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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2005
Well, boys and girls, this is it: the last Lord of the Rings DVD... unless they decide to milk the saga for all it's worth a la George Lucas. Like the theatrical version this extended cut doesn't quite live up to expectations - not because this is a 'bad' movie, but because our expectations were pushed into the stratosphere by The Fellowship and The Two Towers. The extra 50mins of footage are a rather mixed bag, with most of the additional scenes falling rather flat. There are, though, some notable exceptions - the demise of Saruman should never have been cut from the theatrical version, and the Mouth of Sauron is great fun. By and large though Jackson made the right decisions in the cutting room.
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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 17 March 2004
I remember sitting in a cine ma back in the summer of 2000 and seeing the teaser trailer for the 'Fellowship of the ring', that was the beginning of the lord of the rings for me. Now we have come to the end. This film marks the end of what has to be one of the greatest cinematic achievments of all time. The film that could never be made has come to an end.
And what an end.
Sitting in the cinema for 3 and a half hours may seem like a long time but this film full-filled and surpassed all my expectations. Visually, this film cannot be flawed, from the white tower of Ecthellion, the fell beasts of minas morgul, and of course the mighty Shelob. the music to this film is brilliant (Howard shore has surpassed himself once more, my personal favorite composition is the white tree). The dialouge of the film is a work of unadulterated genius. the incredably personal conversations of Frodo, juxtapose to the mighty speeches of King Theoden at Pelleanor and Aragorn at the black gates of Mordor rouse the spirit and elate the audiance in the moments of dispair.
however for all it's cunning and genius, for all its visual indulgence, for all of the cachophony of the battle of Pellanor feilds, this film boils down to one line.
"For Frodo"
11 oscars is nowhere near enough to honour this achievement.
I thoughly look forward to having the DVD of this film as i cannot wait to be able to complete this fomidable trilogy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 17 March 2004
What can I say that hasn't already been said ? This was an absolutely fantastic film, a perfect end to the greatest film trilogy of all time.
I would just like to draw attention to Sean Astin in the role of Samwise Gamgee. His acting was incredible, it was a crime that he didn't even receive a nomination for best supporting actor. Sam was the heart of the trilogy, and he really came into his own in this, the final part.
One of his finest moments, in my opinion, was whilst on Mount Doom, Frodo unable to go on, Sam says "I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you". This, coupled with Howard Shore's incredible music, was one of the most powerful cinematic experiences I have ever had.
The second moment, which whilst not in the book, worked to an unbelieveable effect in the film, was when Frodo was clutching the edge of the cliff over the fires of Mount Doom. With the folorn look on his face, Frodo looks upwards at Sam. Sam grabs hold of Frodo's wrist, and shouts "Don't you let go." This was equally, if not more, powerful than the 'carrying' scene.
And then we have the scenes after - Frodo and Sam on the rock, in the middle of a lava flow. Sam's crying over Rosie was incredibly moving, and Frodo's comment to Sam did as I predicted it would, which was tear me up inside - "I'm glad to be with you, Samwise Gamgee ... here, at the end of all things."
This film needs no more recommendation.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
The Theatrical release suffered through being long but disjointed, with fractured and at times jarring story-telling.
The restored scenes in this extended cut make for a more satisfying and coherent narrative, and bring us closer to Tolkien's original work.
Stand out extra scenes are:
Saruman's last stand; a conflation of the original, but a great scene, faithful to the themes and spirit of the scene in the book. This gives the closure the Saruman story deserved.
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.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 13 October 2007
Antipodean director Peter Jackson here proves beyond doubt that he's picked up Spielberg's mantle as the director most competent at blending dazzling special effects with convincing emotional drama. The third part of Jackson's opus sees the One Ring return to Mordor in the hands of a Hobbit, while the hordes of Gorgoroth sweep into the realm of man in their tens of thousands. Bad Taste this ain't.

This is the boldest of the three movies in that it necessarily must take the most risks in depicting Tolkien's universe. It's a delicate balancing act. For instance, some will love the Jackson of old re-emerging for the Paths of the Dead sequence, while others will resent its Temple of Doom comedy-horror stylings. Legolas skipping up the leg of an olyphaunt and then sliding down its trunk as it falls: fanboys loathe that stuff; the kids love it. But thankfully, due to Return of the King's structure - a series of action scenes built around Gandalf's (Ian McKellen) dreadful narration - one doesn't have to wait long until the next set-piece arrives. And we're spoiled for choice. Gandalf, for example, doesn't only narrate - he also, exhilaratingly, sweeps onto the plain of Pelennor to ward off the Nazgul with a blinding shaft of light. Shelob doesn't disappoint; Weta have created a memorable monster who tickles the neck-hairs of Tolkien devotees and unsuspecting arachnophobics alike (I had not yet read the novel at this point...). And the lighting of the beacons, erupting from far snow-capped peaks, calling to Gondor under the bellowing strains of Howard Shore's aptly triumphant score, might be the single most rousing sequence in movie history. It's the ignition of hope, a glimmer of unbridled joy before the darkness descends.

The biggest omission from the novel is the Scouring of the Shire. I happen to agree with the sreenwriters' decision. By that time, we've already had two or three endings. We've been stuffed with a veritable feast in the form of the Battle of Pelennor and the Fall of Sauron; the Scouring, I believe, would have been an unwanted dessert. Besides, Tolkien's epilogue was something of a matter of celebrity. Aragorn's final words to the hobbits, as all of Middle Earth kneels, says more about the height of their standing than any Shire-war would.

Some minor flaws still remain. Legolas and Gimli's character arcs still reach no real resolution (but then, do we really need another two endings?). The position of the Battle of Pelennor in the story's narrative doesn't really lend itself to the classical Hollywood narrative very comfortably - there's a predictable, albeit only slight, feeling of 'winding down' in all that follows. Also, on this extended DVD, the point at which we are asked to change discs comes at a most inopportune time, as the drums of war are at their peak.

But it seems strangely impertinent to sniff out the trilogy's few flaws; to do so is like picking at the hem of the Bayeux Tapestry. Will we ever see such a wholly satisfying series of films again? Not in my lifetime. This is pure cinema. Jackson and his creative family just don't stop giving. He has successfully translated his love for his source material and created a body of work that will live on and become equally loved. The scope of his achievement is undeniable; as entertainment, this is about as close to perfection as cinema will get.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 13 March 2004
You could take the excellence of the first two films, add them together, multiply the total by the biggest number you can think of and the final result would not come close to describing how good this movie is. For the first time in my life, a movie has left me absolutely speechless. As a life-long Rings fan, I have long anticipated this trilogy and The Return of the King in particular. In my wildest imaginings, I never thought it could be this good. Sure, you could whinge about the missing scenes, the comlete lack of Saruman, and any number of irrelevancies; but to give this film less than five stars is churlish. The fields of Pelennor will completely blow your mind, while Faramir's ill-fated charge on Osgiliath will leave you weeping bitter tears. Peter Jackson has reached the pinnacle of the film-maker's art. This is a piece of perfection, and a privilege to watch.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Theatrical release suffered through being long but disjointed, with fractured and at times jarring story-telling.
The restored scenes in this extended cut make for a more satisfying and coherent narrative, and bring us closer to Tolkien's original work.
Stand out extra scenes are:
Saruman's last stand; a conflation of the original, but a great scene, faithful to the themes and spirit of the scene in the book. This gives the closure the Saruman story deserved.
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.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 12 February 2005
I'm not going to reveiw the film as there are so many reviews on the net (most of which give top marks) but will instead talk about why you MUST own this DVD. I've read the LOTR books as well as The Silmarillion and was really pleased with the Return of the king theatrical version but was slightly disoppointed by some ommissions (which I wont go into as other reviewers have already metioned the extended scenes). The Extended Edition seamlessly integrates the "missing" scenes flawlessly and rather than seeming like added extras they feel as though they were always there with the whole film flowing naturally.
I would also like to talk about the AMAZING production values of the DVD. If you have a good home cinema setup then the ROTK:EE is the perfect demo disc. The DTS ES 6.1 soundtrack is absolutely awesome, I really didn't believe my AMP and speakers were capable of such amazing sound. The rear speakers get a full workout throughout the film (unlike most 5.1 and 6.1 films that focus almost ALL sound to the front 3 speakers). The LFE sound is also great rumbling the house throughout battles with the sound of horses stampeeding through the room. The picture to is absolutely perfect. Blacks levels are deep and inky and whites are bright with no transfer errors.
The film is 4 hours long (as you probably know) and comes on 2 discs like the other 2 Extended Editions. For some reason the disc change occurs almost in the middle of a fast paced important scene when it could have been pushed back or forward to a more low paced sceen but when disc 2 is popped in the player it is straight back into the action (no legal disclaimers) and so it isn't a major fault.
The LOTR is an astonishing acheivement and if you haven't watched them then you really should. It's got everything going for it, great story, unforgettable characters, amazing acting, awesome visuals and the best sound in the history of DVD.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
A year after the final theatrical version surfaced in the cinema, the Lord Of The Rings trilogy comes to its FULL conclusion with the release of the Extended Edition of Return Of The King.
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'. The best additions is the inclusion of Frodo and Sam's trek across Mordor, the section where they end up caught up in a battalion of marching orcs while in disguise makes a welcome addition from the book, as does the true ending of Sauruman (which frankly had an atrocious ending in theatrical version, merely dismissing him as 'having no power' anymore without Christopher Lee even making it on screen). A few treats for those who know what was missing. Then comes what can only be described as dodgy additions, for the first time ever. The extended scenes with the Army Of The Dead look very nice but completely ruin that air of suspense for when Aragorn finally turns up for the Battle Of Pelanor Plains. This time round you know EXACTLY who is on that boat pulling into the port near Minas Tirith. Rather than the joyous switch from 'Oh no! Its MORE bad guys! Wait a sec ... its ARAGORN!', you know that! the battle is already going to swing in the favour of good when they turn up. Also there is a suspicious scene between Gandalf and the Witch King Of Angmar which detracts from illusion of Gandalf being an all powerful wizard. A needless deviation from how that particular scene pans out in the book.
These are minor niggles from someone who loves the book, nothing can touch the book as far as I am concerned. You get to know the characters so much better and you get all those little gems which they had to cut out of the movie or alter to make the story tell well in a screenplay aspect. However, I don't think anyone else could have made as good a translation from book to film as Peter Jackson. This is one of the best series of all time, Fellowship Of The Ring still nicks it as my fave of the three movies if I was pushed to choose. You can't really detract from what he has achieved with this film, Tolkien himself gave the film rights away for practically nothing, deeming the book impossible to translate to film.
Since this is the Extended Edition DVD, this is the Extended Review. Once again the 2 DVDs of documentaries are an absolute joy. None of your usual dodgy tacked on DVD documentaries with 'deep voiced US geezer' commentary, these are superb. Cast, crew and Tolkien buffs all contribute, genuine fascinating footage to watch and such a variety and wealth of subjects to talk about. Every aspect of the movie creation is documented, right up to the final scenes of filming (bizarrely, these took place a few weeks after ROTK picked up their 11 Oscars ... nothing like an Oscar for an unfinished film!). A history of Tolkien and his inspirations, the discarded concept (thank god!) of the Aragorn vs Sauron final sword fight, the creation of the sets, costumes and the ongoing evolutionary process of the script design and editing. If you've bought these extended editions and not taken the documentaries out to have a look out, start this immediately! Hit t! hat 'Play All' button. They will enrich your viewing pleasure the next time you watch the film, and leave you thinking how lucky they all were to work on such a film when you hear their love from it and the tales from their time on it.
Heres to Peter Jackson taking on making The Simarillion into a series!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 March 2004
Like Star Wars before it, The Lord of the Rings Return of the King is the final edition of one mans dreams and one mans reality. When Tolkein was writing the scenes to this great trilogy no one could of understood the effect it would have on so many people's lives.
The books were epic, the films were beyond descritption. Retutn of the King is simply one of the best films ever produced and from a personal point of view the Best Ever Directed, Peter Jackson ensures that you will want to watch this film for decades to come. You get to see everything the first two films were leading too.
No matter how long the film was by the end of the film you will not want to leave your seats, sofa, bed whatever or wherever you are you'll just want to start the dream all over again.
The acting in this film is perfection in itself, the battle scenes are breathtaking, the music will ring around in your mind for days.
Waitin for the DVD edition is going to be hard but I am sure it will all be worthwhile the features promise to be as good as the ones set on Matrix.
A True Great, bow to the Great Tolkein and The Mastermind Peter Jackson.
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