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Forums - Movies Discussion - Best Lord of the Rings film


I think the best is...

Fellowship of the Ring 11 17.19%
Two Towers 20 31.25%
Return of the King 33 51.56%

I don't think I could ever choose. Each film is a masterpiece of its own.

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Return of the King, especially the extended cut.

But they're all excellent.

For me, it is "Fellowship of the Ring". You have the transfer of the Ring from Bilbo to Frodo, the hunt for the Ring by the Ring Wraiths, the joining of the Fellowship, the orc attack in the Mines of Moria, the confrontation between Gandalf and the Balrog, the skirmish at Amon Hen and Boromir's Last Stand. The Battle at Helm's Deep was epic, but Fellowship will always be at the top for me.

I had this poster hanging on the wall of my bedroom in the apartment I lived in back in 2001:

These one is memorable as well:

Mandalore76 said:

For me, it is "Fellowship of the Ring". You have the transfer of the Ring from Bilbo to Frodo, the hunt for the Ring by the Ring Wraiths, the joining of the Fellowship, the orc attack in the Mines of Moria, the confrontation between Gandalf and the Balrog, the skirmish at Amon Hen and Boromir's Last Stand. The Battle at Helm's Deep was epic, but Fellowship will always be at the top for me.

I had this poster hanging on the wall of my bedroom in the apartment I lived in back in 2001:

These one is memorable as well:

Second one is one of many tributes Jackson gave to the animated film of the 70s

Bite my shiny metal cockpit!

All three are masterpieces in my book, but if I had to choose, I'd have to give it to Return of the King.

From the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, to the last stand outside the Black Gate, to that achingly poignant ending, it's just such a sublime, emotionally intense epic, a triumph of both large scale spectacle and small scale humanity. 

Bet with Liquidlaser: I say PS5 and Xbox Series will sell more than 56 million combined by the end of 2023.

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You are making me pick?! No way! I watch them as one single movie, extended editions.

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These movies are monumental. Definitely the greatest movie trilogy of all time. Each of the three is exceptional with so many outstanding sequences, many already named here in this thread; Moria, Boromir’s death at the shores of the Anduin, Gollum’s character development, Helm’s Deep, Sam’s speech, Theoden’s speech, the Battle of the Pelennor Fields and the destruction of the Ring in Mount Doom. Maybe I should even name the prologue, which explains the history of Middle Earth and the rings of power in an amazing mystical tone.

The ending at Mount Doom is probably the most epic ending ever written. Sam is the biggest hero in the story. Andy Serkis’s performance as Gollem is amazing. The costumes, set design, locations and cinematography are exceptional. So much so that on Youtube a lot of the newer comments on videos of the Helm’s Deep battle and the cavalry charge at the start of the Pelennor Fields battle are along the lines of “came here to see a good night battle” and “came here to watch a good cavalry charge” after Game of Thrones botched them.

As for my favorite of these; I’d say cinematically Return of the King is the best, like I said an achievement that probably won’t be matches in cinema for a very long time. It just oozes epicness. Narratively I think The Two Towers, because I love the Helm’s Deep battle and Gollem. So since that is a more personal reason, I pock The Two Towers. “This way little Hobbits.” “Ffollow me...”

Note I do feel the Extended Editions are a necessity. I never watch the Theatrical Editions because you miss too much stuff that’s too important, especially in Return of the King.

I would like to mention that I also like The Hobbit trilogy, its a worthy prequel to Lord of the Rings. Obviously it took many many liberties to spread it out to three movies, but it’s well done. I like the story of the wizards and what’s basically the start of the return of Sauron leading up to Fellowship of the Ring. I also like the Riddles in the Dark sequence a lot. Desolation of Smaug is clearly the best here, and Battle of the Five Armies the least, but still good. Here as well the Extended Editions are mandatory, and the added storyline of the dwarven rings of power actually explains quite some context. What I don’t like is that contrary to Lord of the Rings they relied so much on CGI. Costumes and make-up just looks better, more menacing and more real. The Orks and Uruk-hai from Lord of the Rings look much better than the Goblins from the Hobbit. Just compare Lurtz, the Uruk-hai chief from Fellowship of the Ring, the one that kills Boromir, to Azog the Defiler from the Hobbit.

These movies made me actually read the books. All four of them, which remain the only four narrative books I’ve ever read, because I don’t like books, which says something. They’re quite close to the books actually, there just a bit more that happens, except The Hobbit which is completely different. I glad they omitted some part of the Lord of the Rings books though, like the part about Tom Bombadil, which is dreadfully boring and doesn’t make much sense.

But, long story short; I vote The Two Towers.

I find it VERY difficult to separate them from one another given they're one story. But if I had to, The Fellowship of the Ring. You have this sense of loss and wonder at the mystery and danger. Even though I know the story very well, having read the book numerous times before the film was ever announced, I can still escape into the experience of the characters.

The Two Towers has a very fun battle, and the extended edition is a lot more than a simple "here's some more cool content" as it actually served to make the film better as a whole in a meaningful way, one of the few films I've seen to do that before (Blade Runner is the only other one that comes to mind). The theatrical edition was pretty much an action film and third out of three, but IMO it would rank second for me when considering extended editions.

As a note on the EE versions: The Return of the King had some scene enhancement. The encounter of Gandalf and the Witch King being added both made the scene more accurate to the book and better as a whole in the film.

The Return of the King is winning, predictably, but IMO it is the lowest of the three. Don't get me wrong, it has some great scenes, but it really botched a number of scenes that are SO much better in the book: Eowyn vs. the Witch King and The Mouth of Sauron in particular - FAR more climactic scenes in the book. While it has some of my favourite scenes, it's my least favourite film. I hated how the Battle of the Pelennor Fields went down with the ghost army being like a deus ex machina, that is NOT how it happened in the book. Gondor was WAY more powerful than what was depicted in the film; first, they made Gondor seem like it was just Minas Tirith and nothing else, there wasn't even a Dol Amroth.

As an adaptation, even with the controversial cuts, Fellowship of the Ring is easily the best. It comes, BY FAR, the closest to the pacing and feel of the books. The second and third films were WAY too actiony when in the books the character development and test of the human condition (or elf, dwarf, hobbit condition) were at the forefront. So in that regards, I didn't just like the Fellowship the best, but I felt it was by FAR the best. That said, all the films are great, IMO, and I have favourite parts across all three - Return of the King and Two Towers have some phenomenal scenes.

Also, in terms of the impact of the film on me, as a Lord of the Rings and Tolkien fan in general (my favourite book at the time, not just of Middle Earth, but of everything, was The Silmarillion, which I read as constantly as a religious person with their bible), The Fellowship of the Ring hit was indeed a special experience. I had tears in my eyes in the opening segment probably the first 2-3 times I saw it at the cinema just based on the emotional experience of seeing that come to the screen - which, prior to that time was said to be impossible to make into live-action... now people say, "Lord of the Rings is possible, but the Silmarillion isn't." But I am sure we'll be seeing a Silmarillion film sometime in the decade after the Amazon series is done.

TL;DR - The Fellowship of the Ring

Also, each film has exceptional scenes, probably my favourite from each - this one is a great adaptation of the equivalent scene in the book - the Extended Edition version, the theatrical cut the Gandalf and Witch King encounter (which was at the gate in the book) which hurt the scene significantly - glad to see it back and done well unlike Eowyn vs Witch King and the Mouth of Sauron:

The Elves show up at Helms Deep. When it comes to taking creative license, and even when this makes pretty much no sense in how the rest of the film goes down, and is inaccurate from the books... and I actually think this is a missed opportunity, in the books the Rangers joined up with Aragorn along with the sons of Elrond, calling themselves the Grey Company, and they travelled with Aragorn across the Paths of the Dead and went to the battle of the Pelennor Fields... They really could have made the Elves a meaningful part of the rest of the series. It's noteworthy that Jackson got the last alliance wrong, too. Lothlorien in the second age was a Kingdom of Silvan Elves, not involved in the last Alliance. Although, to his credit, Lothlorien did take part in the wars against Sauron later on, but not because of their duties to the last alliance... In fact, this occurred because Galadriel and Celeborn moved to Lothlorien and began to shift the culture away from the independent Silvan Elves - the princess (Nimrodel) was very unhappy with these turn of events, and Amroth (King of Lothlorien) decided to take her away. The two left in secret, separately, and Nimrodel was lost, Dol Amroth was killed in a storm while waiting for her on a ship at the Haven at Dol Amroth (which, while located in Gondor, was traditionally a colony of Lothlorien). Anyway, it actually makes no sense that Haldir would cite the last alliance as the reason he joined them since Haldir was a Silvan Elf, not a Noldor. Despite completely breaking canon, and being kind of independent from the rest of the plot, it was really awesome to see the Elves show up for battle: shades of the Silmarillion.

And then there are the two deaths of the Fellowship of the Ring. I thought the stuff after Gandalf's death was as close to real cinematic art as the Lord of the Rings ever got. The arrows firing through the air as the grief-stricken fellowship ride away. So I'll post that video, although Boromir's death was really good too. Not much to say, these two scenes were excellent. Of course, the Boromir death differs slightly from the book - the book is much darker as Boromir dies in complete despair, and is not calmed by Aragorn. In the book, he kills so many Orcs that they begin to pile into a hill (an echo of Hurin from the Silmarillion, who slew something like 80 trolls in the Battle of Unnumbered Tears/Nirnaeth Arnoediad - the largest battle in Middle Earth's history, next to the War of Wrath which ended the first age (literally millions took part in it, including thousands of Dragons, it was insanity)... Hurin was the greatest or second greatest warrior among humans in Middle Earth's history, his son Turin was arguably greater). But either way, I felt the Boromir scene was adapted excellently for a film that had to end shortly after... In the book, the narrative continues, and it wouldn't have made as much sense to end on that darker note in the film. Unfortunately, there's not a good clip on youtube of the death of Boromir, at least none I can find, just pieces cut out of the scene.

Last edited by Jumpin - on 25 August 2020

I describe myself as a little dose of toxic masculinity.

Runa216 said:
I love how, even though many of us have preferences, we all agree that all three films are phenomenal.

I don't lol.

General gamer, fanboy hater

I think I'm gonna be THAT guy (that's right, no one said what i'm about to say) but I don't find the trilogy all that good from a cinema perspective. From an entertainment point of view I totally understand (some of) the success, but not to the extent of a good movie experience. Peter Jackson proved to be a much better director in King Kong than in those movies to be honest.

First: literal translation of languages instead of adaptation. Movies are made by images first and foremost. They are not books. Kubrick's "The Shining" is a perfect illustration of what I mean. The Lord trilogy acts like it's a direct transcription from the books and many of the images serve no purpose rather than just confirming what we have already heard a given character say at some point. Take, for a contrary example, the Batman Returns ball scene with Wayne and Selina finally realizing who each other was. No spoken explanation whatsoever and you are carried along into the tension. Amazing! In Lord of the Rings almost 100% of the action is explained through dialogue because the movies, for the most parts, do not believe in the audience's intelligence. I mean, come on!, a guy lights a lantern or something like that and someone shouts: "the lantern was lit!". For puking out loud sake, how can someone bear this kind of thing?

Second: low tension, and that affects the last movie the most. There's nothing that makes you fear for the destiny of any of the main characters or for their success. Ok, we know the books and how everything turns out, but the last movie is almost unbearable to me because it is just a loooooong series of activities that carry no surprise or engaging moment, at all.

Third, and this is probably a fault of the original material so that could hardly be helped in the movies: a much too masculine world and females have almost no say or good actions, except for the second movie. This bores me to hell.

So, having said some of the things that bother me, let me rate the series from a quality perspective and to also mention why I think Two Towers (the one that received my vote) is the only one that can be called actually "good":

Fellowship: 5 or 6 out of 10 - entertaining but not remarkable in any way. The poor pacing kills much of the excitement. Nice images, though.

Towers: 7 out of 10 - good story development, actual tension (you are going to really fear for the fate of many here) and some actual, relevant meaning (if I can remember correctly after all these years) in the possibility of genocide, which is an actual and recurrent theme even in the modern world, unfortunately. Plus, the Ents are awesome. It drags a bit though, for it's own sake.

King: 2 out of 10 - my goodness, how did this horrible piece of crap get to be so successful? Boring, with no pace whatsoever, and all the tension built in the second one disappears into dust, as the action is so horribly just "placed" there and you are sure from the first moment that nothing can go wrong. It serves mainly as a catharsis moment for the fans, who can only sit back and enjoy an almost thrill free ride. And lots, lots of useless dialogues to explain what we can CLEARLY see on screen. Again: So. SO. Boring.

As you can see, maybe my vision of the whole was affected by how horribly it all ended, but I cannot agree that this can even run for better ever movie trilogy. If you want to compare popcorn trilogies, Back to the Future, just to name one from the top of my mind, is waaaaaayyyy better.

General gamer, fanboy hater