New Lord of the Rings Fans Shouldn't Watch Extended Cut

New Lord of the Rings Fans Shouldn't Watch Extended Cut
Image credit: globallookpress

Or at least they should not watch the extended cut of Peter Jackson's trilogy as their first introduction to The Lord of the Rings.

And why exactly they shouldn't?

Well, setting aside the argument that you really should start from the book and that the movies are just an extended illustration reel, which has exceptional production values for a fantasy movie, but still does not stand that well on its own, the extended cut is, well, extended, and pretty seriously so.

Specifically each installment adds close to an hour of runtime to movies which already approached or even exceeded three hours each.

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Its total length is over twelve hours – quite a lot of limited series are a good deal shorter. And while all, or nearly all of that time is spent on something meaningful for the story, there is a reason why movies are typically good deal shorter, even with the recent trend towards lengthier stories, rarely reaching, never mind exceeding, three hours.

Even at home, when you can make as many pauses as you need, most people can remain focused on the screen for only so long. Furthermore, not only The Lord of the Rings movies are lengthy, they are very dense with lore.

While even the extended cut removes much lore from the books, what it includes is delivered at a far faster rate, so a new fan might find it hard to process so much information about an imaginary world, while still remaining engaged with the plot.

Finally, though pacing of the trilogy's theatrical version is largely fine (though there still are complaints of The Return of the King effectively having several ending sequences), the same cannot be said about the extended cut. There are scenes which deliver significant information or character development, but detract from the flow of the main story.

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All in all, if you want to introduce The Lord of The Rings to someone through the films, and given that a person who is not already familiar with Tolkien's works is not likely to be a huge fantasy fan, eager to dive into a new fantasy world, it is probably better to start with the original cut of the three films. And save the extended cut for a possible re-watch.