Karl Gallagher (selenite) wrote,
Karl Gallagher

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Thoughts on Return of the King

We rented the DVD and watched it over a few evenings.

The supplemental material contains nothing about the ROTK extended edition. I guess Peter Jackson is too busy editing to pull out a few bits as a teaser. I'm visualizing some rep from New Line getting thrown out of the studio as Jackson cackles "Tease them? Ha! I don't need to tell them anything. They'll buy it. They'll buy whatever I give them."

And he's right.

Well, we're not buying this one, we're holding out for the EE. But we're going to buy that.

I think I've figured out part of why Jackson's inserting so much new stuff in the plot. He's bought into the Hollywood "rising tension" formula, which dictates a small fight at the beginning, a medium fight in the middle, and then the big fight at the end. So we get the warg-rider attack in Two Towers and the battle at Osgiliath in ROTK to smooth out the curve. That may be the explanation for the bit where Frodo fires Sam, too--creating an intermediate tension level between "sneaking into Mordor" and "getting eaten by giant spider".

As for the giant spider, let me just say how much I love DVD scene selection.

The "rising tension" formula has the horrible flaw that there's no set limit for the maximum tension point. So it's not enough for Frodo to be half-dead from thirst, in an erupting volcano, maimed, deprived of what he most loves, and with all his friends in the process of being chopped to bits, BUT he ALSO has to wind up dangling from a cliff and being pulled up by Sam. Makes me wonder if Jackson has a chart with a straight line drawn from Sam decking Gollum at the start through Pelennor Fields and hitting its peak at the climax, forcing him to add in extra bits to raise tension to the required level.

That still doesn't justify a flying flaming Denethor.

I'm hoping the EE has the scene where Sam throws his pots away. It's a powerful moment in the book. The scene where they're walking away from Cirith Ungol shows the pots hanging from his orc armor, I hoping that's setting up the other scene.

I'm also wondering if Eomer finding the (apparently) dead Eowyn will be in there. Possibly it'll be there after the battle is over, though that destroys a lot of the impact of Eomer's reaction--the frenzy to drown his grief in death, not caring if it's his own.

The scenes in the Shire and Frodo's farewell still make me misty-eyed. The dead are not the only cost of a war. But Sam's happy family shows what they were protecting was worth it.
Tags: media, science fiction
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