Sunday, December 21, 2003

movie review

[warning: may contain spoiler-like substance]

I saw LOTR: Return of the King tonight. Dear God, was that movie awful. I could have cut that movie by at least an hour, between the utterly predictable battle scenes and the most drawn out ending I may have ever seen. There is this scene after the ring has been destroyed where a certain main character wakes up in bed, and they have the other main characters parade in one by one in slow-motion in a quasi-curtain call. Don't reach for your coat, because that scene is still 20 minutes from the end.

I do not know why the makers of big-budget films do not give me the chance to pare the narrative bloat out of their films before they release them. They could have paid me some of the money they paid Liv Tyler and Cate Blanchett to use their acting talents almost exclusively in the service of slow-motion close-ups of their faces where they either say nothing or say some stilted line like they are reading it off a TelePrompTer.

I usually don't like to be a political wet blanket about films, but, as I was sitting there finding some of the finest special effects I have ever seen being used to a tedious effect, I started to think: wow, this film is a rousing celebration of war; wow, this film is a rousing celebration of the equation of personal worth with bloodlines, unless you happen to be a hobbit.

And, as just a small addendum of quantitative complaining, I also liked how the size of the various armies changed wildly from one wideshot to the next. An army of 2000 when they are standing waiting to charge becomes an army of 5000 (or conversely, an army of 40) when they actually charge.

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