The final film of Peter Jackson’s exemplary fantasy saga is an enthralling, near overwhelming experience.For patient followers of the three films, there is almost too much to absorb here in one sitting. Having recently viewed the extended versions of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, my only qualm is that Return - paradoxically - feels somewhat truncated.
It’s apparent from the extended versions that Jackson didn’t slice and dice heedlessly to fit his three-hour running times. He’s always had two audiences in mind: those viewing the “shorter" films and those watching the extended. The longer versions each have considerably more concerning Faramir’s history, Galadriel’s relationship with the fellowship and Aragorn’s lineage, to take three examples. So there is even more to look forward to, come the release of the extended Return (hopefully in cinemas like the others).
The more I see of Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings, the more impressive an achievement it seems. My only qualms are minor - the mood-spoiling camp delivery of some dialogue (mainly Orc and Uruk-Hai, but also Christopher Lee), and the clichéd rock clip direction of Arwen (enough with the wind machine!). Must Liv Tyler delicately shed a tear in every scene? But it’s hard enough to sustain excellence in all departments - from acting through to make-up - over an hour and a half, let alone ten.I can’t begin to imagine how The Return of the King must look to someone who hasn’t seen either of its predecessors; I’m happy not to be in that predicament.