Saw "Return of the King" on Friday, but am just now getting around to writing down my thoughts.
To sum up in one word . . . WOW.
Wow, wow, wow. I loved this film, and the trilogy as a whole. What a fantastic job was done to create what I consider to be a true masterpiece of cinema. I don't actually enjoy the books, as Tolkien's writing style annoys me, but the man did tell one hell of a story, and I think Jackson and the others involved in making these films did a fantastic job of translating it to film. Really beautiful, moving, tasteful . . . just wonderful.
Specific thoughts about RotK (in the order in which I was affected by them):
Faramir. OMG. The scene where Denethor told Faramir he wished he'd died instead of Boromir . . . OMG! And then Pippin sang while Faramir rode of to his "death" - this was BY FAR the most moving scene in the entire trilogy. My heart was broken (and my tear ducts had quite a workout, as well ::grin::). OMG. I wanted to scream. I wanted to do physical harm to Denethor. (Slapping and shaking). You just don't SAY something like that to your child. Period. Oh, I HATED Denethor . . . and definitely wanted to give Faramir a good cuddle - you know, make up for all that pain his father caused him. ;-) This was actually the first really really lustful sort of moment for me. Yeah, Legolas looks good and all, but he didn't need some good lovin' like Faramir did. Plus, since I'm not all that familiar with the canon, I didn't remember what happened to Faramir, so I thought he really had died.
Actually, I felt this sequence was particularly effective emotionally, and in hindsight I see why they did it this way . . . while Pippin was singing, and Faramir riding, and Denethor eating, and the orcs getting all happy about what was happening . . . the tension built and built . . . and I was seriously crying . . . and I kept waiting and waiting to see the arrows slamming into Faramir's body. Part of me really really *really* wanted to see this, just for some fucking CLOSURE! Make it be OVER already! Does this make sense? I needed some closure, I needed Faramir's pain to be over . . . and then they cut away and I thought WTF?????? I was so pissed, but also a bit relieved. I thought they had been merciful to spare me the agony of having to watch Faramir die (I imagine I would have actually gone past sobbing into actual hysterics if they had showed him being riddled with arrows, so it's just as well. I only had four tissues with me, and ended up using them all, so I couldn't have handled too terribly many more tears ::grin::) But now, I realise that they reason they cut away is that Faramir didn't actually die. I didn't realise this, of course, until Pippin noticed and started shouting. And then I was terrified that daft fucking Denethor was actually going to succeed in immolating the two of them. Anyhow, this whole situation was incredibly moving for me - definitely the most emotionally powerful segment of the trilogy for me. (With Gollum's conversation with himself in TT taking second place).
Okay. Next . . . Eowynn! Oh DAMN but that girl rocked! Okay, so I saw it coming . . . that she'd be able to kill the Nazgul dude (the Witch King? Is that what he's called?) because she wasn't a man. But even so, it TOTALLY ROCKED! Oh - and her and Merry being so brave, and OMG I was so terrified for all of them. All the war and battle scenes really got to me - I usually got very teary in all those sweeping panoramas of the armies facing off against one another . . . during the fighting, I'm okay . . . but the anticipation beforehand; knowing that not everyone is going to be alive the next morning .. .Gah.
And Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam, SAM! OMG! Oh, I just loved Sam SO MUCH! "I can't carry your burden, but I can carry YOU!" OMG! Sam - you ROCK THE FUCKING HOUSE! He was such the hero in all of this. Yes, Frodo was, too. Actually, everyone had his or her heroic moment, which is fantastic. But SAM! Oh - and my heart broke when Frodo sided with Gollum over that lembas bread incident. OMG! Sam's tears! :-( But he still didn't give up. And carrying the ring . . . and then GIVING IT BACK! Sam, Sam, Sam. I love you.
Merry and Pippin both rocked, for that matter - when Aragon charged the black gates, and then they were the first ones to join him . . . so brave. And then all the others outran them (having longer legs and all ::grin::). But they were so brave. I was amazed and moved time and time again by the willingness of others to risk everything, including death. It is a very moving situation for me; I'm a pacifist, and am opposed to war on principle. However, that doesn't mean I don't think there are things worth dying for - I just believe that humankind needs to move past violence as a means of conflict resolution. The situation in the films is a bit different; its much easier to justify wanting to exterminate non-humans who are intrisically evil. Hmnh. Not sure what I'm getting a here, other than to say it was interesting for me to watch my own reactions to the war, to the battle scenes. To Aragorn's speech. (Which rocked, by the way. Tears. Yes. More tears. Of course that's no big surprise - I cried through half the blasted movie, actually. I knew I would - I cried through about a third of TT).
Oh oh oh! And I loved after the beacons were lit, and Theodan said they'd go to Gondor's defense. YES! After he'd wavered a bit earlier on - but I knew he'd come through. AWESOME!
Legoloas was looking good, as usual. I love a man who can kick a lot of ass and still have perfect hair. I don't see why personal hygeine has to suffer quite so much with all this war and traveling and such. Legoloas is proof that it doesn't. Okay. I realise that this is a horribly frivolous and shallow thing to say. ::grin:: And actually, I read in someone else's LJ they they thought Aragorn is actually much sexier *before* he gets all cleaned up at the end, and I'm afraid I have to agree. As much as I have dissed him for having really awful hair . . . well, he just looks hotter when he's grungy. But no one looks as good as Legolas. The boy has some seriously good hair. And Orlie only does it for me as a blonde (Will Turner = boring).
Okay - now, here are a few questions for those of you who know your canon well:
What's up with Gandalf? He's a wizard, right? And a thumping good one, and yet . . . he hardly ever uses magic! He was able to drive away the Nazgul that spell at Minath Tiras, and yet, during most of the battles, he goes all battle monk and starts whacking away at people with his staff. Where are the spells? What's the deal with that?
And also, just what is the deal with Frodo leaving? I get the feeling that he really wasn't happy in the Shire anymore, because of what happened with the ring and all . . . but I wasn't actually clear just why he went away with the elves. Was it just because he could? Meaning that he was entitled to do so because he borne the ring? In which case, wasn't Sam also entitled? I can see why Sam didn't want to go, what with Rosie and all, but I'm not really sure why Frodo wanted to go. Did they just not make very big deal of this in the film, and it's clearer in the books? Because I was confused about why Frodo left. And a bit about the timing, as well.
EDIT: I just remembered the one thing I didn't like about the films - the fact that Gimli was mostly just comic relief. It wasn't like that in the books, was it? It bugged me - not so much in RotK, but quite a bit in the earlier films. I would have like to have seen a bit more character development there, and a bit more about the friendship between him and Legolas (and no, I'm not shipping them. Even if they did share a horse ::grin::).
Anyhow, I loved it, I cried a lot. I still would like to see it again in the theatre, but not sure when that will happen.