The Hobbit looks great, but which movie from the original trilogy is best. A lot of people say it’s Return of the King. I’m more in favor of Fellowship. What are your opinions.
Fellowship. Each film depreciates, imo. Fellowship is just solidly good. I got the impression that Jackson pushed his team more and more, learned he could have basically everything that he wanted, and by ROTK is giving every idea the time of day. I call that film The Kitchen Sink. Each film also gets glossier and more, to use David Thomson’s term, “pewterized.”
That said? I like the films very much.
I would agree the first is best because it has the characters you care about all traveling together.
The issue with the third for me is more, besides the one dimensional treatment of Denethor and Faramir, that they added some extraneous scenes from the book that had no connection to anything else. Like those ghost warriors seemed like a complete deus ex machina, like why didn’t they just unleash those warriors at the beginning if they’re completely invincible?
I think Fellowship of the Ring is the best. It feels like the most adventurous and interesting of the bunch, and there isn’t the excruciatingly boring walking tree scenes. But then again, I haven’t read the books, so I’m not an expert with this stuff.
And Fellowship is the only one of the trilogy to make me want to cheer.
I really like all of them, but yeah, the first one is my favorite. And I think The Hobbit has the potential to be every bit as good as it.
I like all three, but Fellowship of the Ring is most definitely my fav.
I am glad to hear a lot of Fellowship supporters. In my personal group of friends they all seem to prefer The Two Towers.
Fellowship of the Ring, because it fulfilled my expectations and set aside my trepidation that Jackson & Co. were going to botch an adaptation of a beloved series of books. I read Tolkien as a teenager, about the same time I discovered the joys of smoking grass and listening to albums by Yes and Led Zeppelin. So my hopes were, um, high.
Fellowship has great characters, a clean plotline and arguably the best special effects of the trilogy. By ROTK, I thought the CGI was both overdone and unconvincing.
I really enjoyed the trilogy and tend to think of Jackson’s achievement — and ity really is a hell of an achievement — as a nine-hour film in three acts. But Fellowship is my favorite. I will also say that Jackson and his co-writers did a superb job of paring down the books for the film adaptations. I know purists may cringe, but some of the material in the books had to go or each movie would have been nine hours long.
Separately, I predict The Hobbit is going to be lackluster, both as entertainment and as a moneymaker. The story arc just doesn’t have the depth and scope of the LOTR trilogy. I will see both parts of The Hobbit, and I am confident it will be beautifully produced, but my expectations are not nearly the same as they were a decade ago.
I don’t get the complaints about the CGI. There were a few instances where the seams were a bit too obvious (The elephant, the cave troll), but mostly it’s some of the most convincing CGI I’ve ever seen.
I have some friends who love Twin Towers because they think the Battle of Helms Deep is one of the greatest mass combat scenes in history.
I think if you have a trilogy of movies that are great individually, it would be safe to say the whole trilogy is great and that there is not one that’s the best, especially since they all make up one story. If I were to choose one, it has to be The Fellowship of the Ring because it was good enough to begin the story and captivate you with the world of Middle Earth. The lives of the hobbits and the elves brought the magic and the wonder of the world, whereas in the following two movies, we see less of that magical world and see more of a human world and massive battlegrounds, which seems to imitate a medieval epic like Braveheart or the Arthur legend. The scenes in Hobbiton, Rivendell, and Lothlorien heightened the beauty and mysticism of this fantasy world, whereas the only wondrous places we see in TTT and ROTK are Edoras and Minas Tirith.
One of the strengths of FOTR was its ability to have foes and obstacles that could provide great menace and shadow over the story. Saruman’s turn to the dark side, his capture of Gandalf, his sabotaging of the Fellowship’s trek through the mountains, and his building of the Uruk-hai made him a very charismatic and threatening adversary for the Fellowship to find a safe path from, especially since they couldn’t even risk going through the Gap of Rohan nearby Isengard and had to choose Moria instead. The Ringwraiths were another source of frightening menace for the hobbits to run from since they were the most difficult to defeat and suffered no mortal wounds. When they get washed away by the Ford of Bruinen and lose their horses, we see very little of them in The Two Towers, which robbed that movie of a foe that was more menacing than the Orcs or the Uruk-hai. The Uruks and Orcs were easy to kill because they were just mortal monsters, even Saruman seemed weaker than he was since he gets easily driven out of Theoden’s mind by Gandalf and faces humiliation at the sight of his realm being destroyed by the Ents. The Balrog was another foe that really brought a great amount of despair to the Fellowship as he is a demon from beyond the earth and is ultimately responsible for the beginning of the Fellowship’s breaking.
The ending leaves a very deep emotional impact that leaves you hanging for the next two movies, yet it also made the movie feel complete. It felt like a strong resolution – even though the quest isn’t fulfilled – because it was a resolution to the tension that was building between the Fellowship and needed to end on a bittersweet note to sum up what this whole movie was building on, which was about leaving your space of comfort and facing very hard choices that would cause disaster either way.
They’re all one big movie. They were filmed at the same time, and cut into the three films for release in three different years. Picking one over the other is like saying the middle of The Godfather is better than the beginning or the end or that the last third of Chinatown is better than the first two thirds.
A possible reason why I like Fellowship better is because I’ve seen the extended edition the last two times that I’ve sat down to watch the trilogy. By now I’ve become so used to watching it that the differences aren’t very noticable. I just remember when I first saw the extended edition I enjoyed it more than the theatrical version. I still need to buy the extended versions of Two Towers and Return of the King, so maybe I’ll change my mind after I see those two, since they will probably be better. It’s really too bad that all of these Lord of the Rings versions didn’t become as popular as the Blader Runner cuts. They’re among a small group of movies where the other versions released on DVD deserve to be seen.
Extended is the only way to go, if only because the added scenes make the plot more like the books.
I’m not sure which is the best, but I’ll second the motion that Return of the King is the worst. The army of the dead was honestly one of the cheesiest things I’ve ever seen (remember that avalanche of skulls?), Gimli was more annoying than anything else, they ruined Denethor and Faramir (as Jirin notes above), the battle of the Pelennor Fields was uninspired compared to Helm’s Deep, the Scouring of the Shire is gone, etc..
I’m worried about The Hobbit, especially the fact that they’re splitting it into two films. There’s not a lot of material to go on as it is, and expectations will be very high—perhaps too high.
I always say Fellowship is the best, but every time I see the other two I’m reminded of how good they are. They really are of pretty even quality. I would say, though, that as they move forward, the films get larger in scope, and what I like most about Fellowship is how focused it is, almost intimate. It’s certainly my favorite, and the only one I’ve actually planned to sit down and re-watch, both in theaters and at home. On an objective level, I can say that it is more emotionally resonant than The Two Towers, and doesn’t drag nearly as much as Return of the King does in its last act. It’s also the one with the least of the Aragorn love story, which is pretty much the worst, most unnecessary plotline of the trilogy.
Is it impossible to think of these films as one large whole? I can’t think of them any other way. They mend really well together so I find it hard to say one is best over the others because they wouldn’t work if one of the pieces happened to be missing.
I also look at them as a whole, and I love them! On more “serious” sites like this I don’t think they get that much love (or maybe it’s just the people that I follow?) but I think the films are a gargantuan achievement and definitely comprised some of my best film-going experiences. Middle-Earth as portrayed by Jackson and co. is so immersive and fleshed out. I could go on, I pretty much love everything about the films, they’re a pleasure to watch.
oh they are aren’t they~ i love them too, I had such a wonderful day when I watched them all in one hit, thinking about that I want to do it again, to take those hidden paths that run west of the moon east of the sun, escape our mortal coil into middle earth for brief respite
still round the corner there may wait
a new road or secret gate
and though we often pass them by
the day will come at last when some
shall take the hidden paths that run
west of the moon east of the sun