I just saw The Lord Of The Rings: The Return of The King this afternoon. It was absolutely fantastic.
It’s the longest film of the trilogy, running to a bum-numbing 3 hours 20 minutes! But I have to say it was well worth it. I cannot recommend it enough.
The final part of the story is told extremely well. The scenes at Minas Tirith are breath taking. The scale of the sets is awesome! The battle scenes are great, but especially the beasts and the war machines had me perched on the edge of my seat.
I found the dialogue much more interesting in this final part. Although, in a cinema packed with school age children who are unable to concentrate without talking for more than about 20 minutes, it was, alas, not possible to actually hear all the dialogue. I was surprised that so many children were watching, but pleased too, despite the noise levels, that most of them were able to sit for that length of time.
I think Peter Jackson has done a marvelous job of surreptitiously bringing back long films to the cinema. He has proven that you can make a very long film, that you can get an audience to sit still for more than two and a half hours. All you need is a good story told well. You don’t need mega stars, you don’t need naked bodies or exploding cars, just good characters well developed, and good storylines. Action? Yeah sure! But no blood and spilling guts required. Special Effects? Absolutely! But not for their own sake.
One consequence of all the hushed (and not so hushed sometime) conversations going on around me was that I could get an insight into the people’s reactions to the movie. It was refreshing to hear that they ‘got it’, that they followed the plot and the interplay between the characters. Though some may not have had all the details quite right (“Is he back in the Spire?” “It’s the ‘Shire’ dummy!”).
The only low spot I can remember from the whole movie was that some of the acting between Frodo and Sam was a little less than convincing. I don’t think they quite got the relationship across properly. The three or four girls in the row behind me were less than gripped by the big emotional scenes and amused themselves by imagining (aloud, unfortunately) the conversation with a gay slant.
I will have to see it again, probably in a late showing, to give myself a chance of hearing all of the last twenty minutes. Most of which was impossible to hear today after the attention span of some of the audience was exceeded.