I wanted a thread for those that have seen it and want to discuss it without spoiling it for those that haven't seen it yet. I'm not sure that other thread is the appropriate place to talk about specific details. So a Spoiler thread seems to be in order.
Overall I liked it very much. But I haven't read any of the books, so I don't know how much that would have affected me. I wasn't at all bothered by the length. It seemed to go by pretty fast.
I thought the Frodo, Sam & Golum/Smiegal story played out very well. The triangle between the three was fraught with tension all the way through. And Shelob the spider was an effective final obstacle for Frodo. Sam really came into his own in this film. He really was the true representation of the gentle, loving spirit of the Hobbitts. I think it's telling that the film ended with Sam being in the final frame with his wife and children. I wasn't expecting him to take center stage so to speak, but I thought it was wonderfully touching how true Sam stayed throughout the journey in these films.
I actually thought Frodo was going to bite the big one. Throw himself into the fire and lava at Mt Doom. I almost wanted a more dramatic, self-sacrificing ending for Frodo than having him sail off into the sunset with Elron and Company. But that's just me. Of course now I understand it really had to be Gollum that dies, otherwise there would be no way to tie his story up. Somehow I was hoping the inner battle in him would cause the good part (Smiegal) to do something heroic over the evil part of him. But he remained obsessed to the end. Back to Frodo, let me just say that Elijah Woods has got two of the most emotive eyes I've ever seen. He really played a terrific Frodo.
Happy to see that Merry and Pippin played more than comic relief this time. Both had to face challenges in this installment, particularly Pippin. I LOVED that everyone bowed to the four Hobbits near the end when Aragon was crowned.
One of my favorite scenes believe it or not is at the end in the Shire tavern. There were no words at all. Just the four of them with their drinks sitting silently while the unknowing Hobbits around them carried on in their usually jovial way. It was such an effective scene that really showed how remarkably affected they were by their adventure, and how different they were now because of it.
The battle at Gondor was very long and very cinematically exciting. And yet for some reason it felt like it got wrapped up rather quickly once the ghost fighters (I forget what they were called) came into the picture. They just sort of swarmed through and finished the battle without a lot of dramatic tension.
And while I was happy that it was the blond chick (Again I can't spell the name) that took down the mightiest of the evil warriors, part of me just didn't buy how easy it was to take him down. I kept remembering from Fellowship of the Rings how that particular warrior seemed unbeatable until Ilsidor cut him down with the famous sword. I wanted Aragon to take him down with that same sword. All in all, Aragon didn't leave me with as much of an impression as some of the other characters. I'm not sure why that is.
But the battle scene at Gondor was truly remarkable. A lot of interesting creatures and beautiful shots. Many in the audience were gasping at one thing or another. It made the final battle scene at Mordor kind of a letdown because it couldn't top the battle at Gondor. Everything about the battle at Gondor was more stirring. Even the blond King of Rohan (Phalen or somethng) gave a more stirring speech than Aragon did when he had to do the same thing at Mordor. Watching the eye crash down, and the reactions of all once they realized the ring was destroyed, was still quite something to see.
I was disappointed that we didn't see as much of Gimli and Legolas this time around. But I guess we can't have everything.
One thing that I sort didn't like was that the movie had like 4 or 5 false endings. I kept thinking "Oh, it over....wait no it's not. OK, now it's....oh wait I guess not..." and so on! It got a little comical! I sort of like big, dramatic endings where the music swells to a climatic close. Instead it ended kind of sweetly in a "life goes on" kind of way. Not saying that's bad, just different emotionally than I might have preferred.
I get easily distracted by the people around me in the theater. But it's a must-see on a big screen. Nevertheless I'm looking forward not only to the extended DVD when it comes out, but also doing a marathon so I can see all 3 back-to-back in the comfort of my home.
I know I listed more things I didn't like, but I really did love the movie. I just need to see it again to pick up more of the nuances I missed from the first viewing.
A couple of questions of things I didn't quite catch:
How did Sam get the ring near the end? I know that the Orcs took everything away from Frodo. It seemed strange that the ring wasn't immediately recognized by the Orcs and taken to the Dark Lord.
Where do the elves go when they sail off in these movies? I get the impression that it's a forever kind of thing that they are never to be seen again.
Any thoughts on why the Elves weren't part of the battle against evil? They were very effective in the battle at Helms Deep. I would have liked to seen them. All in all there was far too little bow and arrow action in the film for my taste. (Of course that's just cause I'm a little sweet on Legolas!)
But a great film! Go and see it!