Thursday, February 7, 2013

Curmudgeon's Corner: Lord of the Rings 2.0

 The Lord of the Rings
So... my husband comes home after Black Friday with a huge new TV. So what are we supposed to do with that? My answer: watch some really cool movies on it. So I bought him the Blu-ray DVD set of Lord of the Rings, extended version. Boy, I knew they were going to be long, but they were REALLY long.

But they were really fun to watch. I have some qualms about some of it, but I admit, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Me and my achy back.

Fellowship of the Ring is probably my favorite of the three. I know I'm probably in the minority here since not much happens. My bias comes from a couple of places-- I think they do Hobbits Really well in this movie. I love all the moments with Pippin and Merry... hilarious! And we start to see a friendship bloom between Legolas and Gimli, one of the other strongest parts. Lastly, the movie is just much more interesting than the book. New Zealand is gorgeous, and the film takes advantage of that.

Two Towers is a lot more action, which is fun too, but a little more piecemeal. We meet the Ents, who are really funny, and Eowyn, my other favorite character. I was surprised to see some of the prose taken straight from the book, which I appreciated. This is the first time I had ever seen the extended version of this film, so I was surprised by some of the additions. In particular, there was a lot more about the side plot of Faramir. And I was also surprised that the crazy dad (Stewart of Gondor), is none other than Walter Bishop, from Fringe fame. That made his delusional state all the more hilarious.  Lastly, poor Gollum gets more screen time, but probably not for the better. He gets beat up several times in succession-- strangled, thrown against rocks, etc. to the point where it just seems rather gratuitous. I would hate Humans/Hobbitses too!

The last movie was better than I remembered. This is because I had such a low estimation of the movie the first time I watched it because I made the unfortunate mistake of reading the book right before watching the movie. Return of the King is the best of the three books, but to me, the worst of the three movies. My pet peeves: 1) Saurman getting impaled by a stake at the bottom of the tower and Grima getting killed pretty quickly. OK, I guess this was a quick way to get rid of Saurman, but the readers know that both of these guys survive to the end. 2) The flaming fireball. Probably my least favorite part of the film. In the book, this is an extremely creepy scene where Faramir's father is determined to burn himself and stands in the flame until he dies. I had chills for days afterwards. In the movie, the stupid guy is like, "What? Faramir's ACTUALLY ALIVE?!" even though Pippin has been saying this over and over for like 10 straight minutes. The steward is like, oops! And then runs out of the hall screaming and flings himself off of the cliff, and viewers see a small flaming fire ball at a distance. REALLY?! 3) Eowyn's scene at killing the Witch King was way too short. But if I'm fair, it was barely mentioned in the book as well. 4) Lastly, this makes my heart hurt. There is a wonderful scene in the book where Pippin finds Merry after that battle and he thinks he's dead. Merry stirs and looks at Pippin and says, "Pippin, will you bury me?" I cried buckets after that scene. In the movie, the prose that replaced this, was, "Hey, you ok?" Meh.

That said, these are terrific movies, and a great way to break in our new TV. I won't even go into the Hobbit, which Shawn Keenan has already talked about (and I haven't watched yet), but I will say I am bitter they are stretching it out into a Trilogy. Really?

My husband bought me the 8 DVD set of Harry Potter for Christmas, so that'll be next on the viewing list :-)

What's on your to watch list?


  1. Great post, Christina! My husband's currently into a major Pillars of the Earth marathon. Ugh! Too much rape and pillaging for me. Harry Potter's more my speed.

  2. I love the extended versions! I agree with you about ROTK as best book, worst film. But my favorite film is TT, which I edit to ignore the Frodo/Sam/Gollum parts and most of the Merry/Pippin, choosing to focus mostly on Aragorn/Legolas/Gimli.

  3. ah yay harry potter time? aha amazing.
    i still need to watch the final lotr :D i love it, and ima read the books too.