Warren wrote in to tell us about the Extended DVD and also to respond to Robert’s review which we posted yesterday:

“Hello, since I saw the ROTK EE last night, I though I’d throw my two cents in. First, for all those in NYC, you can purchase the ROTK EE DVD at a video store on the corner of 40th St. and 8th Ave. (across from the Port Authority south building). Take the stairs down leading to the subway and the store is right there (Warning! Lots of adult titles as well). Price is $39.99.

“Also, in terms of Easter Eggs, there are two (both in the same places as in the FOTR EE version). On the first disc we have the interview with Dominic Monaghan and Elijah Wood via satelitle, with Dom pretending to be a German journalist and asking Elijah outrageous questions. Very funny. On the second disc, we find the clip from the MTV movies awards where VinceVaugh and Ben Stiller pitch a Lord of the Rings sequel to PJ. Hysterical!

“Now, onto the extended/new scenes. Note I’ve only commented on a number of them since it’s too difficult to recall everything that clearly (I was up until 3AM watching). Still here goes…” [From here, I’ve left Robert’s review as is, and put Warren’s comments in quote marks – Tehanu]

4 – The Voice of Saruman
Even though Gimli’s rush, Gandalf states he wants Saruman alive. Saruman appears from the top of the tower and offers peace to Denethor. But the king, with fervor, recalls the deads and the pain caused by Saruman’s actions and concludes saying that peace will be only when him hanging from a pitchfork. Saruman becomes again haughty, while Gandalf asks to turn himself on their side. Saruman predicts that Aragorn won’t be King and their death, accusing Gandalf of betraying his friends to catch up his aims. Suddenly, he attacks with an enormous ball of fire Gandalf, who not only is safe, but destroyes Saruman’s staff with an enchantment.
Then Theoden speaks to Grima, proposing to him not to follow Saruman. But the raging wizard states that Wormtongue will never be free and hits him. While Saruman offers a barter to Gandalf, Grima stabs him two times, just before being hit by Legolas. Saruman throws down and gets impaled as we all seen in that picture many years ago. As the mill revolves, the corpse slips into water and loses the Palantir.
Much ado about nothing. Frankly, after seeing it, you can guess why they cut the scenes a year ago. While the official justification was that ‘it slowed down the action” (and it’s true), on the other hand the visual effects are really tawdry. Moreover, the scene lacks of the charisma and the fascination which we all expected. Far away from the fight between the two wizards in “The Fellowship”…

Warren: “I completely disagree with the reviewer. First, we needed some closure on Saruman. Second, Theoden’s speech is fiery and emotional. More importantly, after his speech Saruman angrily taunts him as a “lesser son” noting how it was not Theoden who won the battle at Helms Deep. This adds to Theoden’s disappointment in himself as we see when he mentions this point to Eoywen, and further clarifies his sense of pride, accomplishment, and being worthy, before he dies on the battelfield. Grima’s expression of being betrayed by Saruman is noteworthy, which drives him to stab Saruman in the back. Last, the question of how the palantir gets into Pippin’s hands is answered when, after having fallen from the top of Orthanc, Saruman lands on the wheel, the palantir slips out of his robe and falls into the water.”

5 – Return to Edoras
It’s a scene we know very well: the one about the celebration of the victory. But there’s a nice addition: a drink game, in which Legolas and Gimli bet who will drink more. After tens of jugs, Gimli first farts, and then says “It’s the dwarves that go swimming with the little, hairy women”; finally belchs. Legolas seems to give away, but when Gimli begins to claim victory – it’s him who falls down shattered. “Game Over”, says the elf.

Warren: “I agree. It’s a great scene. One addition not mentioned is that just before Gimli keels over, Legolas says “Wait! I think I’m beginning to feel a sensation in my fingertips.” In addition, as Merry and Pippin are dancing on the table, Pippin glances over at Gandlaf (thinking about the Palantir perhaps) who gives him a knowing/warning look, causing Pippin to pause in the middle of the song and dance. Merry has to chide Pippin into continuing.”

7 –Eowyn’s Dream
While everybody sleeps, Aragorns goes into the hall where Eowyn rests and tucks in her blankets. She takes his hand and tells a dream she’s just had, with a terrible wave and the darkness which covered her. He consoles her. A scene which doesn’t add anything important.

W: “I agree here…doesn’t really add much other then showing how it is that Aragorn was outside when Pippin steals the Palantir from Gandalf.”

12 – The Decline of Gondor
Gandalf is angry after a debate with Denethor and foretells misfortune for Minas Tirith, telling the story of Gondor and explaining why the ancestry of the Kingdom finished – and the white tree withered. He and Pippin hear thunders from Mordor, but Gandalf supposes it’s all a trick of Sauron to cover the Sun and make the march of the orcs easy. Pippin jokes suggesting to flee away, but Gandalf says it’s impossible and that they need an help.
A very powerful scene, especially for the spectacular views of the White City, but not so important for the flow of the events…

Warren: “I disagree again. Yes it’s a powerful scene, but it also adds an element to the story as Gandalf embellishes a bit on Denethor’s madness, and how Denethor is using his grief over Boromir’s death as a cloak to disguise his lust for power. Also, the scene does talk about the White Tree and how there is hope that it will one day blossom again, when the king of Gondor returns. Moroever, the reviewer got it wrong. Gandalf does not assume the thunder is a trick from Sauron. Rather, he tells Pippin that the gathering clouds is Sauron’s way of blocking out the sun so that the orcs can travel better. He notes that when the sky is completely dark from Mordor to Osgiliath, then the war will begin.”

13 – The Cross-roads of the Fallen Kings
While Sam says something about the right time to have a cup of tea – in decorous places – Gollum answers they surely aren’t in decorous places. Frodo is very pessimistic, and thinks he won’t never be back in the Shire, but Sam as usual cheers him. Meanwhile, they find themselves into the ancient possessions of the King of Gondor, filled with enormous ruins from the past. When they notice a big stone-head with a crown of flowers, they read it as a good sign, saying that “the King finally found his crown”. It’s a beautiful scene, but not an essential one, mostly because there are many scenes like this during the trip.

Warren: “Actually, the way the scene plays, Sam tries to cheer up Frodo although somehwat unsuccessfully. It is only when a ray of sunlight hits the stone head (lying on the ground), which illuminates the flowers that Sam says “look Mr. Frodo, the king has his crown.” However, the clouds cover the sun and the illumination fades leaving the statue dead and dreary. Frodo’s mood which lightened when he saw the crowned statue, fades as well.”

16 – The Warning of Sam
Sam menaces Gollum asking what will they find into the tunnel, after having heard the chat between Smeagol and Gollum. Then he push the creature against the wall warning him that he’ll keep always an eye on him, and everything will happen to Master will be paid back.
Frodo begins to distrust Sam (we understand it by his glance), and Gollum is visibly pleased.
A short scene which anticipates the abandon of Sam by Frodo, but not so useful, considering that we’ll see many similar moments later…

Warren: “I disagree (notice a pattern here). The scene gives further motiviation for Gollum deciving Frodo by sprinkling the Lembas bread on Sam’s jacket. Due to this scene, Gollum now knows that he must “get rid of” Sam.”

22 – The Wizard’s Pupil
Denethor criticizes Faramir because he released Frodo with the Ring, even if he says he would have never used it. Faramir well knows the power of the Ring, because says he would never use, not even if Minas Tirith falled down. Denethor’s voice is very sweet, but he obviously can’t avoid the umpteenth comparison between Faramir and Boromir: he thinks his beloved son would have brought him the Ring. Faramir answers that Boromir would have kept the Ring and coming back he would haven’t been the same any more. Denethor is furious, and he seems to see a smiling Boromir behind Faramir. When he realizes it’s an hallucination, he asks to be leaved alone. As many other scenes, this one should deepen the relationship between Faramir and Denethor. But do we really need it? And I must add that the scene of the vision of Boromir is really bad…

Warren: “Yes we need it. Denethor claims that Boromir would have been loyal and brought him a “kingly gift” and that the ring would have been hidden in the deepest vaults for use only in the most dire of circumstances. Faramir claims that Boromir would have succumbed to the power of the ring and would never have handed it over, shattering Denethor’s illusion. When Denethor hallucinates and see Boromir behind Faramir, calling out “my son,” the expression on Faramir’s face as he first thinks Denethor is calling for him is painful to watch as it slowly fades from hope to despair as he realizes his father has just simply gone mad.”

25 – Peregrin, Soldier of the “Tower of Guard”…
Pippin is sad and names himself as a stupid because he offered his services to a man of power.
Then comes Faramir, who is pleased by the hobbit’s availability. He says he will put him as guardsman of the Tower. Also, he gives him an uniform belonged to a boy who wasted his time killing dragons: himself. Then begins a speech about Boromir, who was the true soldier and was similar to his father, obstinated but strong of heart. Pippin says that one day his father will appreciate him. Frankly, it could be better done than that…

Warren: “Possibly. Pippin tells Faramir that he has a different kind of strength.”

35 – The Paths of the dead
It’s not a “new scene”, it’s “only” an extension, but it’s so interesting and significant that deserves to be mentioned in this list.
After entering into the Black Door (original version), there’s a plenty of new material. They see hundreds of skulls…and became a bit nervous, also because Legolas sees shapes of horses and men. Gimli is visibly worried, but as usual is playful about it. When they are surrounded by smoke that seems to have vague human shapes, he jokes blowing on that smoke-hands to make disappear them. He becomes less ironic when finds himself walking on skulls. Then they arrive in that enormous hall we saw in the theatrical version. But the scene doesn’t end here. After Aragorn asks to the army of the dead what are they intentioned to do, they disappear: we believe they are refusing what Isildur’s Heir offered. But suddenly, predated by an alarming sound, we see thousands of skulls falling down from the high: our trio is almost sweeped away. A spectacular and efficacious scene, one of the best, in a “Indiana Jones” style. They come out from the tunnel, and see the Corsars. Aragorn falls on his knees, despaired. All seems to be lost, but the King of the Dead arrives from back and pronunce two simple and effective words: “We Fight”.

Warren: “Not much more to say…great scene.”

45 – The Lord of Nazguls
Gandalf orders troops to withdraw: thus begins a truly spectacular scene. Several parts of the city are ablaze, women running, Trolls fighting and extreme violence. So we come to the much-awaited confrontation between Gandalf and the Witch-King; the former is about to succumb, his stick having been broken. Luckily the Rohan troops, announced by the sound of the horn, save the day. An interesting scene, definitely, and a pessimistic one.

Warren: “As Pippin and Gandalf rush to stop Denethor from killing Faramir, we see the encounter between the Witch King and Gandalf (remember the Witch King swooping down in the preview of ROTK on the TT DVD)? The Witch King tells Gandalf that he has failed and breaks his staff, answering the question of where it went in the Theatrical version (Gandalf had to use a spear to stop Denethor). Just as the Witch King is about to kill Gandalf, we hear the horns of Rohan. The Witch King, thinking Gandalf can no longer affect things since his staff is broken, takes flight to do battle.”

Additional/Extended Scenes Not Mentioned in Robert’s Review

Warren: “Merry offers his services to Theoden, who gladly accepts and names him a squire of Rohan.

“In Osgiliath, we see Faramir and his men prepare for an Orc attack. They think the attack will come from the North. When a lookout is killed by an Orc in one of the boats on the river, there is a mad rush for the Gondorians to get to the river side and prepare for battle. The killing of the lookout is what prompts the disfigured Orc to command everyone to row faster (since their sneak attack has been given away, stealth is no longer required).

“Pippin prepares his speech swearing his fealty to Denethor.

“At the Battle of Pellenor Fields, the Orcs cannot break the door of Minas Tirith using a regular battering ram. Archers from above the door are just picking of Orcs at eas, and the bodies begin to pile in heaps. The disfigured Orc then calls for “the wolf.” As it approaches, all the Orcs cheer it on.”

Many thanks to Warren, who stayed up all night to finish this!