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Lord of the Rings: Extended Editions Actually Suck?

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A couple weeks ago I watched the theatrical version of “The Two Towers” with my sister and her boyfriend… Needless to say, It was glorious! I was enthralled with constant tension the entire runtime and by the end, was VERY satisfied with the film. But then I thought I should try out the extended edition of Two Towers a couple nights ago. I have heard nothing but praise for the extended editions and was very excited. But to be brutally honest, it pains me to say that I thought the extended edition was awful. I felt it compeletly ruined the pacing, constantly boring you further into what feels like a aimless drag of a movie. It loses the tight focused storytelling of the theatrical cut. I then turned towards the extended edition of fellowship and same experience to a lesser extent. Nevertheless, I felt it’s pacing suffered and was a worse film overall than the theatrical. I have not watched the extended edition of ROTK in all yet.

I do have a couple scenes that I think should have stayed in the theatrical cut. Them departing rivendell and Frodo asking what way to turn just after he was told to lead the way is truly a gem. In Two Towers, the flashback to Gondor with Farmarir and Boromir is some essential stuff!

I’m curious if a custom version of the theatrical versions with a few extended scenes would be the best experience.

What are your thoughts on the extended editions? Do you find them superior to the theatricals? Do you watch them a certain way to help get through the long run times?

Return of the Jedi: Remastered

Lord of the Rings: The Darth Rush Definitives

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The Lord of the Rings is one of the most painful book series to read and the Extended Editions serve that well and actually do the books more justice.

That said, I don’t see the point of watching them non-extended. The best way to watch them is to quit your life and watch all three in a row, preferably with several friends, lots of snacks, and booze.

Or while cooking Thanksgiving dinner in Canada.

It’s not a “fun afternoon matinee romp,” it’s a multi-day slog.

Keep Circulating the Tapes.

END OF LINE

(It hasn’t happened yet)

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I definitely prefer the theatrical for all the reasons listed. I appreciate the escapism of the extended versions, but like the OP says the theatricals hold your attention and convey the tension better. I seem to recall reading Peter Jackson prefers the theatrical too, not that that means anything about whether or not you should too.

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To answer your question - no, they don’t

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I’ve been watching them all recently, a bit at a time. I’m watching the theatrical cuts. I’ve only ever seen the extended cuts of Fellowship and Towers, and after watching the theatrical versions, I like the faster pacing and less useless scenes (Aragorn eating soup comes to mind). So I agree with the OP.

Not enough people read the EU.

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The best version is somewhere in between. Like Hellboy and like so many extended cuts.

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I wouldn’t go so far as to say they suck, but I’ve come to prefer the theatrical cuts as well. I find most of the added humor to be pretty cringe-y (looking at you, Gimli). Really the only thing I miss from the extended cuts when I watch the theatrical ones is the flashback with Boromir and Faramir in The Two Towers.

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I don’t think they suck but the theatrical versions are better as films. Like said, they are tighter and they flow better. The EEs may better represent the book but purely as films they feel more awkward and drag way too much, pretty much like the book itself where you could cut like 200 pages and it wouldn’t hurt the story itself at all.

And in the time of greatest despair, there shall come a savior, and he shall be known as the Son of the Suns.

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I think that the Extended Edition of Fellowship is the only one that is clearly better than the Theatrical version, simply for the extended departure from Rivendell, farewell to Lorien (seriously, it’s probably my favorite scene in the films), and even the extended introduction to Hobbiton.

The Two Towers benefits from the Boromir flashback, and if that wasn’t there I would just watch the Theatrical version.

The Return of the King is far better in Theatrical form. Aragorn and Co. wading through a sea of skulls was a Jump the Shark moment for me.

You probably don’t recognize me because of the red arm.
Episode 9 Rewrite, The Starlight Project (Released!) and ANH Technicolor Project (Released!)

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Tyrphanax said:

The Lord of the Rings is one of the most painful book series to read

Thankfully you speak for yourself. Otherwise I would give you the Invisible Internet Death Stare.

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Tolkein is just a terrible rambling writer.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the books and have read them all, but the man was just hyper-verbose and had no concept of when to be concise or cut something down.

Keep Circulating the Tapes.

END OF LINE

(It hasn’t happened yet)

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Tyrphanax said:

Tolkein is just a terrible rambling writer.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the books and have read them all, but the man was just hyper-verbose and had no concept of when to be concise or cut something down.

All correct.

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I feel kind of guilty I never finished the third book. (I think I gave up once I saw the Rakin/Bass animated ROTK.) On the other hand, I reread The Hobbit many times in my teens, but LOTR does get a little ponderous.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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TV’s Frink said:

Tyrphanax said:

Tolkein is just a terrible rambling writer.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the books and have read them all, but the man was just hyper-verbose and had no concept of when to be concise or cut something down.

All correct.

Except for the spelling of the author’s name. I quit halfway through The Two Towers. Twice.

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I read the LOTR a few years before the films were released, so I naturally compared the Fellowship film to the book, and felt that it was a decent adaptation. However, when The Two Towers came out I had largely forgotten the specifics of the book, so it was like rediscovering everything good about the book in the cinema without all of the boring bits. It was one of the most impressive films I’ve ever seen, from a technical and adaptation perspective. After realizing that I didn’t remember much of the Two Towers, I read the trilogy again in preparation for the release of ROTK. Of course, the sky-high expectations largely ruined my enjoyment of what I’ve come to see as an acceptable conclusion to the trilogy.

About verbosity: I’ve heard plenty of times that Tolkien isn’t a particularly concise writer, but that is a mark in his favor for me, since he intentionally mimicked epic stories like Beowulf. The Lord of the Rings feels like an epic history written in an ancient time, and I’m glad that Tolkien didn’t make his writing more accessible for the average reader since I think this quality would have been lost.

You probably don’t recognize me because of the red arm.
Episode 9 Rewrite, The Starlight Project (Released!) and ANH Technicolor Project (Released!)

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doubleKO said:

TV’s Frink said:

Tyrphanax said:

Tolkein is just a terrible rambling writer.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the books and have read them all, but the man was just hyper-verbose and had no concept of when to be concise or cut something down.

All correct.

Except for the spelling of the author’s name. I quit halfway through The Two Towers. Twice.

Whoops, transposed some letters. Didn’t even notice, thanks.

Keep Circulating the Tapes.

END OF LINE

(It hasn’t happened yet)

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I have been watching the EE of all three films for over a decade and never looked back. I did watch the theatrical versions when they came out, although I did not read the books until years later.

Didn’t know I was in the minority for preferring the extended versions though.

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On the contrary, I think the theatrical cuts are the ones generally with pacing problems.

Fellowship of the Ring, for example, in its theatrical incarnation feels very uneven to me, with the Mines of Moria scene seeming like a climax due to the overall faster pace/momentum of the film. It is then horribly distracting when you realize there is an hour left to the film. The Extended Edition, though slower, feels far more deliberate and what was originally intended.

The Two Towers loses a lot of the emotional development, and I never particularly felt the Extended Cut to be particularly ponderous.

Return of the King is long in any incarnation, with both versions feeling like they have uneven pacing. I still prefer the Extended for the world building, but it’s a major mistake to show the Army of the Dead agree to Strider’s terms beforehand.

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never heard of anyone preferring the theatrical cuts before… but i can understand it i guess. For me, i am in agreement with Tyr on this. you watch them all at once! with friends and food!

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I have to add, that FOTR: SEE BD has so bad color grading that it’s unwatchable for me. As a film, that is the best of the SEEs though.

And in the time of greatest despair, there shall come a savior, and he shall be known as the Son of the Suns.

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kk650 has done a regrade, you can find it on tehparadox.