Alrighty, time for Part 2…today’s category is BEST FILM. This is one that’s sure to be debatable and is really a tough one to call. I’ll start off with the high points of each movie, then decide at the end. Sound good?
FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING
The Positive: This movie is obviously important because it introduces the storyline and characters, and was thus pivotal in capturing the audience. If this one bombed, there would surely be less people returning for the second and third installments. There was an excellent sequence with the Balrog (and the consequent death of Gandalf) in what was one of the most memorable scenes. Then there was the big fight against the Orks in which Boromir is killed after being filled with arrows, as well as the Ring Wraith horse chase. Not that any scene wasn’t entertaining, but these stand out in particular. Having major characters die created much more excitement, revealing that nobody was safe from death. In Spider-Man, you know Peter Parker isn’t going to die because he’s the hero, but Lord of the Rings took away this predictability, making moviegoers wonder what’s going to happen next and who will survive.
The Negative: The only real negative is that the beginning isn’t worth watching repeatedly. Usually when I pop in the DVD, I like to skip ahead to the point where Frodo first finds the Ring and Gandalf investigates its history. The introduction of the Shi’ar and its people IS IMPORTANT, but it’s not something I’d watch as often as the fight scene with the Cave Troll. Which really isn’t all that negative a comment actually…
THE TWO TOWERS
The Positive: The second film had the advantage of skipping the character introductions. Viewers already know what’s going on and who’s who, allowing even deeper developments to be created. FELLOWSHIP was the foundation, and TWO TOWERS was like the house built upon it. And build the movie does.Gollum/Smeagol is added to the cast, as well as Farimeer, Treebeard, and the people of Rohan. Tolkien’s world is greater explored in this dark continuation with Gollum and Helms Deep stealing the show. Gollum was a character that some people found “cute” and others found “cool”. He’s the underdog with a good and bad side, much like Luke Skywalker, and in the end chooses the path to follow. A report on his character analysis would consist of volumes, with every bit of it fascinating to explore. Helms Deep proved to be one of the most epic battle sequences, as it was filmed in the time that most entire movies would be shot! Aragorn really took charge in this one, and he was able to be an effective leader without seeming like a show off.
The Negative: While Helms Deep was incredible, it really monopolized the end of the movie. Which wasn’t a bad thing per se, but I can see where some might think so. Then there were Treebeard’s lectures were an abrupt change from the excitement and a little off-putting. But that’s a minor quibble.
RETURN OF THE KING
The Positive: The stakes are higher, and the battles more epic then ever. All the actors put on their very best performances for the third film, and it’s obvious in comparison to the first. Elijah Wood and Sean Astin were truly like brothers, rather than two people ACTING like brothers, and their friendship was a highlight. Sam in particular actually brought tears to my eyes (which isn’t an easy feat!). Even the scene where the torches were lit across the lands made my eyes tear…the combination of film and music were just meshed together so perfectly. The build-up for the BIG BATTLE was a little lengthy, but understandable…I was simply anxious for a fight!! The opening withSmeagol’s past was awesome, and really enhanced his character, and shone a new light on the corrupting power of the One Ring.
The Negative: The Fellowship consisted of Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin,Gandalf, Boromir, Gimley, Aragorn, and Legolas… and the only one to die was Boromir and (that was all the way back in film one). For some reason I found it a little disappointing that there were so few casualties in the fellowship, considering the tens of thousands who died in the various battles. But then again, that’s being picky with the book, not the film. And yes, I guess Gandalf did technically die too and was “reborn” as Gandalf the White….fine, it’s perfect…except for the very end which went on a little too long. I understand that the book went on for MUCH longer, but that really doesn’t work as well in a movie.
THE WINNER: RETURN OF THE KING
It’s the only one of the three movies that I went back to see again in theaters, and the only one to make my eyes tear half a dozen times. And that means something to be sure. It was a brilliant piece of art, and a true masterpiece to behold. Thank you Peter Jackson and to all involved.