Alright, here we go. To many people, The Lord of the Rings is the greatest movie trilogy ever, no questions asked. The series is one of the most impressive accomplishments in the history of cinema, and it almost perfectly embodies what I believe a great trilogy should be, in that it is truly one self-contained story split into three films. These movies have had a huge impact on our culture and truly became the defining trilogy of a generation the way Star Wars had done twenty years earlier. There’s never a dip in quality between the three films, and aside from a few CGI or green screen effects here or there, they will stand the test of time and be remembered for years to come.
As for my own opinion on the trilogy, well, I kind of liked them.
Yeah, as much praise as I just dumped on the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I gotta say, they’re not my favorites. Make no mistake, I completely recognize and understand how much other people adore this series, but I just personally never connected with them all that much. I first saw Fellowship of the Ring in, I think, fourth grade, but only once it had come out on VHS. All I remember is that, overall, I enjoyed it. Later that year I went to Two Towers in the theater with my family and I remember liking it as well. Then, a year later I went to Return of the King with my family, and I liked that one too. None of them ever blew me away or converted me to a Lord of the Rings fan, but I can’t exactly pin down why.
The sort of clichéd complaint about these movies from people who don’t like them is that they’re too long and that they’re just about two Hobbits walking from point A to point B. I kind of agree with both points, but not to the extent that I think they ruin the movies. To be sure, the central conflict of the story is just that Frodo has to take the Ring from the Shire to Mordor. But then, there’s so much else going on that it doesn’t really matter. The complaint about the length, though, I totally identify with. It’s been years since I’ve sat through any of the three movies all the way through. My family owns all three of the extended edition DVDs, but I don’t think I’ve ever sat through one of them from beginning to end. Perhaps I should have rewatched them before doing this analysis, but it would feel much more like a chore than something I genuinely wanted to do. I’ve been meaning to watch them again for the last couple years, but I can never bring myself to do it. I’ve had friends suggest doing a Lord of the Rings marathon (watching all three back-to-back in one sitting) and I just shudder at the thought of even considering doing that, even though I’d be perfectly fine spending a day doing a marathon of certain other trilogies. I guess all I’m getting at is this: despite how good the movies are, despite how masterfully they were made, for me they’re hard to sit through more than a couple times.
And you know what? I’m fully aware that that’s just me personally. Other people are perfectly fine watching these movies over and over, and that’s awesome. Clearly they connect with the world of Middle Earth much more than I do. Part of my problem might be that I’ve never read the books, and while I believe you shouldn’t have to be familiar with the source material to be able to get into the movie, I understand that if I had read them, my enjoyment of the movies might be much higher. That said, because I have such a hard time returning to the movies, I would not consider the Lord of the Rings trilogy one of my personal favorite trilogies. In terms of the actual production, though, it absolutely is one of the best made films series ever, and Peter Jackson and his crew deserve every bit of praise they have received. It’s just too bad The Hobbit sucked so much (at least the first part).
So yeah, this definitely wasn’t the most traditional analysis of a trilogy, but then, what really is there to say about the Lord of the Rings that hasn’t already been said, aside from my own opinion. I hope I’ve made it clear that I’m absolutely not hating on this series. They are three amazing films that I just don’t personally connect with, at least not as much as most other people seem to. Objectively speaking, the Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the best trilogies ever made, but it’s not my personal favorite. It should be noted, however, that Return of the King is one of the best third movies ever. Where the second sequel usually takes a step down in quality (or several steps in some cases) Return of the King knocks it out of the park and ends the trilogy in the best way possible. I guess that’ll be my final word on the matter: the Lord of the Rings movies are, as far as I can tell, as good as they could possibly be. In the end, if you’re a fan of these movies, it shouldn’t matter what I think.