I think this is a fairly apt sum-up:
“I predict that you will be knocked clean on your ass, in the absence of mercy, pounded by raw craft and quality for the film’s over three hour duration… At one point, I covered my gaping mouth with the Hordes of the Underdark manual. Yes, I brought it. I’m sort of a big dork, maybe nobody told you.”
And, finally, movie critic David Edelstein, who writes for Slate Magazine and does reviews for NPR‘s Day to Day says:
“Of all the things to love about The Return of the King, it’s those lightning shifts in scale that I find the most thrilling. I don’t mean just the sudden impossible hugeness of it?those hundreds of thousands of demonic Orcs led by massive trolls and winged dragons called Fell Beasts and eight-story elephants called Mumakil as they surge toward a seven-tiered city that soars into the sky. I mean the way Jackson cuts from that amazing vision to something small: a spiked wheel grinding as the heavy gates of the city close; then a human face?Pippin, say, with his mouth grimly set and his eyes shocked open; then a few hundred thousand more marauding Orcs. So you get eye-popping spectacle, then a close-up with texture and weight, then a flash of human emotion, then more eye-popping spectacle. The threads are awesome, but it’s the weave?of the epic and the intimate, the airy and the visceral, the lofty and the blood-curdling?that’s spellbinding.”
I’m going to see this movie again, Friday, I hope. What an amazing piece of work.