If there is one thing The Warehouse does exceptionally well, it would be having specials on DVDs. For example, on Saturday I went to The Warehouse to pick up a lay-by I had there and thought ‘I know – I’ll check out the DVDs and CDs.’ I could’ve spent my entire pay check there, but decided not to – instead, spending just $60.00 buying the extended edition of The Return of the King.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with The Lord of the Rings: where the heck have you been for the last 3+ years? The release schedule went like this:

December 2001: Theatrical release of The Fellowship of the Ring

June 2002: DVD Release of The Fellowship of the Ring (theatrical edition)

November 2002: DVD Release of The Fellowship of the Ring (extended edition)

December 2002: Theatrical release of The Two Towers

June 2003: DVD release of The Two Towers (theatrical edition)

November 2003: DVD release of The Two Towers (extended edition)

December 2003: Theatrical release of The Return of the King

June 2004: DVD release of The Return of the King (theatrical edition)

December 2004: DVD release of The Return of the King (extended edition)

Each movie had a release into theatres, which lasted roughly 3 months per film (amazing, when you consider how long the movies were). A few months later, each film had a DVD release, and shortly before the release of the next film in the series, an extended edition release, comprised of 4 discs: 2 discs which contained the movie with around 50 minutes additional footage, and 2 discs containing special features (the making of’s, photo galleries, etc etc).

For those of you who don’t know me, I specialise in 2 areas, for which I should getting paid professionally – one is my secret talent of rapping, and the other is my amount of useless knowledge of movies, and, more specifically, Lord of the Rings. I should write a book – but since i don’t really have time, here’s a breakdown of the new scenes (or extended scenes) you can see in the additional 48 minutes of The Return of the King: Extended Edition DVD.

The Crossroads of the Fallen King:

Early in the extended DVD, you start to realise why some scenes were cut from the film – one such scene is this one, where Frodo and Sam find a statue of a man with its head toppled off – the head is on the ground, and has flowers growing around it, in the shape of a crown. Of course, the sunlight hits the flowers, making them ‘glow’, at which point Sam and Frodo stop and make out for a while … I’m joking. But seriously, including this scene made no sense to me – totally didn’t need to be here. In fact, I could make a pretty good case that my intelligence actually dropped as a direct result of watching it.

The Death of Saruman:

When RotK was released, a friend of mine, who loved the first 2 films, didn’t even bother seeing it because of the fact that there was no big face off between Saruman and Gandalf (the 2 wizards in the film). As it happens, there isn’t really a big face off in the extended edition, but Saruman’s story is wrapped up a little more tightly this time around – he gets into an argument with Gandalf, and Theoden, and Gandalf tries to talk him into coming down from his tower, and helping them to stop Sauron’s impending attack. It eventuates that they make Wormtongue mad, and he stabs Saruman in the back, who falls to his death from the top of his tower, and gets himself impaled on a giant spike.

2 strange things happened here:

1. Saruman dying in this manner was completely off tangent with the book – in the book, they do go to Isengard to talk to Saruman, but they let him go, at which point Saruman and Wormtongue go and take over the Shire (a good twist in the book, and would’ve been a great twist in the movie). When the hobbits return to the Shire, their first job is to get rid of Saruman and Wormtongue, at which point Wormtongue does stab Saruman. However, at the same time, this is probably a better way to end the Saruman storyline, as he would’ve perhaps gotten in the way later on in RotK.

2. At one point, just after Saruman is impaled, it shows the reactions of all the principle cast members in the scene (ie Aragorn, Theoden, Merry, Pippin, etc). They all have a look of “ugh” on their faces, but when it cuts to Gandalf, he has gone more pale than usual, looks absolutely terrified, and starts to panic – but a minute later, he’s back to normal again. As usual, I have no point.

Eowyn’s Dream:

“I had a dream and I was on a wave … and blah blah blah.” Another scene which could have been left off, and was only included because it fits in with the ‘Aragorn-Eowyn-Arwen Love Triangle’ theme which PJ seems to have included in the trilogy, for some strange reason. On the upside, Miranda Otto got more screen time – need I say more.

The Paths of the Dead:

One interesting inclusion was an expansion on the Paths of the Dead scene, where Aragorn goes into the haunted mountain to fetch the ghosts to come and fight for the allies of Middle Earth. Additional pieces include some funny scenes with Gimli the dwarf (one in particular was well done, where ghostly hands are rising up towards him out of the mist, and he keeps trying to blow them away, like smoke), and a scene where an avalanche of skulls comes out of the wall, and Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas must escape from inside the mountain. While the scenes just kind of showed that they met some resistance from the ghostly army, I can understand why it would have been ditched – just for pacing reasons, and also it was just another action scene that wasn’t really necessary.

Another interesting point in this scene was the way that PJ decided to shoot the heroes as the were riding the horses, doing this circular motion thing around each of them while they talk. As a result, I ended up getting a little dizzy.

The Wizards Pupil:

If there was one character I loved in RotK, it would be Denethor – the man is absolutely insane! Lets consider the facts here:

Has to send a son to a conference, so he sends his strongest son (and best warrior)

Insults his own son (Faramir) repeatedly

Doesn’t bother trying to defend Minas Tirith

Almost gets in with the enemy who is trying to destroy him

Flips out at his own son (Faramir) about trying to be noble

Sends his own son (Faramir) off to his ‘death’

Has Pippin sing to him during dinner, while his son is on his way to ‘die’

Tries to burn himself and his son alive on a funeral pyre

Jumps from the top of the city of Minas Tirith, to his death

In this awesome display of Denethor’s absolute nutty-ness, he refers to Faramir as a ‘wizard’s pupil’ because he is trying to do what Gandalf says is right. As usual, I have no point.

The Corsairs of Umbar:

As you may recall, when Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli do arrive at the battle, they pull up in the pirate ships, and then trick the soldiers waiting there. This new scene shows how they manage to take the boats, by tricking the people on the boats into thinking they are by themselves, when in fact they have an army of ghosts with them.

Interestingly enough, every character here is a cameo by one of the crew – for example, Peter Jackson (director) plays the man who gets shot by the arrow, Richard Taylor (graphic artist), and about 4 others guys, play the pirates. Another funny scene, because of Gimli (who deserves his own award at the Oscars from now on).

The Witch King’s Hour:

One thing about Lord of the Rings (a common misconception) is that Gandalf is almost invincible. This scene shows that he’s not – while he and Pippin are on their way up to deal to Denethor (who has gone mad, and is planning to burn himself and Faramir alive), they are confronted by the Witch King – one of the 9 ‘Black Riders’ who is now riding on one of those big dragon things. An battle of words ensues, and Gandalf’s staff is destroyed by the Witch King, but then he is distracted by something else, and flies away.

I like the inclusion of this – firstly, it shows that Gandalf isn’t as strong as everybody thinks he is, and secondly, it just adds to the hopelessness of the situation (pretty much ruling out the ‘don’t worry, Gandalf will save us’ aspect). As an added bonus, it shows that Gandalf has a weakness when it comes to giant monsters (this one, and the one from the Fellowship, have both gotten the better of him).

Faramir and Eowyn Falling in Love:

If there’s one thing action movies need more than anything it would have to be love stories … NOT! Actually, to be honest, this love story is perfectly acceptable to me, since it is actually in the novel of Return of the King. For those of you who don’t know, Faramir and Eowyn meet in the houses of healing, and fall in love while they are both on the road to recovery.

One interesting side note about the houses of healing – if you see the DVD, you’ll notice Aragorn is in the house, doing the medicine thing on Eowyn’s arm … this is because the true king of Gondor has healing powers. This is also why Aragorn was able to partially heal Frodo in the first film.

Aragorn Masters the Palantir:

Another “in the book” scene – Aragorn goes to the Palantir and confronts Sauron. A pretty short scene, but its mostly just Aragorn showing that he is taking the place as king of Gondor, and uniting the armies (which basically scares the crap outta Sauron). As far as this movie goes, I don’t know that it was a necessary scene to show in the extended cut of the movie.

In The Company of Orcs:

Another interesting scene – after Sam rescues Frodo from the orcs in the tower, after Frodo gets attacked by the giant spider, they dress up in orcs clothing to try and get through Mordor without getting picked up by the other orcs, or the great eye.

One scene that is entertaining is when a battalion of orcs walks past, and they act like they are asleep – then one of the other orcs wakes them and makes them start marching with the others. They end up having to pretend to have a fight in order to slip away and head towards Mt Doom to destroy the ring. And then they stop and make out for a while … I’m joking! I’m joking!

As a side note, has any movie been so good, and yet had so many ‘gay’ jokes made about the 2 main characters? The Lord of the Rings has ended up as the highest grossing series of movies in history, and yet contains such classic man-love moments as these:

Sam saying to Frodo “Gandalf told me ‘don’t you leave him Samwise Gamgee, don’t you leave him!’ And I don’t plan to!” (from The Fellowship of the Ring – basic advice: relationships need commitment)

Frodo saying to Sam “You’ve forgotten one of the main characters – Samwise the Brave.” (from The Two Towers – this is blatant flirting)

Sam saying to Frodo “I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you!” (from Return of the King – he’d been looking for an excuse to carry Frodo for a while I’m guessing)

Frodo saying to Sam “I’m so glad you’re here with me Sam …” (from Return of the King … I mean, did they really think they’d get this stuff past us?)

… and don’t even get me started on Saruman – or Gandalf either, for that matter.

The Mouth of Sauron:

If there was one scene from the book that I wanted in the movie, it would have to be The Mouth of Sauron scene. What happens is, at the end, when Aragorn and his buddies go up to the Black Gate, to distract the Great Eye, so Frodo and Sam can get to Mt Doom, a person comes out to talk to them – he is under Sauron’s power, and does all his talking for him. Well, the extended edition has this scene – and it disappoint.

The thing I like best about this bit is the fact that PJ has done a lot of close-ups of the mouth itself (which is the most disgusting mouth in history, by the way), and the mouth behaves like the eye – fidgets a lot, moves quickly, and never stays in one place for too long. Additionally, the rest of the face is covered up, so as not to distract from the mouth.

There is one classic line in this bit too – the Mouth is talking to Gandalf and Aragorn rides up and cuts off his head, to which Gimli says “well, I guess that ends negotiations”. I guess you had to be there.

To finish up, I can recommend the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King extended edition DVD – its pretty cool, and the Return of the King is definitely the highlight of the 3 Rings films.