Before I Begin:
I didn’t grow up with this trilogy. I wish had, but I didn’t. So, I watched these from an arms’ length away, through no lens of nostalgia or bias. My honest opinions might sound harsh to some long time fans–but I promise, I’m not trying to be mean! I simply want to be honest and it that’s more for me than for you. As you can tell by the huge delay of this post, I’ve been intimidated to write it for reasons I’m sure you can imagine.
I have only seen The Extended Editions. I have only seen them twice.
Please understand my opinion only applies to the movies and not the books, which I have not yet read. I hope you won’t be shocked at an opinion that lacks information I won’t even have in the first place–but after all, this post is not intending to judge anything besides the films.
I’m thankful that most of my readers are secure enough in their own opinions to not feel attacked by my own; I applaud your maturity and I say thank you!
Here there be spoilers.
My overall opinion of this film is that it was a good enough start for the trilogy. Yes, I just said good enough, because frankly I expected more from it. The first time through, I didn’t connect with any–any!–of the characters till the last few moments. Even then, I only connected with Frodo and Sam. It was confusing and frustrating to feel nothing throughout that first movie. Thankfully, the second time I watched FotR I did like it a lot more. I’d say that is because I’d watched the two Hobbit films and felt connected to Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf.
Frankly, for being lauded so highly (and yes, it did have its moments,) I thought it was ridiculous that I felt zero connection to the characters for the entire film. So yes, that has dampered my overall opinion of it.
I will say here and now and forever: this if my favorite LotR movie. The film felt stronger for breaking up the Fellowship into smaller groups and focusing on them more; I finally connected with Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Merry and Pippin! I guess I connected to everyone who was left…and about time too!
I found this film incredibly well paced; it carried me forward with ease and intrigue, never once making me bored. I fell in love with Frodo and his struggle over the ring. I adored Sam because he saw things in a rash, very black and white way, and was protective of Frodo. The split personality of Smeagol/Gollum was amazing. All the character growth was beautiful. The battles in this movie are my favorite out of all the LotR movies, too–frankly, I can’t name one fault from this film. It is perfect. I was never bored for an instant and when it was over, I felt like I’d finally gotten the hype.
Towers could easily push its way on to my top ten favorite films.
Everyone had told me that this was the most amazing out of the LotR trilogy, so after being spellbound by The Two Towers, I expected wonders from The Return of the King. High expectations is the ingredient for disappointments. It was a good movie and all, but to me, it paled in comparison to the experience I’d gotten from The Two Towers.
The parts with Frodo and Sam were the best moments. Sadly, we barely saw them throughout the first half of the film! I was left fidgety, thinking, “Come on, come on, get back to Frodo and Sam!” outside of the parts with Merry and Pippin and Gandalf. I didn’t find the battles of Return as compelling or moving as the ones in Towers either, which was a major let down.
HOWEVER, not to be a complete Negative Nancy (which I feel justified in personifying because, gosh darnnit, entirety of the human race, why ya gotta lead on like this is the greatest movie of all time?), it DID have its moments and those moments WERE GOLD.
I loved everything that had to do Frodo and Sam and Gollum–that part of the story was fantastic and should have been focused on more. The freaking “but I can carry you!” line had me sobbing my eyes out because of feelings. I also appreciated the multiple endings. It was a really long story, so I would have hated it if it had just suddenly ended without proper resolution.
So, I’m a little torn over this film, because while it was fantastic, it also managed to let me down a bit. It is a good film, though, if a bit overrated-cough-ahem.
Overall, though, this trilogy is FAR above most film trilogies in existences, even if my expectations were driven ridiculously high by everyone. Character development, adventure, fantasy, and all the themes of power and heroism were fantastic. Each film was artistic and well realized. Acting was superb nearly all around. I’d heard the soundtrack before but I liked it more once I saw it with the films themselves.
For all my complaints, these films still sit high above most movies in existence.
Most everyone already knows who these characters are, so I shall simply write out my boiled down opinions or thoughts on as many as I can till I get tired. XD (You will have to comment to tell me your favorite characters because now I’ll know who they are!)
Frodo Baggins: Hands down my favorite character out of the entire trilogy (so he gets a whole paragraph!) Frodo, along with Sam, was the first character to capture my heart and make me give a flip. I found him incredibly interesting, relateable, and realistic. He wasn’t a sweeping hero or anything, he was simply a little guy who wanted to do what was right–I love those types of heroes! The character was simply fantastic and I have zero complaints. Also: Elijah Wood equals PERFECT CASTING.
Sam: I really loved Sam; like, a lot, to the degree that there’s not much left for me to say. I really, really loved him. He and Frodo are one of my favorite pairs of friends in films ever. He was the perfect person to help Frodo complete his quest and without either of them, there would be no story.
Merry and Pippin: I loved these guys. Even though they started off as comedic sidekicks, which didn’t feel out of place, they developed into memorable characters who could stand up on their own. They were much like Frodo and Sam, just two small guys who wanted to help a bigger cause than themselves.
I love these four characters the most out of the entire cast. I kinda mesh the four together and title them my number one favorite character (yes, this is confusing: Frodo is my favorite character but the four hobbits are my favorite character. I’ve worked it so that other characters can take second and third.) So there we are on them. 😀
Gandalf: I liked Gandalf quite a lot, even though for a wizard he didn’t seem to use his powers all that much. He was a good guide and a good friend for Frodo (and Bilbo–somehow, I’ll have to write a post on the Hobbit Trilogy as well!) I’m afraid I like Gandalf the Grey more than I like Gandalf the White though.
Aragorn: I’m afraid I didn’t fall in love with him or anything, but I thought he was a noble character, a good fighter, and excellent leader for the Fellowship. He’s not a favorite of mine, though, so I don’t have much to say on him.
Legolas: The first time through, I found Legolas to be the epiphany of over dramatic-ness, to the verge of being cheesy and I still say he lacks personality. The second time through, I did like him more but still found him to be nothing more than a skilled warrior. The Fellowship certainly needed his strenth and skill with the bow but I’m having a harder time understanding Legolas’s fangirls when that’s all he is.
Gimli: I loved Gimli so much. He helped make Legolas more loveable and his one liners were completely hysterical while being completely appropriate. Gimli is one of my favorites, though I’m not sure where he places among the ranks. (My sister insists that I am Gimli, so now I pretend he is me when I watch the movies. ❤ )
Boromir: I liked Boromeir well enough, although he was in the movie in which I connected to no one. However, meeting Faramir and then hearing more of Boromir’s back story in the other two films was really interesting and made me appreciate his character. Also how does one not like Sean Bean.
The Rest of Them
Sauron and Saruman: all respect to Tolkien, but I think it’s rather stupid to have two different bad guys named so similar. Most writers would get flack for such a thing, so I’m surprised I don’t see this mentioned as a problem more often. Half the time I didn’t know which was being referred to and it was confusing. At least they were good bad guys.
Smeagul/Gollum: I absolutely loved this character. The split personality was displayed perfectly, and both Smeagul and Gollum were convincing characters. I felt so bad for Smeagul at the beginning, as he really did want to trust Frodo and everything. Then he when his opinions changed, he made for a fantastic, sympathetic villain. I actually thought I’d find this character overrated, but he’s not. Overall, this character is somewhere there in my top three favorite characters–possibly second, after the four Hobbits.
Arwen: I despised this character so much. I found that there was no point for her to be in the story. All she did was croon and moan after Aragorn, which had nothing to do with getting the ring to Mordor. I felt she was there to make me, as a girl, happy to get some female representation. Filmmakers (and storytellers in general) don’t include women in your stories if their not going to add to the main story: its embarrassing to you and degrading of us. (I am glad to know that Arwen had only the tiniest role in original books. Tolkien got it right.)
Eowyn: Now this girl I loved. She wanted to help keep her land free and she wasn’t afraid to fight for that freedom. Eowyn even had faith in Merry and let him help in the last fight, which of course scored huge points from me. 😀 While she was also in love with Aragorn (sigh) at least it wasn’t what defined her as a character. I honestly wish those two had ended up together, too. Overall, I really enjoyed this girl!
Faramir: I liked this guy a lot. I don’t remember him so keenly except that I felt really bad for him (and his father was despicable,) but I also have no complaints either. He was a good, noble character who I very much liked!
The Elves: this includes my opinions for Elrond and Galadriel, and Arwen and Legolas…I didn’t like the Elves. They came off as stuck up and aloof. I probably don’t understand the complexity of their race but I did understand that they frustrated me when one of them was on-screen. (Thankfully Legolas was not as annoying as the rest of them.)
There are lots of other characters to talk about, but it would take too much time to try to discuss them all. Can you imagine, we’d be here all day.
To some of you, it might sound like I didn’t enjoy The Lord of the Rings Trilogy all that much, so please don’t misunderstand me.
I enjoyed this trilogy a lot and they’re now among my favorite films. I shall be rewatching them for years to come, I’m sure. I’m basically in love with both Frodo and Sam, as the films did fantastic jobs rendering their characters and motivations. I had tears streaming down my face multiple times throughout my first viewings because WHO DIDN’T CRY ON THE MOUNTAIN OF MORDOR? I would even refer to myself as a Ringer.
I just have more problems with them than most people do. I assume, though, that it’s not all my fault (because I’m confident enough in my own discernment that I’m not just making up problems out of thin air.) Nothing is perfect. And I do acknowledge that this trilogy is very superior to most films!
I’d love to hear some of your thoughts or opinions in the comments: what’s your favorite movie, favorite character, favorite moment? Now’s the time to tell because I’m all ears! 😀