The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. The Riders of Rohan are the best. Loved’em in the book. Love’em in the movies. I think they nailed the melodrama in this one. And the build-up to the spider set-piece is pretty great. I still think the song during the closing credits is a huge misfire. Should have gone instrumental!
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. You can see the move ripping at the seams. There’s a lot of story to pack in here. Lots of it feels clipped, rushed, off-kilter. Romances are un-earned. Jarring shifts in tone. Gimli has a lot more to say. Legolas slides on a shield? It’s a mess, but may have the best landscapes of the trilogy.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Appreciated the soundtrack more this time around. Pretty sure it’s borrowing from Dvorak. Also reminded me of The Last of the Mohicans in mood. Great work with the suspense and setting the sense, and such a great ending. Not a teaser, but a promise of adventure.
The Da Vinci Code. I remember reading a few pages of the book when it came out, and… yeesh. This is much better. Not great at all, but elevates the source material into something amusing.
The Keep. I’m sure there’s a cult following for it somewhere. Some of the photography and the Tangerine Dream soundtrack are worthwhile. Otherwise, it’s not quite Michael Mann’s best work. That said, if you want to see gothic-scifi-horror with Nazis set in 1940s Romania, it’s your best bet. This is what I get for being a Michael Mann completist. The only ones I haven’t seen yet are Ali and The Insider. Here’s how I rank the rest:
- The Last of the Mohicans
- Public Enemies
- Miami Vice
- The Keep