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Return Of The King Extended Version And Appendices
Monthly Column
January 2005

Picture of Viggo Mortensen from PandemoniumfromAmerica CD cover insert:

 

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Pictures Of Henry and Viggo Mortensen from PandemoniumfromAmerica CD cover insert.

 

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Calendar Viggo Mortensen 2005,  Viggo Mortensen Calendar by Dream

 

Return of the King Extended Version on DVD or VHS

 

Return of the King Extended Version and Appendices

Like Fellowship of the Ring and Two Towers, the extended version of Return of the King is a preferable cut over the theatrical version.  

For example, during the King Theoden dying scene where Eowyn is by his side, the added scenes multiply the emotion needed in this scene.  Also, having a flesh and blood “speaker” for Sauron, no matter how slimy and evil the mouth may be, gives Sauron a form we can all understand.  

Finally, however, a favorite scene is what happens after Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas have just waded through and escaped a waterfall of skulls.  Aragorn is looking down from the mountain and sees the enemy’s ships approaching Gondor and he knows there is nothing he can do at this point to prevent the invasion and more importantly, he knows Arwen is going to die.  Mortensen’s acting at this moment--when Aragorn shows his despair, loses strength and buckles down on his knees--displays an even higher level of acting for Mortensen.  It’s a level we hope to see more of in other works.

As far as the Appendices, it is worth watching, despite the required lengthy commitment of your time.  It makes you appreciate the people behind the scenes and the dedication they have given.  There is also a lot of humor in the Appendices. 

Sometimes though, one brief, humor-meant picture of something behind-the-scenes can change your overall view of a character in a movie.  We can all recognize the Uruk Hai leader with the lumpy-doughy face.  In the Appendices, he is shown sleeping on a wheelbarrow simply because the actor has to wake up early to have his make-up put on, so he is making up for lost sleep.  The character of the Uruk Hai leader completely changes from Sauron’s bad arm to someone who is very sleepy.  I found myself thinking this when I watched the movie in parts for a second time.  This is only one instance where the Appendices has changed my view of a character in Return of the King.  The repulsive-looking bad guy has lost a bit of his badness.

One hundred years from now, should movies continue to attract audiences, because there will always be actors that shine and it is from this brightness that most of us go see movies in addition to good storytelling, and extended versions become the norm, then we can look back to now, to Tolkien’s comprehensive storytelling and to the originality of Peter Jackson’s extended versions of Lord of the Rings.  

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