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A Return Of The King Review 517

Posted by timothy
from the new-meaning-for-spoiler dept.
puppetman writes "Electronic Arts here in Vancouver recently did a great thing for their employees: they rented four or five theatres in a local complex, and treated their employees and guests to an advance screening of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. I'm fortunate in that I have a friend who works for EA, and whose girlfriend couldn't make it to the screening." Read on for puppetman's impression of the film; beware of spoilers.

I must have read the trilogy three or four times since I was first introduced to it via The Hobbit back in grade-school. I am not a purist, but some of the changes Peter Jackson has made along the way weren't to my liking. For example, I didn't like the deviation in Faramir's character during the Two Towers, despite Peter Jackson's claim that he needed to create additional tension and discord beyond what Tolkien included.

The Return of the King has same flaws, but overall I thought it was a more engaging movie than the previous ones. Beware, there are a few spoilers ahead; obviously, most of the Slashdot crowd knows the story in the books, but what will follow should be considered a spoiler, as I am describing Jackson's adaptation of the book.

The movie opens at what I thought to be a strange spot - Smeagol's killing his friend for the Ring; why not put this in the first movie? I think this may have been foreshadowing one of the more prominent departures from the book: Jackson decided to increase the tension between Sam and Frodo over the Ring, with Golem playing on Frodo's Ring-induced distrust. This tension did exist in the book, but Jackson makes it more overt. Personally, I thought it was a little over the top.

Obviously, the book is too large to be made into even a three-hour movie, but I found that one large part is missing that I hoped would be covered: the Battle of Bywater. In the book, when Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin arrive back at the Shire, they discover that Saruman and his thugs have enslaved the Hobbits. I have hope that this may be added into an Extended-Edition (probably due out this time next year).

A good chunk of this movie is spent on the moments leading up to the battle, the battle itself, and the immediate aftermath. As a result, I noticed that there were a lot of speeches of the sabre-rattling kind made by principal characters that I'm sure weren't there in the book -- a kind of Holywood-ization in the Gladiator spirit. It probably makes the movie more interesting to people who haven't and won't read the book.

The humor that could be found in The Two Towers (specifically, Gimli) carries over into The Return of the King. I didn't mind the humor, though I know it's an addition that Jackson made.

Along the way, I noticed other small deviations, but I'll leave those for Tolkien fans to argue over.

Enough complaints; there were a lot of great scenes, and many of the plot lines were handled deftly by Jackson.

Shelob getting Frodo, and Sam taking him for dead, is done particularily well. Jackson didn't change much at all here, and the effects are great.

From the book, I remember a strong impression of bleakness as Sam and Frodo take the final stage of their journey to Mount Doom -- Jackson got that dead-on. Jackson does an excellent job showing the toll that the Ring is taking on Frodo.

The battle outside the walls of Minas Tirith puts the battle of Helm's Deep to shame. The high walls of the city built into the cliff, with a huge army of orcs outside the walls, have to be seen to be believed. I don't actually remember any in-depth description of the battle outside Gondor (in fact, I don't remember any great battle depictions from any of the books -- bad memory?), but Jackson does a great job of providing one. The trebuchets are particularily engaging.

Overall, I would have to say that this was my favorite of the three movies. The movie was a little more grim, a little darker, and showed some of the violence and fighting in a more disturbing fashion. I am hoping that some of what I perceived as shortcomings will be fixed in the Extended Edition (the Two Towers's Extended Edition was a much better movie that the theatre version). I can't wait to see it again.

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A Return Of The King Review

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  • by Zork the Almighty (599344) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:00PM (#7713717) Journal
    "...and whose girlfriend couldn't make it to the screening."

    Because you hit her with a cinderblock ?
    • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @03:20AM (#7714877)
      Look, people, this has been stated since 1998--there will be no Scouring of the Shire. It was not filmed. It will not be in the Extended Edition. The homage to it was the vision in the Mirror of Galadriel.

      In every single LOTR article, someone brings up how they hope for the Scouring, when it's already been covered that it won't appear. Peter Jackson has been open about this since the very beginning. Stop talking about how you hope it appears!
      • From what I understand, the Christopher Lee's scene which eventually was omitted from ROTK deals with Saruman's death by Grima's hand at Orthanc, not the Shire. This would completely seal the fate of the Scouring scene, as Saruman would be dead long before the hobbits return home.
  • Yeah, yeah (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:01PM (#7713725)
    I'm fortunate in that I have a friend who works for EA, and whose girlfriend couldn't make it to the screening.

    The sooner you and your "friend" face up to the reality of your relationship, the happier you'll both be. Vancouver is a very progressive city; it's not as if you two will have to fear for your lives when you hold hands in public.

    As for the rest of your friends, the real ones will accept you as you are.
    • As usual for a Slashdot movie review, I suppose...

      Aintitcool.com has at least three articles of reviews, the latest one containing about TEN submitted reviews in them. Read those for in-depth reviews that don't bring up the Scouring (for the last freaking time, it wasn't filmed and won't appear, not even in the extended version) or other vague descriptions ("the scenes were cool, this character was funny, it was good, can't wait for extended version which I felt was better last time").
  • Advanced Screening? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dashing Leech (688077) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:01PM (#7713726)
    How did EA get ahold of an advanced screening? Can any company get one?
    • by Feanturi (99866) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:08PM (#7713764)
      Erm, well there are currently a couple of popular LotR video game titles EA Games has published under Jackson's license, and one or two others in production. I think that would be the key to getting this kind of preview. So go write some games, or no movie for you!
    • by pilot1 (610480)
      Not, not just anyone can get an advanced screening. New Line gave EA a screening copy because they have the rights to the LotR video games.
    • by cubicledrone (681598) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:42PM (#7713919)
      Well, let's see. When you have obscene amounts of cash...
    • by wkitchen (581276) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:37PM (#7714137)
      My data set has only one sample, so I have no idea how common this is, but a company getting an advanced screening can be a matter of the movie studio just returning a favor.

      The company I worked for when the movie "The Sixth Day" came out got an advanced screening as thanks for having loaned Phoenix Pictures some high-tech looking equipment that was used in some of the sets. So, the company reserved a movie theater for a private screening for employees and friends. AFAIK, Phoenix only provided the film. I think the company paid for the theatre time. Some of our equipment also made brief appearances in sets of all three of The Matrix movies, and in "Mission to Mars", but there were no advanced screenings of those.

      Ok, so maybe that could be considered 5 samples, only one of which resulted in an advanced screening. So it's probably not very likely without having some major, high-profile, connection to the movie. But it's definitely not impossible.
  • god dammit (Score:4, Funny)

    by Jediman1138 (680354) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:01PM (#7713728) Homepage Journal
    i cant read the article...no spoilers for me....i havent read the books...aw, hell...Dec 17th will bring the answers for us commonfolk
    • by buffer-overflowed (588867) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:35PM (#7713893) Journal
      You've never read LotR? That's it, hand in your geek identification card, turn in your slashdot account and go on over to Fark.

      Go now, and no making sad puppy dog faces.
      • Re:god dammit (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DetrimentalFiend (233753) * on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:17PM (#7714060)
        I don't understand why everyone assumes that people who work with computers like fantasy. I can understand the assumption about girlfriends (or lack there of), but it's always bothered me that whenever I let on that I'm a geek, someone asks me about fantasy novels. I like lord of the rings (the movies--I've never read the books), but I despise most fantasy. I wish that people didn't associate the two so closely.
        • Re:god dammit (Score:3, Interesting)

          by wolrahnaes (632574)
          I couldn't agree more. I consider myself to be a serious geek, but the stereotypical geek entertainment (Star Trek, LotR, etc.) has not just failed to appeal to me, it has almost repelled me with sheer boredom. Sitting in front of a TV/PC/Theater Screen to watch the latest 3 hour adaptation of a book is the last thing I want to do. I'd rather be playing Xbox or riding my quad.

          Can someone explain to me why these movies are such a big deal?
          • Re:god dammit (Score:3, Insightful)

            by MuParadigm (687680)

            Well, their are several reasons why they're a big deal.

            The first one that comes to mind is: length. No one has ever filmed, for the cinema -- TV mini-series don't count -- a 9 1/2 hour epic with a single narrative framework. The only films I know of that come close are The Seven Samurai at 3.5 hours and The Sorrow and The Pity, which if I remember correctly clocks in at 5.5 hours. And the latter was a documentary.

            And no, the Star Wars trilogy doesn't count either. The stories are separately coherent.

            The
            • As I recall... (Score:3, Interesting)

              by freeBill (3843)
              ...the Soviet version of "War and Peace" was 511 minutes long (8-1/2 hours) and it *was* a single narrative framework. Both Tolkein and Jackson broke "The Lord of the Rings" into three parts.
        • by Liquidrage (640463) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @12:51AM (#7714420)
          Yes, I am constantly harrased by people that upon learning of my geekness barrage me with questions about fantasy novels. And here all this time I thought it was just me.
        • Re:god dammit (Score:3, Insightful)

          by JuggleGeek (665620)
          I don't understand why everyone assumes that people who work with computers like fantasy.

          I can understand why some people don't like fantasy.

          I don't understand why people who don't like fantasy post to Slashdots about LotR.

    • Gollum meets Frodo at Mount Doom and tells him "I am your father". Frodo exclaims "No, it's not true!" as Gollum bites his arm off, then plunges into the chasm where he is rescued by the Millennium Eagle. Meanwhile Sam is encased in carbonite and taken to Orthanc where he becomes a wall ornament for Saruman. In the final battle, Gandalf and the Gondor Alliance discover that the defences of Barad-dur can be penetrated by a small hobbit and that there is an exhaust port leading directly to the main Eye of
  • by Gogl (125883) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:02PM (#7713731) Journal

    ...on opening night... [stupidevilbastard.com]

    Seriously, anybody who's been to any of the 12:01am showings for movies like LotR or Star Wars knows what I'm talking about. You'll get hordes of people dressed up like Gandalf (albeit some morbidly obese variant of him) trying to hit you with a broom handle that they insist on calling a quarterstaff.

    On a side note, what sort of self-respecting /.er would be wary of spoilers regarding LotR?

    • I didn't see one freak... well, I mean dressed in costume. 98% of the people were software developers/artists, so there were some unusual dudes.
    • 12:01? Try 1:00, 5:40, and 10:00 on the 16th. Every self-respecting /.er should have at least tried to get tickets for the all-damn-day trilogy tuesday.
      • Sigh,,, (Score:5, Funny)

        by subtillus (568832) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:20PM (#7713826)
        I have two exams on the 17th day and seeing as how I flunked the midterms for both classes, I won't be given a B.Sc in May if I go.

        That being said I have tickets for 12:01.

        Who cares if you flunk a couple in the long run anyways?
    • Midnight Movies (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Simonetta (207550) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @01:15AM (#7714505)
      In the 1970's there were things called 'Midnight Movies'; showings of unusual films at 12am. They were actually quite popular then, but now it's hard to believe that anyone would want to see a movie at midnight.

      The 1970's were also an era of a certain type of movie that can only be called an 'anti-date' movie. These films were all but guaranteed to make you feel so weird and repulsive after seeing them that you ran the risk of associating the shock induced by the movie with the person whom you went to the theatre with. Often you wouldn't know this was going to feel this way until the film was almost complete.

      Movies in the 1995-2003 era are more-or-less engineered to induce precise emotions in the audience. There are few real surprises either good or bad. Everybody knows fairly well in advance how they are going to feel after the movie's over and they're leaving the theatre. You may not know what is exactly actually going to happen in the movie, but you have a fairly good idea how it's going to make you feel. Compared to the rollar-coaster risk that you took with 1970's movies, this is not really a bad thing.

      Some examples of the 'anti-date' midnight movies of the 1970's are:

      Clockwork Orange (1971 Stanley Kubrick)

      Seven Beauties (1975 Lina Wertmuller)

      El Topo (1969 Alexjandro Jordokoski)

      Taxi Driver (1976 Martin Scorsese)

      Chinatown (1974 Roman Polanski)

      The list can go on and on. I'm amazed now that there was any romance at all in the 1970's. The fact that childern were still born to people who went to lots of movies is a testament to the human spirit.
  • This, and many other reviews are referring to RotK as the best of the three films. Yeow, that's high praise all by itself.

    Can I assume that the battle at the Black Gate is left out, and that portion tightened up into the siege of Minas Tirith? I could see how that could make for another couple hours easily...
  • Well (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hawkxor (693408) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:05PM (#7713748)
    Most of you already know this, but: The scouring of the shire scene will not be in the extended edition - Jackson didn't like it and never filmed it...but 10 minutes of other scenes with Saruman and Wormtongue will be back for the DVD.
  • Yes, bad memory (Score:5, Informative)

    by laiquendi (688177) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:05PM (#7713751)
    in fact, I don't remember any great battle depictions from any of the books -- bad memory?

    The ride of the Rohirrim, the chapter covering the beginning of the battle of the Pelennor fields, is an incredible passage; probably my favourite little bit of fiction ever. I suggest you re-read before claiming status as Tolkien fan.

    • Re:Yes, bad memory (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TrombaMarina (712932) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:44PM (#7713929)

      The Battle of Helms Deep was also described in great detail in the Two Towers book. It was a hard chapter to read though and I had to read it with a dictionary and draw a map at the same time; a map which I refined many times while reading. He used many words from Old English that are no longer used, or have changed meaning over the years. H.P. Lovecraft used a similar technique to give an ancient air to his stories: writing in an older, more formal, style. I can't remember all the antiquated words right now, but certainly, "gore" was one which he used to mean, "A small traingular piece of land" and I have never heard anyone else use it to mean that.

      Thanks for your review. I can't wait to see the movie!

      • It's used frequently in New England, or Maine at least, there are some small counties called whatever Gore and such.
      • Re:Yes, bad memory (Score:3, Informative)

        by Desert Raven (52125)
        The term "gore" is still widely in use. Generally, it refers to a triagular piece that "inserts" into something else.

        The bit between where an entrance ramp on a highway meets the highway is a "gore point".

        In sewing, gores are triangular pieces inserted between other pieces that help provide shape to a garment, often under the arms of jackets and such.
      • Re:Yes, bad memory (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ChuckleBug (5201) * on Sunday December 14, 2003 @03:31AM (#7714907) Journal
        He used many words from Old English that are no longer used

        No, not Old English. Old English isn't recognizable to modern English speakers. Here's a bible verse in old, middle, and modern english:

        Old English:

        And tha laedde se deofol hyne. and aetywde him ealle ricu eorthan ymbehwyrftes. on anre byrhmhwile

        Middle English:

        & e deuel ledde hym in to an heiy hil, & shewede to hym alle e rewmes of e roundnesse of ere in moment of a tyme

        Modern English

        The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.

        The orthography doesn't show up correctly here; The thorns and eths don't appear. Sorry about that.
  • Spoilers (Score:4, Funny)

    by kriox (630423) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:06PM (#7713758)
    beware of spoilers.

    Yeah, right.

    I heard there's a book that tells the whole sotry of the three movies... And more!!!

    And it's written by a good author, too...

    Kriox

  • Spoilers? (Score:5, Funny)

    by oGMo (379) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:07PM (#7713762)

    Spoilers? Like what? Gollum is Frodo's father? Sam tying the deflector dish to the warp drive to escape Mordor? OTOH, with what I've heard is being cut, maybe I shouldn't be suprised.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:08PM (#7713766)
    The movie opens at what I thought to be a strange spot - Smeagol's killing his friend for the Ring

    Oh man! That just ruined it for me!

    • Re:Definite spoiler (Score:5, Interesting)

      by willtsmith (466546) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:51PM (#7714191) Journal
      *SPOILERS*

      I'll be VERY dissapointed if they cut out the confrontation at the doors of Orthanc. This was strongly hinted at on the Two Towers extended documentaries.

      This confrontation is EXTREMELY important because:

      1) It's the last time you'll see Saruman.
      2) It's where Perry gets a gander at the Palintir which forces him to go with Gandalf to Minas Tirith. He winds up as gaurd for Denethor's chambers (actually more of a bard, Denethor keeps him around to tell Shire tales). Ultimately, he ends up saving Faramir when Denethor flips out because he's been hitting the Palintir too hard ;-) See the symmetry, one Palintir abuser serving another.

  • by hoggoth (414195) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:09PM (#7713769) Journal
    Personally, I always thought this part didn't flow well in the book either. It didn't seem to "fit". The style was different, the main plot was over, it didn't seem to matter. I am glad Jackson chose this section to cut from the movie. It will make a better movie, and IMBO (In My Blasphemous Opinion) would have made a better book too.

    Most books are too big to fit in a movie, and these books are bigger than most. By big I mean big with details, plots, characters, etc, not just big in pages. If Jackson had to cut something out without changing the main plotline, Tom Bombadil and the Scouring of the Shire were the best choices.

    • by myc (105406) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:24PM (#7713843)
      no disrespect, but I really liked the last chapters of the book. I always got the feeling that when Tolkien was writing about Great Events he used the more poetic and formal language (i.e., more like Yoda-speak with back-assward syntax); when dealing with Hobbits, he (puposely?) slipped into more "Common" speech. While I agree that the style was different, it think it was done on purpose and with great effect. It FELT like they were coming home when I read it. It also sets up the idea that, although the Shire has been rescued from Saruman, Frodo has sustained too much hurt to remain and departs over the Sea with Bilbo. It's not as bittersweet if he just gets up and leaves coming back from Gondor. Although I can understand why PJ left it out of the movie (even accounting for the fact that he is on record of hating the "Scouring" chapter).
      • by gl4ss (559668) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:03PM (#7713997) Homepage Journal
        I'd agree.

        for me the shire part is as meaningful as the rest of the rotk book, if not more important. Frodo did what he did FOR the shire and the return to there to see it being corrupted by Saruman(who they let go earlier, and could have slain) has a certain bitter and sad feel to it. Return to shire also shows how the other hobbits that were on the journey had changed and grown into something much more than they were when they left Shire, from pusharounds into somebody who can take care of themselfs(and of their kin). Luckily there's lots of other plotlines in the book as well, though not any as so touching.

        well, I just hope that at least some new people will pick up the books and read them with thought.
      • by the gnat (153162) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:07PM (#7714015)
        I always got the feeling that when Tolkien was writing about Great Events he used the more poetic and formal language (i.e., more like Yoda-speak with back-assward syntax); when dealing with Hobbits, he (puposely?) slipped into more "Common" speech.

        Yes! My dad first pointed this out years ago when I first read the books - I'd noticed a difference in style as the trilogy progressed. I always thought that Fellowship was by far the best written section because of this. By RotK, it starts to feel like the Silmarillion - interesting, but not exactly fun to read. The closing puts it back into context, showing again that these are simple people transformed by great events largely beyond their control.
    • by rendler (141135) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:29PM (#7713863)
      I thought it was an outstanding part of the book. It showed just how much each of the characters had changed from their experiences throughout the books. Merry & Pipping showing their courage and valor. Frodo being much the wiser, as shown with the last confrontation with Saruman at the door step of Bag End. And the most significant change of all in Sam, where there being almost none. From start to finish Sam was always Sam, and even at the final he was the still shy, recluse and abated Sam that we knew from the very start of the book. That in my opinion finishes off his character and all the others in a way that couldn't be more complementary.

      And I feel the scouring of the Shire was very much needed to show those things.

      Just my 2c.
      • by Crispy Critters (226798) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:13PM (#7714041)
        "It showed just how much each of the characters had changed from their experiences throughout the books."

        Among about a million other things, LotR is a classic "coming of age" tale. Merry and Pippin start out kind of silly and end up mature and experienced. JRRT actually has them grow taller to make it even more obvious that they are like children growing up. In this sense, the book is not over when Sauron is beaten. Perhaps JRRT wants to say that evil in the world is not isolated in obvious bad guys in far away lands, but it also exists and has to be fought in our own neighborhoods.

        LotR is full of observations that such things show in multiple levels.

        PS: While I don't agree with all his choices, I think the PJ did a fantastic job making the movie he wanted to make.

    • I like the last chapter a lot. Most epic have a hard ending well. Author usually brings people to the climax, and drops the reader right after that. The last chapter brings a climax to a sense of closure. It makes you fell like you are indeed reading a excerpt of these people's lives, since life to go on after the main plot...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:00PM (#7713989)
      The movies are a lot more about humans than the books were. Tolkien created the hobbits and so had an affinity for them. So the entire book really is about how different the hobbits are from the humans.

      For example, the book starts out with Frodo sitting on the most important thing in the world for 20 years. Then Gandalf tells him he must leave the shire immediately and he still stays for another 6 months.

      The movie is much more human-centric. See how Boromir and such are changed.

      As such, there really is no way to put the scouring of the shire in. The climax is when the entire world is saved, especially the human world. There is no way to follow that with saving a small group of shut-ins.

      If I were filming the books, I'd do the same thing.
    • by TrombaMarina (712932) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:04PM (#7714003)

      The scouring of the shire was one of my favorite parts of the books. It made the rest of the books more real for me. You don't just blow up the Death Star and go home to a world that is suddenly rosy and new.

      Also, it really showed the character development that had taken place. Merry, Pipin, Frodo, and Sam would have been killed or they would have silently obeyed their captors like the rest of the hobbits if they hadn't gone on the journey they had. Yet they still remembered their roots well enough to know how to rouse their old friends and relations in a time of desperate need. Merry and Pippin really grew up and came into their own in those chapters.

      I think an author would be hard pressed to come up with a better denoumont to saving the world. It brought you down slowly from the destruction of the ring. The book did not end with a jolt, nor did I find the last half of the Return of the King to be booring. The level of excitement died out gradually, as day-to-day business returned very gradually, not to normal, but back to a new normal because nothing could be as it was.

      Anyway, I was sorry it didn't appear in the movie, but I've still got the books. The first two movies were many times better than I thought they would be and I enjoyed them emensely. I liked that women had a more prominent role in the movies. A feminist couldn't read the Lord of The Rings without grimacing several times but they could watch the movies. I also thought the Two Towers did a brilliant job portraying Gollum and the Hobbits. They were just as I imagined them.

      Though I actually liked Tom Bombadil, cutting him was a good call. He was basically irrelevant to the rest of the story. I would have made some of the battle scenes shorter (particularly in the Two Towers - they only made it half-way through the book!). Then we could have seen the scouring of the shire. But I'm really splitting hairs here. The movies are great. I can hardly wait until next week!

    • by Morthaur (108553) <slashdot at morthaur dot net> on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:05AM (#7714653) Homepage
      The scouring of the Shire is the _point_ of the _entire_trilogy_! The message is about Man growing up and taking personal responsibility for himself and his world, and is summed up perfectly in those chapters. Personally, I've liked the films, but they are _not_ The Lord of the Rings; Jackson has changed the entire focus of the story (witness also the presence of elves at Helm's Deep, which detracts mightily from the meaning of the battle).
  • by Philmeeh (189317) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:09PM (#7713772)
    Obviously, the book is too large to be made into even a three-hour movie, but I found that one large part is missing that I hoped would be covered: the Battle of Bywater. In the book, when Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin arrive back at the Shire, they discover that Saruman and his thugs have enslaved the Hobbits. I have hope that this may be added into an Extended-Edition (probably due out this time next year).
    It has been known for ages that the Scouring of The Shire would not be in this film as Jackson felt cinematically that it would be too much of an anti-climax. He did include a scene in the Fellowship where Galadriel gave Frodo a glimpse to what the world would be like if Sauron won - you saw the Hobbits (including Sam) being enslaved. The fate of Saruman was dropped from this movie very late on - that will probably be included in the EE, but it will be a departure from what is in the book.
  • Another ROTK review (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    can be read here [nero-online.org]. The usual disclaimers about spoilers applies (hell, you read this review, another one ain't gonna kill you much).
  • Title (Score:5, Funny)

    by bcombee (5301) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:12PM (#7713788) Homepage
    Wasn't this film originally going to be called "Revenge of the King", but they changed the name after some marketing material had already been prepared?
    • Re:Title (Score:5, Funny)

      by Philmeeh (189317) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:26PM (#7713850)
      Just had a horrible vision of the future - an ageing Jackson, having failed to get the rights to the Hobbit and having released several new editions of LoTR, including the chronological cut, Directors Birthday Cut, Special Edition and Ultimate Edition, decides to loosely base a prequel trilogy on the Silmarillion.

      Starring a squeaky 8 year old boy playing Sauron, the future Evil Lord, and featuring stale dialogue, and including several characters from the original trilogy, and also one of the Lizard People whose favourite line is "Issa Dat A Ring"
      • Just had a horrible vision of the future - an ageing Jackson, having failed to get the rights to the Hobbit and having released several new editions of LoTR, including the chronological cut, Directors Birthday Cut, Special Edition and Ultimate Edition, decides to loosely base a prequel trilogy on the Silmarillion.

        You forgot the Rather Spiffy Edition.
      • Re:Title (Score:5, Funny)

        by canajin56 (660655) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:03PM (#7713999)
        also one of the Lizard People whose favourite line is "Issa Dat A Ring"
        Is he by any chance related to Boromir's half-brother? [bbspot.com]
    • Re:Title (Score:2, Funny)

      by Feanturi (99866)
      It was, but when Jackson decided against having Aragorn get his hand chopped off by Sauron (revealed to be Aragorn's father) in the second movie (threw him over a cliff instead), the 'Revenge' part just didn't fit.
    • I don't think Tolkien had much marketing material done before writing his book.
  • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:17PM (#7713818) Homepage
    I'm guessing this means that all the EA employees that went to the film will no longer have jobs; this is probably their severance package. :)
    • I'm guessing this means that all the EA employees that went to the film will no longer have jobs; this is probably their severance package. :)

      Boss: "Here's your ticket for the movie"
      Employee: "But I thought you rented out the whole theather ... and hey! Why is it pink?"

  • by turg (19864) * <turg@winstonBALDWIN.org minus author> on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:17PM (#7713820) Journal
    and beware of spoilers.

    Spoilers? Are there any slashdot users who haven't read the book? :-)

  • Changes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by boobox (673856) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:21PM (#7713834)
    I think changes between any movie made from a book or books, even the beloved Tolkien trilogy, are a necessary evil as part of the media switch. I guess I'm even geek enough to rather have seen Glorfindel instead of Liv Tyler on Frodo's crossing to Rivendell. The problem, time and space notwithstanding, is the style of book, and whether or not that can be adequately expressed. Whether it's Lowry's "Under the Volcano" or Herbert's "Dune," it's difficult to transform words and thoughts into pictures and movement without some loss. As a fan, I'm willing to give the director/creative team a lot of leeway and will suspend my interior cinema of what I think the characters should look like in order to enjoy what's on the screen. So, on with the show.
    • Changes in Faramir (Score:5, Interesting)

      by devphil (51341) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @01:16AM (#7714509) Homepage


      Indeed. The author of the review could learn a lot from your attitude.

      For example, he didn't like Jackson and Company's decision on making Faramir a jackass initially. I vsn sympathize with that, I didn't either. Neither did the actor. And then they explained to him (and to the viewers of the documentary DVDs) the problem with Faramir in the book.

      One of the many reasons Faramir is so kick-ass in my mind -- as well as being Tolkien's favorite character -- is because, when told about the presence of the Ring in his patrol territory, he answers, "I would not pick this thing up even if it lay by the side of the road." Think about that for a moment.

      See, while it's a great moment of personal integrity, it completely undermines the horrible eroding strength of the Ring. What, here's someone who's not tempted at all by the most powerful artifact in the Third Age? Fuck the Hobbits, then -- give it to this dude, he can stroll into Mordor and toss it into the fire without a moment of doubt. Instead of failing, as Frodo technically does.

      If you think that hordes of moviegoers wouldn't be talking about this "massive plot hole" as they left the theatre, think again.

      So, they decided to make Faramir as vulnerable as everyone else to the lure of power. And instead of a static Faramir as in the book, where he's strong and good and self-disciplined when we meet him, and in the end is still strong and good and self-disciplined (and married), here we get to see Faramir overcome the temptation of the Ring, and progress to being more self-disciplined than he started out. I think Tolkien would count that as a victory.

      Personally, I don't consider either version of Faramir superior to the other. The incredibly powerful "I do not love the sword for its brightness" passage can still be read without the movie "tainting" it or anything like that.

      • There are a tonne of characters in the book who are offered the ring, and yet refuse it. Aragorn, Gandalf, Galadriel; Frodo offers it to all of them, and they all refuse. But it's one thing to resist the pull of the ring when it's in someone else's hand, and quite another to resist, like Frodo does, when you carry it around day and night.

        You talk about the development of Faramir in the movie, but I tend to think of Faramir more as a foil to Boromir; Faramir is what Boromir should have been. Faramir, along
  • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:25PM (#7713846) Homepage
    I don't know about anyone else, but I personally would miss the hobbit-battle at the end against the orcs. There's just something cool about little guys getting all ferocious and kicking the ass of bigger, evil types. I can just imagine a line of hobbits lined up with pitchforks and rakes, charging at half a dozen orcs, and the orcs turning to run. Good stuff. :)

    I imagine that this end battle is what Lucas shaped his Endor battle after, to a degree - at least in concept. Little 'cute' guys kicking the asses of much bigger, more agressive baddies in a humorous manner.
    • by adrianbaugh (696007) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:08PM (#7714017) Homepage Journal
      I imagine that this end battle is what Lucas shaped his Endor battle after, to a degree - at least in concept. Little 'cute' guys kicking the asses of much bigger, more agressive baddies in a humorous manner.

      If you're right, Peter Jackson can never be thanked enough for keeping Middle Earth Ewok free.
    • by willtsmith (466546)
      Sorry,

      Saruman didn't have any real Orcs posted in the Shire. They were all men. A few were suspected to be part orc bred, but human enough to pass in Bree. Indeed the spies in Bree ended up in the Shire.

  • shelob is a her /nitpicking geek mode
  • I can't wait for the Peter Jackson collection.

    It will include the LOTR trilogy, and Peter Jackson's greatest film, Bad Taste! [badmovies.org]
  • Faramir (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Coryoth (254751) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:31PM (#7713878) Homepage Journal
    Hopefully Faramir's character is evened out a little as he becomes the more the character from the book in the course of this film.

    I do understand Jackson's desire to have some character development for Faramir - I'm just hoping he provides the development that I expect.

    I thought many complaints about the change were unjustified until we've seen the other half of that characters development.

    Jedidiah
    • Re:Faramir (Score:3, Interesting)

      by willtsmith (466546)
      They really heightened the sense that Faramir has been treated like shit by his father. They also showed him to be as mentally deductive as his father.

      What they did NOT show is that he is much gentler and more compassionate than his father. I agree, having him simply let Frodo go did NOTHING for the story. The Osgiliath thing really gave us a chance to be introduced to Gondor and find more things about Faramir and Denethor.

  • Gollum != Golem. (Score:3, Informative)

    by dbirchall (191839) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:33PM (#7713886) Journal
    The dictionary [reference.com] describes a Golem as "an artificially created human supernaturally endowed with life" in Jewish folklore. Golems of the mud and rock varieties also appear prominently in WarCraft III [blizzard.com], of course - what would the Jewish folklorists think of all this? Anyway, Gollum is, of course, nothing of the sort. -Dan You can't spell "pedantic" without "dan"
  • I saw it too.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:48PM (#7713944)
    I saw it about 2 weeks ago. Peter Jackson was there afterwards with the two writers for an interview moderated by Carrie Fisher (who not only hadn't read the books, but I got the feeling she hadn't seen the previous movies either. In any event, she really had no interesting questions or comments of her own and relied on the audience to supply them.)

    Okay, now that you all envy me, here's my mini-review:

    It was really, really good. 3x the special effects of the last one. Spider (Shelob? or something like that) was AWESOME. Battle scenes were great. The Orlando Bloom elephant takedown will be talked about (and certainly parodied) for years. Gollum is constantly good in every scene he's in. His acting is awesome-- he gives Sam this one look look (it's in the trailer) that basically says "you're so screwed" while simultaneously kissing Frodo's ass. Sean Astin gives his best performance ever as the devoted best friend. There's a real cool "woman vs. funky snake-headed dragon" faceoff. The end battle sequence is cool, as is the volcano stuff-- flaming lava balls flying through the sky like giant comets. The sound was cranked up when I saw it, and the screaming, screeching audio was top-notch.

    The bad: Some boring/slow parts, including the Liv Tyler subplot and the now-notorious "thirteen endings" featuring tons of Unexplained Stuff-- giant eagles, a mysterious boat trip to...somewhere. And at three hours and twenty minutes, you really really start to feel it at the end.

    That said, I'm getting to see ANOTHER advanced screening tomorrow! It's my favorite of the three by far, and certainly one of the best movies of the year.

    As far as Peter Jackson-- much of what he said at that screening has been reported widely already-- he's doing king kong (one of the films that got him interested in filmmaking in the first place), he wants to do Hobbit but there are legal challenges at the moment, and he talked a bit about making LOTR vs. "Meet the Feebles". He said LOTR was infinitely more complex, but it was just as difficult to do MTF because he didn't have all the people working on it. What else... he talked a bit about adapting the work-- the first thing he did was summarize the books into a ninety page outline-- 30 pages per book. He also talked about getting the rights to the book, working with the Weinsteins (apparently Bob didn't get the concept until he realized that the guy with the sword, axe, and arrows were "specialists") at Mirimax before switching to New Line, and how sometimes he'd be shooting four units simultaneously.

    I don't know if anyone's even gonna read this, so I guess i'll finish with that. The point is, it's good. See it. You'll like it.
  • by Johnathon_Dough (719310) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:49PM (#7713948)
    I keep seeing many people saying "I hope this will be in the Extended Edition". However, Peter Jackson has already said that he did not even film it in it's entirety, only a bit for the dream sequence shown in Fellowship.

    So, no, no scouring in the Extended, however, Christopher Lee's last moments as Sauromon will be added back in to it.

    This info taken from many interview, feel free to search around, i am currently to lazy to provide links

  • I have hope that this may be added into an Extended-Edition (probably due out this time next year).

    Unfortunately, I read that Jackson *never* liked that part of the books and never intended to film it, so I seriously doubt it will happen.

    This really sours me on his understanding of the books as a major point of having hobbits in the first place (as far as I can gleam) is that they are going to have the need to have their own power in the 4th Age. That's another big part of Gandalf, many of the elves and
  • I have always thought that it is difficult to capture subtleties on film. And it does show in the first two films...there is a lot going on in Frodo's mind (that's written in the books), but the movies fail to depict much except that blazing red eye.

    In short, i think Jackson might be right in showing an increased tension...at least it will get to the viewers who have not read the books.

  • by fm6 (162816) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:19PM (#7714067) Homepage Journal
    Obviously, the book is too large to be made into even a three-hour movie...
    I seem to recall reading that Tokien never thought of LOTR as a trilogy. The three volumes come from the original publisher preferring not to do the whole big expensive -- and presumed to be unprofitable -- project all at once.

    This movie trilogy was originally proposed as two movies, each made one at time. But the studio decided to take a gamble, and make three movies, and make them all at once. Would have been a disaster if the first movie had bombed, but it paid off in the end. Now that they're a big success, perhaps they wish they'd made one movie for each of the six "books". Then again, that would have meant major characters disappearing for the length of one or more movies...

  • Smegol (Score:5, Informative)

    by spectecjr (31235) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:20PM (#7714074) Homepage
    The movie opens at what I thought to be a strange spot - Smeagol's killing his friend for the Ring; why not put this in the first movie? I think this may have been foreshadowing one of the more prominent departures from the book: Jackson decided to increase the tension between Sam and Frodo over the Ring, with Golem playing on Frodo's Ring-induced distrust. This tension did exist in the book, but Jackson makes it more overt. Personally, I thought it was a little over the top.

    This is one of the changes that occurred after they started shooting the first one. Originally, Gollum was going to be computer animated with very little mo-cap... but Andy Serkis changed all that, and turned Gollum's portrayal in the movies into a fully fledged character with true depth.

    Of course, they'd already started shooting the first one when they discovered this, so this scene with Gollum and Smeagol was put in later.
  • by Sabalon (1684) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:34PM (#7714124)
    One of my favorite parts of RotK was when Sam and Frodo are forced to march with some of the Orcs in Mordor as they head towards Barad-Dur. Does anyone know if this scene will be in the movie or not?
  • by rdean400 (322321) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:38PM (#7714139)
    ...according to the article Newsweek did. Although I thought it was a bit anticlimatic, it resolved Saruman's fate (which, according to Newsweek, doesn't happen) and also provided an excllent contrast between the hobbits of the Fellowship as they were when they left the Shire and those same hobbits when they returned.
  • To clarify: (Score:3, Informative)

    by Limburgher (523006) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:43PM (#7714169) Homepage Journal
    Golem == Mythological clay monster

    Gollum == Ring dude.

  • by sakusha (441986) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @12:01AM (#7714240)
    Darth Vader is Luke's father. Apollo 13 makes it home safely. Hal9000 kills the crew. Sarah Connor crushes the Terminator in a metal press. Khan is killed in the Genesis explosion while Kirk escapes. Spiderman kills the Green Goblin. ET phones home and a spaceship comes to rescue him. Ripley blows the Alien out an airlock. Major Kong rides an H-Bomb to the target and the Doomsday Weapon is detonated. The Planet of the Apes is really Earth. Butch and Sundance get killed by the Peruvian Army. Spartacus gets crucified. Frodo throws Gollum and the Ring into the pit, defeating Evil.
    • by Feanturi (99866) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @12:30AM (#7714353)
      Frodo throws Gollum and the Ring into the pit, defeating Evil.

      That better not be how the movie ends, that would suck. It totally didn't happen that way. Frodo failed in the end, he succumbed to the Ring. The day was only saved by Gollum's greed and subsequent lack of care. That's why Gandalf was never so sure that Gollum should have been killed long ago, that he might still have a purpose.
  • by ajs (35943) <ajs@@@ajs...com> on Sunday December 14, 2003 @01:06AM (#7714479) Homepage Journal
    Can we all just get over the idea that movies are not going to be the same as books? I mean it's been, what 100 years, and we're still shocked?
    If we look at LoTR as just a movie, which is bringing some of Tolkein's characters and stories to life (though not all of them, and not in the form that Tolkien wrote them... OF COURSE) -- I think you will find that these movies measure up well against just about any other movie out there. Certainly compared to the absolute CRAP we've been treated to this year (with very, very few exceptions), RoTK has to do very little to rise above the crowd. The first two movies were better by far, IMHO, than Ladyhawke, Krull, Legend, Willow, and a host of other fanstasy movies that we've seen in the last few decades. I have a soft spot in my heart for some of the Jim Henson work from the 80s, but even those are at best no better than LoTR.

    I even enjoyed them more than the Sinbad movies of old, and that's saying something.

    So if you must compare LoTR to something, compare them to other movies. There have been better, and will be again, but I think these movies will prove to be as memorable 20 years from now as any other fantasy (original or adaptation) has been.
  • Over Time (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rixstep (611236) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @05:29AM (#7715144) Homepage
    I think what really matters is how these films survive over time. Long was it Tolkien could not be done: you could do Star Wars, you could do anything, but you couldn't do Tolkien. Others tried and failed.

    A few movie critics are beginning to talk not about the fantasy of JRR but the fantasy of Jackson, as if the latter's interpretation will in some way supersede the literary accomplishment of the former.

    This can very well happen, although it certainly is not Jackson's intention. What these movies must do over time is enhance the LoTR experience, not replace it.

    Only time will tell.
  • by danila (69889) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @06:54AM (#7715296) Homepage
    For Tolkien's sake, if you are reviewing a movie on Slashdot, please, check the fucking spelling! Lest we will hear about dwarf Gimmler, hobbit Poppy and Agronome the King...

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