Re-Watch: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson
Based on: J. R. R. Tolkien‘s novel
Sequel to: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Cast: Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Andy Serkis, Sean Bean, Marton Csokas, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Craig Parker, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving, Bernard Hill, Miranda Otto, Karl Urban, David Wenham, John Noble
Seen on: 6.1.2022

Plot:
Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) have not only to find their way into Mordor, but also to Mount Doom, unnoticed by Sauron, to destroy the One Ring. Meanwhile, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) slowly claims his role as King and leads the human army into battle against Sauron to draw his gaze away from the hobbits and the ring. The time of decision draws near.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is my least favorite Lord of the Rings movie and probably the most boring of the three. But it is still a satisfying ending to a trilogy that I continue to love overall (much more than the books, probably).

The film poster showing some of the central characters, most in fighting poses.
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Re-Watch: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson
Based on: J. R. R. Tolkien‘s novel
Sequel to: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Cast: Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Andy Serkis, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Craig Parker, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving, Bernard Hill, Brad Dourif, Miranda Otto, Karl Urban, David Wenham, Brad Dourif, Sean Bean
Seen on: 6.1.2022

Content Note: racism

Plot:
The fellowship of the ring is no more. Sam (Sean Astin) and Frodo (Elijah Wood) are heading towards Mordor with the help of Gollum (Andy Serkis). Meanwhile Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom) are chasing after Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) who were taken by orcs under the command of Saruman (Christopher Lee). Things are coming to a head.

The Two Towers does have a couple of blunders that really haven’t aged well, but other than that, it is still an excellent film (though it is only my second favorite in the trilogy).

The film poster showing headshots of the main characters arranged vertically next to a tower.
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Re-Watch: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson
Based on: J. R. R. Tolkien‘s novel
Cast: Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Andy Serkis, Sean Bean, Marton Csokas, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Craig Parker, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving
Seen on: 6.1.2022

Plot:
Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) is an unusual Hobbit in that he actually left the shire to go on an adventure. Now his 111th birthday is approaching and Bilbo feels that it is time to withdraw from the shire. One of his birthday guests is Gandalf (Ian McKellen), a wizard and old friend who suspects that there is something more to Bilbo’s tiredness than his age. Gandalf’s suspicions harden when he sees that Bilbo has a magic ring. He gets Bilbo to leave it to his nephew Frodo (Elijah Wood) before leaving the shire. The end of Bilbo’s adventure is just the beginning of Frodo’s who needs to figure out a way to keep evil forces away from the ring.

It’s been many years that I last watched the Lord of the Rings movies, but given that they’re celebrating their 20th anniversary, I (and a friend) decided to make a day of watching all three movies (extended editions of course) just like we used to do when we were younger. I was afraid that it would be a little disappointing to do so, but really, the movies stand the test of time – especially the first one.

The movie poster showing Frodo (Elijah Wood) front and center, with the other main characers behind him, most in fighting poses. Below him we can see a group of hooded riders.
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Gloria Bell (2018)

Gloria Bell
Director: Sebastián Lelio
Writer: Alice Johnson Boher, Sebastián Lelio, Gonzalo Maza
Remake of: Gloria
Cast: Julianne Moore, John Turturro, Caren Pistorius, Michael Cera, Brad Garrett, Holland Taylor, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Rita Wilson, Chris Mulkey, Cassi Thomson, Sean Astin, Barbara Sukowa
Seen on: 27.8.2019
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Content Note: fatmisia

Plot:
Gloria (Julianne Moore) has a full life. With a job and two grown children, divorced and free, she likes to spend her nights in the local bars, dancing and meeting people her age. One night she meets Arnold (John Turturro). He is also divorced, but not as long as Gloria, and the two of them hit it off. But when they start dating, things don’t go quite as smoothly as that first night.

Apart from it handling fatness very questionably, I very much enjoyed Gloria Bell that stands out from most films because it tells a story that might as well happen to your neighbor, and that centers a middle-aged woman.

The film poster showing Gloria (Julianne Moore) drenched in purple light, dancing.
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Re-Watch: The Goonies (1985)

The Goonies
Director: Richard Donner
Writer: Chris Columbus
Cast: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Corey Feldman, Kerri Green, Martha Plimpton, Jonathan Ke Quan, John Matuszak, Robert Davi, Joe Pantoliano, Anne Ramsey

Plot:
Mikey (Sean Astin) and his brother Brandon (Josh Brolin) live in the Goon Docks – an entire housing area that is threatened with foreclosure. Just before they have to move out, the two of them plus Mikey’s friends Mouth (Corey Feldman), Data (Jonathan Ke Quan) and Chunk (Jeff Cohen) stumble on a pirate treasure map. They decide to go on an adventure, picking up Andy (Kerri Green) and Stef (Martha Plimpton) on the way. But that adventure is not only one last hope of saving the Goon Docks, but also makes them cross paths with the Fratellis, a gangster family who also happen to be in the area.

I don’t know how many times I saw The Goonies as a child. I absolutely loved it. And I’m happy to say that it absolutely stood the test of time. It’s sweet and fun and basically embodies adventure movies in general.

The-Goonies

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The Colour of Magic – Terry Pratchett

The Colour of Magic is the first of the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett. It was also my starting point for the series. It is shocking, I know, but I’ve never read anything of this series before.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I started reading The Colour of Magic about 10 years ago and found it immensly boring, so I didn’t finish it (I think I got to page 15 or so). But deadra kept reading hilarious excerpts from (other) Discworld novels to me, so I figured I’d give it another shot. And because I have to start a series with the first book, I started with The Colour of Magic again.

The story goes like this: Twoflower is the first tourist ever to come to Ankh-Morpork from the Counterweight continent, his only companion a magic chest made from sapient pearwood, which follows him everywhere he goes and fiercly protects Twoflower. Twoflower is pretty naive and to protect him, Rincewind gets recruited as his tour guide. Against his will. Rincewind is a pretty crappy magician, but through an accident, one of the great eight spells got lodged into his brain. And now it wants to say itself at the most inconvenient moments. But because no one knows what it does exactly, it’s probably not a good idea to do so. Well, Twoflower and Rincewind get entangled in a series of adventures, which are more or less unconnected.

I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed. It wasn’t half as funny as I thought it would be [the TV adaptation on the other hand, is. Even though I always had to remind myself that Sean Astin is actually a normal sized man (more or less) and not hobbit sized. It surprised me every time he got up].

Back to the book. It wasn’t bad and I enjoyed reading it, but I just expected it to be laugh-out-loud funny. And it wasn’t. Expectations can really screw you. I mean, the backstories were great, but the action itself were just average.

Well. I’m pretty sure that the other books are funnier and I do think I will continue to read them. But I think, I’ll follow Death first. Thanks to the great Discworld Reading Order Guide (pdf), I know where I want to go next… and I can always return to Rincewind later on.