Fantasy/Adventure

The Rocketeer

Year: 1991
Directed By: Joe Johnson
Written By: Dave Stevens (original character) Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, and William Dear (story and screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

In 1991 I was seven years old and already a huge fan of this type of film and character. Thanks to the likes of He-Man, Flash Gordon, Batman, and of course the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I was already a veteran of films about heroes. They were my favorite and along came this lovable Disney movie about a guy with a really cool looking costume flying around with a jetpack. On top of that he was going head to head with Nazis a la Indiana Jones style. I remember seeing this movie in the theater multiple times going to work with my dad at that young age and I absolutely loved it.

For a time I even demanded my mother fix my hair just like Cliff Seacord with that part in the middle although my hair would never look right. I also really wanted one of those bitchin red leather jackets that button up all the way across the front, though I’d never be able to rock that either. Even today, if I were able to get my hands on a replica of the Rocketeer’s helmet it would be displayed in a prime place among all my cool fan boy crap. The funny thing is that Cliff Seacord, played by Billy Campbell, was the kind of character only a seven year old could love. I hold him in nostalgic honor now as “that cool guy that was the Rocketeer,” but in all honesty a better actor could have made a more memorable movie.

Somehow Campbell managed to beat out several actors such as Emilio Estevez, Matthew Modine, Kevin Costner, Dennis Quaid, and Kurt Russell. All of whom where arguably at the high points of their respective careers. If Billy Campbell ever went on to do anything else of significance I am unfamiliar with it. He had the benefit of a great supporting cast to make him look better though. Alan Arkin is such a talented actor and he brings something great to every thing he is a part of. Timothy Dalton makes for a great villain as the undercover Nazi with the terrifying henchman at his disposal. Paul Sorvino is in his natural role as a cool mobster who will break the law but isn’t working for any damn Nazi. Jennifer Connelly is also noteworthy as the pretty damsel in distress.

I remember back in 2010 being surprised to see that Joe Johnson was going to be the guy behind camera on the highly anticipated Captain America: The First Avenger. When the name was first reported I had to look him up. While I saw a few notable films, The Rocketeer was the one that jumped out at me and a ton of memories about this movie came flooding back to me. It was then that I decided to add this movie to the collection and I don’t think it was a mistake.

This movie holds special value to me because for a while it was my favorite during a tough time in childhood. Setting that aside I still think this is a really cool movie. Disney has always been able to make a fun and exciting movie that was appropriate for all ages. This movie has cool bad guys, mobsters, airplanes, sword fights, Nazis, the legend of aviation Howard Hughes, and Hollywood all rolled into one. It’s a movie that this day in age no one remembers and few have even heard of it. That doesn’t change anything about the film because I’ll stand by this one. This movie is worth your time and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and do.

NEXT MOVIE: Role Models (2008)

 

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Year: 1991
Directed By: Kevin Reynolds
Written By: Pen Densham and John Watson

RYAN’S REVIEW

Now to a more serious Robin Hood film. One I am quite fond of despite how much fun Mel Brooks had with it in his comical rendition. I enjoy Men in Tights as much as anyone but I don’t think it bears any credence to the merit of this film. I was an imaginative seven year old when this movie came out and it was an instant hit with me. I loved the chivalry and swordplay. I was specifically taken with the forest village and the battle with flaming arrows. Maybe it’s the kid that still lingers in the back of my mind but I still love this movie.

This is such a fun and exciting chapter in the never ending Robin Hood saga. There are already countless films dedicated to the character and yet another due in the next year or so. This one is far and away my favorite though. I never saw the Russell Crowe version in 2010 despite how much of a fan I am of Crowe. I think the reason was I didn’t want anything threatening my opinion of this film, because this is the one I know. This one has Morgan Freeman wielding a scimitar, this one has exceptional battle scenes, and this one has a bad guy that doesn’t get enough credit.

I was deeply sadden to hear the recent news of Alan Rickman‘s passing. He was such a talented and incredible actor. My favorite of his roles is undoubtedly that of Dr. Lazarus from Galaxy Quest, a silly movie but one he gave me plenty of laughs with. Personally, I think his Sheriff of Nottingham is a close second to one of his best roles. He kills it as a bad guy and he carries this movie on his shoulders. Yes Hans Gruber and Professor Snape are the popular choices for naming his best work and I would never challenge those roles. Yet, I love him in some of the overlooked things. In this movie he plays a great bad guy. The type of bad guy that cuts your heart out with a spoon, because it would hurt more. The type of bad guy that kills his number one henchman and cousin, because he is tired of hearing him bitch. The type of bad guy that uses gory torture punishments as flirtatious small talk when trying to woo a Lady. He’s the type of bad guy that demands your respect because you never know what he might do next. That’s Alan Rickman and if you give this movie nothing else you should give his performance your respect because that man knew how to be pull off bad guy.

It’s worth mentioning that said number one henchman and cousin was played by none other than Michael Wincott. That guy was born to play bad guys and has an evil and sinister facial structure that makes him perfect for such parts. I’m not going to ramble on about Wincott I simply think it is worth mentioning he is perfectly cast in this film in the henchman role and his presence makes Rickman an even better bad guy.

I suppose I wouldn’t be doing my due diligence if I didn’t discuss Kevin Costner. He is Robin Hood after all but while Rickman is sinister and legit I think Costner comes off as kind of cheesy. I like Costner in this part but I think he is easily overshadowed by many of his costars. As Robin Hood in this film he didn’t speak with an English accent but he did teach guerrilla warfare to the homeless and outlawed. That’s pretty cool if nothing else, and it obviously worked out well because they built a magnificent tree village.

Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood is cooler in fact because his right hand man is Azeem, played by a much younger but still old Morgan Freeman. As the sage of wisdom and wielder of the intimidating scimitar Freeman is as badass as he ever was throughout his career. Azeem can fashion tools and weapons, deliver babies, and scare witches before dispatching them. Is there a better man to have at your side whose sworn an oath to you? Achoo may have been pretty cool with his backwards Robin hat but he could never hope to have any validity in mocking Azeem. The man was just too much of a badass.

My brother and I play golf rather often, though neither of us are really any good. When we slice into the wooded area the same line is screamed by one of the two of us regardless who is at fault. “Too the trees!!!” is said multiple times on every outing and it’s this film that inspires that line ringing in my mind on a regular basis. It is fitting though because I appreciate a regular reference to such an awesome scene. The battle at the tree village is so ahead of its time and it came before so many others you must understand. This movie preceded Braveheart, as well as plenty of other films that offer great medieval warfare.  If there is no other reason to get behind this movie it is this battle. The one that rushes a wave of fur clad warriors on foot and follows with a volley of flaming arrows into the tree village. The only thing I remember being half so cool as a kid was Madmardigan in Willow and He-Man.

The early 90s were a time when it was the cool move to cast Christian Slater in a supporting role. I get it because there is a time and a place for nearly everything. I tend to think his role has always been a bit too much though. This movie does a really good job actually of depicting life during feudalism, but Will Scarlett’s opinions just sully the whole thing. He’s the bastard of House Locksley and thinks this entitles him to something. Nobody likes a guy who doesn’t know his place in the world.

I was a history student in college but admittedly never studied much of medieval history. I have always found it fascinating and the era has made for some of my favorite movies both as a kid and as an adult. I am a huge fan of Game of Thrones, the books not the butchering show, and I have read them multiple times in anticipation of the next installment, The Winds of Winter. Having read these stories so much I have become very acquainted with the customs of the time period. Even though the series is fiction it is so historical in itself that I trust plenty of it when it comes to the customs and style of the time period. In this movie without going into explanation it accurately depicts many of the same customs and practices that can be found in Game of Thrones. With the exception of Will Scarlet and his whining. The audacity this illegitimate son has to consider himself a rival of the true born heir would make the Lords of the Seven Kingdoms shudder.

This movie has a special place in my heart, as all movies that influenced my fledgling imagination as a child do. This one is way up there because in my mind I would recreate that battle in the tree village over and over again in different scenarios. As a kid my imagination was the only escape I had from the family that was dramatically breaking apart around me. Movies were what got me through those troubling times because they inspired the world I created to hide away in. That makes this movie especially more important to me but I think it is good enough for anyone regardless. If you haven’t seen this movie then it is easily worth your time. Audiences love the Robin Hood story and this one was as good as any of the adaptations have been.

NEXT MOVIE: Robocop (1987)

 

 

 

Red Sonja

Year: 1985
Directed By: Richard Fleischer
Written By: Robert E How.ard (character), Clive Exton and George MacDonald Fraser (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

Right now I am actually sitting down to this movie for the first time since it made its way into the collection. It is a somewhat newer purchase and I ordered it on Amazon for nostalgic reasons. I remember this movie when I was a little kid in love with the movie Willow. At that young prepubescent age I was moved nevertheless by the bold beauty of Brigitte Nielsen with the fiery red hair of Red Sonya. Not just that, but when I was five I thought anything involving swords was awesome.

I remember this movie coming on TV when I was really young and my mom let me watch it. I remember her telling me about how Brigitte Nielsen was married to Sylvester Stallone. She would talk about Stallone and Schwarzenegger when this movie was on and it left an impression on me that made a difference later on.

I’m seeing Brigitte Nielsen now for the first time as Red Sonya, fighting and defeating an Asian sparring partner. She is such a powerful looking woman, so tall and intimidating. Beautiful in a way that befits a warrior princess of sorts. She may not have been the type of actress that was ever going to win awards but her casting as Red Sonja is on par with Dolph Lundgren as He-Man in Masters of the Universe

I was under the impression Schwarzenegger was merely in this movie as a Conan cameo but I see now that I was wrong about that. I really didn’t remember this movie well when I indulged myself with an impulsive internet purchase. I find it odd that this is the movie Schwarzenegger chose to take on following The Terminator. Had it not been for his role in Commando he could have so easily been typecast into that Conan type role which would have went nowhere as the 80s progressed.

The young Asian actor in this movie is none other than Ernie Reyes Jr. That’s right, this little prince of whatever is actually Keno from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze. Which was not a good movie, but when it came out I was at the age that qualified it as the greatest movie ever. In 1991 I was 7, I thought Secret of the Ooze was one of the coolest new movies I had seen, except for Hook maybe.

The sets in this movie are interesting. Yeah they are cheesy but at least they are real. In the scene where the bad guys are in a room full of lit candles for example. That’s the kind of thing that can be done digitally now but back in 85 some poor person had to painstakingly light all those candles because in the 80s they had to actually make the sets. I’m not suggesting that what they did in this movie was great or anything, just pointing out the merit in actually putting in the work.

OK full disclosure, as hard as it will be to believe, I fell asleep watching this last night. It’s now the following morning and I don’t know how the movie ends. Sad to admit it, but I’m actually OK with that. It’s a sad thing to admit I watched a movie I own and not only don’t know how it ends but have no interest in actually finding out. That being said I don’t think I can tell you this movie is worth your time as I won’t bother giving up anymore of mine.

Last thing worth mentioning is the long standing efforts to do a reboot to this film. At one time Robert Rodriguez was attached with Rose McGowan set to go fiery red and swing the sword. Too bad it didn’t get done because I think McGowan is awesome and Rodriguez no doubt would have made a cool movie.

image

 

 

 

 

 

NEXT MOVIE: Reign of Fire (2002)

The Princess Bride

Year: 1987
Directed By: Rob Reiner
Written By: William Goldman (book and screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a movie I had looked forward reaching in the blog forever. Amber and I have two young daughters and we had finally reached a movie that not only we could watch with them but also one they seemed perfectly suited for. Despite my best efforts, both of my girls are very girly and I live in a world dominated by pink and princesses. This was a classic movie that I and most in my generation grew up with. It was one I wholeheartedly looked forward to showing my own little princesses and passing on a classic to another generation. Sadly this experience was spoiled when we started watching it and come to find out they had already seen it with their grandmother. They loved it, of course, but that’s not surprising at all. This is an exciting and timeless movie that will always be fun and entertaining for children.

I find though that the generations from the mid-90s and up are by and large unfamiliar with this film. I got several strange looks from the young adult guys at work when I mentioned it. Even a few were brazen enough to suggest I was being silly by watching a princess movie. It became frustrating then trying to convey that this isn’t considered a girly movie at all by my generation and that the name was simply misleading. It sucks too anytime the boys have a chance to call me out. I live in a house full of women and take no crap about the princess band-aids I come into work wearing. I am a proud father of girls and wear those princess adorned band-aids with pride. When it comes to my taste in movies and the ones that I own I take no crap. Mentioning this movie seemed to give them the idea they had something to give me a hard time about and I was at a loss in explaining that isn’t the case.

Nothing suggests masculinity less than a film entitled The Princess Bride but it simply gives the wrong impression. The kids at work didn’t know any better and it wasn’t easy swaying their adolescent minds. It’s discouraging that these guys don’t know because I don’t think I convinced them to give it a chance and I doubt they’ll ever click on the title if they come across it on Netflix. It’s unfortunate because they are missing out. They’re missing out on the revenge of Inigo Montoya, the fire swamps and R.O.U.S.’s(Rodents of Unusual Size), most importantly they are missing out on Andre the freaking Giant! The young men at work thought they had something to give me a hard time about but they have no idea what they themselves have missed out on and that’s a shame. It’s ironic too because the movie starts with the young boy played by Fred Savage who doesn’t want to listen to his Grandfather’s boring book about a princess until he finds himself really interested. It’s sucks how life has changed for me personally in this regard. I’m no longer the kid that doesn’t listen because he knows everything already but the grandfather who can’t get the kid to listen even though at his age he actually does know.

I remember watching this movie at a very young age and becoming completely enamored with it. I have a passion for sword fighting in films and it very well may have started with this movie. With Inigo Montoya and the Dread Pirate Roberts on the edge of the Cliffs of Insanity. I learned so much from this film as a kid, lessons that would mold my imagination as I grew up. The quest for revenge and the perseverance that is necessary. The romance of Buttercup and Westley and how it affects the lives of all that get mixed up in it. The boldness of bravery and the excitement of action. The fun of the fairy tale medieval setting. So much of what I love about other stories I learned from this one as a beginner to the media of film. I have grown up watching movies in an age where putting your kids in front of the television was the easiest way to shut them up. It is from so many films that I have learned the lessons that have stayed with me in life. This movie is one of the oldest I remember watching and learning from when I was around 5 or 6 years old.

There is one question that comes to mind for me every time I watch this movie. Why didn’t the career of Cary Elwes do any better? Nearly 30 years after this film his costar Robin Wright is still a successful actress currently starring in the hit Netflix show House of Cards. Yet Elwes has done practically nothing of note aside from this movie. The only other thing that immediately jumps to mind is the very silly Robin Hood Men in Tights, which I loved as a child, but there is little else. You could make a case for Saw, or…..Twister, maybe, but I wouldn’t. I just don’t understand because this movie would seem to suggest he was on his way to being a regular leading man. Although maybe he just seems cooler with his company. It could be argued that even Wallace Shawn seemed much cooler flanked by Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya and Andre the Giant (no matter who he played, he’s Andre the freakin Giant).

Some movies you never outgrow, some of the films that really leave impressions on us stay with us forever. I often consider this film an afterthought but it without doubt is significant to me personally. It’s a movie that I find myself getting sucked into again each and every time I come across it. If nothing else I consider myself lucky to see the duel on the Cliffs of Insanity anytime because it is a scene that never gets old for me. Despite the know it all boys I work with I think each of them would agree with my opinion of this film if they pulled their heads out of their asses and actually watched it. It’s a timeless classic that has a place in each succeeding generation. I have never been a fan of Rob Reiner or any of his films but I make an exception for this movie. Credit should be given where it is due and in this case it is. The Princess Bride is a film that everybody should see regardless your age or sex and it is without doubt worth your time to see.

NEXT MOVIE: Prometheus (2012)

Chris Pratt as Indiana Jones

I have heard the news that there is a potential reboot of the Indiana Jones franchise with Chris Pratt in the key role. I have also heard that Steven Spielberg is interested in continuing the franchise. Despite what he did the last time around I will always be excited with what Spielberg is able to continue doing with the character.

I think that Chris Pratt is an incredibly likable actor and I am under the impression he can do absolutely anything and it will be good. He was terrific in Guardians of the Galaxyso good in fact I can’t wait to see his next movie Jurassic World. I think he would be an excellent choice if a reboot was in order for this franchise but I think a reboot is a horrible idea.

The reboot has been far too played out. I don’t think they should cast him as Indiana Jones but as a new character to carry on the franchise. We saw Shia LaBeouf as Indy’s illegitimate son Mutt in the last Indiana Jones film. I think it’s safe to say nobody is interested in where that story goes. Mutt was lame and Shia LaBeouf has proven to be quite the odd ball in the last couple years. Why not continue the story with a better idea and another old man Indy adventure. Make Chris Pratt a different illegitimate son and one that proves to be more capable of carrying on his father’s legacy.

If you give the matter some consideration it would be easy. Indy was bound to have fathered many children all over the world and it would be cool to see an even older Harrison Ford put the hat back on and swing the whip. No reason to even mention Marion Ravenwood or Mutt Williams in any continuation. True Indiana Jones fashion in fact because he never had the same woman around come the next film. Why not do something similar with his son? Make Chris Pratt the son of Kate Capshaw’s Willie. Chris Pratt would be awesome acting side by side with Harrison Ford and they could do something great that would erase that last installment from our minds.

Disney now has control of the franchise and George Lucas can’t ruin it with aliens of otherwise bad ideas in general. If nothing else Disney has proven to be smart and capable of doing great things. I have no doubt that whatever they do will be awesome but I hope they bring back Spielberg and the real Indiana. Harrison Ford has returned already to one franchise that Disney has brought back to life, why not another?

Just a thought I had, wishful thinking on a Sunday evening.

Masters of the Universe

Year: 1987
Directed By: Gary Goddard
Written By: David Odell

RYAN’S REVIEW

I was born in the 80’s, need I say more? What young man sired in that decade didn’t grow up loving He-Man and the battle for Castle Grayskull? When I was a kid watching this movie, action figures in hand, it didn’t matter what the quality of the movie was. All that matter was that it was He-Man, and that made it awesome.  I have owned this movie for years now and still love watching it from time to time to fulfill my own personal nostalgic needs.  I still love this movie but will admit that it has plenty of flaws.  I think there are specific reasons to argue that this movie is awesome as well as specific reasons to argue that it is garbage.  Unfortunately there is no middle ground in that scenario and the overall product is in all truth less than stellar.  Despite that, I see plenty in this movie to justify my opinion of it while knowingly and intentionally overlooking the things that can be easily criticized about the film.

Let’s start with what I like about this movie.  Aside from the simple fact that it is a film about He-Man, and that makes it awesome, there are several things this film did well.  The costume design and make-up done by the special effects team was incredible.  Skeletor looked awesome and Frank Langella did an incredible job with the part. Langella was eager to play the role because he had a young son at the time who, like myself and so many other boys, was obsessed with He-Man. I think his enthusiasm for the role can clearly be seen in the film because his performance was head and shoulders above all the other actors involved. Meg Foster also did a terrific job playing Evil-Lyn and her make-up and wardrobe were great.  In fact all of the bad guys in this movie look awesome.  Skeletor’s mercenaries are a highlight of the film when their appearance is only taken into effect.  Otherwise these guys are generally only seen running away from the action as the black robots are destroyed in mass quantities by He-Man and his associates.  He-Man too I will say was great but only because he looked the part so well.  Dolph Lundgren was certainly a great physical specimen although his acting left much to be desired.  It’s not really his fault because when this movie was being made he was not really fluent in English being from Sweden. He has apparently said his experience making this film was the worst he has had as an actor and he refused to reprise the role in the planned sequel that ultimately never got made.

There was a sequel planned and anybody who watched the movie through the credits could see that Skeletor lived and declared that he would be back.  The planned sequel did get scripted and cast with a replacement for Lundgren (it was a professional surfer who was cast) but was never made when the studio that produced the film crumbled financially.  I was able to find out very little about what the sequel was intended to be like but what I did find out all seemed really lame. I read that He-Man was disguised on Earth as a high school quarterback (really lame if true) and that Skeletor was also disguised on Earth as some sort of business man with diabolical desires.  I don’t know how accurate any of that is but that is what I read and in truth not much is actually known because that script was never made public. There was another script written at some point while they were continuing to try and get a film made. The other version was much more apocalyptic and when the film failed it was converted into the script for the Jean Claude Van Damme movie Cyborg.  So it seems like the movie would have blown whether the studio went bust or not.  The studio was very difficult to work with as I understand it with the making of this first film as they were already having financial troubles.  The movie went way over budget and the director had to plead with them just to get the ending shot.  If you will notice in the climax of the film nearly everything looks different once He-Man gets his sword and begins to fight Skeletor.  This is because the final fight between the two was shot months after the initial shooting was finished and wasn’t done until the studio finally allowed it to be done.

Now, on to what was wrong with this movie.  I think the biggest problem is simply that the story written called for most of the film to take place on Earth.  This was necessary with the budget restraints on the film as making a movie that took place entirely on Eternia would have been very costly.  Unfortunately nearly everything that happens on Earth is a bit ridiculous.  It takes four really nasty looking mercenaries to take on a teenage girl and they can’t even accomplish that? Detective Lubic’s character, played by James Tolkan from Back to the Future, was awful and did nothing but bring the film down.  His assumption that the cosmic key may have been Russian are quite humorous and a clear example of the fears still lingering in the late 80s from The Cold War. The character of Gwildor was really lame and even as a kid I didn’t like him.  He was a made up character put in the place of Orko, who would have been difficult to have in the film because of budget and technological restraints. Some of the mercenaries were made up for the film as well and I have specifically never understood that.  Why make up characters when you have such a rich gallery of villains to choose from.  It wasn’t from the lack of effort to make them because the characters that we see in the film all look incredible.  It’s a decision I couldn’t find out anything about but I didn’t really like it. At least we got to see Beast man, but it would have been cool to have more like Whiplash, Trap Jaw, or Tri-Klops.  Although, if all these guys were going to do in the movie was run away from the action I don’t know how cool it actually would have been.

Also worth mentioning is the cast in a few other roles.  This was one of the first featured films Courtney Cox ever appeared in.  Jon Cypher played the part of Man-At-Arms and did well with it.  Some might remember him better from his role on Major Dad that aired during the early 90’s. Barry Livingston, known mostly from his long run on My Three Sonsplayed the music store owner.  Frank Langella, while great the whole time as Skeletor, did not actual perform the final battle scene with He-Man.  That was done by Anthony De Longis, who played Blade in the rest of the film.  De Longis also choreographed the fight scene itself, as well as any other time he himself sword fought with He-Man.

There has been talk for years about rebooting this franchise but nothing has ever come of it.  At one point it looked like it might actually get made and John Woo was tagged to direct it but that fell apart a long time ago for reasons I don’t know.  I have my doubts that another He-Man movie will ever be made but that’s not a bad thing.  Maybe He-Man belongs where he is now; a relic from a decade that makes guys my age get nostalgic.  That or the fact that who else would they ever get to play He-Man? Maybe the guy sounds ridiculous when he opens his mouth and tries to talk but otherwise Dolph Lundgren looked the part to a T.  On the other hand, Skeletor is too cool a character to be locked away in the 80’s basement.  This is not a movie to be watched with a critical eye, and I doubt many will find it as entertaining as I do today but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s worth your time.  If you were a He-Man fan and have never seen this I say go get it and check it out.  If you have no idea what the hell I’m talking about then check out The List and read a different review.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Such a fun movie to watch. I have no recollection whatsoever of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe from being a kid. I didn’t know anything about it until I met Ryan. I don’t really remember the first time he introduced me, but I know now it was important to him as a child, because a lot of different things in our life go back to He-Man or Battlecat. I really like the nonchalant attitude I can take while watching this movie.

masters-of-the-universe_movieposter_1376939269

I actually really like this poster. I think they take the necessary space to show you the important characters of the movie to bring in the fans, and then shows the human aspect to give you some foreshadowing of what the premise of the movie might be. There is a glowing light behind He-Man. It’s quite awesome. This in truth is just another montage poster of characters from the movie, but giving that I think the movie is so carefree, I am giving this poster a pass. How could you hate on this?

NEXT MOVIE: Matchstick Men (2003)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Year: 2003
Directed By: Peter Jackson
Written By: J.R.R. Tolkien (novel) Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens, and Peter Jackson (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

Now to the final end all be all of the series.  The three year journey finally came to an end with this film and what an end it came to.  I will never forget the feeling I had leaving the theater after seeing this film.  By the time this one came out I had invested so much in the series and honestly felt like a different person after seeing the conclusion.  The film ends with some highly emotional scenes that really got to me. I felt I had learned something from these movies and my outlook on life was different.  Everyone succeeded and was acknowledged for their accomplishments.  It painted a pretty picture of how things should go in life and in my youth I bought into that idea.  Things aren’t always that simple, as I would grow to learn, but I will never forget how happy I was with the ending of this series and how much it meant to me at the time.

Something about seeing Legolas and Gimli acknowledge each other as friends right before the final battle as they looked certain death in the face really got to me.  These two men had always been at odds over ancient rivalries and in competition with one another all throughout the series.  When Gimli mentions that he never expected to die next to an elf and Legolas responds that he is going to die next to a friend it somehow gave me hope for the world.  Seeing these men finally overcome their differences and accept each other as friends made me think there was hope people in the real world could do the same.  I was young and foolish because I now know people will never be able to do such a thing.  This movie was simply a fantasy I got too invested in and misguidedly thought it could apply to real life.  I still hope for the possibility that people in all walks of life will learn to accept one another and live together peacefully but no longer believe it will happen. People are just so mean, judgmental, and selfish in general. I try to be a good person and treat all people I come across equally but still can’t help to recognize the shortcomings of others in that aspect.  Too many people will just never get it and it’s an unfortunate truth I have had to learn to accept and live with.  Would that everyone in life lived up to the same principles we see in the characters of these films but they won’t and it is simply foolish to think they ever will.

Another scene in the end that really got to me was when the hobbits prepare to bow to Aragorn and he stops them saying they will bow to no one.  When he bows to them and the entire kingdom follows him in doing so it was really inspiring.  These four little men had showed more bravery and heroism in the face of danger than anyone throughout these films.  Frodo shouldered the evilness along the way, Sam saved everyone by doing what Frodo couldn’t, and Merri and Pippen were the first to charge after Aragorn in the deciding battle.  These guys didn’t have size or skill on their side but they had courage to do whatever they needed to do.  When they get the recognition they deserve from the king it’s a really powerful moment and I thought it was awesome.  It was probably one of my favorite parts of the whole series.

The scene I probably hated most of all throughout the series was the scene in which Frodo wakes up after all is said and done.  He lays there on the bed as each of the main characters comes in and congratulates him with Sam being the final one who comes through the door.  This is bullshit, complete and utter bullshit.  They should have all turned around and praised Sam instead of Frodo and it bugs me to no end every time I see them all running to Frodo.  Frodo was a chump.  Yeah he carried that ring all the way to Mordor but he would have never made it if Sam wasn’t there pushing him along the way.  Frodo listened to Gollum and sent Sam away.  Frodo decided not to destroy the ring AFTER Sam had literally picked his ass up and carried him up Mount Doom.  Sam deserved all the credit Frodo got. If it hadn’t been for Sam all our favorite characters would have died outside of the black gates when Frodo decided to keep the ring. While all of the characters in these films are heroic I think this last movie leaves Samwise Gamgee on the highest note.  Sean Astin was great in the part and I wish it had led to more work for him.  He did rise quite a bit in popularity after this film, as all the cast members did briefly, but I haven’t seen him in quite a while.  He is still working but he hasn’t been in anything significant.  He was the voice of Special Agent OSO on Disney Junior but I’ll admit that I might have liked that show a bit more than my toddler daughter ever did. That’s silly I know but when Dora, Mickey, and Handy Manny were on the table Special Agent OSO was looking pretty good.

This movie tends to get a bit long as it wraps everything up but there are plenty of thrills to keep you in your seat.  I personally like the climactic battle in the second film a bit more but the showdown between Mordor and Gondor in this movie is impressive.  The sheer size of the battle makes it exciting.  Once you add in the flying Nazgul, Elephant cavalry, and that nasty Orc General you have something that is hard to look away from no matter how many times you have seen it.  One of my favorite moments of the movie is the charge of the Riders of Rhohan.  When they finally reach the battle they can all see that they are not only outnumbered, but out of hope as the enemy has such an intimidating force.  The battle looks to be impossible to stop and you can see the fear they all have.  Then the king starts talking, he isn’t afraid, he is empowered, and with his words he empowered his people with courage.  They look their death in the face and charge right into it.  I have said before that there is nothing more inspiring than seeing people run right into death because they believe in something so greatly.  It’s an incredible show of bravery and it brings me to tears every time I see it. It’s the finest moment in the films for King Théoden and Bernard Hill gave a great performance.

There is plenty to be said about this film and I haven’t even scratched the surface of what needs to be said.  In the interest of putting this monster trilogy behind us I am going to go ahead and call it quits.  If you have your own thoughts on the movie you would like to share please leave us a comment.  Otherwise, this is my favorite trilogy of all time and possibly one of the best ever made.  As much time as it takes to get through it is without doubt worth every minute because this is exactly what movie magic is all about.

AMBER’S REVIEW

The final movie was great. The first one was still my favorite, but this one is filled with all kinds of battle scenes and wicked camera effects. I liked the way they portrayed the story, and you finally get to see what a little turd Frodo is and what an actual hero is; Sam. Let’s see about this poster.

lord_of_the_rings_the_return_of_the_king_xlg

This one is just so much better than the first one. There is a focal point and the colorization shows emotion. It is dark and piercing, just like the end of the world would be. I really think they came a long way from the first poster. I really like this one. I also love that they continued to use the typography throughout. It became a logo for the franchise so that you always knew that this movie was party of the trilogy. I will give this one my approval.

NEXT MOVIE: Lord of War (2005)