I have a sickness, PopWatchers. Yes, I’m a cat lady, but there’s more: I have watched every single second of both the regular DVD cut of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the extended edition DVD — and that includes all the special features. I am that obsessed with this franchise. Perhaps it’s because I harbored a weird, secret crush on Elijah Wood… in his hobbit form. (PopWatch is a no-judgment zone, people.) Or maybe it’s because, oh, I don’t know, the trilogy presented the best filmmaking the 2000s had to offer?!
So, imagine my joy upon learning that AMC is screening the extended editions of all three films this summer in anticipation of the Blu-ray release of the extended editions of Lord of the Rings. The schedule: The Fellowship of the Ring will screen June 14, The Two Towers on June 21, and The Return of the King on June 28. This is one Lord of the Rings screening to rule them all, people. And quite a homecoming: Some of my fondest memories of the Lord of the Rings movies involve the theater-going experience. I waited in line at midnight for all three of them, hushed my friend as he scolded Two Towers for deviating from the J.R.R. Tolkien book, and sobbed through all 201 minutes of Return of the King. (No joke. And I’d say about 50 percent of the tears were dedicated to the fact that the trilogy was ending, giving me nothing to look forward to in 2004.) And while I enjoyed devouring every special feature on the DVDs, I missed Lord of the Rings‘ breathtaking big-screen event. So you best believe I’m going to park my bum, elven cape and all, in the theater seats come June 14 — and, yes, bawl my eyes out.
There are only a few films that have made me cry. And it’s an eclectic list: Glory, Remember the Titans, Monsters, Inc., Big Fish, and The Wedding Singer (unconventional, I know, but the airplane scene gets me every time) are among them. But The Lord of the Rings trilogy has the distinction of being the only films that have made me cry during more than one scene. And I’m sure I’m not alone. So, I’d like to ask, PopWatchers, which Lord of the Rings scenes still make you cry? The two that stand out during Fellowship of the Ring are, naturally, Boromir’s death and Gandalf’s speech to Frodo in the Mines of Moria about evil after the hobbit says he wished “none of this had happened”: “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil.” The latter scene might not seem quite as emotional as others, but I have such a distinct association with it: After 9/11, New Line Cinema put out an ad in The New York Times encouraging optimism during tough times, and excerpted this quote from Fellowship. And, after that day, these were the only words that actually lifted my spirits. (The power of Tolkien!)
As for The Two Towers, I couldn’t help shedding a tear watching Treebeard discover the fate of his people, the women and children hiding in the fortress at Helm’s Deep, and an optimistic Sam’s wondering about whether he and Frodo will be the subject of tales. And then there’s Return of the King. (It’s hard enough for me to even write the title without sobbing halfway through.) The movie was a bloodbath and a tearbath. Scenes that made me cry: Merry and Pippin parting ways, Gandalf’s speech to Pippin about death, Eowyn epically killing the Nazgul who killed Théoden, all the fake-out ending scenes, the Hobbits enjoying a pint at the pub back in the Shire, Frodo leaving Middle Earth, and last but most definitely not even close to being least, Sam lifting Frodo and the ring up Mount Doom: “Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you!” The latter scene so touched me, I sobbed uncontrollably my the third time seeing it in theaters before the scene even began. Even then, the anticipation killed me.
But now I toss it over to you: Fellow Lord of the Rings devotees, will you be seeing the films on AMC’s big screens once again? And which scenes still make you cry?
Follow Kate on Twitter @KateWardEW