*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Although I'm not going to comment on WHAT the ending was, there are
here. Be wary.
I read the first 200 comments (or so) that came in. And now that I've seen the movie, I mostly agree. Treebeard DID look like a puppet, with the background obviously bluescreened in (the lighting was different between the foreground and background). I also agree, after Galdalf appeared at Helm's Deep, the battle scenes pretty much just stopped and the movie moved on. That made a terrifying battle feel less powerful, because the audience didn't get much of a taste for how the battle turned. And I agree that Faramir is a different man onscreen than in the book, and Gimli is made to look far less threatening since he's the brunt of a lot of jokes. And I'll throw in a couple gripes of my own. The Ents took a long time to decide to stay out of the battles. Lots of discussion. But then Treebeard lets out a howl when he sees some trees cut down, and suddenly all the Ents march to war without comment. That made the Ents appear inconsistent with their own ways. Made 'em look like a plot device. Another gripe: Sam gives a speech that didn't sound like it was written by Tolkein. Perhaps it was, but it felt more to me like outsiders were messing with the writing. Finally, when the last few men of Helm's Deep ride out on horses, the enemies basically fall like dominoes as the riders pass. This is unrealistic. Part of what I liked about the first movie was that, although the odds seemed impossible, the movie showed you how they survived, how heroic the men were. But in this scene with the riders, there is no way to explain what is happening, it's just cheap.
But having read and agreed with almost every complaint, I still give the movie a TEN out of TEN. Faramir's character wasn't destroyed, he'll be fine in ROTK. The Ents were still quite cool. The audience I was with needed some comic relief after all the seriousness (and the sheer length of the movie!) and welcomed it from Gimli. The battle at Helm's Deep was still spectacular -- I whispered, "I'm actually scared for them" even though I knew who would win. You see, all the little gripes that people write about the movie are exactly that... little. On the things that mattered greatly -- did the plot move forward, was the scope of the battle properly conveyed, did the audience feel that they were experiencing a fantasy world with a rich and interesting story -- on all fronts, I say yes. I was fascinated. Riveted. And I'll go back to see it a second time without hesitation.
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