The second and third LOTR: Were they good?

I saw the first LOTR movie. Quite honestly, the first time I saw it, it was alright. And the second and third time it was downright boring. (I’m sorry to you LOTR fans) I was thinking of maybe renting the second one (and the third one when it comes out on DVD). Is it worth it? By the way I haven’t read the books either, are they worth reading?

IMHO, they got better as they went: the third was the best.

As one who’s opinion reflects your’s of the first movie, and one who has also not read the books, I can attest that I found the second movie even more coma-inducing than the first. Whether the third continues down the same trail, I would not know as I have no interest in watching it. Of course, you may feel differently about the second movie were you to watch it, but your opinion of the first movie should be a fairly accurate indicator.

I never read the books. I thought the first movie was all right. I found the second one less so. The third one was so long and drawn out, without really saying anything, that I stopped watching it as soon as the ring was delivered to its intended place. I pretty much feel that watching them was a waste of time.

Read the books and forget about the movie.

My opinion is that they’re worth it for the most specatular battle scenes filmed yet. Especially in ROTK, it’s the first time since I was a kid that a movie has managed to overwhelm me with spectacle.

ROTK was the best movie I’ve ever seen in the theaters. And one of the best, if not the best that I’ve ever seen, overall.

It did, however, leave me with permenant stress fractures on my pelvis from bladder distention. But hey, no pain no gain.

I made my roommate watch all three. She thought the first two were “okay”, too long, kinda boring, but the last hour was pretty good. Needless to say, she wasn’t too interested in seeing the third, but I made her watch it anyway. She said that was the only one she really really liked. It held her attention the whole time and was actually good, despite how long it is.

She doesn’t like long movies.

Considered solely as a movie, without reference to the books, the Fellowship was probably the best of the three – not a lot of exposition to slow it down, a gorgeous vision of Tolkien’s world, the stunning horseback chase, etc.

The second and third movies, it seems to me, have a increasingly harder time standing apart from the books. This is due largely to just how much ground they have to cover.

Now, speaking as a guy who has read the entire series time and time again, the Fellowship hewed quite closely to the book, omitting a few details that weren’t critical to the story, and making only a few, relatively minor changes. Substituting Arwen for Glorfindel didn’t do any real violence to the narrative, for example.

The Two Towers, on the other hand, really stomped on the story right, left, and center. Some of those changes were intended to compress a very complex plot, which is excusible, but some had no rational purpose that I could discern.

Faramir’s taking Sam and Frodo to Osgiliath, for example, not only totally rewrote Faramir’s character for the worse, but it slowed the pace of the movie by requiring the director to show the battle for Osgilliath, which was visually exciting, but fundamentally irrelevant to the story. Similarly, Aragorn’s swim in the River really didn’t do anything more than slow things down – it’s not like anyone thought he wasn’t coming back!

The Return of the King, to some degree, managed to follow the story much more closely, but, because of the slow pace of the previous movie, had to cover a lot of ground that it otherwise could have skipped. If the second movie had left out the battle of Osgilliath, it could have included the Cirith Ungol sequence, leaving the audience hanging with Frodo captured, as did the book. This would have allowed the rather overstuffed third movie more room to tell the story.

On the other hand, this is all nitpicking and second-guessing. I couldn’t have done one-tenth the job Jackson and his crew did. The movie trilogy is a landmark in bringing an extrodinary work of the imagination to life.


The thing is, that LOTR is something of a cultural icon. I wasn’t alive when it was first published, but I was around in the '70s when it seems (to me, anyway) that there was a “Middle Earth Revival”. My sister was a hippy, and I remember the “back to Nature” thing that was going on in the late-1960s and early-1970s. In that light, LOTR can be seen as the triumph of a peaceful agrarian society over a war-mongering industrial one. When was the SCA formed? I became aware of it in the late-1970s/early-1980s, a time when LOTR seemed to be extremely popular. In this light, you might say that Jackson’s films were made for the people who read the books 20 or 30 years ago; so someone who has not read the books might not fully appreciate them because they don’t have the background information provided by the books.

I knew people for whom the books were like the Bible. But instead of a God that metes out punishment, the heroes were trying to preserve Nature. How can I put this? In the Bible, God is all-powerful. In LOTR, God (Nature) needs the help of its creations. But the point is that many people saw LOTR as a way of life, not just an adventure tale. People who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s didn’t have the Vietnam War. They didn’t have Watergate. The Cold War was ending, and was no longer a threat. The emphasis was on having a good time, rather than the Ecology Movement. The ideals of Middle Earth were not as relevant as they were in the early-to-mid '70s.

I cannot say how I would take the films without having read the books. I’d already read them in high school (and several times since). But I think that they would be better appreciated had the viewer read the books first.

You’re going to have conflicting answers. I liked them all, but contrarily to ** lissener ** I thought they were worst as they went. I liked the first a lot, the second significantly less, etc… Another poster found that the third one was more interesting due to the battles scenes that I found way too long and sometimes ludicrous. I’m not a great fan of action scenes. If you like them and like special effects, then maybe you’ll like TTT an ROTK better. The story having been set up in the first movie, there’s much more “movement” in the two others.

As for the books : of course, they’re worth reading. The fact they’re so famous and had so much readers and so much fans is an evidence of it. But it doesn’t mean that you will like them. Do you like Heroic Fantasy at the first place? If you do, there’s a good chance you’ll like them.

Personnally, I loved them a lot when I was a teenager, and read them several times. Latter, I began to have some reservations, more about the implied ideas than about the story. I would note that a lot of people find the beginning of the first book (the part about the Shire) boring.

I would also read the books before watching the movie, but it’s a personnal preference, of course. Maybe you’ll appreciate more not to know the story and be surprised.

I’d recommend the DVD versions over the regular released versions. (The third one is not out yet–due in Sept. or Oct., I think). The DVD versions are longer, but they use the extra time to tell more of the backstory–a lot of the the things that seem confusing in the regular release are nicely explained or set up in the DVD versions.

I just think they have better storytelling, whether you are new to the books or an oldtimer like me.

To the Original Post: As you can tell from the prior answers, this is one case where you are truly on your own to decide. However, I would strongly urge you to watch them and form your own opinion. Even if you decide they are too long, or you don’t like the story, or whatever, watch them for the incredible costumes, sets, music, actors. They really didn’t get all those award nominations for nothing. Then let us know what you think.

As for me, I first read and loved the books many, many years ago, and have reread them many times. Same comment as for movies. I think they are definitely worth reading, but they may not be your cup of tea, and that’s cool.

I could nitpick the movies, but overall they were so beautifully done I am just grateful for them. I just rewatched “Return of the King” again last night, and once again my eyes welled up with tears many times.
And yes, I’m one of the geeks who is looking forward to the extended edition of “Return” with 50 more minutes of Middle Earth. (For other geeks - Here’s a link. Scroll down; toward the middle is a preview of the extended stuff. Take with grain of salt if you wish.

Although I liked all three, I have to agree that they get worse as they go. The third one had enough “WTF” moments to make me almost put in the dislike category. The best battle sequence is in the second.

I would say, try watching the second nad if you haven’t changed your mind, then don’t bother with the third. But if you didn’t like the first< ia mguessing you won’t care for the other two.

Books? They adapted the movies into books?

There’s an interesting sub-issue going on here.

Like the OP, I was greatly disappointed with FotR and haven’t had any interest in seeing the next two. So I was reading this thread to see if anyone came up with a strong enough reason for me to overcome my hesitation. In particular, I was looking for arguments that would assure me that my biggest reason for not seeing the next two isn’t a major thing.

The issue: the battle scenes.

Long drawn out, CGI-heavy battles scenes ruin movies. Only a very small number of events can happen in a battle that advances the story. The longer the battle, the more “special” effects, etc., the less story/minute.

So, to see people recommending the next two because of the spectacular (?) battle scenes stikes me as weird. If someone were to try to win me over they’d have to say things about battle scenes like “they don’t last too long, and important story developments happen throughout them.”

Anyone with a big enough budget and 0 story-sense can put 1000s of strange creatures in a movie scene. I will not only be unimpressed but actually bored during such scenes.

So, in short, no one here has a good (non-battle scene related) argument why I should sit thru the next 2, right?

Speaking as someone who watched all three LOTR movies, I can assure you that your feelings about the first will not be changed by the later ones. It doesn’t get any less pompous, and even when they try to crowbar in a joke, it’s all horribly self-conscious. It’s not Middle Earth as I imagined it at all. Not at all.


Which is why I am so depressed by the new barrage of “greatest movie of all time” films (all subtitled “we got new processors!”). I will not be bothering with Troy, or King Arthur’s Arse, or any of that stuff, because in twenty years time computer games will look better, and at least then I might find the battles entertaining. The noise of swords clashing together is going to take a long time to get interesting again.

Also, Orlando Bloom is a girl. Actually so is Elijah Wood.

The second and third LOTR: Were they good?

Yes. To elaborate, they weren’t just popular with the masses (box office numbers), but they also won awards.

I was thinking of maybe renting the second one (and the third one when it comes out on DVD). Is it worth it?

Yes. However, you have already stated that you didn’t like the first one. Using that as a guide, save yourself the three hours and don’t bother.

By the way I haven’t read the books either, are they worth reading?

Yes. If you don’t like fantasy, you shouldn’t bother. I think they are showing their age, but if you read fantasy, it’s interesting to read a big part of the roots of the genre.

I have read LOTR every year for the past 15 years so you could say I am a fan of the books.

First let me say that I really loved the movies. The first time seeing each of them I spent too much time analyzing the changes from the book and didn’t really experience them. The second viewing had a far greater emotional impact. I can’t say that this would be the same for someone not familiar with the books- but for me the second time was the charm.

I would also say the the extended versions of the films tell the story better than the theatrical releases.

I can’t escape the feeling that LOTR should be evaluated as a single movie but if I were forced to say which part I liked the best it would be ROTK. FOTR has some moments that still can make me cry and I will never forgot the wonder of our first introduction to Jackson’s vision Middle Earth, but the thematic elements get their best treatment in ROTK and visually, it is a wonder to behold. TT, especially the battle at Helm’s Deep, is also good, but up the transformation of Theoden it seems a little lost.

All that said, if you were non-plused by FOTR, don’t bother with the other 2. If FOTR failed to move you (and I must admit that I can’t understand how it couldn’t), than the final 2 films will probably just strike you as silly.
(as a long time fan of the books the only change that really bothered me was Aragorn’s river trip. I still don’t get why it is there. I actually liked the Faramir change as in the books I found him to be too one dimensional. I believe the movie change made the most of the Denethor-Boromir-Faramir triangle, and gave us a chance to see his struggle and appreciate his goodness- these elements are in the book but are presented in a way that I do not believe could have been translated to cinema. Of course, if I did not know that the Voice of Saruman is to be included in the extended version of ROTK, that too would bother me).