lotr challenge, Day 3: in which I have a least favorite movie …

I feel bad saying this, but Return of the King is my least favorite of the trilogy. To me, it’s just not as engaging as the first and second ones. Number one, the sheer number of fade-to-black sequences was incredibly annoying; I feel like there was a better way to transition without making it seem like we’d reached an incomplete conclusion. Now, I’m not a filmmaker and have no idea if this was the best way to do this, but as a consumer of films, it was more irritating than anything else.

Second, the final battle is a bit ridiculous. There’s a particular scene that I’ll be discussing later on in the challenge that made me roll my eyes in the theater. There was also so much going on that I found it difficult to keep track of the different storylines, which actually segues well into my third point, which is that I got incredibly bored with the struggles of Frodo and Sam. Even now, I skip through those scenes because I’d rather focus on what’s happening with the rest of the former fellowship. So many of the other characters had a lot more emotional growth over the course of the three films, where the defining issue surrounding Frodo was that the ring was corrupting him, and I just didn’t feel as invested in that story until it got near the end. Fourth, OMG the use of CGI was excessive. I mean, it was very similar in the second movie, too, but Return of the King? Good god. I know practical effects are expensive and difficult to create, and I recognize that the sheer size of the final conflict required at least some CGI, but Peter Jackson relied too heavily on it.

Now, I don’t hate the movie; I frequently watch the trilogy, and there’s plenty I actually like about Return of the King. Naturally, I loved the scene where Eowyn kills the Witch King (what woman didn’t??) I did appreciate the feelings of despair when Faramir attempted to retake Osgiliath: it was essentially a suicide mission born out of a desire to earn his father’s love, something that I understand intimately (although I doubt that I’d go that far). One of my favorite scenes is when the hobbits are sitting at their old watering hole and just looking about, not necessarily bored but recognizing that these simple folk were blissfully ignorant of the danger from which they were spared (I know about the Scouring of the Shire and the Battle of Bywater from the book, guys). And Frodo’s choice to leave Middle Earth was a commentary on the consequences of war and the sacrifices those who fight it make (as well as how strong the effects of evil can have on a person’s psyche).

Despite those, I feel that this is the weakest of the Lord of the Rings movies. But the bar is pretty high for me here, and even though it’s my third favorite LOTR film, it’s still better than a lot of others out there.

Art Credit: Gabz, Watch Movies Free Online

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