by Kung Fu Zu 8/11/15
This weekend, I sat through a sort of “Lord Of The Rings” movie marathon. On each night, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I watched one installment of the trilogy. A glutton for punishment, I viewed the extended versions. The theatrical versions are long, being 178, 179 and 200 minutes for parts 1, 2 and 3 respectively. But the extended versions are heroic, running 208 minutes for “The Fellowship Of The Ring”, 223 minutes for “The Two Towers” and 250 minutes for “The Return Of The King”.
It should be said, I am a huge fan of “The Lord Of The Rings” books. This is, perhaps, a redundancy as who else would submit themselves to watching almost eight hours of film about hobbits and wizards. Thus I was very pleased when the original movies came out. And while they do not follow the books as faithfully as a true Tolkien fan may have liked, they were wonderfully done.
Since it had been some years since I had enjoyed the theatrical versions, I decided it was time to watch the extended versions, hoping more would be better. I am sad to report that this is not the case.
The principal fault of the extended versions is that the extra footage adds little to the overall narrative. There are a few new parts which increase our knowledge a little. But for the most part, the new footage is either completely different from the novel or eye-wateringly dull.
An example of the first is when Wormtongue stabs Saruman while they stand on top of Orthanc in Isengard. In the original film, nothing is mentioned about Saruman’s demise. And what happens in the book, is far more interesting.
An example of the later is the depiction of Frodo’s and Sam’s trek up Mt. Doom. As I watched, it seemed that at the pace they were moving, there would be no need for Frodo to destroy the Ring. By the time he entered the tunnel and threw the ring into the molten lava of the volcano, all of Middle Earth would have already passed away. Sauron, Gandalf, Elrod and the rest would have died of old age.
Let me close in a contrarian spirit whereby I will keep this review as short as the trilogy was long. My recommendation is simply this. If you love J.R.R. Tolkien, and his books, don’t spend your time watching “The Lord Of The Rings”, the extended version. Stick to the original and use the time you save by re-reading “The Hobbit”. • (3191 views)