Last Christmas holiday session I watched quite a few movies. For this year, over the past week or two I have also watched a few movies in both cinemas and on the DVD. Some movies are very enjoyable, but some are just okay. I will write a bit on what I think of each movie over the next few days or so.
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
This is the movie that everyone has been waiting for. I watched Return of the King Saturday afternoon at the Hoyts on George Street, after revised both FoTR and TTT at Cannis' place on Thursday (the revision has proved to be very useful). I fully enjoyed that 3+ hours of action, and I found the movie was better than what I have expected. There were quite a few memorable scenes in the movie. The battle next to the white city of Gondor has out done the Helm's Deep's battle in The Two Towers. I felt speechless (not supposed to talk in the cinema anyway) when I saw the riders of Rohan charged towards the Orc army. It will surely set the benchmark of large scale battles in the Hollywood movies.
I actually haven't read the "Return of The King" myself so I cannot comment on how well Peter Jackson reproduced the story and visualise the scenes. However I did hear about a lot of details have been trimmed to make it suitable for the cinema, and the story might not be as faithful to the original. Hopefully the extended edition DVD will fill some of the gaps.
Things I enjoyed about the RoTK:
- Battle of Gondor. It was truly amazing. There are just so many things in it that can be classified as classic - Theoden's speech before the battle, Eowyn's slaying of the Witch King, Legolas hunting down the oliphaunt, undead army, etc.
- The white city itself. I wonder how it was constructed on the set.
New Zeland, err, I mean the Middle Earth. All the landscape shots are just beautiful.
- Samwise Gamgee. Such a faithful friend he is, as he again and again rescued Frodo and carried him through. "I can't carry your burden, but I can carry you." A true hero in the fellowship he is.
- Tension and interactivity between Frodo, Sam, Gollum and Smeagol. Complicated but has been presented well by the actors (and CGI).
- Gollum dropped straight into the lava pool in Mount Doom with contentment on his face. That's both funny and sad. Greed kills, literally.
Bits that are a bit annoying.
- Pippin. Nothing against the acting, but just a bit annoyed about the trouble he made. Well, that was part of the story..
- Faramir. Isn't he supposed to represent the good of mankind, as opposed to his brother Boromir? At crowning of Aaragon, there is no explanation why he is together with Eowyn. EE DVD?
- Long ending. The bits after the climax was a bit long and slow. I know the ending in the book was supposed to be even longer, and it was the ending for the 3 episodes instead of just RoTK, but then there were people in my row yawning over those long ending scenes.
- Slow motion. I guess it gotta be Peter Jackson's favourite. You either get fast pace action, or shots in slow motion with voice over in real time. It might emphasis some touching moments, but it does get a bit annoyed when you have it all over the place.
Overall I'll give the movie 9 out of 10 because it is such an excellent movie. Unfortunately, the perfect score has to be reserved for the Extended Edition DVD :)
At the end, I am still pondering through the idea of Frodo's mission - is it a success, or is it a failure? At the end, Sauron was destroyed and his army defeated, when the One Ring fell into the pit. As for Frodo, he did deliver the ring to Mount Doom, with help of Sam and other friends. However, at the end he was still overtaken by the force of evil, and wanted to make the ring his own. This is said, which even the ring bearer himself cannot resist that seduction power. I cannot imagine how much sorrow that has struck Sam when he saw Frodo turned around, put on the ring and turned to invisible. The whole mission was a failure, from the Shire to Mordor, if Frodo just walked out the Mt. Doom and surrendered the ring. But then Gollum came along. With his evil intention he bite the ring (+ the finger) off Frodo, and fell into the bottom of Mt. Doom. Not that he wanted to help Frodo, his "ex-master", but he too wanted to make the precious his own. However, this evil desire has somehow fit into the whole plan, and helped the goodies to complete the mission successfully.
Yesterday at lunch time people at church somehow got into conversation on RoTK. SM asked a question regarding to the part where Sam is passing the ring back to Frodo after rescuing him. In the movie, Sam was initially hesitated to give the ring back. Was that just Frodo's impression that Sam would take the ring for his own, or was it really the case that Sam has been influenced by the evil inside? The view point was from Frodo, but I won't be surprised if Sam was seduced as well. Maybe reading the book would help...