Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (2003) - Victoria Irwin

The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Miranda Otto, Brad Dourif, Christopher Lee, Sean Astin, Karl Urban, Liv Tyler, Cate Blanchett, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, John Rhys-Davies, David Wenham, Hugo Weaving, John Noble
Rated: PG-13

Never thought I'd die fighting side by side with an elf.

Our next member to join the fellowship is Victoria Irwin who is the head honcho over at the super groovy and ultra cool FangirlNation.  If you'll remember, she joined us for the Sleepy Hollow Commentary back in September and I had a blast with that discussion so I knew I had to coax her into a guesting on Naptown Nerd someday.  And today is that day.  

In 2003, my dad took me to see The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King during our annual post-Christmas Father-Daughter visit. Movies are our bonding time; Star Trek film here, indie Sci-Fi joint there. We had to sit separately as- true to custom- Dad got us to the packed theater just after the film started. We arrived to a rapidly emaciating hobbit biting into a fleshy fish and frantically obsessing over “his precious.” Asked to revisit the film by a friend, I popped it into the DVD player and began re-watching a film I’d last seen over 10 years ago.

The story of The Return of the King involves political intrigue, ghost warriors, a King who is completely losing his mind, and two small guys trying to drop a ring into a volcano so that it cannot hurt anyone else. Elves and Dwarves fight Orcs, counting each they kill in an attempt to out class each other. A human and an elf deal with a challenging love. A woman steps up to defeat an enemy. In the end, it takes about 3 hours to watch a film filled with gorgeous New Zealand scenery and costumes that cosplayers are still desperately trying to recreate 10 years later. Breaking it down, there were a few things that crossed my mind while watching the film as an adult.

Smeagol (Andy Serkis) and his brother Deagol (Thomas Robbins), are the Cain and Abel of the One Ring. After discovering the ring by nearly drowning, Deagol soon loses his life for real after his brother goes crazy from the power of the ring and takes it from him. Smeagol discusses forgetting his own name over the power of the ring, and as a young white female in the death throes of her 20’s I can’t help but think of my engaged friends throwing down with their boyfriends, demanding marriage proposals. This Hobbit quickly becomes the iconic Gollum and we flash to the future as he guides Frodo and Sam Wise through the wilderness to Mordor.
Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) takes the title of “King of Friendzoning” in this film. He tells Eowyn (Miranda Otto) that he “cannot give [her] what [she] needs.” True, Aragorn is in love with Arwyn, but at least initially that elf ladyfriend is a possible lost cause.  Eowyn, though a little upset about this whole leading-on thing takes up a freakin sword and rides into battle in secret in order to be a total badass.. She watches in horror as  the Witch-King of Anmar’s Nazgul grabs her father’s horse and sends the man flying. What I’d forgotten in ten years was how much of a complete and total badass Eowyn is. Sure, Arwyn has pretty dresses and gives up her immortality for a human, but Eowyn slices the head off a Nazgul and stabs The Witch-King in the face! IN THE FACE. Yeah, she’s heartbroken. Yeah, her dad just got a fatal blow. Eowyn picks up her sword, steps forward, and as the Witch-King points out that no man can defeat him, she simply replies “I am no Man.” 

There are also a few things I’d forgotten. Gimli and Legolas enjoy counting their Orc kills during the battle of Minas Tiras. It is a friendly competition that if done from the other side of thing would be utterly horrifying. However, a pretty man and a dwarf killing monsters is totally cool since they aren’t ugly and evil, right?  John Noble (Fringe’s Walter Bishop) as the Denethor, Steward of Gondor seems so strange. His desire to light himself on fire seems to take on a whole new meaning once you’ve seen him as the weed smoking, LSD tasting Walter Bishop.  I will casually avoid discussing the giant spider scene. Ten years later, I found myself hiding my eyes and dusting off my arms. Fun fact? I’m not normally afraid of spiders.  I had also forgotten how long the film is. Even without the Director’s cut, the film is 200 minutes. That’s over 3 hours. When you have the attention span of a crack addicted squirrel, you find yourself fading in and out, thankful that there are only limited Ents in this film (sorry Treebeard). 

The costumes are gorgeous. Most nerdgirls have found themselves at least once contemplating how hard it would be to get Arwyn’s circlet, even if she’s only in the film for a handful of pointless minutes. The dresses, armor and weaponry are all drool worthy. One almost wishes that upon visiting New Zealand  that one would be equipped with such items free of charge to live the dream. Take note New Zealand; I see extra tourism dollars for this particular scheme. 

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King brings closure to the series in the longest way possible. Even ten years later, I worry that a generation of smartphone using viewers will not be able to hold the attention needed for Peter Jackson’s vision of Lord of the Rings. 

Next Time:  Our third look at The Hobbit story!  Huzzah!

Victoria IrwinEditor in Chief –

Victoria Irwin grew up with at least two books in her bag at all  
times. Discovering comic books, Science Fiction, and Fantasy at an  
early age, it was only a matter of time before she became a Fangirl.  
With a deep love for Doctor Who and classic detective stories,  
Victoria turned her attentions to writing and sharing her love of a  
good story with the world. The University of California, Irvine  
Alumnae seeks to spread the word about amazing comic books, good  
novels and television shows that deserve a long look. She is also on  
Twitter @vicsplintersrg

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