Friday, December 17, 2004

Return of the King

Jonathan Last at the Weekly Standard reviews the extended version:

...The grubby reality is that Return of the King was a deeply flawed enterprise. It was, by leagues, the weakest of the three movies. The pacing was poor, the timeline condensed. There were plot holes and characters who suddenly became passive. There were dramatic deformities aplenty. And yet there is good news: This week the extended version of Return of the King comes to DVD. The four-disc set is loaded with features and commentaries and, most important, 50 extra minutes of footage which has been woven into the film. This extra footage addresses, I'm happy to say, nearly every defect which I reported on a year ago.

THE FULL EXTENDED EDITION of Return of the King now runs a staggering 250 minutes. Yet, if anything, it moves more briskly than the theatrical release....

The Extended Edition of Return of the King restores order and honor to Middle Earth. Just in time for Christmas.

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Meanwhile, Mark Moring of Christianity Today writes:

In the case of the 50 additional minutes of the ROTK special edition, that's debatable. Some of the additions and extended scenes unquestionably flesh out the story—and a few of the characters—making an already wonderful film even richer. But other additions—including several that undermine the dignity of some of the characters—do nothing to improve the film, making one ask, "Does this movie really have to be 250 minutes long, especially when the 200-minute theatrical version was clearly a winner?"

I'd say about half of the extra 50 minutes actually enhance the film. The other half don't add much at all, and indeed, they detract.