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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Movie Adaptation Review: The Return of the King - Extended Version

 MOVIE ADAPTATION of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

I've finished reading the book about three months ago, but only now do I have the chance to watch the movie. To be honest, it's quite difficult for me to spare time to watch this 4,5 hour long movie (a little bit longer than the earlier movies). I'm watching the extended version, so it's that long. I don't really know the movie duration in theaters or television - but this extended version definitely gives me a complete book-to-movie adaptation. Which is totally amazing. Since the movie is pretty lengthy, there's so many things I want to talk about in this review. But I'll try my best to make it short, and without spoiler (although I'm pretty sure most of you have watched this long before I do). And sorry to be posting about this, when everyone's watching Catching Fire. And so here goes my (hopefully) non-spoiler review for the movie adaptation. *there will be plenty of screencaps, so please be patient if took longer to load.

The movie starts off differently than the book; we see two unfamiliar man, fishing - who turns out to be Sméagol (when he was still a normal human being) and his brother. It tells the story of how he got hold of the Ring in the first place, and what the Ring had done to him - cursed his life and made him turn into Gollum. I think this was something introduced to us in the first book (?), if I'm not mistaken. And the first 40-minutes of the movie is still showing the last part of The Two Towers book, when Pippin is being naughty by looking into the Orthanc stone - and Frodo-Sam's journey with Gollum (and Shelob, the nasty spider didn't come out until midway. Although it was the ending of The Two Towers book.). Like the previous one, this movie rearranged the story differently than the book. But everything is still delivered perfectly.

Next, comes my favorite part, the Battle of Minas Tirith ! We meet Lord Denethor - who's practically a lunatic, because when war is in front of his gate, he still has time to eat pleasantly. And so Gandalf took control while they're waiting for aid from King Theoden's army to come. Looking back at it, most of this movie is dedicated to the war scene. The battle is one of the best war scene I've ever seen in my life. So many goosebumps moments in this movie. Only this time that I think the movie is better than the book. Because the movie gives us the better picture of how the war goes on, while the book only gives me brief description about it. The movie covers almost everything there is in the book (except the last part of the Shire was removed), and it really satisfies me :))

Like in the book, Pippin and Merry did have plenty of roles in the movie. Pippin by Gandalf's side in Minas Tirith, while Merry is together with Lady Eowyn. Not to forget, one of the most memorable character for me in this movie is The Witch King of Angmar. He has this cool looking (?) mask, and his head is just pure blackness, and he rides a beast that sort of looks like a dragon. He's extremely powerful and he even defeated Gandalf and broke his staff. Although I was expecting his defeat to be more grand. Another villain in the movie would be Gollum, who's a lot trickier and nastier than it is in the book. Gollum tried to make Frodo believe that Sam is trying to take the Ring from him with his dirty tricks. The award of most disgusting villain in this movie goes to Mouth of Sauron. Even it's voice sounds disgusting. And the camera keeps zooming to his blood-stained teeth. Gosh. It was a sickening scene - especially since I'm watching the movie in HD Bluray, everything looks so vivid. Thankfully Aragorn chopped off it's head elegantly and I'm so glad for that.
Gandalf: Go back to the abyss! Fall into nothingness that awaits you and your master!
Witch King: Do you not know death when you see it, old man? This is my hour!
Pippin: Is there any hope, Gandalf, for Frodo and Sam?
Gandalf: There never was much hope. Just a fool's hope
The enemy has all sorts of different creatures besides orcs. One that I remember best is the creature that kind of looks like an elephant, called Oliphaunt. I've read it in the book but had no idea what it would look like. The movie made it perfectly. The Oliphaunts have more than two tusks, and on the tusks there are spikes. So they just stomp around the battlefield, and swipe its' tusks around to kill people - just like sweeping a house. One of my favorite scene is when Legolas started dangling on the Oliphaunt, taking down the enemies on top and finally taking down the Oliphaunt. It was really cool.♥♥ All the CG effects are very nicely done that I don't see it as CG. Everything looks so real; especially when the buildings crumbled.

Another creature worth remembering is Shelob - the giant spider that stings Frodo. The scene is a lot more intense compared to the book, because in the book, right from the start Frodo is caught. But in the movie, Frodo tried his best to get away and managed to escape! So I thought, 'Huh? So Frodo isn't going to pass out?'. It turns out Shelob still followed Frodo and silently ambushed him from behind. That's an exciting surprise I didn't expect to see. Nice improvisation there.

Hold your ground, hold your ground! Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!
Now let's talk about my favorite scenes from the movie. My first favorite is when King Theoden decided to aid Minas Tirith. When Gandalf suggested they go help, King Theoden clearly said 'why should we ride to the aid of those who did not come to ours?'. And when he said they will ride to war, it totally give me goosebumps. Next favorite is when the Beacon of Amon Dîn is lit. Gandalf asked Pippin to lit the beacon in Minas Tirith; it's some kind of signal or warning so that Rohan will know that the time of war has come. Then we will see many more beacons are lit on top of the mountains - although I'm not sure who'll see it (?). I'm also extremely touched when Elrond - the Lord of Rivendell - came to see Aragorn and told him to put aside the Ranger, and become who he was born to be, a King. It is an important part, because then Aragorn can bring the Army of the Dead to help in battle. The details about Army of the Dead is more clear in the movie. Now I understand that those army betrayed Isildur in the war years ago, and was cursed. And Aragorn promised them freedom if they help him win the battle. The Army of the Dead are practically invisible but they can kill, so it's a ton of help.

I absolutely love the scene where Aragorn is motivating the scared soldiers with his wonderful speech (I quoted it below Legolas picture earlier). He said it in the most charismatic way, that made me love his character even more. And before he run towards the battlefield, he looked back and said: 'For Frodo', and I had goosebumps all over. Go Aragornnn! One of the best scenes is when King Theoden is being attacked by The Witch King of Angmar, and Lady Eowyn stood between them. In the battlefield, there's no more princess-y Lady Eowyn, there's only the courageous lady who slashed the neck of the beast. And when The Witch King of Angmar said that no man can kill him, Lady Eowyn proudly said 'I am no man' in his face. I have goosebumps all over (again!). But as I said, I was hoping The Witch King of Angmar's death would be more grand.
Witch King: You fool. No man can kill me. Die now.
Eowyn: I am no man.
Legolas and Gimli moments is always a refreshing scene and becomes my favorite. Besides them both being so cute and funny about who kills the most competition, I think there's a deep meaning to their friendship. Elves and dwarves never had a good relationship over the history, but now they are fighting side-by-side, riding a horse together, and even calling each other friends. Awww.. how can you not love them? Even better, Legolas is always shining brightly amidst all the blood and war. It still amazes me how he keeps his hair all straight and wonderful without a single strand out of place. Thank God we will be seeing him once again in The Desolation of Smaug.
Gimli: Never thought I'd die fighting side by side with an Elf.
Legolas: What about side by side with a friend?
Gimli: Aye. I could do that.

I haven't been talking about the most important people in this movie: Frodo and Sam. These two also has a really deep bond with each other. For me, Samwise Gamgee is the icon of loyalty. Although the book described it in a much better way, the scene where Sam carried Frodo on his back made me all teary-eyed. The scene when they're about to destroy the Ring is absolutely perfect, with a bit more dramatic feeling compared to the book. My favorite scene is when the camera focused on Sam's face tearing up when Frodo is on the edge of falling into Mount Doom. Gosh, this movie is the best.

The scene that made me cried hardest is when Aragorn is crowned as King, and the Hobbits bow down to him. Aragorn said: 'My friends, you bow to no one.' and he knelt in front of them along with all the people of Gondor. The way Aragorn said it is full of emotions; like he really respect the Hobbits for what they have done for Middle-Earth. And I'm just sitting, crying like a baby. ㅠ_ㅠ It was an absolutely beautiful scene; and that instrumental music in the background made it even better. And the last ending scene is also one of my favorites; when Elrond, Galadriel, Bilbo, Gandalf, and Frodo are about to board a ship toward the Undying Lands. Gandalf's saying is one of my favorite.
Gandalf: I will not say "Do not weep", for not all tears are an evil.

I think this review is long-enough so I'll probably start writing my conclusion now. Up until now, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is the best movie adaptation I have ever seen. Even though the movie did remove several scenes (including the ending of the third book - which is not really relevant, actually), the overall plot perfectly delivers the book very well to the audience. There are some things I understand better from the movies rather than from the book - because the movie lets us see things visually. The 4.5 hours I spent watching this was worth it - being absorbed into the world of Middle-Earth. Thank you Peter Jackson, for making this movie happen. Looking forward to The Desolation of Smaug to see Legolas once again!

by.stefaniesugia♥ .

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