A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South. (IMDb)
The film’s attempts to address racial issues are flimsy, formulaic, and awkward, but when it focuses on the positively hilarious and often heartwarming odd couple dynamic of the crass but warm blue-collar Tony and the classy yet aloof Dr. Shirley, it succeeds (see the chicken-eating, letter-writing), though considering Tony’s relatively flat arc, the latter should’ve been the lead (see his speech on identity in the rain and hints of a troubled backstory that receive no further treatment).
Gandalf and Aragorn lead the World of Men against Sauron’s army to draw his gaze from Frodo and Sam as they approach Mount Doom with the One Ring. (IMDb)
The lengthy final battle takes away from some character work, but it’s undeniably epic, with its dizzying camerawork (see the flying rock perspective), artful editing (the montage with Pippin’s song is perfect), awesome action (see the elephant take-downs), and a memorable one-liner or two (“I am no man!”). Meanwhile, Frodo and Sam’s more focused and torturous journey adds some welcome emotion, added to further in the moving final few scenes (see the bow to the hobbits and the tearful farewell).
While Frodo and Sam edge closer to Mordor with the help of the shifty Gollum, the divided fellowship makes a stand against Sauron’s new ally, Saruman, and his hordes of Isengard. (IMDb)
The fragmented and widespread narrative here gives the film a monumental feel, but at the expense of the kind of tension and character development that require an unwavering approach–so despite this sequel’s equally masterful set design, music, and camerawork, delightful pops of comedy, and fantastic battle scenes, it still feels a shame that the tantalizing interplay between Sam, Frodo, and Gollum in particular struggles to get into a good groove, even within the film’s massive run-time.
A meek hobbit of the Shire and eight companions set out on a journey to Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring and the dark lord Sauron. (IMDb)
The mix of breathtaking bird’s eye pans and intense facial close-ups here showcase a layered tale that’s as much of a heartfelt character drama as a grand fantasy epic, with as many internal battles as external ones, and pleasant bits of humour from the homey hobbits sprinkled amongst the haughty and thick war talk that keep the narrative from melodramatic cliches. Excellent acting, music, and time-tested special effects ensure that this wonderful story’s film adaptation won’t soon be forgotten.