Rewatching LTR

I recently rewatched the Lord of the Rings, all three DVDs. It holds up surprisingly well. Just as with the books, Fellowship is still my favorite (but really two movies in its own right). I also think the war scenes in Return of the King go on forever and ever and ever and--did I mention?--ever. It would have been a better movie if the Faramir/Eowyn scenes (in the extended version) were put in instead of the excessive elephants, excessive stone throwing and so on.

I agree with my brother Joe that the lighting is wacky. I once read a review of a Jerry Bruckheimer movie that stated that Bruckheimer isn't interested in character development or working out a story, he's interested in setting up moments. So in Return of the Titans, he sets up the scene at the graveyard and the "dance" scene before the game, and the scenes in the hospital. There are heroic moments and tear-jerking moments. Bruckheimer is on to something (he is the producer of CSI and Pirates of the Caribbean); people, including me, like moments.

Lord of the Rings reminds me of the comment about Bruckheimer: there's no sense of continuity, in a lighting sense, between scenes: each scene is set up for its own sake; for instance in Two Towers, the scene where the king quotes a poem before the big battle (the poem that ends, "How did it come to this."), I can never figure out where the bright light is coming from. It looks great, but it always confuses me.

In a way, the movies are rather like comic books: a frame by frame montage. I happen to like Return of the Titans ,and I like Lord of the Rings, but it is a rather different experience from watching a movie where each scene blends into the one before.

I still think the casting is stellar, the best casting I've ever seen in a movie. The movie characters and the book characters match up extraordinarily well. They don't always utilize the range of emotions that I wish they would, but they look so perfect, it hardly matters. (Which fits into Jackson's scene by scene montage idea.)

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