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.
Armageddon. Ebert summarized it correctly (“Here it is at last, the first 150-minute trailer.”), but I enjoyed it more than he did. Some terrible writing and comedy hasn’t aged well, but the melodrama and spectacle holds up. I’d totally forgotten about the hyper-idealized middle-America nostalgia in there.