Monday, December 22, 2003

Return of the Decent Movie

Saw Return of the King on Friday evening. Good seats in a lousy theater (small screen, poor sound). What’s the verdict?

Go see it.

But don’t be in a big hurry. It’s good. Better than new-Star Wars good. Better than Return of the Jedi good.

But it’s not be-all, end-all good.

The movie is, at times, DREADFULLY slow. The opening 30 minutes is so drawn out. As is the final 30 minutes. Saruman isn’t in it. Fine. But there’s this stupid scene where they say, “He’s alive and in that tower. And there he must stay!” And then they ignore him. Why not just say, “Saruman has been defeated,” and allow our imaginations to think that he’s dead. There’s some terrible dialogue that needs to be edited out. The Battle of Pellanor Fields is spectacular. And is not done was well as Helm’s Deep, and feels like a "been there, done that" kind of thing. Suaron remains a disembodied eye that is not scary in the slightest. And the Ring fails to be a character as it was in the first movie. And when the Grey Havens scene arrives, a lot is shot in slow motion. *Sigh* Just end it already.

But it’s still a damn fine movie. Eowyn finally gets some good screen time. Gandalf is a character again and matters (unlike Two Towers). Gollum has another great schizoid scene. Aragorn becomes the king. I mean he *BECOMES* a king. This was hinted at in Towers, but here he takes the mantle. It’s cool when it happens.

All the professional reviewers hit the main highlights. So many of them are ignoring the negatives I wanted to voice them. It’s a phenomenal accomplishment that these movies were so entertaining. Are they the best movie trilogy of all time? Nah. Original three Star Wars were better because there was more emotion, especially in Empire. But Peter Jackson brought a world to life. And for that he deserves a big kudos.

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