Ringer Lisalas writes this great review from National Geographic’s ‘Beyond the Movie’ special DVD.

I rented the National Geographic Beyond the Movie: Return of the King special on DVD. I thought I’d give y’all a run-down on what the special is about.

It is narrated by John Rhys-Davies (Gimli). There are interview clips with most of the cast (Wood, Weaving, Rhys-Davies, Astin, Boyd, McKellan, Bloom – who is wearing an odd striped knit hat!, Lee, Wenham), as well as clips of Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens.

Tons of scenes from FOTR and TT are included, which disappointed me a little, since I was hoping for more of ROTK. There were some ROTK scenes as well, which I will detail in a minute.

The premise of the special is to relate universal themes from the film to persons from history. The historical persons compared to LOTR are: William Wallace, Queen Elizabeth I and her advisors Robert Dudley and William Cecil, Theodore Roosevelt, Rasputin, Ben Franklin, Lewis & Clark, King Henry, Tolkien’s own experience in WW1, George E. Pickett (Civil War battle at Cemetary Ridge), Hitler & Churchill, Hilary & Tenzing (Mt. Everest), and Hanson & Perry (North Pole). I found the comparisons to be quite interesting, even if some were a bit on the simplistic side. (Example – Queen Elizabeth is purported to have been in love with Robert Dudley and the comparison to LOTR is that Aragorn is also in love.) The Rasputin part was particularly interesting, in my opinion.

One interesting idea from Professor Michael Drout, who is identified as a Tolkien expert, is that the friendships formed in LOTR are those that can only be formed by facing death together. I thought that was interesting and perhaps this is why so many people have a hard time believing in such strong friendships, even love, between men. Very few people today have faced the kinds of situations that the characters in LOTR faced.

OK, on to the shots from ROTK. I think I noted most of them, although I may have missed one or two. There are 3 that will possibly be in the EE, since they were not in ROTK. (I put them at the end.)

2 scenes of the Rohan encampment with Aragorn, Theoden, and Legolas riding through

Aragorn and Theoden overlooking the encampment.
Aragorn: 6000 will not be enough to break the lines of Mordor.

Sam attacks Gollum.
Frodo: Leave him alone!
Sam: I heard it from his own mouth! He means to murder us!

Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli approach the entrance to the Paths of the Dead on foot. Aragorn enters.

Arwen: It is time. Give him the sword of the King.
scene of Elven swordsmiths.
Elrond presents the sword to Aragorn
Elrond: Become who you were born to be.

Pippin and Gandalf approach Theoden’s seat.
Gandalf: There will be a time to grive for Boromir but it is not now.

Quick shots of Gondorian soldiers led by Faramir leaving Minas Tirith.
Orcs catapulting fiery missles.
Nazgul sweeping through the army.

Shot of Aragorn on horseback in Gondorian armor. Also shows Gondorian army.

Shows Rohirrim briefly (as in the trailer) with Aragorn’s voiceover “I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me.” Shot of Eowyn and Merry in armor cheering. Then a shot of Aragorn from the back raising his sword.

Frodo: I need you on my side.
Sam: I’m ON your side, Mr. Frodo.
Frodo: I know, Sam. I know. Trust me.

Gondorian soldiers enter the courtyard at Minas Tirith. Gandalf and Faramir meet.

Faramir: They’ve taken the bridge and the west bank.

Gandalf and Pippin on horseback, with Merry watching. (Stable at Edoras)
Gandalf: Run, Shadowfax! Show us the meaning of haste.
Pippin: MERRY!!

Miscellaneous battle scenes.

Gandalf on Shadowfax rides up on the wall at Minas Tirith overlooking the orcs attacking. (from trailer)

Quick shots:
Legolas aims.
Aragorn charges on foot.
Eomer charges on horseback.
Sam enters the Tower.
Frodo climbs up the stairs to Cirith Ungol.
Frodo crawls up Mt. Doom. (last scene in the special)

Now for the clips that appear to be from ROTK, but were not in the theatrical version. I am hoping these will be in the Extended Edition!

Snippet of Merry bowing to Theoden outside at Edoras. (We have seen this picture.)

Merry: I offer you my service.
Theoden: And gladly I accept it.

Legolas is shown wearing the blue outfit from the Coronation, surrounded by men drinking in a celebratory manner.

Legolas: So….it’s…a drinking game?
Men raise mugs and growl. “arrrrr”
Legolas: And what exactly is the point of it?
Gimli: Last one standing wins!!!

Legolas then sips tentatively from the mug with his eyes looking over the rim uncertainly.(I bet this ends with Legolas drinking all the rest under the table. hee hee)

Quick shot of Gandalf and Pippin on Shadowfax facing off against the WitchKing on the fell beast at Minas Tirith.

So, that’s it! It was an interesting view, although I was disappointed that there wasn’t MORE from ROTK included. Go rent it!