Rewatching LOTR

This past weekend I had a marathon of the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings movies at my house. Daughter’s boyfriend, it seems, had never seen them. Well, now he has.

Anyway, I’ve begun to see lists already of "best films of the past decade” & I of course think LOTR should be on that list. The interesting thing this weekend was how good the movies seemed to me, after not having watched them for quite a while. As a Tolkien geek I still have many major and minor quibbles, but watching all 3 simply as movies, I thought they were marvelous. The acting, the production values, the build-up of tension, the music, the tying together of different plot threads… They hold up esp well if compared to other fantasy films produced after them (Eragon, anyone?).
Like to hear what other dopers think. Have you rewatched them lately? changed or re-evaluated what you thought? Do they/will they hold up over time? Some of the best of the decade?

I would say yes, they’ll hold up over time. While I too, have quibbles (yes, Tolkien fan) about some the changes Jackson made, they were well made. The scenery is breathtaking, the "make-up’ was done quite nicely, and overall, the films do connect to each other.

I still love the first two and despise the third. The only way my opinion has changed is that I am more willing to forgive ROTK its faults because of even worse movies released since.

I was recently reading a list of the Top 100 movies of the decade (2000-2009) and LOTR (as one entry) was in the top 50. I would probably rate it higher. Certainly for pure cinematic achievement, even if the dramatic elements are ignored. In terms of spectacle it makes The Ten Commandments look like a high school play.

Recently rewatched them. I think the first movie is pretty solid, especially the parts with Ian Holm, who was well casted. The next two have glaring flaws, what with the over-abundance of CGI war scenes, corny lines (Orlando Bloom is pretty bad throughout), and so on. I think the overall quality declines as the story progresses, with glimmers of good directing here and there.

Pretty much this.

And, well, having been in theatres where people were actually crying when Boromir died.

The first one is magnificent. I strongly disagree with some of the choices made in the second and third parts, but overall the three films represent quite an impressive achievement. Although there are too many films I haven’t seen this decade to say if “The Fellowship of the Ring” (or the trilogy, for those who insist on counting it as one film) is really one of the top 20, I certainly wouldn’t object to it being on such a list.

I prefer Fellowship to the others. The Orcs are orcier & Boromir’s last stand is quite moving. I like the theatrical cut better than the extended version. Even the movie trailers are excellent.

Fellowship is by far my favorite. But I think the trilogy as a whole is quite well done and a massive achievement. Jackson’s work on LOTR gave the fantasy genre credibility and respect that it had been denied for years, and paved the way for all the fantasy movies that have hit the theaters since. Now I will admit that not everything that’s come afterward is rave worthy, but I’m sure glad that fantasy is back after a 20+ year draught.

Seconded. I have my quibbles, as every Tolkien fan does, but still I’m quite frankly in awe of what Peter Jackson was able to pull off. As a near-perfect melding of cast, screenplay, music, setting, costume, makeup, etc., it’s hard to beat. I saw Fellowship again on the big screen last year, when a local college showed it, and enjoyed it all over again - damn, what a great movie! Now I’m looking forward to Guillermo del Toro’s vision of The Hobbit, due to come out in 2011:

It’s actually weird how well almost everyone I’ve ever talked to agrees that fellowship was just a triumph (and the other two were good but just not as good). And I think it’s clear that Jackson, of whatever reason, got puyt off from the truly dramatic and tense conflicts of the books in favor of much more standardized Hollywood fare (particularly in terms of the Seige of Helm’s Deep and the battles in Gondor. Jackson clearly had no idea what he was doing with those battles, because he’d never made any study of medeival warfare. Tolkein procued battles that were not only very plausible, but exciting, and Jackson just didn’t know how to bring them to life.

I can get behind that. Jackson totally mucked up the pacing of the Battle of Pelennor Fields.

Helm’s Deep went okay though, I thought.

I actually enjoy Two Towers more than Fellowship, but I’ll readily admit Fellowship is a better movie.

ROTK… is… not good.

One of the things that bothered me about the second and third movies is how literate some of the character portrayals are, in terms of good looks being equal to good character traits. Grima Wormtongue, for example, is about as un-nuanced a character can get. And as soon as you see Denethor, you will notice that yeah, he’s less charismatic than Theoden, he’s corrupt in some way.

Ugly people can also be good.

I’m baffled at people loving one of the films and loathing another. I’m in the group that considers all three films to be one long film, and I’ve seen them that way several times, both theatrical and extended cuts, at home and in the theater. On the other hand, I’ve only read the books a few times, and haven’t done so in 20 years, so I don’t have the attachments that constant readers do.

The 2nd and 3rd movies are simply bigger in scale than the 1st, by a wide margin. It’s pretty difficult to do movies that huge and epic without cutting some corners on the narrative and indulging in some cheesiness. It’s the unfortunate reality of Hollywood I suppose.

I love the movies and don’t spend much time nitpicking them (except that retarded Aragorn falling off a cliff scene, gah!!!) and there’s cheese and clumsiness in even the greatest “big” films. There’s some decidedly goofy stuff in Star Wars, The Godfather, Lawrence of Arabia, Ben Hur, all of them.

It is one film in the sense that they all tie together one big story. But they are very much seperate films, as evidenced by the fact that the world got to experience them a year apart from each other when they first premiered in the theatres. I certainly didn’t read the books of the written trilogy a year apart from one another.

There is also the fact that TTT and ROTK are much worse (IMHO) than FOTR. The quality of the books are more even and they feel more like chapters of one big story.

Have I rewatched them lately!? Well, they were shown back to back on a monthly basis, on cable TV, for the last year. Haven’t seen them recently, they seem to have been replaced with the Harry Potter series…But every time TNT had them on, from morning till night, I watched as much as I could, even if it was just on in the background while I worked around the house. Because I love all three movies. Because I really haven’t tired of them, or picked up any real flaws. Because they are among the best films ever made, ever.

That was the movie studio release schedule. The important part was that all three films were created at the same time. The screenplay was written by the same team, all the scenes of all three films were shot at the same time, etc. This is totally unlike the situation with, say, the Harry Potter films where they have different directors, different screenwriters - where they basically make a new film with the same cast years later.

I consider the three films one huge, epic film in the same way that Tolkien consider LOTR one book.

My last re-watch was over a year ago; Fellowship is still the best. I do not care how completed the extended editions they are, but they are just bad. The extra scenes break up the pacing, are badly edited, or badly shot, and add really nothing in the end.

I wish, wish, wish that PJ didn’t go mess with the storyline in TTT and RoTK, specifically the Path of the Dead. The CG of the Army of the Dead winning the battle is so cheesy.