As before, in this concluding part of the trilogy the spectacle never dwarfs (sic) the characters, even during Shelob the spider's pitiless assault, for example, or the unparalleled Battle of the Pelennor Fields, where the white towers of Minas Tirith come under ferocious attack from Troll-powered siege weapons and--in a sequence reminiscent of the Imperial Walkers in The Empire Strikes Back--Mammoth-like Mumakil. The people and their feelings always remain in focus, as emphasised by Jackson's sensitive small touches: Gandalf reassuring a terrified Pippin in the midst of battle that death is not to be feared; Frodo's blazing anger at Sam's apparent betrayal; Faramir's desire to win the approval of his megalomaniac father; Gollum's tragic cupidity and his final, heartbreaking glee. And at the very epicentre of the film is the pure heart of Samwise Gamgee--the real hero of the story.
At over three hours, there are almost inevitably some lulls, and the film still feels as if some key scenes are missing: a problem doubtless to be rectified in the extended DVD edition. But the end, when it does finally arrive--set to Howard Shore's Wagnerian music score--brings us full circle, leaving the departing audience to wonder if they will ever find within themselves even a fraction of the courage of a hobbit. --Mark Walker
Their hopes rest with Frodo (Elijah Wood), a determined hobbit making a perilous trip across treacherous enemy lands to cast the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom. The closer Frodo gets to his final destination, the heavier his burden becomes and the more he must rely on his old friend Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin). But both the Ring itself and Frodos guide, the piteous former Ring Bearer, Gollum (Andy Serkis), will test the hobbits allegiances and ultimately, his humanity.
Aragon draws the eye of Sauron: this serves to partly explain Denethor's madness, but not as specifically as the book does.
The Mouth of Sauron: A truly revolting and effective creation.
The Mimis Tirith battle scenes are also extended, and we get to see that revolting Orc Captain get his deserts. He just vanishes from the Theatrical version.
As for the documentary features, there's a wonderful, inspiring documentary on Tolkien and the book, intelligent and illuminating.
The next feature is also good, looking at some of thr processes involved in filming the unfilmable. There's a fascinating look at a scene that never was, but we see here storyboarded, where Sauron appears to Aragon in his original Angelic form, before taking on his 'Dark Lord' form to do battle.
There's more, enough detail to satisfy the most obsessive fan. This is a good value dvd package, an essential cut of what until now has been a very flawed release.
But while the extended cut of the movie itself is overlong and rather ponderous, the special features are superb. There are numerous excellent documentaries that cover visual effects, sound, music, etc. There are also films covering pre-production and production, the latter including many tearful moments as the members of the cast each film their final scenes. These documentaries really convey that the Lord of the Rings trilogy are not merely movies - they are a true cinematic 'event'. A multitude of talented people poured their heart and soul into these films over a period of six years in some cases, and in so doing created an epic saga that will be talked about for years to come. Those of us who were able to watch these movies in the cinema on their initial release were truly privileged.
A couple of things for fans of the books to hear. Even at 4 hours running time, the Scouring Of The Shire doesn't make it into the film ... in fact the entire film from the closing scenes of Mount Doom onwards remain as they were in the cinema.. Also push aside those 'too many endings' scoffs, the story was never meant to conclude with the climax of the big battle. Delve into the appendix of Return Of The King and you find that the Fellowship's lives are documented right up to their deaths or parting from the realm of Middle Earth. The War Of The Ring was but a very small part in the history of the world and it was fitting to see in conclude back where the story began.
What a conclusion this series had too! The Two Towers saw a siege with 10,000 attackers throw themselves upon Helms Deep, Return Of The King sees 600,000 attackers in the crucial battle of the world. So many stories intertwine, with Aragorn eventually facing his destiny as the King Of Gondor, Gandalf preparing the city of Minas Tirith for the oncoming assault against the wishes of the deranged steward Dethanor, and most importantly Frodo, Sam and Gollum's final stretch to Mount Doom to destroy the Ring.
Of most interest with this DVD is whats 'new'.... Read more ›
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