Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
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Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

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There were many annoying flaws in the third Lord of the Rings film, Return of the King.  And like the second film, the Two Towers, it was an opportunity missed.

(Warning, includes spoilers)

Return of the King

The third film had almost as many flaws as the second film:

  1. The film suffered from having too many extended endings - something I think everyone who saw the film will agree with.  One of the endings include images of a short, old Bilbo having a bad prosthetic makeup day (and suffering from bad green-screening?).
  2. In the film, the ghosts from the paths of the dead were cleansed Minas Tirith rather than Gondor, as in the book.  They appeared too effective.  In the book they allowed Aragorn to sail to the aid of Minas Tirith with a human army, where there was still work to be done.  In the film, the green host worked its way easily through the armies of Sauron.  If they can destroy an army that easily, why can't Aragorn just send them into Mordor?
  3. Faramir returning as the only survivor from Osgiliath was another departure from the book - where he returns amongst a handful of survivors, bringing up the rear.  It was just too dramatic that he was the only survivor, dragged by his horse.
  4. When the Black rider departs from Minas Morgul, there is a pointless display of computer graphics: an spinning column of light rises from the city.
  5. The earthquake at the Gates of Morgul was overplayed, another instance where computer graphics were over the top.  In the book, the gates fall, and the Orcs scatter in fear.
  6. Minas Tirith appears to have a spaceport on top of it.  Every time I saw the nicely flattened top I expected a Harkonnen transporter from the film Dune to descend and land.
  7. The film missed the opportunity of Gandalf talking with Saruman, and having a Palantir thrown at him.  Possibly wisely, the film gave up on having Sharkey terrorise the Shire though.
  8. Denethor's gluttony was unnecessary, and for me, cringingly bad.  Is it not enough to have the character have a cloud of doom hanging over him?
  9. When Sam and Frodo are marooned on an island surrounded by lava in the film, it appears unrealistic.  With the noxious gasses from the lava flow they would have been dead and possibly crisped in seconds.

Hopefully, the extended edition will right some of these wrongs.

Again, there are events that were not in the book and added a little to the film, such as Legolas bringing down an Oliphant.  It wasn't particularly well done, and was fairly clearly done mostly with computer graphics (think Spiderman).

There were elements that were memorable, such as the charge of Theoden against the Sauron's troops, which was visually spectacular and quite involving.

You may be interested in my criticisms of the second film, Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers.

If you were looking to buy a DVD of either "The Fellowship of the Ring", "The Two Towers" or "Return of the King" in the UK, I'd suggest a comparison at Kelkoo (taken from my pages on shopping and price comparison sites).  The non-extended editions should be available for less than 10UKP.  If I were looking for one of the books, I'd try Kelkoo or another price comparison site.

Outside the UK, I'd try an international price comparison site.

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