Sunday, January 04, 2004

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

I saw Return of the King a few weeks ago, but work and laziness prevented me from writing this. I liked Return of the King. If you liked Fellowship of the Ring and Two Towers, you'll like Return of the King. If you liked Fellowship of the Ring and hated Two Towers, you'll like Return of the King. If you hated all three, then why the hell are you watching these movies? And the only reason I'll accept is that you saw it with people (or a person) who really loves this stuff. And that does it for my review of the movie, lets get on with the nit-picking, shall we? I'll spoil parts of all the movies, but you few who haven't seen the last will still read on, won't you?

1. Where the hell is all the magic? Yes, I know that in Tolkien's world the magic is ambiguous, but that's no excuse. I remember the first time I watched the fight between Gandalf and Sauramon. I was so disappointed. Where was the magic? Staffs (staves?) were waved and men were thrown backward, but that wasn't exciting, for me. And then in Return of the King, Gandalf lit his staff (pervert!) to scare the dragon thing, once. Why didn't he do it later when they were attacking the city? Why didn't he hurl a fire ball at the army? Is it too much for me to ask to see a wizard hurl a fire ball in a movie I actually enjoy?

2. What's up with the so called "One Ring"? It turns people invisible. Wow, the most powerful ring in Middle Earth turns its bearer invisible. Gee, isn't that impressive. Ugh. My brother suggested that if Frodo had the ring longer, he'd have been able to do more with it. When I pointed out the Golem had the ring for hundreds of years and it only drove him mad, not any kind of powerful force in Middle Earth, just a pathetic creature that saves the world in the end. Then he pointed out that it was specifically made for Sauron and only he could use the true power. I asked for evidence, he said this is what his friends said and they are obsessed with Lord of the Rings. Okay, so I pointed out the "One Ring" wasn't the most powerful ring because it didn't corrupt the three the elves had, nor did it defeat the power of the elvish rings. Why? I thought this was the ring that would "find them / and in the darkness bind them"? But it didn't, and that suggest it couldn't. All powerful my ass.

3. Why a giant eye? My brother said, through his sources, that it is because Sauron is now merely a force and not wholly in the world, but if he got the ring back, he could reform his body and begin the work on conquering the world (would that include the land the Elves are going to?). When the eye fell, I kept hoping for a decrepit body to fall from the tower and shatter when it struck the ground, but I didn't. I just saw an eye flicker and a tower fall over. I was sad.

4. Where were the other wizards? In the first book, Gandalf visits with a wizard wearing brown robes who has a special rapport with animals. Wasn't he the one who set Gandalf up with eagle help to escape the Orthanc? Sure, I wouldn't have gotten anymore magic, but it's nice to know that the world wasn't just grey and white. Yeah, the movies were long, but making mention of help from another wizard to escape would have been easy.
4a. And why no wizard of all colors? I loved that Sauramon had taken on a robe made of threads of all wizard colors. It made him seem more powerful, like he had to defeat the other wizards to be able to get the colors. I believed more easily that Gandalf was taken down by Sauramon that quickly. Plus, I always like the idea that his robe appeared white at first glance, but shimmered other colors as he moved.
5. Why wasn't Frodo older? Frodo should have been older. Plain and simple. In the book, Frodo was 33 when he got the ring and in his fifties when he left on the quest. He wasn't a young Hobbit physically, like his friends, but he was as young as they were in every other sense. Yeah, they wanted a "heart throb" or whatever, and they found a guy who could make a worried face really well, normal for the movies. That's not a good excuse though. Anyone who can counteract my complaint, e-mail me the specific pages from the books where I can find it. Only from the trilogy or The Hobbit. I don't have the other books and don't want them.

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