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Showing 1-10 of 1,520 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 3,144 reviews
on October 20, 2004
Peter Jackson proved me wrong when I said, like many people, that Lord of the Rings would be a bust: Spielberg-adventure at best, Lucas-disaster at worst. Had I known Tolkien's classic was in the hands of the guy who directed Heavenly Creatures, I would have been more optimistic. As it turns out, my expectations were completely overturned. In some ways the films are actually better than the books, especially in terms of emotional power. Competent actors, amazing cinematography, and a brilliant music score combine to offer us Middle-Earth as we'd never imagined it.

Fellowship of the Ring is the most polished film, with its elegant episodic pacing. We start in the idyllic world of the hobbits and flee with Ringwraiths hot on our heels; we rest in Elrond's sanctuary and plunge into Moria; we come out grieving and console ourselves in Galadriel's safe (yet unsettling) dream-wood, and then wind up surrounded by Uruk-hai. This is a quintessential fantasy road-journey containing three episodes within an episode, each beginning in a haven and followed by a dark journey. The pacing is flawless, and the plot unfolds to a perfect beat.

Two Towers is the ambiguous film. It's excellent (or at least the extended version is) but structured in a way that the hobbits become sidelined by the Rohan story. As they are the soul of Tolkien's epic, we feel slightly nonplussed at their consignment to B-storylines. Ironically, the film is a showcase for cgi characters Gollum and Treebeard, who manage to steal the show from within these storylines.

Return of the King is the most dramatic film, tragic on almost a biblical level, and certainly the most satisfying. I can understand why Elijah Wood calls it "better than one and two combined". It centers on the hopeless mission to Mount Doom, which, as every fan knows, is the heart of the story. Around this we're bombarded by apocalyptic chaos and destruction on the Pelennor Fields, followed by Aragorn's hopeless march on the Black Gate. We finish at the Grey Havens, the best ending in literary and cinematic history, which encapsulates all of Tolkien's themes: courage, friendship, suffering, and passing on. It just doesn't get better than this.

Peter Jackson deserves more accolades than I'm capable of heaping to the point of overkill. Minor quibbles aside, the extended versions of these films are masterpieces to be treasured as much as the books. Tolkien's classic may be pure, but the movie's cinematography takes us where even the written word cannot go. Tolkien's writing is irreplaceable, but Howard Shore's music taps deeper into Middle-Earth's soul. The text is sacred, but the scriptwriters changed it anyway so that it could actually work on screen. The entire project has been too good to be true, and I'm still in awe of it.
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on July 6, 2016
SOOOO GOOOOD! If you have never seen The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, I HIGHLY recommend it. It is an excellent trilogy. I especially love the extended editions. I know they add even more screen time to a daunting trilogy, but they add much more depth to the characters and storylines. If you are not yet ready to tackle the extended editions, start out with the regular versions and if you like those, then watch the extended editions and you will enjoy spotting the extra scenes and getting more back story. Again, I HIGHLY recommend these films. They are timeless and beautiful. (I also recommend the books if you like the films)

Just for reference, the order of the films is as follows:
1. Fellowship of the Rings
2. Twin Towers
3. Return of the King

P.S. These are a million times better than the Hobbit films, if you did not like the Hobbit films, do not let that keep you from these excellent films.
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on December 7, 2004
Like all Tolkien fans, I had once been afraid of this. I had been afraid that our beloved books would be taken by a talentless, indifferent hand and thrown into the horrendous money-making machine. I had been afraid they'd be ground mercilessly and without any consideration for J.R.R. Tolkien's work or for its fans, ground into pieces of overbudgeted FX with not much else left to the eye and to the mind.

What we got instead was nothing short of a masterpiece. Hype? Sure, there's been some hype. But The Lord Of The Rings has rendered the word hype obsolete. It takes that hype and smashes it against a wall of pure brilliance. The final installment is a glorious ending to a trilogy that decades down the road, I have no doubt, will be hailed as one of the greatest achievements in modern cinema. Had I written the review right after seeing it, it would've probably consisted of one word. WHOA. But I'm OK now. I'm fine. I've taken my Advil, drank my three cups of coffee, got good five hours of sleep. I'm OK now. I can finally sit down and write a coherent review.

On the other hand, do I dare? What can you say about a movie which is, for the lack of a better word, perfect? I know, I know. Of course, no movie is perfect. But this one is as damn well close to perfect as it gets. I've been literally put under a spell, very similar to the one that had seized my mind 18 years ago when I first read the books. Flaws and lowdowns? Sure, there are some, but only if you choose to be a grumpy purist who refuses to get it through his head that literature and cinema are two very different media and therefore cannot be the same, will never be the same. This is as great an adaptation as there will ever be. Call me when you make a movie one-tenth this good.

In my eyes, the films are in some ways better than the books. I find it extremely annoying that Tolkien's work is being idealized by his fans. He was but a man and he, too, made mistakes. His books, as detailed and amazing as they are, still aren't perfect. There are characters who do nothing but sit around, scenes the very presence of which is meaningless or at the very least questionable. Think Arwen, think Tom Bombadil... who, while making a part of the story cool and magical, bears next to no impact on the story as a whole (of course, "true Tolkien fans" will probably have my head if they read this, but oh well). But above all, it makes my blood boil when I hear things like "a true visualization of Tolkien's Middle-earth it is not" (sic. Rogert Ebert). With all due respect, who in the world do you think you are to decide what a "true visualization of Tolkien's world" is? No one but Tolkien himself can give us the true visualization of his world, and he's been dead for decades.

Peter Jackson & Co had a task in front of them akin to dragging a cross to the top of Golgotha, in metaphorical terms. And, by all that's sacred, I cannot see how a filmmaker could succeed more in such a task. It is no small feat to accomplish what they have accomplished. Not only have they succeeded, they have exceeded all my expectations. You can see and feel with every shot that this is a labor of love. That goes for everything and everyone in the movie. Cinematographically, it's amazing. The FX were just enough and never cheesy or unnecessary. The score moves you deeply - even the normally annoying Enya did not bother me this time. The acting was splendid, and the cast was simply perfect. I grew up with the characters in my heart, and now they finally have faces. I mean, how many times do you actually read a book, imagine the characters, and then see the movie and realize that the characters look eerily close to what you've imagined them to look like?

I could go further into details about this particular installment, but I don't think Amazon supports reviews that long. I will simply say that I have never been one of those never-happy purists who nitpick even on the quantity of leaves on trees in Rivendell. I believe these movies should be seen for what they are, not for what they are not. Don't sit there and compare it to the book, or complain how something was added or taken away. Know this: if you want to see Tolkien's Middle Earth, you never will. Only Tolkien himself could give you his Middle Earth, and he's long gone. Look at these films from an overall point of view and try to see that it is simply impossible to film such a leviathan in a way that will make everyone happy. And for what it is, this trilogy is a rare gem. It combines end-of-your-seat action with heartbreaking drama, and brings intensity on both visual and emotional levels, which few films have accomplished so far. For me personally, it was also a memorable experience because I got to share it with a hundreds of moviegoers who sat in the theater with me for three years in a row. We watched in silence, lest we miss anything. We wowed at the sight of the dark, vast Moria, the surreal beauty of Rivendell, the fiery grandeur of Mt. Doom. We laughed at the hobbits' painfully sweet naiveté. We clapped at the grand finale. We couldn't hold back tears in the last few minutes before the credits rolled. We were there, with them, sharing this timeless tale of friendship, destiny, love, the loss of innocence and the reign of good vs. evil. Sounds trite, I know. But this is probably one story where it's not.

Your mileage may vary.
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on October 22, 2015
If you like the original trilogy, you will LOVE the extended versions! Things that were an afterthought, that are important to the plot, are expanded and explained. The characters have more depth because of the backstories. Many of the plot elements make more sense and take on more meaning because parts that were originally taken out for length are now included with no reduced production quality. The entire film is still flawless. This is a masterpiece.
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on December 28, 2013
This is such a beautiful film that I just had to purchase it. I read the Tolkien stories as a teenager, but didn't like them as well as the movie. Peter Jackson imagined the stories into being, even better than they were written. New Zealand is so amazingly lovely. I could just "gush" about this movie forever, but will spare you. Needless to say, this is a wonderful addition to my dvd library and has great special features. You really get the idea of how much fun and joy everyone had working on these films.
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on June 4, 2016
It was truly great to see how a tiny hope and the actions of the few can be to great effect. You carry the fates of us all little one and so he does right into the fires of Mount Doom! This is a great plug for short people. It seems to be a big American culture thing for short people to want to be tall. Well I'm tall and the world wasn't made for someone my size. Sure I can travel faster on foot than a short person but who walks around anymore when they can drive? Speaking of driving why are all economy cars so small? I want to save on gas too! This story is great. It has a lot of depth. The characters are fairly well developed if you have followed the story to this movie and you really get a sense for how difficult the journey really is just to drop a piece of gold in volcano. Okay so the ring is more than just a piece of gold and the volcano is extremely difficult to get to. This was really well played and well done. Great job to all the makers.
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Peter Jackson has done a rare thing; he's managed to translate a work loved by millions into an effective, affecting and rich motion picture experience. The third film in the trilogy is no exception. While The Return of the King isn't perfect (and what movie adaption could ever be?), it sticks closely to Jackson's unique view of Tolkien's work. It's also about as close to perfection as one can get without making the film themselves (and very few would be up to the task).
Jackson gambles a bit here; he doesn't drastically reduce or rearrange the last book of the trilogy. Instead, he structures the film so that it's dramatically viable. The continuing thread of three interrelate stories works well--we see what's happening to our divided heroes and the impact what they do has on the other. Jackson's added bits and pieces for dramatic clarity and to improve the visual drama but, on the whole, everything is as it should be.
While I felt that some of the battle sequences went on a bit too long (just too many shots of giant elephants trampling the riders on horseback), on the whole the film is a huge success. After a brief glance back that helps us understand Gollum a bit better, we spring forward to exactly where we left our heroes. Aragorn and his compatriots are preparing for the final battle in hopes that Frodo is successful in destroying The Ring. While Frodo and Sam begin to have their doubts about their chance of success they trudge on led by Gollum. Meanwhile, the seeds of distrust between the uneasy trio.
The visuals are stunning, the action vivd and the performances are strong. Kudos to the entire cast but particularly to Sean Astin who finally gets to shine as Sam becomes the hero he always hinted he would become. Viggo Mortensen's smoldering intensity as Aragorn reaches new heights and his character grows signficantly. When he finally accepts who he is and what he must do, his character comes alive in a new way in this film.
Jackson, Fran Walsh and his other collaborators have done a rare thing; translated a great work of art and literature without pandering. The film's narrative richness is what makes Return a film of substance. You care about these characters and their fates.
I have heard some complaints about the film having "too many conclusions" but, in reality, the film ends when Frodo achieves his goal. The rest of the film acts as a coda giving us an idea as to what awaits our characters later down the line. While it does seem to drag on a bit after the intensity of the last battle, it provides necessary closure to the film. It was a brave choice and the right one regardless of naysayers.
Don't let anyone tell you too much about the film and go and enjoy it this holiday season!
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on September 23, 2016
The final chapter of a great story. They were able to do so much more with the visual on this one. The profits from the other two and the assured profit of this one probably had a great deal to do with that. The negative thing about that, however, is more and more movies are about the visual and not the story. This one, even with the visual, was indeed about the story. I read the book in college back in the 60's. I know I had visualized the characters and the places as I read. I don't remember them exactly but I cannot believe they were all that different from what I saw on the screen.

There are movies I can and do watch again and again (Casablanca, To Kill a Mockingbird, Red River, several Hitchcock). These three fall into that category.
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on March 15, 2017
So like everything else... no comparison to the book, but hey... if I didn't read the book I wouldn't have known the difference. So just enjoy the movie for what it is, but if you want the real story read the book.
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on March 23, 2017
If you are a Lord of the Rings fan I HIGHLY suggest you watch this extended version. It is pretty lengthy, but if you have seen the series several times this will really add something new to your experience!
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