December 30, 2003

Yet More on The Return of the King

Here's yet another outstanding review of The Return of the King. It's really amazing, when you add it all up, how many really, truly, stupid things Jackson managed to cram in there, and it's even more amazing how much of the original magic still comes through in spite. (Via Captain Yips.) On another note--did Legolas' dance with the oliphant remind anyone else of Luke Skywalker and the Imperial Walker in The Empire Strikes Back? Posted by Will Duquette at December 30, 2003 10:40 PM

Captain Yips said:

Indeed. I expected ol' Orlando to slice open the oliphaunt and toss in a grenade. I didn't see it with kids, but my sister did. She said that when Bloom slid down the trunk for his photo op, all the young girls sighed.

Jackson did a lot of good things. It's just not Tolkien's LOR and we shouldn't look for it.

Will Duquette said:

Alas, I fear I can't maintain that level of detachment. I like the way the director and screenwriter of Master and Commander: The Farside of the World handled it--they couldn't capture the whole thing, so they picked something they could do and did it well, and left everything else out. And although they left stuff out, they didn't contradict it either.

But even then, Jackson's version wouldn't bother so much if it weren't for the logical problems. Theoden wastes a speech telling Eowyn to cheer up, with apparent sincerity, ignoring the fact that if the armies of Rohan and Gondor lose Eowyn is not going to be able to live in peace. (I suppose you could read this as courageous bravado, but that's not how it came across.) And then, if Aragorn had charged the massed forces of orcs in front the Black Gate as shown, foolishly leaving the only minimally defensible position in the area, he'd have been cut to Faramir's force was when they charged Osgiliath. If Denethor's guards were loyal enough to obey even the command to burn him alive, wouldn't they have objected when Gandalf clubbed him down some scenes earlier?

If he had to change things, could he at least have changed them so they made sense?


Captain Yips said:

I suspect that Jackson's problem was that he thinks in scenes. "Let's do this cool thing here," he seems to have said, without considering what the impact is overall. I'll agree completely with any suggestion that he should have stuck to Tolkien's narrative as much as possible, deleting when needed but never inventing or altering. That's too much to hope from a Hollywoodie, even one from New Zealand.

Will Duquette said:

To be perfectly fair, I have to admit that despite all my carping I was moved to tears many times over during the course of the movie.