Or at least they don’t have to watch the extended cut of Peter Jackson’s trilogy as their first introduction in Lord of the Rings.
And why exactly shouldn’t it?
Well, putting aside the argument that you really have to start from the book and that the movies are just an extended illustration reel, which has great production values for a fantasy film, but still doesn’t stand up all that well on its own, the extended cut is , well, extensive, and very seriously.
In particular, each installment adds almost an hour of running time to films that are already approaching or exceeding three hours each.
Its total duration is over twelve hours – many limited series are considerably shorter. And while all, or nearly all, of that time is spent on something meaningful to the story, there’s a reason why the movies are usually much shorter, even with the recent trend toward longer stories, which rarely touch on, never mind. to exceed three hours.
Even at home, when you can take as many breaks as you need, most people can only stay focused on a screen for so long. Furthermore, not only are the Lord of the Rings films long, but they are very dense with legends.
While even the extended cut removes a lot of knowledge from the books, what is included is delivered at a much faster pace, so a new fan might struggle to process so much information about a fictional world while still engaging with the plot.
Finally, while the pacing of the theatrical version of the trilogy is largely fine (although there are still complaints that The Return of the King has essentially too many final sequences), the same cannot be said for the extended cut. There are scenes that provide important information or character development, but detract from the flow of the main story.
All in all, if you want to introduce someone to The Lord of the Rings through the movies, and given that a person who isn’t already familiar with Tolkien’s works isn’t likely to be a huge fantasy fan, willing to dive into a new fantasy world, it’s probably best to start with the original cut of the three films. And save the extended cut for a possible review.
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