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Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Return of the King: Suck

I did something I am not entirely proud of last night. I went to a 12:01 showing of Return of the King with a few people.

Why would I regret this, you ask? Well, for one, the movie is a thousand hours long. In the first couple movies, they were a thousand hours long, but you never really notice - you're too busy enjoying it. But there are only so many minutes of shaky, darkened, rain-blurred battle scenes one can take. So during these stretches of Blair Witch 3: Return of the King, I compiled a mental list of things which bothered me. There are "spoilers" here, but given that the book is based on an opera which is based on an epic poem which is based on a 3,000 year old religion, I don't so much care.

- I realize this is a movie with magic and flying dragons and life after death and all that, but could someone at least consult... I don't know... an oven, before doing the physics here? Sitting four feet from molton rock! Good thing there's no convection, or their eyes would boil and explode, their lungs would collapse, and that's if they managed not to just be flat out vaporized! Lighting massive fires at altitudes where you'd have trouble lighting a cigarette, with complete ease! Wheee!

- Aragorn spends his life in seclusion with all kinds of fear and doubt about whether he can be king, and whether he's a strong enough individual to lead. In the first movie, there's the gut-check moment with the magical sword. The second movie, he doesn't stand up to Theodin becuase he likewise is unaccepting of his lineage. In the third? Agent Elrond Hubbard does an overly dramatic display with a sword, and tells him his girlfriend is sick and suddenly he's fucking Charlemagne. "Humanity being overrun and the world plunged in to darkness? My vagina hurts. I can't possibly be king... unless some trollop is going to die otherwise. Sure, why not."

- Now... I'm just saying... if I have an immortal army which can, in the course of about seven minutes, completely dismantle the forces which were previously beating the militarily strongest nation around at their own fortified castle... I probably wouldn't waste time using them in an ambush. In fact... I also wouldn't jump ahead of them in the ambush. This isn't cowardice, it's just that... well... they're literally unkillable, so it seems fair to let them go first. Also... after they beat the expeditionary force of my enemy, I wouldn't dismiss them, and then take my small and battered group, and go to march on the main force of my enemy on his turf.

- Does Sauron have a really bad memory? He sees Frodo has the ring in the first movie... since he's wearing it. He then sees Frodo in this movie with the ring, and then completely neglects to send anyone to get him Then he sees Frodo going up the side of Mt. Doom to destroy the ring... and ignores it. If the source of my power is the ring, and someone is going to destroy it, that strikes me as a little more relevant than a few humans at my gate, which I have no REAL reason to open, anyway. And why go march your entire army out there, anyway? I mean, can't Sauron afford... like... a guard to protect the opening to Mt. Doom? Why not have, at the very least, a padlock or a chain link fence or something?

- Just so we're clear: Three seven foot tall orcs get slashed by Sam, and die instantly. Gollum gets slashed by Sam after getting beat in the skull with many, many rocks, and doesn't even slow down. It strikes me that Sauron should make his next army out of something other than butter.

- The witch jesus of the wraiths is supposed to be this warrior who cannot be stopped. He has a bitchin' flail which just smashes the girl's shield. He has been set on fire and stabbed previously without lasting negative consequences. He has a sword which steals your soul. He can shreik in a way which makes people mildly uncomfortable. How does he die? Someone figures out, through the use of some arcane knowledge which trancends understanding, his one, Archillean weakness: being stabbed. Apparently, throughout the ages, the "stab him" method was never tried. It strikes me that, the reason "no man" could ever beat him was that all men are retarded.

- Speaking of men, homoeroticism much? There was seriously about ninety minutes of just overt Mary & Pippin; Sam & Frodo; Elf & Dwarf, and so on, about to kiss. Then there's the scene where Frodo is in bed, and it plays like the gas station scene from Zoolander. They're all smiling and laughing, and the music is just really, really fluffy. I swear that broke into a Middle Earth Man-Boy Love Association orgy about six seconds after it cut out. Which is okay, since Orlando Bloom would have been a part of it.

- Note to Theodin: cavalry charges against massive, sixteen story tall elephants with spiked tusks, who are trained for war DO NOT WORK. Let's say you're small but highly mobile and trying to take on an enemy like that. Maybe... I don't know... flank him? Scatter, and hamstring him? Something that doesn't cluster you together and just let him rape you?

- On that note, just in general: The military strategy in the movie was bad enough that I started to notice it. Apparently, nobody in Middle Earth has considered the idea of fortifying a plain. The head of Gondor doesn't get that, if you have cavalry and your enemy does not, fighting in a close, urban environment is probably not good for you. The tactical genius that is a shield wall doesn't occur to the people seiging a city.

- Also, and I realize this is Tolkein's fault in all likelihood, but less deus ex machina please? Every single situation was solved with a punch-out ending. Stranded on Mt. Doom? That's okay, we have random eagles to come fly you away. City being overrun? That's fine, we have a magical undead army of destiny. Or didn't you know? The best is when they have the plot contrivance of Rohan showing up and routing the orcs, followed by the plot contrivance of the huge elephant people showing up, followed by the plot contrivance of the immortal undead army showing up. It's just a battle of who has the most powerful random, overpowered magical backup. There was not a single thing in the entire movie/book or whatever which was at all a clever or thinking solution to a problem.

cranked out at 2:18 PM | |

 
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