So far the blog-oriented search-and-parse site called BlogRunner has done the best job of sorting, parsing, and summarizing both media pro and blog-land reaction and coverage of Peter Jackson’s Return of the King – in particular, I’m interested in reading bad reviews, not because I expect them to be particularly enlightening – most will be penned by folks allergic to the genre – but because it’s the only place I expect to find thoughtful critical writing amidst the general rush to fellate.
Here’s the most thoughtful review of the film I’ve read: The End of the Ring.
The review is written by Jonathan V. Last, ‘the online editor of the Weekly Standard,’ and the subhead reads “‘The Return of the King’ is a flawed, disappointing end to Peter Jackson’s exceptional Lord of the Rings trilogy,” so I assume Mr. Last has seen the sub and feels it accurately summarizes his review. I don’t; if I wrote the sub it’d be something like “‘The Return of the King’ fails to live up to Peter Jackson’s exceptional Lord of the Rings trilogy,” as Last’s review describes both positive and negative things about ROTK.
His take on the film – and the trilogy – is quite like my own, as you will see shortly. Some of my quibbles issue from regions I presume to be off-limits to Mr. Last; but I find his thoughtful critique – grounded on frustration with the way in which Jackson and company’s cinematic streamlining undermines the literary structures of the original work – worth reading.
I find it more than a little amusing that a conservative publication’s online editor should be disappointed at the modernizing influences brought to bear on the most conservative piece of popular literature of the twentieth century in its’ transformation to film – and I find it even more amusing that I fundamentally share his viewpoint.