I approached these films, and especially the third one, a little differently. I know the stories so well, that I didn’t need to protect myself from the spoilers. I read everything I could find until I went to see it Sunday night (12/21). I read others’ reviews. I read the message boards.
I was excited to go, and looked forward to going Sunday Night. I waited, figuring that the initial rush would be over and there would be less idiots in the theater that might ruin my experience.
So. What did I think? As a piece of movie making magic, it was extra-ordinary. I really liked the first two movies because that was how I approached them. Movies that stood well on their own. As a non-purest, it didn’t bother me that Faramir took the Hobbits to Osgiliath. If that contrivance made the movie better for Peter Jackson, then that was ok by me, because he was obviously right. The movie was great.
But, this time, the little Gollum in the back of my head wouldn’t stop whispering. I’m not sure what he was saying, because he was whispering, but I knew he was saying something. I finally figured out this morning what it was that was bothering me. This will astonish some people to read, I think Peter Jackson missed the boat on the emotion on this one. And since this movie, as well as the book iteslf, was the culmination of the story and all that JRRT was trying to say that’s too bad. The point to the story is what was in the trailer. “There can be no victory without sacrifice”… etc., etc. And there wasn’t enough of that at the end of the movie. No suffering by Merry and Eowyn after the defeat of the Witch King of Angmar. No overwhelming depression by Eowyn as she waited in the Houses of Healing to meet her doom. And most importantly, no pain for Frodo. Other than a brief rubbing of the shoulder, and a “it never really healed” line, you wouldn’t know that Frodo was unhappy. He certainly LOOKED normal. So the whole point of self-sacrifice for those you love and care for was not adequately shown.
The last charge of the Rhohirrim was great movie making. The Lighting of the watch-fires was spectacular! Shelob was outstanding. Faramir’s last scene with his Father before he goes out on a suicide mission was some of the best acting in the three movies. Viggo’s transformation to become the king when he’s given Anduril was stirring. All in all, it was a great movie. One of the best I’ve ever seen and certainly immediately in my Fab Five. (I don’t try to rank them as that chages by my moods) I hope it wins the Oscar for Best Picture. Peter Jackson clearly should win for Best Director. And Sean should win for Best Supporting Actor. But, that little Gollum is still muttering in the back of my head.