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05 January 2002 @ 12:34 am
FotR, redux  
Having seen it again, I'm upgrading it from 'extremely good' to 'really fucking amazing'. Many of my previous issues were resolved simply by seeing it in a theater with better sound -- it made an huge difference with the Nazgul especially. My only remaining negative points are I still don't like the effects on Galadriel's speech, especially the way the sound is muddied. She's saying some really cool lines, and you can't hear a thing. And I still don't see why Jackson switched Gimli from being eager to see Moria because it is the ancient homeland of his people to because he expected dinner there.

I'm sure he had a reason, pretty clearly every divergence from the book was carefully thought out, but it doesn't seem necessary and it makes Gimli look the fool, especially when he's babbling about hospitality when we can see bodies in the moonlight on the floor. And while Tolkien does use Gimli for comic relief occasionally, he's not stupid. If they had deleted the Balin story I could have understood it, but they did the whole sequence at his tomb and even reading part of the Book of Mazarbul; it seems that having him talk about Moria and his hope that his cousin will still be there would have only have increased the emotional impact of finding the tomb and book.

But still, two small nits among so much greatness. I think I'll have to see it at least one more time -- different things stood out for me this time and I caught many more details. I was less distracted by Legolas this time, and therefore caught more of the others in battle -- I still haven't caught Graydon's knee-kicking, but I saw more of the fighting styles he mentioned, Boromir's strength catching an orc blow with one hand, Aragon's constant movement, Gimli throwing axes.

And I loved Aragorn and especially Boromir even more this time. Having reread the book, I am ever more impressed with what they do in the movie. In the book, it's clear that Boromir is a great warrior and a proud man, but it's not at all clear he's a _good_ man, and thus the power of his temptation and the tragedy of his death is considerably muted. In the movie it's clear he is a good man, one who has been fighting all his life and watching ground lost every battle; one who knows his homeland is doomed without a miracle. I think to some degree PJ drew on Faramir his brother's characterization to develop this take; Faramir is the more reflective of the two and tells Frodo pretty much that when they meet in Ithilien. I'm wondering if this is a sign that the Ithilien sequence got cut; it's a pretty obvious candidate for being chopped in Two Towers, as the Barrow-downs sequence was in Fellowship.

And Amon Hen! Everything about it! From Boromir's childlike 'Frodo' as he wakes from his madness and realizes what he has done, to Aragorn's face as he turns to face the oncoming orcs, every inch the uncrowned King of Arnor and Gondor; from Merry and Pippin's luring of the orcs from Frodo, to Boromir's struggling again and again to rise, and fighting even from his knees when he can no longer stand. Legolas' fast-as-breath shooting; the mix of horror and dreamlike peace as the Uruk-hai captain leisurely draws his bow to finish off the kneeling Boromir; Sam's sturdy determination as he wades into the river he cannot swim to follow Frodo. Aragorn and Boromir's final words together, and the gentleness with which Aragorn kisses his forehead.

There's a lot of Boromir in that, but it's only just because Sean Bean owns that section of the movie. With timeshare rights for Viggo Mortenson.
Al Pettersoneyelessgame on January 5th, 2002 09:36 am (UTC)
I hope they won't cut Ithilien. It does too much to develop Gollum's and Faramir's character, tells Gandalf and Pippin that Frodo's going to Cirith Ungol (and that Frodo is still alive), does another important reminder of the temptation of the Ring (what a great sequence it is; this is Boromir's brother; what are the odds he'll succeed where Boromir failed?) and perhaps most important, and generally it makes the two storylines of Two Towers connect.

They'll probably delete discussion of Boromir from Ithilien, though. It's a consistent theme in this movie that Jackson never just told what he could show -- which is one of the things that made the movie so good.
Lauratavella on January 8th, 2002 02:12 am (UTC)
Yeah, you are right, they probably have to have at least some of the section to introduce Faramir. But I bet it will be severely cut.

I'm curious what they will do with the end -- I doubt they are going to cliffhanger it as the book does. If you move the whole Shelob/orcs section to RotK, it crowds an already busy movie, and if you move it all to TT, it doesn't leave much of Frodo and Sam's story for RotK. Maybe they will cliffhanger it, if they think the resolution of the Saruman story makes a satisfying enough movie.