LOTR Review

This afternoon, the C# team went to see LotR: Return of the King. I should preface this by saying that I'm not a big Tolkien fan (or a fan of fantasy in general). Note: There are some spoilers in this post.

It's not a bad film, but contrary to Scoble, I don't think it was very good. Here are my issues:

  • There was enough fluff to cut this down to 2:30 from 3:00 hours, easy. The first hour had very little action and could have been trimmed down without affecting the movie

  • The movie has 4 endings, all with pull-back shots and stirring music. First, the bad guys are vanquished. Then Aragorn (sp?) becomes king. Then, the hobbits return to the shire. Then, Frodo leaves. Then Sam has a final scene. 5 endings.

  • The military tactics are pretty poor. You have a bunch of trebuchets on your fortress, but you let the enemy attack you for 15 minutes before you start using them. You have a force attacking your front gate, and all you do is crouch inside, waiting for them to break through. Where are the platforms to drop burning oil on your attackers? Where are the murder holes in the gatehouse? Where are the arrow loops? Could you at least put some of your archers on the top of the wall?
    Or if your cavalry is decimating your opponent and you're confronted by warriors mounted on huge beasts, do you use your superior mobility to continue to rout the footsoldiers, which will be easy because they've broken? No, you stop chasing the footsoldiers, and instead try to attack the huge but slow beasts. Stupid.
    It always bothers me when people do stupid things in movies.

  • Too many confused fighting closeups.

If you're a bit LoTR fan, this may not bother you.


Comments (7)

  1. Dan Szepesi says:


    Or if your cavalry is decimating your opponent and you’re confronted by warriors mounted on huge beasts, do you use your superior mobility to continue to rout the footsoldiers, which will be easy because they’ve broken? No, you stop chasing the footsoldiers, and instead try to attack the huge but slow beasts. Stupid


    My impression was that the foot soldiers fled behind the line of elephants, and thus the cavalry charged through the line to get to the fleeing soldiers. The action then focused on the characters that stayed to attack the elephants. I agree though, flanking the them, or going around them may have been a better move.

    I never read the books (probably will someday) – so I don’t know how close it matches the battle scenario – but you are spot on with your other comments. Their fortress defenses did strike me as strangely weak.

  2. Mike Clark says:

    As a LOTR fan, I loved the movie: Best Picture IMHO. But I’m severely biased.

    As far as the use of the defenses in the White City, note that the commander of the city’s defenses, Denethor the Steward, is in the middle of an extended psychotic episode and is basically refusing to deal with the situation in any realistic manner — and no-one else is daring to go over his head to see that necessary actions are taken, until Gandalf arrives and gets things in motion, much too late it appears. Denethor has a palantir, which is essentially a direct conduit to Sauron’s brain, and Sauron is using this conduit to blow Denethor’s mind away, successfully.

    Lack of murder holes, arrow loops could be explained away one way or another, but I won’t bother. Tolkien probably lacked sufficient knowledge of fortification theory to realize his omissions. He was a philologist, fer cryin’ out loud.

  3. josh broxton says:

    it was really shit

  4. Tim Madden says:

    My impression from both the book and the film is that Denethor expected to lose. He never prepared a defense, thus there were no archers on the walls, and the trebuchets were not ordered to fire until Gandalf took over. Contrast this seige with the one at Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers.

    Tolkien never got into detail on the tactics in either seige. I don’t remmber him mentioning defensive weapons, just the siege towers and Grond, the battering ram.

    As for the endings, missing is the battle for the Shire, the romance between Ewoyn and Faramir, among other things. But I’m a LoTR fan.

  5. Xaosin says:

    Some of these issues could be dealt with pretty easily, at least in my opinion..

    -The first one, for example, made no sense. How do you trim out the story elements of a movie that revolves around such a massive plot? People needed to see how the ring corrupted Smeagol so they could imagine what it was doing to Frodo. They had to wrap up the Isengard part also. This is not just one movie, but the climax of two previous ones.

    -Second, what’s wrong with those endings? Personally, I would have liked to have seen more. I would have liked to see them tie up everything for each character.

    -As for the third matter, you are obviously ignoring a lot of important matters. One of which was the fact that as someone had said, Denethor had let the defenses of the city crumble. They had just seen their beloved captain, Faramir, handed back to them. Along with the loss of dozens of their friends. Oh, don’t forget those friends had their heads catapulted INTO the city. It’s psychological warfare, doubled with magical warfare, as the Nazgul’s presence -was- there and enveloping the city with fear. We just only see them until they start fighting back. Oh and there were archers -on- the gate. You should have looked more closely when the city was breached.

    -As for this other part of your third matter, you do realize that some of the Rohirrim did go after the footsoldiers? It shows some heading off. The ones that stayed -had- to deal with the elephants because they were heading for Minas Tirith. Had they reached the walls of the city, they would have given even more breaches into the defenses for more orcs to flood. That does not seem very "stupid" at all.

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