Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Return of the King: Extended DVD - The Appendices

Well I managed to watch all of these over the weekend. In some respects these were more interesting than the actual extended version, in part because they are just interesting. I mean, it is interesting about how they put these films together, and it's even more interesting to see how they went through the process of creating the background the films - the sets and costumes and music. Plus there is actually some pretty good commentary about the influences on Tolkein's life.

One particularly refreshing aspect of these is that they are willing to admit that Tolkein was a devout Catholic, and maybe, just maybe, his Catholicism was also a powerful influence on the film. It is amazing how many people (mostly athiests I have found) who seem unable to cope with the fact that Tolkien and LotR might have had religious, specifically Christian, especially Catholic, influences.

A particularly interesting segment though was a video about all the horses they used. But even more interesting was a little thing about the person who, in some respects, inspired the song at the end of a film - a young Kiwi filmaker PJ had gotten to know who had been diagnosed with osteosarcoma (primary bone cancer - it's rather nasty). They include also two of his short little films. These are actually really very effective pieces. A truly unexpected, but wonderful addition.

They also include a Visual Effects demonstration - not unlike the Sound Effects demonstration included on the Two Towers extended DVD. It's the Mumakil charge sequence - pretty good. And then there are all the galleries - I've only looked at a few of these so far but looks good.

All in all very worthwhile. I'm now re-reading RotK (I specifically didn't before I watched the extended DVD) and there is something on one of the appendices that rings true. I can't recall which person was speaking at the time, but he made a good point. The LotR compresses the further into it you read. What might have taken a few pages in Fellowship takes only a few lines in Return of the King. The book is so incredibly dense and packed with information. It reminds just how much the film missed out. A picture worth a thousand words? In all honesty I think I could probably read Return of the King quicker than watch a truly faithful film-version.

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