I watch a lot of movies. I've seen the majority of the blockbusters that have been released in the past ten years. But I had never seen any of Peter Jackson's epic Lord of the Rings films. After hearing loads of great things about them, I decided to rent the first installment, The Fellowship of the Ring. I thought it was okay the first time I saw it, but I didn't think it was anything special. I continued on with the series and tried watching The Two Towers. I was hopelessly lost and I skimmed through the film but didn't watch it in full. But I soon decided that I needed to watch the series in full. So, I went out and bought The Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the King (I already owned Two Towers) and I watched them virtually back to back to back. And I really enjoyed them. I didn't quite love them as much as some people did but they were all good and sometimes great movies. Here are three short reviews of all three of The Lord of the Rings films.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Fellowship is basically the exposition for the other two films. It introduces the basic storyline, gives some information about the ring, and places a ton of characters in front of us. The whole film is entertaining but it is very long and there are parts that drag. As somebody that has never read the books, I still got the basic storyline and feel of the world. My biggest problem is that the whole film feels like one big long journey (or chase scene). There is no end destination. We know that Frodo (Elijah Wood) will not reach Mount Doom because there's two more films left in the series. The end is basically: come back next year for the Two Towers. I really feel that in some ways the two are like one film. There is a somewhat definite end to the Two Towers, which I'll get to in my review. Also, the action in this film is not very good. Jackson does a lot of quick cuts which makes the action confusing. It also feels somewhat small scale for a major epic. Fellowship has more of an Indiana Jones feel to it than the others. I did enjoy this film but not as much as the others.
THE FINAL GRADE: B+
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The film picks up where Fellowship left off. The film's first hour or so can be boring but I still found myself interested in the movie. But the last hour and a half is grand, epic entertainment that is amazing and suspenseful. There is a lot of new characters and there is a lot of stuff going on. It can be confusing but I think that in the end the action is worth it and makes sense in the end. I think that the major flaw of Two Towers is that it is not always that entertaining. But I think Peter Jackson got the epic scope of the movie completely right and the action is filmed excellently. I enjoyed this installment more than the original, which is surprising because I always like the original better. Peter Jackson had a tough task with The Two Towers because it obviously has a lot of characters and covers a lot but he does it with ease.
THE FINAL GRADE: A-
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Return of the King is the epic conclusion to the trilogy. Everything comes into place as Frodo nears Mount Doom and Sauron builds his forces. The whole film blows by and feels short when it really is three hours. That is not an easy task. The film is pretty much action from the start and does not stop. Some of the motivations of why things need to happen are muddled but the epic spectacle and excitement make it unimportant. The action and sadness of Return of the King have a great impact and the epic battles are amazing. The last hour or so is amazing and handled well. The only problem is that the film is twenty minutes too long and that all comes at the end of the film. There are several endings and I was sorta bored. But this was the most entertaining and my favorite of the trilogy.
THE FINAL GRADE: A
My verdict is that the films got better as they went along and that doesn't happen often. I can tell from the films that the books were not easy source material to adapt but Peter Jackson did a great job.