Flutterby™! : Movie Review - Lord of the Rings - The Return Of the King

Next unread comment / Catchup all unread comments User Account Info | Logout | XML/Pilot/etc versions | Long version (with comments) | Weblog archives | Site Map | | Browse Topics

Movie Review - Lord of the Rings - The Return Of the King

2004-02-06 23:38:09.383971+00 by ziffle 8 comments

We went to the movie - I had not seen the previous Lord of the Rings, but my friend wanted to see just why this movie won all those awards.

The Story: I am not sure - there are multiple stories going on here. Its hard to say why anyone does anything, actually.

The Script: Awful - partially because the audio was so bad; I wondered if the audio was so bad intentionally to mask the lack of a script - I suspect the audio was just bad - AND the script was awful.

The Audio: What did they say? Under their breath - what?

The Photography. (What do you call it when its all digitized?) At any rate the entire movie was out of focus. Could this be just our theater - dunno - I do know the graphics seemed uneven and basically awful. Too many close shots to mask the lack of content (like the script) and the long shots seemed ok until you realized the detail was missing. Long shots that don't look real, close up shots that blur the story... There were moments of focus where a specific scene would appear 'great' but unattached to anything, and created it appeared just for the movie trailers needed to market the thing.

The Continuity: Well, there is none. This poor excuse for a movie had scene after scene basically disconnected to the others - except that long drawn out journeys for god knows what reason, intermingled with heavy action scenes inserted gratuitously. All the time we had new, unknown monsters and characters appear out of nowhere to attack for 'some reason' not known to anyone at all.

What they were saying: Who knows? What was the purpose of the movie? Blank Out - there is no purpose - no values, no reality, no moral, no redeeming story line, nothing. It ended it seemed, over ten times - two hours of a dark malevalent universe stumbling forward to another hour and 20 minutes of a variety of endings all shot it appeared to test movie endings in front of test crowds, but then ALL attached to the end just to lengthen this monstrosity of a joke.

Several times I saw people get up and walk out of the theater - how I envied them! Escape from the tortuous hell we endured.

This movie is in the truest sense 'pornography' - in that it has no redeeming value. I enjoy topical pornography which is misnamed in my opinion. Nudity and sex are values and part of life. But this worthless scrap of digitized joke has to be the the worst movie I have ever seen[Wiki]. (Worse than Planet of the Apes, worse even than The Cosby Show) -- The Blob and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes have this one beat in script, foreshadowing, and plot, and that's the shame of it.

So what can we say about the response to it? How could such a thing garner an award? Only because the culture allows it. It reminds me of the spoof the physicists (http://www.physics.nyu.edu/fac..._franca_v4/lingua_franca_v4.html) pulled a while back where they fed nonsense into the academic journals and nary a peep was heard from the 'professionals' since nonsense is the order of the day.

So maybe there is a purpose to this movie after all. Its a test of the culture - and the movie's creators are sitting back and smoking their weed and wondering how it could be that such trash could pass for greatness.

Ziffle of Mayberry

[ related topics: Movies Music Ethics Theater & Plays Space & Astronomy tolkien Invention and Design Food Sociology California Culture Graphics Economics Ziffle Drugs Religion Photography Erotic Interactive Drama Sexual Culture ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2004-02-07 00:36:28.121977+00 by: Mars Saxman

I did wonder, after watching Return of the King, if anyone who hadn't seen the previous two would accidentally watch itunder the mistaken belief that it was a sequel, not just the last chunk of a ten-hour movie, and if they did whether it would make any sense. Now my curiousity is satisfied.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-02-07 02:27:44.218148+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

Mars makes one of my points. I also wonder, Ziffle: Have you not read the books? I'm not making a judgement, I'm asking.

Regarding the ending, my father made the interesting comment that when he was reading the books (a few years back) he had exactly the same complaint about multiple endings. It still annoyed him in the movie, but he took it partly as an attempt to maintain canon. I've also heard a fairly convincing argument for why each of the "endings" was appropriate and necessary - having to do with the various relationships, who the real hero is, societal perceptions (seen through the society presented by Tolkien), etc.

We had bad audio in our theater too, but I'm inclined to blame the establishment. It eventually cleared up so we forwent demanding our money back. I didn't notice any issues with focus. If anything, the whole trilogy was some of the sharpest, crispest imagery I've seen on the big screen.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-02-07 04:51:48.902972+00 by: markd

I never read the books, but enjoyed all the movies. I maybe enjoyed it more than some of the LoTR uberfans because I wasn't annoyed by deviations from The Canon. The only issues I had with audio quality were the annoying folks sitting behind me being typical raised-in-a-barn western pennsylvanians. The multiple endings in RoTK did get pretty old, even with the Hobbit three-way in the elf bed.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-02-07 19:01:44.496103+00 by: Jette

I haven't seen it yet but I bet it's not worse than Seabiscuit, which set a record for the number of movie cliches employed in a 2.5 hour period.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-02-07 20:41:33.597687+00 by: Dan Lyke

In evaluating the endings (and indeed the story) of both the books and the movie (and yes, it is one big 10 hour movie) I think it's important to look at Tolkien as part of the last edge of that wave of literature that evolved from people building elaborate fleshed out fantasy worlds which later had a thin story imposed on them. Austin Tappan Wright[Wiki]'s Islandia[Wiki] I think typifies the genre, where it was actually his heirs which went back and imposed a story on his world. These worlds were all driven by scenery and culture, and the imposition of a character driven stories on those worlds is almost an afterthought.

As for the "no values, no reality, no moral", this too must be part of watching just the third act. The whole thing is a big parable on Europe of the late 1800s and early 1900s. We have the actions of individuals defeating the armies of the collectives, on both sides we have the notion that armies can only buy time, it is the bravery of individuals who answer the call because they are moral and therefore feel that they have no choice but to do right and change the course of cultures. We have the helplessness of self-serving well intentioned individuals in bureacracies (ie: Gandalf) needing to rely on others because the power structures have become subverted.

And, of course, this being a product of European culture, we have the charismatic kings run amok, the moral ones abandoning their birthright until they realize that the resulting power vaccuum isn't stable.

And, it sounds like you saw it in a sucky theater.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-02-07 23:43:48.299828+00 by: petronius

Well, I just got back from seeing the film, and I suspect the people who left were just going to pee--it is nearly 4 hours long.

I think complaining about not being able to follow the story is unfair if you haven't seen the two other installments. It is not a trilogy but really a very long single story. And even tho I read the books back in 1967, it does convey the tone of the test very well. I also think that while we may see Professor Tolkien as a 19th century man, we also have to see him as a man who lived through both global wars. The image of two tiny humans confronting the very embodiment of evil is a very WWII idea.

I also found the sound track a bit muddy, and I saw it at a theater that generally does a very good job. Focus was fine, however. Find a new multiplex. And go pee before you see it.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-02-08 01:55:41.206979+00 by: markd

I've got the soundtrack CD from the first movie, and the music is very nice. I like it a lot better than much of the stuff John Williams does.

#Comment Re: Commet to ziffle from mayberry made: 2004-02-09 03:00:54.267119+00 by: Seth

  1. Lets see you even attempt to create a film better than a cheesy porno flick that only petifiles and retarded people would watch.
  2. To gain authority to even think of criticizing that movie you need to see the others. Plus to understand this outstanding finale of a three part series you NEED to see the other movies, they give you the story, characters, backround info and loads of other things vital to understanding the third movie.
  3. Another thing, the visual effects are stunning and amazingly well done, the creatures again you have to have seen the other films. You see, these three movies aren't really seperated. They are all the same book/movie broken into three seperate parts for the sake of the reader and the audience, no one in their right mind would sit down and take 10 hours out of their day to watch a single movie.
  4. Here's a question for you. Do you as a person often pick up a book and start from the middle?
  5. This movie deserves every award it recieves and I personally trust the movie critics and the people more than you to know how to judge a movie. They deem this movie's script, audio and visual effects wonderful. Here's a hint for you; button up your overcoat when it comes to things you obviously have no knoledge about. But I suppose to each his own and you are entittled to your own opinion and I respect that. In no way am I trying to disuade you from your opinion I'm am just doing you the favor of cluing you in on how everyone else in the world sees it.

Sincerely, Someone With a Brain