Reportd from the Minneapolis Carleton College ROTK Charity Premiere with Barrie Osborne:

RDP writes:

I just came back from the Minneapolis Carleton College ROTK Charity Premiere screening.

ROTK was showing on three different screens for this special premiere, and producer Barrie Osborne was in attendance. Before each screening he thanked the audience for coming, and spoke a little bit about the film.

The audience I was with was swept away with Frodo, Sam, and all the others in the film. Everyone shines in this film. Even the villains, Gollum, and Shelob, have special moments that are not to be forgotten.

After the film, there was a small reception held at a bookstore with Barrie Osborne also there. I was able to speak with him for a few moments. I told him I thought it was a great film, he said, “Thank you,” and I told him, “Thank you for the film!” He smiled, and we shook hands. Defiantly, a memorable moment. He seems like a very nice, down to earth, person.

All in all it was a memorable night!

Down from the door where it began . . .


Steven writes:

This became more of a synopsis then I’ve read anywhere else online. I’m not sure how much people would want to read so Please label SPOILER for them.

Feel free to post what you want of this if you want to post any. I’d love to be known as Master Oxley if you could.

I saw the Return of the King tonight… and I thought you may want to hear a story about it

Well to tell the story I’m lucky in a few ways, first off I work at a video store and I have the great benefit of screening movies before they hit the shelves, which in itself pays off when things like the Extended DVD of LotR comes out and I get it 5 days before street date. Anywho, so i’ve been pouring over all of the little features of it, the hours upon hours of documentaries, Director commentary, Cast commentary… and these things get you excited for what you’re going to see next. I did the typical fan, I’m gonna watch FotR Ex and TTT Ex back to back before going to see RotK… which I did last night, and I tried to watch them with fresh eyes, trying to pick up the little things that matter. And it had been a while since viewing the Fellowship Ex cut so it was fun to return to that time, where things didn’t have layers upon layers of depth… Life was simple, you eat, you drink, and you are content and don’t need to go off searching for anything else because how could anything compare with what you have got already.

So Today I wake up, after not sleeping more that 4 hours, awake from
excitement and in looking at the clock it’s only 9:00am. The show wasn’t til 6:15 and it was still about a 3 hour car ride down to Minneapolis. So as the morning went past, Travis stopped by and we went and picked up Gabe the third person in our own trilogy and we started to venture down to Minneapolis… Now out of the three of us, I was the only one to have read the books, but that was like 6 or 7 years ago when i was fresh in middle school. I mean I did what I think every other LotR fan did, and started reading Fellowship again when I heard the movies were being made. But I was in college at the time, and had different things to occupy my free time. Travis has read parts of the books, but after seeing the first installments was waiting to finish and Gabe decided to stop reading half way through, when we decided that she would want to find out the ending at the show.

Just so you know I am bias a lil against Smeagol/Gollum I think on part that I read the LotR before the Hobbit so when it comes to the trilogy I love every minute with Sam and Frodo but grow to hate Gollum more and more

So now the movie…

I’m sure if you’re reading this, you’ve read online what parts aren’t in it so I can skip that. This movie starts out just like TTT by jumpin right into the story. Well kinda, you see Smeagol and you find how he comes into the Ring’s path and this scene is very well punctuated with Andy Serkes’ creepy eyes and how you can tell they will never focus on anything other than the One Ring.

The title Return of the King comes up over Aragorn as they companions ride horseback through the forrest. Then it takes you to a very well watered down Isengard, and two Hobbits that are beaming with pride of the accomplishment that they have been part of. This scene ends with Pippin picking up the palantir from the water and Gandalf quickly snatching it away and covering it.

Edoras makes another appearance and this is the place where this movie starts to tear at your heart. After some light-hearted drinking and celebration, Pippin with his inquizitive nature seems to be drawn to the palantir almost like Gollum to the ring. There is a fun scene where he swips the palantir from Gandalf but quickly this turns dark. The planatir becomes enflamed, and Pippin has nothing to do but hold on, and feel all the power that the eye is sending his way. The palantir seems as if it’s ying to escape but is eventually stowed away by the wizard. This leads to the descision that the forces of Mordor will soon be moving and someone needs to warn the men of Gondor at Minas Tirith. The scene in the stable is one that starts you welling up with tears and this feeling doesn’t go away for long throughout the rest of the movie.

Because of the reason for the need of this warning Pippin and Gandalf ride from Edoras to Minas Tirith to forewarn the steward who sits there, seeing the white tree sitting in the stone courtyard is definately a reason you feel the prestige of the city. With the steward Pippin follows Gandalf’s directions to the T, ok maybe not. But seeing this small Hobbit stand in the Hall and pledge his allegiance to the father of the fallen Fellowship member is powerful.

Minas Morgal’s bridge is a great scene where the is seemingly pulling Frodo across and the door coming to life as we cut to Gandalf and Pippin seeing the light in the night sky, and knowing what is to happen. The Nasgul screaching is one reason you’ll want the sound at the theatre LOUD. I got this evil smile on my face throughout the film when you hear the screaching. The army marching and the Hobbits with Gollum hiding make for tension.

Faramir and Osgiliath is some tense fighting where you see the leadership of Faramir which goes unrequieted by his father later on. The retreat from Osgilliath bringing the warriors to Minas Tirith and also being followed by Nasgul then this sets up for Gandalf to storm out on the fields staff in hand to protect the riders as the come full boar.

The lighting of the beacon scene is great and powerful and needs to been seen! (that’s all you get)

Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Merry, et al.. come to campsite after leaving Edoras, this is simple story, need more men, hmm how bout a sword, how bout dead men? so the three boys go off into the dark. Fun scenes, great errie green glow of the dead army. Aragorn finally stepping up to what he his is profound.

Who stole the Lambus from the cookie jar? not Gollum then who? (sorry bout that badly placed joke) Gollum uses the rings corruptiveness to his advantage. Good little dumb creature. Sam becomes the heart of the story right here.

Denathor sends his son to death, Pippin tears at your heart with a song, Denathor stuffs his fat head.

Minas Tirith becomes a dart board for some big angry Mordorians.Which from here until the battle is done, is nothing if not spectacular and seeing this which had only been in your head is great. Kudos PJ Kudos

A cool little strech effect of the camera makes you feel the same evil as the first Black Rider in Fellowship. Shilob’s lair is a dark dark place, once again.. I don’t much trust that Gollum creature, if only you could toss him from the cliff. Hmm?!?! Sam returns at the end of this sequence and shows once again why his heart is big, but blast if he doesn’t lose Frodo again.

More Fighting (which is great)

Denathor burning his own son, or trying. Then plumetting from the crest of Minas Tirith is just WOW.

Ships sail in, what more bad guys? or maybe not. Aragorn and the legions of dead clean the friggin battlefield up.

Theodan falls, Eowyn rises, two Hobbits reunite

Men decide to give Frodo a chance, Saddle up boys we’re going to the Gate.

The Eye is light a pretty wicked lighthouse. focus’ on Aragorn and friends. Aragorn needs to thank his speech writer for rallying the troops.

Sam and Frodo take their sweet time, stop for a nap or two.

Doors open, LEGIONS upon LEGIONS come out and surround that of which is left of men.

So Sam, I bet I could go to the Crack of Mt. Doom doing a handstand, no you can’t Mr. Frodo.

Aragorn runs for it

Frodo shows his quality as an old friend reemirges, Sam takes you into the dark with fallen hope.

Airshow at the Black Gate.

The Fate of the Ring BOOM

A comfortable ride home on Eagle Air, The rejoining of the Fellowship

Crowning of a King, where you’ll be choked up at the beginning of this scene and the end of it will have you in tears for the 5th time in the film.

A Voice over that I didn’t think was too accurate, then Drinks back home at the bar. Sam spots a cute lil Philly. Happiness ensues. Some housecleaning is done, a lil paperwork put to rest.

Then ships to the Grey Havens, featuring an Old author.

………And as I got home to my couch at 1:30 in the morning I said to myself, “Well, I’m Back”

The End


Johnny writes:

Xoanan–it doesn’t look like TORN has received any reports from the showing last night that Barrie Osborne (God bless him!) put on for Carleton College, so I figured I’d send in my 2 cents.

First, some non-spoiler comments. As a longtime Tolkien fan and TORN reader, I’d been looking forward to last night since August 1999. Over four years of anticipation, and the greatest acclaim I can give the movie is that I was NOT disappointed. It delivered. Big time. Admittedly, I haven’t given it time to sink in yet, and the movie did have a few minor warts that may seem more glaring as time goes on, but I honestly think my biggest complaints–some missing scenes I would have liked to have in, and some pacing issues–will be put to rest by the extended edition. (In that sense, I’m kind of happy the scenes were left out–it leaves us something new to keep looking forward to.) So the main message I have to share is–especially for other lovers of the books–if you’ve managed to put aside your grievances over PJ et al.’s changes in the past films and appreciate them for the cinematic magic that they are, you should have no trouble sitting back during this film and feeling the full effect of the tension, the fear, the anticipation, the majesty, the treachery, the grief, the awesome thrill, and the bittersweet sadness of parting. What a ride.

So, to close, a few highly spoilerific caveats and kudos… Some may want to read these just to get the minor disappointments out of the way before they watch the film…


I agree with ringer Hornhead that the biggest problem in the film is the buildup to the Black Gate/Mount Doom sequence. The Houses of Healing scenes were cut (can’t wait for that EE DVD!) as well as maybe Aragorn challenging Sauron through the Palantir (I seem to remember an AICN report about that scene), so there’s only about 5 or maybe 10 minutes of screentime between the end of the Fields of Pelennor battle/Tower of Cirith Ungol sequences and the final climactic sequence, and the scenes in the Tower of Cirith Ungol and just afterwards seem to be a little too tightly edited. It could use a little more breathing room, so that we’re emotionally (and physically) over the effects of the prior (amazing!) battles before launching into another climax. And we (almost) completely miss out on the Eowyn/Faramir relationship (again, hope we see this in the EE DVD.)

And the change from the books that seemed most jarring to me: While climbing the Stairs, Gollum succeeds in turning Frodo against Sam. I won’t give details, but just be prepared for some unexpected changes here. In the end, it didn’t bother me much, and in general, the changes in this film bothered me quite a bit less than changes in the first two films.

Saruman’s absence is unfortunate, but I think entirely understandable, and I’m content waiting to see him on the EE DVD.

DO NOT read this if you’re a huge fan of the books and want the pleasure of a pleasant surprise, but…

…Kudos to PJ, Phillippa, and Fran for pulling out the info from the ROTK appendix about how the Witch-King would not fall by the hand of any man and really exploiting it in a gloriously perfect action-film one-liner. I don’t know that Tolkien would approve, but I’m sure film-goers will love it.

Otherwise, expect the best from all of the other main characters. Dom and Billy and Miranda shine in their newly heroic roles. Ian McKellan–when he’s not kicking orc butt–again delivers some of the grandfatherly peaceful gravitas he gave us in the first film. Bernard Hill and Viggo are both kingly, and Liv (whose role is surprisingly small) is a fitting queen. Elijah and Andy/Gollum hold up the weight of their story, and Sean Astin may just be the most deserving of an Oscar nom. As for the scenery, set pieces, battle sequences, and effects–there are far too many highlights to mention.

OK, I think I’ve shared more than enough. Can’t wait to see it all again in two weeks!



Brian writes:

I am at home writing this recap about last night’s (Dec 4th) pre screening of the Return of the King in Minneapolis. 18 years ago, when I was 13, I was laying in my bed in that cold, snowy December reading the ‘Lord of the Rings’ for the first time. I remember pouring through the pages, all 1500+ pages, staying up until 2:00 AM, waking up at 6:00 AM to start reading again. It took me 4 days. I dreamed of Gandolf, Frodo, and of the brilliant battles in the trilogy. Forever epic, thoughts raced to find context for the compounding of armies in the Battle of Pelenor Fields, and the journey to Mount Doom. Just when all seemed lost, what horns will ring to strike fear in the enemy. Good vs Evil, the perilous journey, these are the two simplest but best storytelling devices of all time. 5 years ago, when I heard some fool moviemaker was going to make an attempt at filming the Lord of the Rings, I rolled my eyes. Fearing another cartoon-like version, I concluded that I might go see the movies, but would probably sit alone in some theater. Instead, I am sitting here at my computer, listening to the Return of the King soundtrack, still shaking from last night’s screening. From what I saw last night, ROTK will make movie history as the best of all time.

Three theaters were used at the screening at Block E Crown Theaters in Downtown Minneapolis. A total of 1100 people bought tickets to view the movie. Producer Barrie Osborne was the guest of honor. Looking a little tired, he started out each movie with a quick speech to a warm ovation. Among his words were, “There is a lot of Frodo at the end”. Following the movies, a catered reception was held in a next door Borders Bookstore.

I will not go into detail about what’s in the movie. All I can say is the Return of the King is my favorite movie of all time! It is powerful, majestic, sad, joyful, lonely, triumphant, epic, loud, and brilliant. One of the my favorite early scenes deals with small fires at the tops of a mountains. Another early scene of Gandolf on horseback galloping through Minas Tirith, with the heavy brass Minas Tirith theme blaring left my mouth open. I turned to my companion next to me and whispered, “Wow”. As someone who had read the book, I knew what would play out. I was still surprised throughout the movie.

After seeing these magnificent films, capped of the greatest movie of them all, I do a slow, long hobbit-like bow to Peter Jackson, Barrie Osborne, the crew, and all the actors. For I will be joined at the theaters on December 17th by millions of people to watch the greatest ending to the greatest trilogy ever made. After which, I will spend the rest of my December in my bed rereading the ‘Lord of the Rings’.

Thank you