Favourite Films:Lord of the Rings

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What can I say?

When this was released, I, together with millions of other fans, was waiting for the usual Hollywood hatchet job on a beloved book.  However, director Peter Jackson has done a wonderful job and stayed true to the books in most respects.  He has credited his audience with some intelligence, and assumed their attention span to be rather longer than that catered for by most directors.   

There are some minor omissions and alterations, such as no Tom Bambadil and the absence of Saruman when they return to the Shire, but these can be forgiven in the light of all that is included.

The battle scenes are some of the best that I have ever seen, and it is a credit to the director that one actually understands what is going on in them.

The special effects and photography are breath-taking, but they never impinge on the story-telling, complementing rather than competing with the narrative.  The majestic grandeur of Rivendel is captured perfectly, and there is a real sense of menace in the mines of Moria when the party hears the tread of the dreaded Balrog.

For three successive years these films were the highlights of my cinema-going year, in fact I saw the first one at least four times.  To this day, The Return of the King remains the only film I have seen where the audience spontaneously applauded at the end of the show.  A wonderful achievement, elevating fantasy films to the ranks of the best in cinema.

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