I should know better by now than to listen to some stuffy critics. But they still get to me every now and then. They sometimes have legitimate gripes about movies, but they usually have an elitist attitude that the average person can't relate to.
One mark of a good movie is when you don't realize how much time has passed. My daughter and I watched the whole thing straight through and didn't know 2 plus hours had passed.
So the extended cut of ROTK made it alot better? I would've thought the opposite. I'm curious enough that I might borrow my brothers dvd to see for myself.
Criticism is a mix of objective and subjective expressions, so it's very easy to get haughty when one gets wrapped up in objective superiority. One can argue "the camerawork is not expressive" and get that correct statement puffing up the ego of "I found this part boring" translating into "this was definitely longwinded". I find that a mix of reviews generally finds common truths from professional cinema critics, but that they tire too easily of "just entertainment" movies. Human nature, I suppose. Roger Ebert was IMO the best at seeing through the elitism that came from that, and even he was quite guilty of those mistakes at times.
That's great to hear you guys went through it and didn't notice the passage of time.
I don't know if I can say "a lot better" objectively, so I'll describe briefly how I felt with it in both scenarios:
ROTK theatrical cut lacked dramatic content for everybody except Frodo and Samwise. Gimli and Legolas' bits were repetitive of prior movies, mostly fighting and jibing while fighting, they felt shallow and wasted. Aragorn and Gandalf's scenes feel rote and lack impact. A few characters we knew pretty well in prior get cast aside, Pippin gets the short shrift and Sauruman even worse. The focus on Frodo's miserable final journey feels overwhelming.
ROTK extended cut had more for Aragorn, Saruman, and Pippin, a better balance in the battle to make the turning of tides better, the mouth of Sauron which never should have been cut in the original because it ties the non-Frodo stuff together far better. Gimli and Legolas get a little more to do and a little more weight to their drama, but still are on the short end. The film is more engaging but definitely is long enough that you need that mid-film disc break for an intermission.
Bottom line, when ROTK won the oscar I was surprised and felt like it won on the backs of better films. When I saw the extended cut, I no longer felt that way.
I like to read what both critic's review and audience's reviews have to say. I think it usually gives me a fairly good idea of what the movie is like. I think I was watching Roeper's review of it and he was one who used the "longwinded" term. I found Ebert was fairly reliable over the years as well, although, as you said, he could really miss the mark on some movies.
You pretty much summed up what I thought of ROTK as well. Frodo and Samwise seemed to be the only ones that really mattered. The rest just seemed like filler with not a whole lot of meaning to it. I got to a point where I was saying to myself "Geez, not another battle" and I love watching epic battles. It also seemed to take forever to end on the original cut. I think they could have ended it where Aragorn says to Frodo and Samwise " You will bow to no one" but thats just my opinion.
Until you mentioned it, I didn't even know about the mouth of Sauron or some of the other significant cuts. I'm actually kinda wanting to see his movie again.
When they brought in Roeper to replace the late Gene Siskel, I can't say I liked much about him. He does have that air of elitism about the way he talks about movies, it doesn't surprise me that he'd be the one to use it. College boy! :p
Hopefully you'll enjoy ROTK EE when you finally get a sixth of a day :eek: see it, there's a number of pure changes as well as additions which make it feel weightier.
I'm probably going to have to spread the movie out over a whole week. Its getting to be that time of year when I don't watch a whole lot of tv.
I absolutely loved ROTK when I saw it in the theater. I can see how some people might think that the end dragged on too long, but I kind of wish they had extended it even further in the EE. If I'm going to sit down and watch any of the LOTR films, I'm going to watch ROTK. It's just the grandness and scale of that movie that I love so much.
Originally Posted by JediTricks
However, I agree that when it won best picture, they were giving that award to the entire trilogy, not just ROTK.
Good luck. I haven't watched it in that many pieces, not sure how easy to follow that will be, but am very curious to hear how that turns out.
Originally Posted by Snowtrooper
For me, the end wasn't a problem (tho it was 1 too many endings, especially considering the Hobbits don't get the actual story ending with the Shire being rebuilt), it was the big battles that felt hollow, along with the repetitive notes with Gimli & Legolas and Sam & Frodo. The EE really brought the film back together for me. Compared to The Two Towers, which had a lot more heart and story and character in the theatrical, I just came out of the theater on ROTK feeling like something was missing.
Originally Posted by bigbarada
I wonder if Return of the Jedi had been better, if it would have won best picture for all 3 Star Wars movies the same way. SW was nominated for best picture but lost to Annie Hall (which is utterly ludicrous).
I would agree that Two Towers is the strongest of the three films and the closest to being a satisfactory stand-alone movie. However, I think that's just the nature of trilogies. The first film needs to set everything up and still provide an entertaining movie-going experience. The third film needs to properly tie up all the loose ends, resolve all the plotlines and provide a satisfactory resolution to the overall story. The second doesn't have to worry about any of that and can spend its time developing the characters and it can introduce new plot-points without the burden of needing to resolve them at all.
Originally Posted by JediTricks
This is why I think so many people enjoy ESB more than ANH or ROTJ and it's also why TTT feels like a stronger movie compared to FOTR and ROTK.
I do kind of recall feeling a bit empty after my first viewing of ROTK, but I chalked that up to the fact that I went to the midnight showing and the film didn't let out until close to 4 in the morning. I also knew that we would get an extended cut on DVD so it didn't really affect my opinion of the film.
That is an interesting point about ROTJ, though. However, I remember my initial impression of ROTJ after watching it for the first time was disappointment. I thought it was a major letdown. So I think it would have needed to be much, much better to win best picture for the whole trilogy. It wasn't until repeat viewings that I really began to appreciate the film.
It has been a while since I have seen any LOTR movies, and I probably only watched the extended versions once. I probably liked FOTR the best on first impression. I liked them all though. I just don't remember much detail about them. Kind of like the way it was when I re-read the books before the movies came out. Other than the first half of FOTR and vague recollections of the lengthy wandering of Sam, Frodo and Gollum in Mordor, it was as if I had never read the books before. Perhaps this summer I will try to watch both versions of the movies again.
I thought ROTJ was great when I first saw it. I enjoyed ESB as well, but it did not stand alone like the first movie, and left too many things hanging that we had to wait for ROTJ to resolve. I suppose the darker nature of how it ended was a bit disturbing to me as a 10 year old. Nothing traumatic, but just kind of creepy to look at photos of Han in carbonite with the orange glow on him.
To me, FOTR is the best film of the trilogy, it's more rounded and if that had been the only film, I'd still have found it quite satisfying (not in the way ANH was though, because that ending was always meant to be the end of that saga and was moved up to make the film a whole story), if Sam and Frodo had sailed off on their own at the end it would have made its own statement on the fellowship and on the nature of impossible quests.
But TTT obviously has a triumphant return of Gandalf, the Ring taking hold of Frodo, the Gollum material, and of course the spectacular Helm's Deep setup and payoff. It definitely could stand alone were it not for the thread of the destruction of the Ring.
My first viewing of ROTJ was when I was 7 about to turn 8. I remember coming out of the theater feeling very jazzed on what worked, the big battle between Luke and Vader, the space battle and inside the Death Star, Jabba's destruction, and even the Endor victory - basically, I took it as a kid would. There are a lot of strong elements in there, but they're surrounded by a mess of a film in so many ways. Had the film held the writing, editing, producing, and directing quality of ESB, I wouldn't be surprised to have seen it an Oscar contender (it probably would have lost to Terms of Endearment no matter what though, apparently Hollywood was full of easily-manipulated melodrama-loving academy voters that year), but the movie was just a trainwreck of bad decisions from the top down and what works seems to work mainly in spite of the intentions of TPTB rather than because of them.
I was 4 or 5 when I saw ESB and I remember coming out of the theater very depressed and sad at that ending.