Here are some things that really bugged me about Return of the King.
– Aragorn fighting and talking with the ‘king of the dead’. This came off as cheesy to me, and I think the whole paths of the dead scene could have been much better executed.
– Gandalf repeatedly whacking Denethor, that got old quickly, and I’m not sure if Jackson meant it to be for comedic relief, but each time Denethor took a beating, there was quite a bit of laughing in the theater.
– Personally, the Eowyn/Nazghul scene bugged me. That was the one scene that I desperatly wanted to be “by the book” (I don’t know why i expected it could be that way). I wanted Eowyn, her golden hair fluttering in the wind, sword raised, shield poised, directly between her dying uncle and the Lord of the Nazghul upon his fell beast etc etc. Instead they kind of switched portions of that scene around and the “I am no man” line was at the end of the scene with the Nazghul kneeling before Eowyn… I don’t know if anybody else feels this way, but the scene just didn’t hit me the way it should’ve/could’ve been done….
– Why were the dead at the Pelennor? Why did the Aragorn/Corsair scene have to be so lame? I’m sorry, but Jackson claims he wanted these movies to have less special effects and have it be oscar calibre and all, but why then do you first throw in a concept that never happened in the books, and then have it be the kind of special effect/fantasy scene that will never win him an oscar. I thought the whole thing was stupid, confusing, and lame. I shut my eyes in disgust when I first saw the dead floating out of the boats.
The way it was done in the books would have looked so much better on film I don’t care what anyone says. When it looks like the battle is going well, and suddenly a fleet of corsairs come up the river, and you’re thinking ‘oh great it’s over the bad guys are gonna win’, just then the camera zooms in to the front of the lead corsair, and there’s Aragorn, the larger than life hero, standing tall with his sword raised in one hand and a beautiful banner of the white tree in the other. The ships land and the tide of the battle turns exactly when things looked grimmest. That would’ve won Jackson his oscar, a scene like that, well executed, just tugs with your emotions of despair and happiness, and makes for a good movie in my mind. But that’s just my opinion I may be wrong.
– The Sam leaving Frodo thing didn’t bother me too much, it made for an interesting plot twist i thought during a relatively bland portion of the story, at least on film, and made you really hate gollum even more. The Shelob scene was done well and I enjoyed it.
– From the Battle of the Pelennor on, I thought the movie was very very choppy, and badly cut. You could tell where scenes were missing and you felt forced from one scene to the next. It flowed very poorly. I probaly would’ve enjoyed a lot of these scenes more if they weren’t cut down to the bare necessities. There’s only one scene, about 3 minutes long, between the surveying of the Pelennor battlefield, and the decision to march on the black gate. One scene! How can anyone get caught up in that march, when they only have one short little scene to explain what they are doing? Then after that scene we get a 5 second clip of Aragorn, in a full suit of Gondorian armour (where’d that come from? why is he suddenly in charge?), leading the march, and then they are at the gate. Just like that. If I hadn’t read the books, I think I would’ve been a little confused. The extended edition should fix most of these issues. I think this may be the movie that needs an extended edition the most.
– Denethors death, potential for a powerful, insane man proclaiming the doom of everything while flames overtake his body scene. Instead we get a very corny “action rescue kind of thing” with faramir, and Denethor runs all the way outside and across a very long expanse to jump to his death, while on fire mind you. In reality he should’ve been dead by the time he exited the crypt. The whole scene once again sparked laughter when there shouldn’t have been any. I don’t mind if they make changes to the story to make a better movie, but please, why make changes that corrupt a great story and are bad movie scenes as well??
– Aragorn’s speech at the black gate wasn’t as poweful as it could’ve been to me. I got goosebumps up and down my neck when Theoden did his speech, before the charge of the Rohirrim. But Arargorns speech just didn’t quite hit home to me, it could’ve been viggo mortesens voice, it could be some scenes were missing. I don’t really know, but that should’ve been another crucial, “wow! this movie is good scene”, but it never seemed to hit paydirt.
– I thought the rings end was done very well, right up to the point were gollum actually fell into the lava, and instead of sinking and igniting right away, (falling into lava always seemed like instant death to me) they kind of zoomed in on his face, and he sank in real slow trying to hold the ring above the lava, and it just came off as real lame to me. Why didn’t he just splash into the lava and that be the end of it? Oh yeah, they needed to have a, one person holding the other over a cliff scene, like every other movie on earth.
– Finally, and I do believe this may be my biggest issue with the movie for some reason. What was with the “Sauron Spotlight”? It was bad enough that Mordor looked about the size of my back yard. (there’s a scene with frodo and sam looking out over mordor, thousands of lights are shown stretching out in the distance, I thought those were lights from orc encampments, slave mines, towns, etc. No, they actually turned out to be individual orcs with torches. And all at once they got up and started marching to the gate, leaving a stretch of what looked like about 2 miles of completely empty space between the hobbits and Mt. Doom.) Anyhow, they show Sauron’s “giant eye” projecting a beam of light around Mordor. It made Barad-dur look like a lighthouse. I didn’t mind the big flaming physical eye, for movie purposes, but when you give it spotlight qualities, and turn an impenetrable, gargantuan, terrible, tower into a lighthouse, that really gets under my skin. I once heard rumor Sauron was going to be at the black gate. In all honesty I would’ve rather seen that happen, than see this powerful, evil, dark immortal being, reduced to a spotlight….
Anyhow, that’s all I really have to say, there were quite a few good things about the movie that I won’t appreciate till I come to grips with the bad. Like the prior 2 movies, this one should grow on me in the end, and the extended edition can only make it better.