The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal - Return of the King: You Knew It Was Coming
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Return of the King: You Knew It Was Coming|
So we finally saw Return of the King. I shall say this: Thank you for the gift, Mister Jackson.
There was a distinct advantage of not giving a rat's ass about Tolkien and not having read the books in, lessee, eighteen years - namely, I didn't know how anything turned out. There were some damn fine scenes in there, where I didn't know what was going to happen next, and I was happy not to. I had to clutch my wife's hand at one point and ask, "Is he really dead?"
She told me, of course, but I had to know. And I never ask to know what happens next.
In short, is it the best movie ever? No, not really. For one thing, the accusations of too many endings are entirely apt - Jackson ends on the last line of the books, which I don't feel is the best place to end it for the movies. And for another thing, as my most excellent boss Pyotr Hoefling pointed out, "You know, there are only so many times you can watch massive armies crashing into each other before you go, 'Okay, we get it already.'"
But will the series hold up as one of the greats? Oh yes. This is a fine ending to a fine set of movies, and already I am anticipating that loss that I will feel next year when I see the Extended version all at once and realize that this particular vein has run dry.
...Well, until two years after that when they do the extra-special Lord of the Rings super-duper $200 boxed set.
...and two years after that, when he goes back and digitally retouches some scenes and makes it so that Gollum shoots first.
But after that, I'll have nothing.
- You know what I love about Tolkien? He has no foreshadowing whatsoever. About a third of the dialogue in the movies involve standing before some place - the deep woods, the Mines of Moria, the mountain pass - and saying in ominous tones, "Boy, this place is bad news. Nobody ever goes here." Then they go there. Nobody ever says, "Boy, that would be like making the Kessel run in five parsecs" and has to do the Kessel run later on in the movie.
- I understand that Jackson wanted to end on Sam's final line, but it didn't really work for me. I could have dealt with our heroes sailing off into the sunset. That would have been cool.
- Sam and Frodo: The first slash fiction. I've coined the term "hobboerotic" in the past, and the little kiss on Sam's forehead is gonna be in LJ icons all over the goddamn place.
- In one scene right at the beginning, when they're panning past Rohan for the first time, there is a major gaffe: They've obviously reversed the film, and you can see smoke being sucked into chimneys and flags whipping backwards. Patty, who went with us, also said that Gandalf and Pippin cast two separate shadows when they first entered Denethor's hall.
- Aragorn really loses his humanity later on. Oh, the focus is on Frodo and Sam, as it should be, but after he gets the dead in a truly kick-ass scene, he's just sort of hacking and slashing and cutting. Me, I would have liked to have some sort of brief romantic longing for Arwen, just to a) give Arwen something to do (she says, "Dad, I'm mortal" and then vanishes for the next two hours) and b) to remind me that Aragorn is more than just an icon.
- Yes, Aragorn is hot. But I'd still rather sleep with Sam. I don't think Aragorn would want to cuddle afterwards. (He might brood while I fell asleep, but that's about it.)
- Okay, the whole thing of "Sauron as an eye" was good in the first two movies, but in the third when Sauron is reduced to this big Tex Avery bulgy woinging eyeball thing, it just starts to look silly. I don't demand that Sauron come out and kick ass WWF style, but could we at least have a shot of a ghostly, half-formed Sauron sitting in his throne just as he shorts out?
- Andy Serkis and WETA have the honor of turning in the first-ever subtle CGI performance with Gollum. Oh, their work in Two Towers was nuanced, but it was as subtle as a bag of bricks dropped on your head. Gollum's sly treachery was played perfectly.
And three other issues:
- If you had what you thought was a pithy ROTK review, I probably missed it. Do me a favor and link to it in my comments so I can go read it? (Mindless gushing, while wholeheartedly agreed with, is not necessary to read.)
- So where did this differ from the books? What are the purists upset about this time? I'm curious. Again, leave a comment.
- yendi said that he far preferred ROT13 (a simple code where letters are inverted to precisely thirteen places beyond) to ROTK. In a massive move of outgeeking him, I claimed that I much preferred ROT13 ROTK, where two very dirty hobbits fish a ring out of a pool of lava and then hide it in the Shire.
Frodo and Sam making sweet mouth-love was left out.
Probably would have made it R.
Well, it would have been futile. Surveys at the "Gay Hobbits Must Die" institute show that 94% of Middle Earth are against gay hobbit marriages.
I literally have just returned from the theatre and have to say it was a most awesome display and I am now exhausted from it. It was so great it made me tired ( I get really involved with the characters on the screen)
On a side note I can not believe how many parents of young children (under about ten years old) have taken their children to see this in the theatre. I know plenty of adults who have a bit of difficulty following all of the bits and pieces of the trilogy and they bring small children who they in return become impatient with because they are asking mommy and daddy why Gollum is a bad man. Maybe it is just me but I didn't think that the LOTR was a story FOR children.
|Date:||December 19th, 2003 09:15 pm (UTC)|| |
The whole "cannot follow" bit aside, I can take comfort from the thought that those parents will be punished appropriately when the kids wake up screaming for nights afterwards or have a serious panic attack the next time there's a big spider in the house.
(Hey, I can't be the only arachnophobe who saw this thing...)
|Date:||December 19th, 2003 08:43 pm (UTC)|| |
Yes, Aragorn is hot. But I'd still rather sleep with Sam. I don't think Aragorn would want to cuddle afterwards. (He might brood while I fell asleep, but that's about it.)
You will receive the bill for the metal brushes and industrial strength solvent I needed for brain-scrubbing.
You will receive the bill for the metal brushes and industrial strength solvent I needed for brain-scrubbing.
Just pour Liquid Plumber into your ear, and hope for the best. It's what I plan on doing.
Ew... Ferrett/Sam slash... :)
Like I said in my truly pithy review (If it could even be called that; more akin to "a scant blurb."), I noted that Aragorn's thicker beard just wasn't doing anything for me. It makes him seem a great deal older than he should have seemed. I'm unsure if the transition from stubble to beard was just to show time passage, or if it was some sort of allegory for his internal change ("Leaving the ranger behind," as Elrond (Or Theoden; I can't particularly remember.) said). Regardless, while it made him look regal, it definitely won't get Vigo on the cover of G.Q!
I've always been a big Boromir fan, despite his ephemeral role in the story. :)
I didn't like the beard, either. A quote from my wife, though:
"I liked the beard."
"You'd like Viggo if he was covered in pigshit."
"Now, that's not true. He... Well, I guess it depends on what kind of pigshit."
|Date:||December 19th, 2003 09:09 pm (UTC)|| |
oh if only the fangirls would just go away and leave it alone! *tapes friends fingers and mouth Shut*
Why did you have to be so right?
|Date:||December 19th, 2003 09:10 pm (UTC)|| |
and this entry
would, in an ideal world, be a single review, since I'd have had time to write them that way. As it is, they follow each other, so you can just hit "next". As per request, I haven't linked to my mindless gushing entry, which was written under the influence of 11+ hours of fresh movie goodness....differ from the books?
Serious spoilers for the books follow. In case anyone cares, you know.
The purists are going to be upset about three major things.
- Denethor's character. If you watched the Towers Extended Edition, his behaviour towards Faramir and Boromir explains a lot about the actions of the brothers. That is straight from the books. The line "Yes, I do wish [that you had died instead of Boromir]" which drives Faramir to go to near certain death is also straight from the books. (Bastard.) However, in the books, he also has access to a palantír, one that was rescued from the ruined Osgiliath some years back. Although he has some nobility, he is nowhere as mentally strong as even Saruman was, and cannot control the palantír. So he can use it to see things (that's how he knows about Aragorn, for instance) but it shows mostly things Sauron wants him to see. Which tends to be heavily how strong Sauron's armies are and how vast his resources are and how scattered Gondor's people are and etc.---Denethor finally goes mad with despair when Faramir's struck down, as in the movie, but he has had a whole background for the despair that goes farther back than Boromir's death.
- The whole "Arwen's life is now linked to the course of the War, as the Ring gets nearer Sauron and Sauron gets stronger, she gets weaker" thing is the Rings equivalent of "explaining" the Force with midichlorians: Inventing a mechanism where originally there was none specified. The long and short of it in the books is that the Elf, deciding to marry the human, forfeits her place in the ships to the West (and in fact, Arwen quite specifically gives her place to Frodo, at the end). I've heard several people being disturbed by this, and I could have done without it (maybe they thought it made for a nice extra motivation for Aragorn, but he needed none). Still it is nowhere as disturbing as midichlorians, from where I stand.
- Saruman doesn't just stay cooped up in his Tower forever. Treebeard lets him go, thinking him now harmless, but when the hobbits return to the Shire, they don't find it at peace and green and happy, but ravaged and overrun by some Men still under Saruman's command. It's a last test for the hobbits, using their newfound military education, to set things to rights. This takes a whole chapter which was cut out wholecloth, like the whole Tom Bombadil sequence in Fellowship... and I think they had less cause to cut this one, except for time time time.
Other than that, major plot changes that I think won't be much quibbled about: In the book Aragorn takes the Dead to where the Black Ships are harbored and uses them to capture the ships and free the slaves in them, then releases them, and comes up to Minas Tirith with an army of living people from the coast and the now-freed slaves. The whole Gollum-psychological-warfare thing is 100% Jackson and co., in the book Sam never leaves Frodo's side and they go through Shelob's tunnel together.
Where I think the movie's changes were improvements: In the Chamber of Fire, Gollum slips and falls into the lava by himself while Frodo is still writhing over his maimed hand. Eowyn stays in depression over her rejection by Aragorn until after she's killed the Witch King, after which she has a rather sudden change of heart and falls in love with Faramir over the space of a few weeks (and about 5 pages, which is why it feels so sudden).
What you should wait for the EE to see, because it's going to be there, because it reflects on your "Aragorn became less human" comment as well: Eowyn, Faramir and Merry don't just get well by themselves, especially not in time to ride out with Aragorn in Merry's case.
Not to nitpick, but I'm about to...
> he also has access to a palantír, one that was rescued from the ruined Osgiliath some years back.
No, the one at Osgiliath rolled down Anduin to the Sea, as Saruman lied about the One.
There was always a palantír in the tower of Minas Anor/Minas Tirith. In the South, they were there, at Minas Ithil/Minas Morgul (that's how Sauron got his) and Osgiliath.
|Date:||December 21st, 2003 07:53 am (UTC)|| |
Peter Jackson moved Shelob for two reasons: first, he didn't want to end the second movie - already enough of a middle chapter - on a cliffhanger. Second, and more importantly, the chronology of the books is such that the Shelob incident happens concurrently with the Battle of Pelenor Fields and he wanted to keep that chronology intact.
As to the Scouring of the Shire, it simply is beyond the capacity of theatrical production. Even in the book it feels tacked on post-climax, but fans of the book forgive that because it is supposed to be more of a history than a tale. Cinematically, it would be SO post-climactic as to require a complete new setup and its own three acts to do right. Otherwise it would be completely dissatisfying, but in that form it would be completely too much. Leaving the Shire untouched and Saruman locked away in his tower were a more than acceptable compromise for me - the audience is ready for the happily-ever-afters by then.
As someone who hate-hate-hated what they did to Faramir's character in The Two Towers (but has been pretty accepting of most of the other changes), I can say with great pleasure that Return of the King was pretty true to the books, and where it wasn't, it improved upon them. For instance, in the books Gollum never turns Frodo against Sam, they just all go into the caves and then Gollum abandons the both of them. I thought it was much more dramatic the way Jackson did it. Of course, that's been a double-edged sword when it comes to Jackson...he has such a tendency towards the dramatic that sometimes it's just way overdone. But I really don't have any complaints about RotK.
Of the things I would have liked to see more of, like you said, more scenes of Aragorn doing something other than swinging a sword would have been nice. I also would have liked to have seen the romance between Eowyn and Faramir. Cuz, you know, they DO end up together.
I'd totally sleep with Aragorn. But I thought Legolas was supposed to be the hot one? Maybe it's just the females I hang out with.... It's not like you're alone or anything, though. My mom and grandma both like Sam the best. Heh.
I completely agree about the bastardization of Faramir in Two Towers, but if you haven't seen the extended addition of TTT yet, check it out because they put back a lot of stuff with Faramir including a flashback scene with Boromir and a scene with Sam and Frodo when he lets them go which almost completely redeems him and makes you feel warm and fuzzy about him again. I was VERY relieved to see that make into the extended edition.
all i have to say is BEST MOVIE.......EVER!!!!
did they miss stuff from the books, like the scouring of the shire. sure. as a purist i am a little mad at stuff they changed or left out, but also realize that if they didnt the movie would have been 5 hours long.
|Date:||December 19th, 2003 10:21 pm (UTC)|| |
I'm still working on analyzation of the movie
I saw the movie but I'm not sure if I liked it or maybe i didn't. But I will see Allan Johnson on Monday and then I'll know for sure if it was a good movie or not.
Re: I'm still working on analyzation of the movie
What I am surprised about is Sean Astin's performance. I really thik he should be considered for best supporting actor just for his scene with Shelob. I really think he stole the show.
I think he should be credited as lead actor. But alas.
|Date:||December 19th, 2003 11:48 pm (UTC)|| |
Another point where the book and movie differ is the whole deal with the Witch King of Angmar and the 'prophecy' about how no man could kill him. From what I recall in the books, he's killed not because Eowyn is a female and the prophecy states only a 'man' can kill her, but because she wielded Merry's sword, which was non-Man in origin. This goes back to the barrow wight/Tom Bombadil scene that was omitted in the Fellowship of the Ring, as this is where the hobbits obtain their weapons and the explanation for the weapons potency is also explored upon there. I personally didn't like how Jackson handled this scene as it just came off as really...um...cheesy.
Elrond showing up in the middle of nowhere to give Aragorn Anduril was also a really random and non-book incident.
This one is debateable, but, I've found that Pippin's character doesn't exactly evolve in the same fashion as he did in the book. He seemed more...timid? Than he was in the book.
There's also a bunch of characters who were affiliated with Aragorn which were omitted from the movie for simplicity's sake, such as the Prince of Dol Amroth, and a couple of others, but, again, nothing too major.
As an aside, when Legolas took down the oliphant, didn't you want to yell 'Yabba Dabba Doo!' when he slid down the trunk?
|Date:||December 20th, 2003 12:04 am (UTC)|| |
No, I just finished re-reading the Return of the King this afternoon. It's specifically prophesied that "no living man" can kill the Witch-King, and Eowyn's line of "I am no man!" is straight off the page.
Merry and Pippin are my favorite characters, and I was really looking forward to their own moments of glory, when they're not sidekicks anymore but full-blown heroes. You get some of that, and that's nice, but they're knights of Rohan and Gondor, respectively, and they're out of uniform from the end of battle onwards. Worse still, at the coronation, of all times to wear your livery, and they're in plain clothes. Alas.
They're supposed to really look grand. This is supposed to be an extreme contrast against them running out of the fields with pilfered produce. They're supposed to become legends, moreso among Men than Shirefolk. :-P
I think it makes them more legendary. I liked the plain clothes - it allows Aragorn to say, "Not every great thing is done by guys in fine clothes."
|Date:||December 20th, 2003 05:19 am (UTC)|| |
The battle scenes are funny etc. and nice moviewise but not plotwise...
um, where did PJ fsck up?
Well, the dead army weren't supposed to be a Minas Tirith. There was supposed to be a bunch of rangers with Aragorn who came with Eladan and Ellrohir when they brought Arwen's banner to Aragorn at Dunharrow. Got that. No Elrond. No damn sword. Aragorn had it allready. (allso the entire population on Rohan was supposedly hiding at Dunharrow allready, they didn't go to Helm's Deep and they really didn't go back to Edoras).
Oh yes, and Merry could only kill the WKoA because of the cool sword he had that he got from the Barrowights after Tom Bombadil saved him... but no, he does it with puny sword that Aragorn gave him anyway.
But the end! Oh no! The End!
1)Aragorn was crowned outside the city (he didn't want to enter the city officially untill he was king, even though he had been in earlier anyway). They had a set allready... It would not have been that hard.
2)He married Arwen. Who doesn't look like a wuss. Nor would she ever wear institutional green. ew. And he allrady had the damn banner...
3)Faramir married Eowyn (there are lots of soppy Faramir/Eowyn bits in the book but I can see why they would have to be missed out, too long, but a wedding would have been nice, rather than just having them looking friendly at Aragorn's crowning)
4)There's a whole cool bit where they go back via Rivendell and the Bree and they tell Barliman that Strider is king.
5)The Scouring Of The Shire, indeed, where the fuck did Saruman go? When the got the Palantir there's supposed to be a huge argument...
6)Celeborn did not go over the sea with Galadriel. Why did they feel the need to put him there? He went back to Lorien. And whilst we saw Gandalf's ring no actuall mention was made of it.
Oh, and that wasn't actuall the 'last' boat at all.
7)That is not the end. Much happens in the Shire, Sam sails some years later, Pip and Merry go the Rohann and the Gondor again, where they die and are burried in the halls of the Kings, with (eventuall) king Aragorn Elessar (but we had his death in the middle of TTT allong with Arwen, who died in Lorien shortly after) - however, kudos for the 'flash forward' to Eldarion (yes, the kid has a name...)
And the Legolas and Gimli sail over the sea. Together. How kawaiiiiii. (bloody hobbit slash getting all the limelight...).
One of the best things about the book is that it really ends...
That film didn't.
There are many small plot things left out, whilst large pointless battle scenes (pretty ones, but all the same) abound. However, I hear that the Special Edition will have (in the traditional way) most of the plot returned.
I fail to see why PJ thinks that it will be a better movie if 90% of it is battle scenes. Put the extra pretty CGI bits into the Extended and leave the bloody plot in the actuall movie.
|Date:||December 20th, 2003 05:57 am (UTC)|| |
at the risk of sounding like an unsophisticated barbarian - so what? all of those details are fairly unimportant in the overall plot. i'm a raging geek, myself, but if anything i just wanted the movie to END after the 2nd post-mt doom scene or so...
I saw this film last night. I fucking loved it, but for three things:
1- The guy who played the orc commander on the attack of Minas Tirith looked like a bloke I used to work with. Not PJ's fault, but worth mentioning.
2- The ending, as mentioned, seemed a little overlong. I love Sam and the 'well, I'm back' line, but it didn't really work in the film. But GO SAM! Yay for chubby actors stealing the show!
3- Th climb to finally reach Mount Doom was RIDICULOUS. It seemed to get further and fruther away every time the camera panned up from our hobbit heroes.
Other than that, top banana. Gimli wasn't as overtly comic as the other two films (a facet which I detest, being dwarvish myself), and even though I think elves are Nazis, I was very impressed when Legolas took down the oliphant.
|Date:||December 20th, 2003 08:33 am (UTC)|| |
The guy who played the orc commander on the attack of Minas Tirith looked like a bloke I used to work with. Not PJ's fault, but worth mentioning.
Actually, that orc reminded me of Sloth, from the Goonies. Incidentally, Sean Astin is in the Goonies. I wonder if there's a connection there....*ponders* Nope, probably not.
|Date:||December 20th, 2003 06:55 am (UTC)|| |
This was way geekier than ROT13ing ROTK.
Of course, I suppose that the fact that I get it makes me just as much of a geek.
You can outgeek me neatry any day of the week, babe.
Major Tolkein Geekness
I wouldn't call it pithy. Just sort of sad. Also, I'm the opposite of you. I liked Tolkein, and while I haven't read ROK since about a year ago, I knew what was supposed to happen (and therefore what DIDN'T or what DID AND WASN'T SUPPOSED TO GRRR)
There's also a "favorite moments" kind of list too :)
Alas, I feel your list is way off. The whole Gollum/Frodo thing is what makes the heart of the movie, and shows us that Frodo's really starting to move off the beam. Without it, the movie falls apart.
|Date:||December 20th, 2003 08:31 am (UTC)|| |
hobboerotic *dies laughing*
Dammit. This is the third time a comment on someone else's journal has turned into <a href = "http://www.livejournal.com/users/astridsdream/163434.html#cutid1 >an entry on my own</a>.
As a side note, I liked the Eye looking for its precious in vain, but I can see that it was maybe a bit silly.
As regarding sam: Yer wrong. Sam would follow after awhile, but he's always followed Frodo's wishes. If Frodo doesn't want him around, he doesn't want to disrespect Frodo, and his heart was broken anyway.
Besides, I assume that Sam would have went back anyway, even if he didn't find the bread (which is a continuity error, but anyway). He just would have had to climb lower before he made up his mind.
|Date:||December 21st, 2003 12:54 am (UTC)|| |
For my money, Elijah Wood's performance was one of the best things about ROTK. I've always thought he was a good choice for Frodo in the limpid-eyed innocent manner, but his scarred and wrung-out crawl through this last movie fascinated me. And I loved the way his and Sam's connection came across. Yes, yes, hobberoticism, but at the same time it just gave me a feeling of love that didn't answer to any definitions or boundaries. Which is the point, after all.
You know it's far too late at night to be writing when you're waxing this lyrical. Or maybe I just saw a damn fine movie.
|Date:||December 21st, 2003 02:17 pm (UTC)|| |
My review wasn't just gushing praise, even though I generally liked it. I had several complaints: http://www.skyseastone.net/nuadha/hand/002610.html (http://www.skyseastone.net/nuadha/hand/002610.html)