Return of the King.

Saw it twice today, back to back. Despite my misgivings (and despite living up--or rather, down--to a handful of those misgivings), I'd have to say it holds up admirably well. If I can spend 7 hours in a theater and still be ready to see it again, it's a damn good movie.

That said, there are minor peeves, most of which I think will be straightened out by the expanded edition. Worst mischaracterization: Denethor. Biggest unintentional laugh: tie--Sam and Frodo on Mt. Doom, and Denethor's final moment on screen (there will be more discussion of this last point after more people have seen it.) Best one-liners: Gimli. Best farewell speech: Theoden. Best defiance of the laws of physics that govern mere mortals: Legolas, for the third time. (The cave troll in Fellowship, the flying wrong-sided horse mount in Towers, and...well. You'll know it when you see it, if you haven't already read about it.) Biggest threat to take over every blessed key moment of the plot: Gandalf (and here I thought ubiquity was reserved for God hisself.)

Three musical performances, only one of which I endured without squirming (after you've seen it feel free to guess which.) At least five possible points at which they could have ended the movie (the endings do drag on a bit.) One scene that plays like a curtain call. Good stuff.

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