Lord of the Rings: reviews

Considering how many LOR geeks there are among the foreign exile community (myself foremost among them), I can’t believe that noone’s mentioned this yet!

So, what did you think?

From my own perspective, it exceded my expectations overall, although more could’ve been done with character developement, and the section in Lorien was disappointing, due to time constraints and the weird performance of Cate Blanchett. However, the scenery was astounding, the main actors are perfect for their parts (especially Gandalf and Saruman!), and the section in Moria was absolutely AWESOME!

I saw it in the States a few weeks ago, and I thought it was terrific.

Of course, if you’d read the review in the Taipei Times, you would be lead to believe that the movie sucks. It really disappoints me that some critics get so lost in their own vision of a book that they can’t enjoy subsequent movie for what it is: a movie.

I’m glad you realized that there just isn’t time to go into all of the character development in a movie–even one of three hours length. There have been a few critics who forget that and can’t enjoy it as a cinematic experience.

I think Peter Jackson did a terrific job. I’m thankful that there’s a director who can do a movie with action–but understands that it isn’t action that drives the story. I appreciate somebody who knows when to slow things down, when to show emotion, when to use (and not use) special effects, and when to just let the actors be quiet.

Oh well–those who can’t direct, teach film. Those who can’t teach film, become P.E. teachers. Those who can’t become P.E. teachers, become critics. (apologies to Woody Allen)

(Sorry–I hated that review. Let the carnage begin.)

yeah, the Taipei Times review was terrible (they usually are). Taht prat didn’t even know waht he was talking about what witht the errors in his review and everything. I mean to claim that you’ve read the book (I doubt he had) and then spell one of the main character’s names wrong the whole way through (it’s Gandalf) is a bit off. Also his comment about too much computer effects causing Rivendell to look painted on was odd considering as tyhat was real scenery and sets.

I thought he movie was very powerful and managed to pull out a couple of major plot themes and make them work very well (like the lure of the ring). Gandalf and Strider were fantastic, the moving camera was awesome, the pace was great. I was a little dissapointed in Legolas and Gimli, but I guess they’ll get fleshed out in the nexty couple fo books. My only problem with LOTR as a MOVIE was that the finish and climax seemed a bit off. I think this is the constraint of the way the book is split up and the fact that the climax in the movie (which is about the fellowship and the power of the ring) was more conceptual than an actual fight against an actual enemy. Chinese friends who hadn’t read the book thought that it was a strange place to end.


I watched it some times back in Europe and found it ok only. Maybe it appeals more to those who have read the book (I didn’t) but I found it too slow and surely not of ‘epic proportions’ as some other critics called it.
That said the movie wasn’t bad or really boring, but it just misses something to make it a truly great flick.

So, my opinion of the Fellowship of the Ring: The movie began very awkwardly and stayed that way for quite a long time. The camerawork was not as good as I had expected. Granted, the scenes being portrayed were beautiful, but they were by no means beautifully portrayed. The music was mediocre and altogether uninspiring.

As for the pace of the film, I know it is a difficult task to cram so much content into such a short time, but I really felt like I was on a whirlwind package tour of Middle Earth. The shot of the One Ring being cut off Sauron’s finger was replayed several times too many, and there were also too many unneeded flashbacks. The entire movie lacked subtlety to a degree that almost felt like a slap in the face, and I don’t mean that in a good way.

Rivendell was entirely too frilly. Indeed, the entire elven race seemed emasculated to a degree not even hinted at in the books. All of the laticework and lack of dignity in the architecture had me cringing in the theater. There was no sense of space. That the Council of Elrond was held on a porch, of all places, seemed an outrage. What happened to the big meeting hall?

And the whole Liv Tyler thing: I could hear waves of yawns sweeping through the audience when Arwen appeared in the wilderness, just managing to drown out the mushy, earthy sound of Tolkien rolling in his grave. It must be a hard thing to ignore the marketing people if even Peter Jackson gives in to their insistance on a solid love interest. I had thought that, being from New Zealand, he would be less easily swayed. Oh, well.

Around the time the company came to Moria, the pace seemed to click, but the movie lost it again in the addled mess that was Lothlorien, which was apparently filmed in a tiny stage set or a cave. I was half expecting to see Osama bin Laden at some point. (So that’s where he’s been hiding!)

With the appearance of the awesome fighting Uruk-hai things picked up again, although the character of their supposed creator Saruman was rather over the top. By the time the credits rolled the movie had almost managed to redeem itself, yet even at three hours it felt rushed and clipped.

I left the theater not quite knowing what to think. This movie makes me wonder if it is indeed possible to bring the Lord of the Rings to the screen at all. Jackson certainly gave it a good shot, and I will certainly be waiting to see what he does with The Two Towers and The Return of the King, but the first part, my favorite of the three books, does not lead me to believe that they will be much better.

Of course, the audience didn’t help my viewing experience very much either. A girl sitting behind me spent the entire movie either giggling hysterically at totally innappropriate places or clicking her tongue whenever anything remotely bad happened. At the end she started going on about how terrible the ending was. “Nothing was resolved!” she whined.

and I’m a Tolkien freak, to boot. In fact, I will see it a few more times, I’m sure…

It WAS an epic! The scenery, sets, costumes, mood, representation of the book, and other aspects, were executed almost flawlessly.

The Shire was exactly as I’d imagined it.
Lothlorien was aptly ethereal.
The Pillars of the Kings were groovadelic.
I was scared shitless watching the Moria scenes, which I’d say were the best in the film. They scared me in the book, too…

I loved the Hobbits the most. They were lovely and so hobbit-like with their cute fuzzy feet! It’s amazing how Jackson was able to shrink them down so proportionately. I think he must have used child stand-ins for many parts.

The actor who played Boromir did a fantastic job, but I didn’t get his name as they whipped the credits off as soon as the film was over. THAT DRIVES ME CRAZY HERE! I think only Warner Village allows them to roll…

Some things that bothered me, but by no means affected my appreciation of the film, I’d like to impart to those who’ve not read the books:

In the book Arwen (Liv Tyler) did NOT meet them in the forest and save Frodo from the Ringwraiths!
They left out Tom Bombadil completely! why?
The relationship between Gimli and Legolas wasn’t even touched upon, as it’s an important point that the Elves and Dwarves are enemies, and those two end up becoming best friends. Also, in Lothlorien, they’re supposed to be blindfolded at first when they enter because the Elves don’t trust the Dwarf, and say that only HE should be blindfolded, but the others say they’ll be blindfolded too, in an act of comraderie…
Sam’s attachment to his horse wasn’t set up, because they’d bought “Bill” in Bree from Bill Ferney who’d mistreated him, and Sam fell in love with Bill, so when he sadly sends him away at Moria, it makes no sense.
Frodo and Sam disappear at the end of “Fellowship” and don’t let Strider know. So those three (Gimli, Aragorn “Strider”, and Legolas) go off after the Orcs, thinking that it’s Sam and Frodo who were taken away. Boromir only says ‘they’ve got the halflings’, his dying words, so Aragorn doesn’t know which ones.

Basically, the film brings the novel to life, and even with the few discrepencies, it still makes for a great adventure film, and will surely rake in a few awards at the Oscars.

I liked ‘Harry Potter’ too, but this was a feat of genius by director, Peter Jackson, while Christopher Columbus didn’t take so many artistic risks with his rendition of Potter.
Had Tolkien been alive, we may have seen a gloss akin to 'Potter, which hinged upon what JK Rowling would allow.

I’d like to say that the fantasy genre has made quite a comeback these couple years, and I’m wondering what has made this so. Could it be that we’re all wanting some form of escapism? What do you think?

Originally posted by Alien: The actor who played Boromir did a fantastic job, but I didn't get his name as they whipped the credits off as soon as the film was over. THAT DRIVES ME CRAZY HERE! I think only Warner Village allows them to roll...

The actor’s name is Sean Bean (Ronin and one of the later Bond flicks among other), and I still have to wait for the time when I can see the credits at Warner Village. Have you EVER seen them there?

I always see the credits at Warner. I think they only turn them off after everyone has left the theater. If I stay and watch, they always leave them on. That’s one of the reasons I usually go to Warner to see movies. The lack of people with plastic bags full of fried squid on a stick is another, and it seems people are less apt to hold conversations on their cellphones there as well.

Also, the fact that my company is moving to the building right next door doesn’t hurt, either.

I have to say that Paogao makes some good points from the other side; I guess I’m just too much of a nut to be that critical at this point, and frankly I wasn’t expecting much.

To respond to some other points:

I read that in fact they did film some scenes in the Old Forest, as well as a lot more in Lorien, but those were taken out in the final cut. Rumor has it, in fact, that the DVD will contain the uncut version which is supposedly something like 4 hours long!

I also felt let down by the lack of Legolas/Gimli interaction. I agree with Paogao that the council of Elrond fell flat - and having it on the porch certainly took away from the gravity of the scene.

I felt that the story was strung together a bit loosely from the perspective of somene who hadn’t read the books. An example of this would be Frodo telling Gandalf, “It’s a pity Bilbo didn’t kill Gollum when he had the chance.” In the beginning of the movie, there’s no indication that Bilbo and Gollum even met. Also, why wouldn’t Gandalf know about the password to Moria if he’d been through it already (as he later indicates)? The reason is in the book, of course, but not in the movie.

Perhaps I’m being a bit picky there…but those kind’ve things would’ve bugged me if I hadn’t already read the stories.

On the other hand, I have to give Jackson credit for portraying the Shire and Rivendell perfectly, and even imagining some of the scenes better than I could in my head - Isengard, Barad-Dur, Moria.

In reply to some of those points:

True, some other elf does (I forget his name), but seeing as Jackson was trying to give Arwen a bigger role without turning her into Xena and haing a Fellowship of 9 guys and a gal, I think it was a good substitution.

It’s a big book. They had to leave some stuff out and Bombadil can be left out without affecting the rest of the story in the slightest.

I’m hoping that will be developed more in Towers, like when they’re defending Rohan together.

Actually in the book they’re not sure. They know they might be abandoning Frodo and Sam. I think the film works will here though as it is bringing out that theme of the lure of the ring and why Frodo has to go it alone.

I agree with Poagao about the elves on consideration. Should have been more space and a big meeting hall. Less frilly lattices. I disagree about the camerawork though. I thought it was great. Lots of nice moving camera shots.

FYI to the person who wondered about the hobbits. They did use small standins (and big standins for humans) some of the time. They also had two sets of places like Bilbo’s house - one big one small. They used a variety of different techniques so that you wouldn’t really be able to see how they were doing it. It seemed very natural to me.

A cinematic masterpiece.
Even those Tolkien snobs among you will find little fault.

The only bad thing was those uncomfortable sloping seats at Warner Village which make your ass numb after three hours. Next time I see this, I’ll be going to Living Hell Mall VIP cinema, a worthwhile extra 40NT. I’d advise other fidgety folks to do the same.
This is not a film to wait to watch on DVD.
The Battle at Helm’s Deep must be seen on a large screen first time around. Spectacular.

You keep wondering how the hell they filmed the battle scenes. So, I found some info here that explains how it was all created digitally. I think Poagao may have some input here. Poagao? You seen it yet?
Peter Jackson and his crew don’t miss many details. It is by far superior to the first part of the trilogy (but then there was an extra year to edit that one and put in all the effects).
It’s interesting too, that in a film, you cannot wait until halfway to show Frodo, Sam and Gollum as the book does, and instead, the film goes back and forth between the adventures quite smoothly.
Liv Tyler’s bit could have been cut down, and I wonder what Jackson was thinking giving her so much unnecessary screen time. Maybe it was to entertain female audiences with the romance, or maybe it was so we could feast our eyes on Liv’s flawless complexion and pouting lips, but whatever, it still worked, at least where he nestled it alongside Eowyn’s dialogue. Aragorn gets all the babes… :slight_smile:
As in “Fellowship”, Sam and Gandalf steal the show, but we don’t see that much of Gandalf the WHITE this time around.
The comic elements were the quirky old Ents, Kiwi Orcs, and Gimli. Gollum was also amusing, but still creepy.

In Chinese, the Orcs are translated as ‘Half-animal men’ and ‘strong-animal men’, Ents as ‘Tree men’, Elves as ‘Geniuses’. Interesting. Gimli is the ‘golden bull’, I think.

Just go see it, you won’t be disappointed. But choose your theatre according to comfort!

I must say I really enjoyed this epic of a movie! The battle scenes, well the whole 3 hours was so intense, I was literally on the edge of my seat and almost jumped out of it crying, “Nooo!” a few times! I felt drained afterwards, it was that good!
Being a female I just loved all the shots of Aragorn and Legolas kicking ass in battle. It was good that even in the most intense of moments we were provided some comic relief by Gimli or the very creepy Gollum. Oh, it was so good, just run out and go see it now!

Just back from seeing it. Spectacular! 3 hours long though. We went to the VIP theatre at CPC Mall. As Alien says, the extra comfort the seats provide is well worth the extra cost - also not so many people to piss you off by talking on their phones during the movie.

I just got back from seeing it. I believe most of the battle scenes were computer generated imagery, but it was very well done for the most part. A bit of a lighting problem with the hobbits in the Ent portions (they seemed like they were under bulbs in an indoor studio). I didn’t care too much for the Arwen/Elrond bit stuck in the middle of the film, which really slowed it down, but I loved the rest of it. A highly entertaining flick. Can’t wait to see the extended version of that and the first one as well.

Elves are

TTT is part 2 of 3 parts. No need not to see the film, as it just stops.

The movie is outstanding…but one question. Were there really elves fighting at Helm’s Deep? I don’t remember any Elves taking part in that battle???

Also I was very saddened to see Durin’s Bane get his rear kicked by Gandalf. I have a soft spot for Balrogs. :smiley:


I agree 100% with Alien. I loved it to bits. Of course that’s to be expected, because I’m a huge fan. My wife however, is not a fan and didn’t like the first one much. But she really liked this one. I asked her what she liked the most and she said the fighting scenes. That was a shcok becuase action is not usually her thing. So even if you’re not a big action fan, you can still really enjoy this movie. She also liked the Ents, but I thought they were too skinny. I think there were a few changes from the book. I don’t remember Elves at Helm’s Deep either (it worked well in the film though I think). Gollum’s psychology is developed more in the film. I’m also fairly sure that Frodo and Sam’s meeting with Faramir’s camp is quite different. I think Faramir’s attitude to Frodo was quite different in the book. But the way they treat it in the movie develops the theme of the power of the ring that was so emphasised in the first movie. Of course one of the biggest stars in this movie was the fantastic New Zealand scenery. Finally, just want to say again HELM’S DEEP - my new favoruite cinematic battle scene of all time. Just can’t wait to see if they can do a huge pitched battle in the open in part 3 as well as they handled a seige. Ups to Peter Jackson.


[quote=“sandman”]Hmmm. Maybe I should see one of these films, or read the book or something.[/quote]If it’s a choice of one of the three, I recommend you read the book. It’s a classic for a reason.

Off-topic, but I find it amazing that there is no Chinese translation of the Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis, nor has there been a big-screen adaptation of those books (although I do remember seeing an animated version of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe on tv in Canada ages ago…

The books are too thick, the type’s too small and they’re about bloody elves and goblins, fer chrissakes! I’ll stick to Irvine Welsh, ta. Crackheads and junkies are far more interesting than faerie dells and all that nonsense.