Wow. Perhaps it is exhaustion (the movie started at midnight and was a good three hourse plus, add getting out of the parking lot, etc. and I am running on little sleep) but I am having a hard time desribing this amazing film. It is magestic and elegant; sweeping and poignant; breathtaking and heartwarming. It was by far the most aestheticaly pleasing movie of the three. Jackson weaves the story lines and the symbols with loving care and artistic genius. To be spellbound by a movie where you basically know the story beforehand is quite amazing.
What struck me was how Jackson managed to keep the movie within itself when it so easily could have been "over-the-top." There was obviously a great deal of special effects that went into the movie, from the battle scenes to the giant cities to the frightening variety of evil characters, but it never feels fake. The artistry that allows the focus to remain on the characters and their quest is awesome. The whole thing makes the recent Star Wars movies seem like a joke. Or as Slate's David Edelstein says:
Jackson brings an intensity to the battle of good and evil that makes the stiff, well-mannered drones of George Lucas' Star Wars epics look like stick figures in a bad, Japanese-made Saturday-morning cartoon.
Watching this film is like staring at a massive work of art. You are awed, excited, and pulled in.
****Warning: Spoilers Ahead****
- The opening scene with Smeagol/Gollum and the finding of the Ring was a great way to bring you back into the story. And it introduces a key theme: that the ring brings evil with it everywhere it goes. Power corrupts. Each ring bearer begins to develop selfish, dark, and ultimately murderous urges. The film begins with this process and it is present throughout, right up to the final demise of the ring itself.
- As I am sure you have already heard, the batlle scenes are simply amazing in scope and size. This film is truly epic. I fear that the small screen of TV/VCR/DVD will not be able to contain it. But the battles are not really that gorey or bloody. They represent the conflict between good and evil not violence for violence sake. They also felt realistic and true despite their obvious fantastic nature. Again, I wasn't focused on the special effects but caught up in the moment. The elephants are really cool as are the always fearful Naizgul and their fell beasts. I particularly enjoyed the scenes where the Rhohan join the battle and the way the cavelry swept into the orc lines.