Thursday, January 2, 2014

The End of All Things

Sons of Gondor! Of Rohan! My brothers. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me!

A day may come when the courage of Men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship,

But it is not this day!

An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the Age of Men comes crashing down,

But it is not this day!!

This day we fight!!!

By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand!

Men of the WEST!

(Translation: Return of the King is Ten Years Old)

It was emotional, it was stupendous, it swept the Oscars.

The film version of The Return of the King was an amazing experience, and was nearly perfect. Well, the theatrical version left out one of the most important scenes and I can't even watch it anymore, but with that scene ("The Voice of Saruman" to be specific) in the Extended Edition, that is my clear favorite installment of the Lord of the Rings films and second only to the first Hobbit in Jackson's Middle-Earth Saga thus far.

Everything was wrapped up so nicely. I didn't think it had too many endings. If anything, it didn't have enough. But I know I'm the minority here.

If everyone brought their A-games to the other two pictures, this was the A+ game. Tears may have been shed the first viewing or two.

There's not much more I can gush about this film that I can't say about the other four, except for one thing: The Credits.

The end credits for Return of the King are some of my favorites, simply because of the cast list where concept artist Alan Lee did nearly photorealistic sketches of the cast from screenshots - so good that it almost looks like merely a filter, but it's not. I've imagined how it may look if other films used the same thing.

In fact, that's where you come in, my dear readers. If there are any artists among you that feel they could replicate the style of these credits, I'd like to enlist your help with a little project...simply use the new contact form beside the blogroll if you're interested.


  1. I was *just* watching ROTK the other night, funnily enough.

    It's easily my favorite of the films, though I have some minor issues here and there (I never felt Denethor made much sense and the whole "Gollum drives rift between Sam and Frodo" thing always drove me up a wall).

    But yeah, very good film with some lovely bits. Though my family was in agreement on the 'too many endings' thing, though we interestingly disagreed on *where* it should've ended (I said the ships, my sister said Minas Tirith).

    1. Sorry, it needs to be Sam with "Well, I'm back."

      Denethor made sense to me, but I do wish they'd shown the Palantir.

      And I felt Gollum driving that rift works because it allows Sam to have his surprise Big Damn Heroes moment.

    2. It might be the R/B version clouding my vision a bit re: the ending (haven't read the books yet, though I started them last night), but I didn't quite see why we needed that brief epilogue there. It seems like the ending with the ships encapsulated all the themes and points elaborated through the films, and adding any more to that seemed unnecessary, almost. Dunno, maybe my view'll change once I've read the book.

      (speaking of, it was fun watching it comparing to the R/B version, which I had seen more recently- obviously it's ludicrous to try and compare them, but it was interesting the bits that were done better/worse in each version and how the varying styles/interpretations contrasted. In particular the Eowyn scene is interesting since R/B has the edge both on the fall of Theoden and preserving Eowyn's speech, but Jackson easily has the edge on the Witch King himself. Just interesting to compare them in points)

    3. Well, spoiler alert, it's the end of the book too.

      Never actually saw the RB RotK. Didn't even know they did one until these films were being made, I only knew of The Hobbit.

    4. It's good. Gets a lot of flack nowadays from people who expect it to either be like the Jackson films or the Bakshi, but taken as what it is (namely, a family television adaptation done explicitly as a sequel to The Hobbit) it's not bad. Not perfect- it's awfully derivative of Hobbit and has some awkward moments, but the art design is as ever incredible and the adaptation itself pretty solid.