January 4, 2003
My TTT Review
Well, it is that time of year again. This is almost becoming tradition! Last year, my review basically said "I loved the movie, but.." and I guess this will be more of the same.
There has been so much spoken about how great TTT is, and much of it is understated. I personally liked it better than Fellowship. Of course, it isn't that surprising since TTT was my favorite book in the series. You cannot miss this movie. It is incredible.
There were some deviations from the books, and some were probably needed, some were not:
The fact that the movie portrayed Theoden as being possessed by Saruman was a bit of a stretch. I don't think Tolkien meant this in the degree that PJ showed, but for those who didn't read the book, it may have helped them understand why Theoden wasn't taking any action. It just didn't feel Tolkienish to me.
Frodo comes face to face with a Nazgul while Faramir tries to take him to Minas Tirith. He is holding the ring right in front of the Nazgul. You can tell the Nazgul recognizes the ring. I think this really goes against the plot Tolkien was building. Sauron did not know who had the ring. It could have been Aragorn, Saruman, Denethor, Gandalf, Hobbits, Galadriel, etc.. The movie's plot shows that Sauron now knows the Hobbit still has the ring, and he is within a stone throw of Minas Tirith.
Gollum was as close to perfect as you could get, the story line is a bit different, but I think it was done great. PJ really shows the split personality more than Tolkien did. It offered some humor, and a look at to what is going on with Frodo.
In the books, Faramir was the most noble of heart behind Aragorn as far as men go. In TTT, he didn't come off anything like that except when he finally releases Frodo. They could have kept his character closer to the books in the same amount of time.
The Entmoot was weak, but the battle of Isengard was truly awesome. Merry and Pippin didn't drink the Ent water. I was really looking forward to that. Makes me think there will be no scouring of the Shire.
The fact that Eomer's army was the army that saves Theoden at Helms deep was different, but necessary. There simply was not time to introduce and explain Erkenbrand. Tolkien himself left Erkenbrand a little fuzzy in the books.
I also noted that there were no Hourns at all in the entire movie. Not sure why, but it probably would have made the movie a little too long.
The battle of the Balrog was great and 99.999% followed the book. Couldn't have been done better if you ask me.
The Oliphaunts looked just like the way I thought Tolkien described them. They were like 10 elephants packed into one. Truly huge.
The part where everyone thinks Aragorn dies and the attack of the Wolf Raiders completely left the story. I don't think it was needed, although it looked great. I think other areas of the story (Such as Faramir or Hourn development) could have substituted better.
The scenes with Aragorn and Arwen were pretty much made up from scratch. I guess they are needed as the romantic plot in the books was rather hidden, and has to be brought out in a better way in a movie, otherwise when Aragorn and Arwen get married, people will be like "Huh? When did these two get together?".
It will be interesting to see if Eowyn and Faramir do get together. No mention of it yet (as with the books).
Gimli was a comedian, but that didn't bother me. Even Tolkien gave you some humor during a two and a half hour reading. I think it helped with the Legolas and Gimli relationship.
Helm's Deep. Short of the Eomer army, was about as good as you could expect. There was some additions here such as the tossing of Gimli, but it definitely showed how desperate the situation was.
The ending was a bit different from the books in the fact that it ends in a different place, but in order to make the next movie as good as the first two, I think this is needed. The ROTK was shorter than the other two books, this will equal the movies out in my opinion.
All in all, the movie was a pleasure and I can't wait until the DVD and Extended DVD come out. I also can't wait until ROTK comes out and furthermore when studios start having LOTR days when they show all three movie's back to back like they did when Star Wars Jedi was released.
That's about it! See you again next year!