Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King |
Platinum Series Special Extended Edition Collector's Gift Set
Actors: Viggo Mortensen, Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Noel Appleby, Alexandra Astin
Director: Peter Jackson
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Military & War
The WINNER of 11 Academy Awards* including BEST PICTURE is now 50 minutes longer! This extended version of the epic conclusion of The Lord of the Rings trilogy includes new score by Howard Shore and over 350 new digital ef... more »
A miraculous accomplishment
Loren Rosson III | New Hampshire, USA | 10/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Peter Jackson proved me wrong when I said, like many people, that Lord of the Rings would be a bust: Spielberg-adventure at best, Lucas-disaster at worst. Had I known Tolkien's classic was in the hands of the guy who directed Heavenly Creatures, I would have been more optimistic. As it turns out, my expectations were completely overturned. In some ways the films are actually better than the books, especially in terms of emotional power. Competent actors, amazing cinematography, and a brilliant music score combine to offer us Middle-Earth as we'd never imagined it.
Fellowship of the Ring is the most polished film, with its elegant episodic pacing. We start in the idyllic world of the hobbits and flee with Ringwraiths hot on our heels; we rest in Elrond's sanctuary and plunge into Moria; we come out grieving and console ourselves in Galadriel's safe (yet unsettling) dream-wood, and then wind up surrounded by Uruk-hai. This is a quintessential fantasy road-journey containing three episodes within an episode, each beginning in a haven and followed by a dark journey. The pacing is flawless, and the plot unfolds to a perfect beat.
Two Towers is the ambiguous film. It's excellent (or at least the extended version is) but structured in a way that the hobbits become sidelined by the Rohan story. As they are the soul of Tolkien's epic, we feel slightly nonplussed at their consignment to B-storylines. Ironically, the film is a showcase for cgi characters Gollum and Treebeard, who manage to steal the show from within these storylines.
Return of the King is the most dramatic film, tragic on almost a biblical level, and certainly the most satisfying. I can understand why Elijah Wood calls it "better than one and two combined". It centers on the hopeless mission to Mount Doom, which, as every fan knows, is the heart of the story. Around this we're bombarded by apocalyptic chaos and destruction on the Pelennor Fields, followed by Aragorn's hopeless march on the Black Gate. We finish at the Grey Havens, the best ending in literary and cinematic history, which encapsulates all of Tolkien's themes: courage, friendship, suffering, and passing on. It just doesn't get better than this.
Peter Jackson deserves more accolades than I'm capable of heaping to the point of overkill. Minor quibbles aside, the extended versions of these films are masterpieces to be treasured as much as the books. Tolkien's classic may be pure, but the movie's cinematography takes us where even the written word cannot go. Tolkien's writing is irreplaceable, but Howard Shore's music taps deeper into Middle-Earth's soul. The text is sacred, but the scriptwriters changed it anyway so that it could actually work on screen. The entire project has been too good to be true, and I'm still in awe of it."
New scenes and unseens
Samantha Stephens | 11/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The extended DVD of "Return of the King" is filled with many new and extended scenes that will please fans who love Tolkien's original story. The July 26, 2004 San Diego Comic Convention featured a preview of many scenes, some introduced by Peter Jackson himself. (Some of these scenes were recently featured in the sneak preview trailer at Lord of the Rings.net, although now it seems to have been removed). In reference to a couple of reviews on the board here -- if you're waiting anxiously for the Scouring of the Shire, don't hold your breath. That segment was NEVER filmed by Jackson, therefore it will NOT be included in the extended edition DVD. But there ARE plenty of great scenes to be included:
· We hear Christopher Lee's booming voice echoed over a dark screen that lightened to reveal Saruman on top of Orthanc. He warns our heroes of something festering in the heart of Middle-earth and that they will all die.
· We see Frodo and Sam in their Orc disguises joining the column of Orcs as they march out of Mordor.
· There are numerous shots of the Houses of Healing with Faramir, Eowyn, and Merry all seen.
· A lot more looks to be added to the siege of Minas Tirith, as there was a bunch of new battle footage.
· Frodo and Sam venture into the Crossroads and a few clips from that section were included.
· The Mouth of Sauron is featured pretty heavily. If you've played EA's Return of the King video game you'll recognize the scene. The Mouth of Sauron rides out of the Black Gate and presents Frodo's mithril coat to the Fellowship.
· Aragorn reveals himself to Sauron by approaching the Palantir in Minas Tirith and wields Anduril to show that the Heir of Elendil was alive.
· We get to see more of Saruman later in the preview when he knocks Wormtongue down and also fires a giant fireball from his staff that engulfs Gandalf on Shadowfax.
· There's more of Frodo and Sam in Mordor after they join the column of Orcs and before they discard their disguises. In one scene, Sam looks to the dark sky of Mordor and tells Frodo that he can see light as one little star can be seen glimmering through the clouds.
· And yes, we will finally get to see Gandalf facing down the Witch King. It happens exactly as we've seen, but when Gandalf holds up his staff the Witch King pulls out his sword and holds it to the sky where it spouts flames. As he brings it down, the air around the burning sword is distorted.
That was just the preview. New Line treated fans to three full clips, with the third introduced by Peter Jackson himself:
· There was a nice scene of Pippin and Faramir in Gondor where Faramir explains to the Hobbit how the small Gondorian armor he was wearing belonged to a young son of the Steward when he was a kid. Faramir further explains how Boromir was always the soldier and he wasn't.
· A scene that takes place about five days after they were healed by Aragorn features Faramir and Eowyn on a balcony at the Houses of Healing where Eowyn falls for Faramir.
· The Paths of the Dead is extended from where it ends in the theatrical cut. After Aragorn poses his offer, the dead laugh and go back into the walls. A massive earthquake starts, and the Three Hunters must escape an avalanche of millions of skulls.
· Described, but not shown, another scene expanded in this edition is the scene where Pippin finds Merry on the battlefield. Now, Pippin searches the field for an entire day after everyone else has gone back into the city. He finally locates Merry at night in the new version of the scene.
Just a few weeks to go till the "Return of the King" extended edition hits the stores!
As close to perfect as film gets
Maria William | Brooklyn, NY United States | 12/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like all Tolkien fans, I had once been afraid of this. I had been afraid that our beloved books would be taken by a talentless, indifferent hand and thrown into the horrendous money-making machine. I had been afraid they'd be ground mercilessly and without any consideration for J.R.R. Tolkien's work or for its fans, ground into pieces of overbudgeted FX with not much else left to the eye and to the mind.
What we got instead was nothing short of a masterpiece. Hype? Sure, there's been some hype. But The Lord Of The Rings has rendered the word hype obsolete. It takes that hype and smashes it against a wall of pure brilliance. The final installment is a glorious ending to a trilogy that decades down the road, I have no doubt, will be hailed as one of the greatest achievements in modern cinema. Had I written the review right after seeing it, it would've probably consisted of one word. WHOA. But I'm OK now. I'm fine. I've taken my Advil, drank my three cups of coffee, got good five hours of sleep. I'm OK now. I can finally sit down and write a coherent review.
On the other hand, do I dare? What can you say about a movie which is, for the lack of a better word, perfect? I know, I know. Of course, no movie is perfect. But this one is as damn well close to perfect as it gets. I've been literally put under a spell, very similar to the one that had seized my mind 18 years ago when I first read the books. Flaws and lowdowns? Sure, there are some, but only if you choose to be a grumpy purist who refuses to get it through his head that literature and cinema are two very different media and therefore cannot be the same, will never be the same. This is as great an adaptation as there will ever be. Call me when you make a movie one-tenth this good.
In my eyes, the films are in some ways better than the books. I find it extremely annoying that Tolkien's work is being idealized by his fans. He was but a man and he, too, made mistakes. His books, as detailed and amazing as they are, still aren't perfect. There are characters who do nothing but sit around, scenes the very presence of which is meaningless or at the very least questionable. Think Arwen, think Tom Bombadil... who, while making a part of the story cool and magical, bears next to no impact on the story as a whole (of course, "true Tolkien fans" will probably have my head if they read this, but oh well). But above all, it makes my blood boil when I hear things like "a true visualization of Tolkien's Middle-earth it is not" (sic. Rogert Ebert). With all due respect, who in the world do you think you are to decide what a "true visualization of Tolkien's world" is? No one but Tolkien himself can give us the true visualization of his world, and he's been dead for decades.
Peter Jackson & Co had a task in front of them akin to dragging a cross to the top of Golgotha, in metaphorical terms. And, by all that's sacred, I cannot see how a filmmaker could succeed more in such a task. It is no small feat to accomplish what they have accomplished. Not only have they succeeded, they have exceeded all my expectations. You can see and feel with every shot that this is a labor of love. That goes for everything and everyone in the movie. Cinematographically, it's amazing. The FX were just enough and never cheesy or unnecessary. The score moves you deeply - even the normally annoying Enya did not bother me this time. The acting was splendid, and the cast was simply perfect. I grew up with the characters in my heart, and now they finally have faces. I mean, how many times do you actually read a book, imagine the characters, and then see the movie and realize that the characters look eerily close to what you've imagined them to look like?
I could go further into details about this particular installment, but I don't think Amazon supports reviews that long. I will simply say that I have never been one of those never-happy purists who nitpick even on the quantity of leaves on trees in Rivendell. I believe these movies should be seen for what they are, not for what they are not. Don't sit there and compare it to the book, or complain how something was added or taken away. Know this: if you want to see Tolkien's Middle Earth, you never will. Only Tolkien himself could give you his Middle Earth, and he's long gone. Look at these films from an overall point of view and try to see that it is simply impossible to film such a leviathan in a way that will make everyone happy. And for what it is, this trilogy is a rare gem. It combines end-of-your-seat action with heartbreaking drama, and brings intensity on both visual and emotional levels, which few films have accomplished so far. For me personally, it was also a memorable experience because I got to share it with a hundreds of moviegoers who sat in the theater with me for three years in a row. We watched in silence, lest we miss anything. We wowed at the sight of the dark, vast Moria, the surreal beauty of Rivendell, the fiery grandeur of Mt. Doom. We laughed at the hobbits' painfully sweet naiveté. We clapped at the grand finale. We couldn't hold back tears in the last few minutes before the credits rolled. We were there, with them, sharing this timeless tale of friendship, destiny, love, the loss of innocence and the reign of good vs. evil. Sounds trite, I know. But this is probably one story where it's not.
Your mileage may vary."
One of the most precious film treasures of our time...
Bola Onayemi | Beltsville, MD USA | 12/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This past week, I had the rare privilege of watching the Lord of the Rings with someone who had never seen it. He is a friend of my youngest brother (17 years old, in High School), and I figured that if he was watching these films for the first time, he might as well watch the extended editions.
He saw Fellowship 2 weekends ago and loved it. Then he saw the Two Towers last Saturday, and was very eager to see the final chapter. Incidentally, the last extended edition was out this past Tuesday, and yesterday, my brother, this friend and I sat for the Return of the King and watched it from beginning to end, integrated scenes and all.
To be able to see the expressions of shock, wonder, suprise, and conviction as someone watches the Lord of the Rings movies for the first time; the feelings of cinematic release that I myself went through when I was introduced to these films, is quite hard to put in words. Let's just say another fan has been added to the list.
Just as magical was being able to suprise and shock my younger brother and his friends even more with the enriched history and sheer emotion of the books; describing the last chapter in the "Two Towers", and how intense 'The Choices of Master Samwise' is as you read it, and how you do not want to stop reading the rest of the story until the very cracks of Mount Doom have come and gone; seeing their eyes widen and their curiousity abound as I explain the history behind some of the amazing detail that has been included in these films, like Shelob's mother (Ungolianth), or Erendil's light; the saga of the Valar and the Silmarillon, and Morgorth and his many Balrogs.
The best part of this experience in Middle Earth is more personal. Last night my younger brother and his friend asked why, once the climax had passed, there was a need to show so much of the aftermath. I realised then that while it took courage for Frodo and the fellowship to fight their battles and face their fears, especially with almost no hope; once the worst arrived, and the sacrifices were made, a new courage was needed, to face life after 'The End of All things', and to continue to live it. I told them about the casualties of war, and how so many soldiers who have served and suffered, return home, only to find their lives can no longer be the same. Many do not know how to go on living a normal life after experiencing the horror and pain that comes from war. It takes courage to keep on living, to find happiness that brings peace.
For me, this movie shows what courage is like - it shows the many forms of courage. Not 6 months ago, my other, older brother (27 years old, graphic designer) died very suddenly, and tragically. One moment very close, the next, ripped out of my life; once living and breathing, funny and God fearing, my mentor - my friend; now, only memories - many, many good, some sad, all, usually painful. It takes courage to persevere past the pain of losing a loved one, and struggling, fighting to find meaning, happiness, and faith in life - happiness that will bring peace.
These movies are much more than entertainment or great cinema, they are instruments of hope, spanning the spectrum of life's deepest sorrows, and most meaningful truths. They are a treasure, truly, truly dear and precious to me.
For that, I am thankful."