There was something else that I wanted to say though, and that's the following: I think Peter Jackson deserves to get the Oscar for Best Director next year (or whenever it is they're handing them out).
Because Jobsworth persisted in being a pain about me taking time off to care for my cat yesterday, I decided not to come in at all and spent the afternoon and early evening in the cinema, watching the first matinee showing of The Return of the King since the film's release.
Where do I begin singing the praises of this film? Ah yes, the fight scenes. All those horses thundering across the plains, all those manly men in shining armour wielding wonderful swords and battle-axes...Let me come back as a rider of the Rohirrim in my next life and I will be happy as Larry!
When the first film in the trilogy came to our cinemas. I refused to go see it for the longest time. There had been a disasterous animated film made in the 70s, and I was sure no film could do justice to the book. How wrong I was! When I saw The Fellowship of the Ring, even if I missed Glorfindel and Tom Bombadil and the barrow wrights, I was struck by how true to the story the writers and director had remained. And I had to admit that the characters really seemed to come to life on film much more than they'd ever done in my imagination (I'd always had terrible trouble remembering, while reading the book, that hobbits went about barefooted, for instance). Of course, the fact that Sean Bean signed for Boromir, didn't hurt in winning me over to PJ's way of visualisation...
But out of all the characters, I think Gollum can lay most claim to being the star of the film. Aragorn, Gandalf, Théoden, Eowyn and the hobbits give very good account of themselves, but Gollum simply steals the show in my opinion. But then, he does so in the book as well.
Still, I'm disappointed about a few things, too. Why the decision to show nothing of the devastation of the Shire after Saruman escapes from Orthanc? The choppy, abrupt nature of switching between certain scenes. And what exactly was Arwen in there for? They built up her role by giving her another characters scenes...and she still had no purpose other than being an ornament, and one that got far too much air time.
The same could be said of Gimli and Legolas. Gimli had a few funny lines, but Legolas had no lines at all. And even when he did open his mouth, all he was allowed to do was state the obvious in as monotonous a voice he could muster. Still...pretty.
All in all, I'm in awe of this production. I can't wait until the DVD box set comes out. Because this, I have to own.