why on middle earth would you have an "already unlikeable character" such as Denethor, although noble, evolve into a food-slobbering pig? What purpose does it serve? Can someone please tell me? Why does Shadowfax have to be the one to kick him into the fire?? And why does he have to jump off the Top Level of Misis Tirith...because that way, it takes away his nobility, insults our intelligence, and Hollywood-izes Denethor's death all at the same time. How AWESOME would it have been to see Denethor set himself on fire and die a noble death???

Seriously, Tolkien wrote things down for a reason. Is it that hard to follow. How much MORE time and effort did it take to create this "alternate" Denethor as opposed to the original Denethor? Waste.

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