While they may not have guns or tanks, there are a couple of hobbits who promise the next and final “Lord of the Rings” film could give “Saving Private Ryan” a run for its money.
“It’s a full-on war movie,” Elijah Wood proclaimed recently, when asked about this year’s “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.”
“As Elijah said, lots of war,” his hobbit partner Dominic Monaghan added for emphasis.
The two pals — who played Frodo Baggins and Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck, respectively, in “The Fellowship of the Ring” and “The Two Towers” — will soon return to New Zealand for pickup shots and re-shoots under director Peter Jackson for the final installment of the fantasy tale, which hits theaters December 17.
“Hasn’t Pete said he reckons it’s gonna be the most massive war movie ever shown on film?” a wide-eyed and visibly excited Wood asked his colleague.
“Ever onscreen, yeah,” answered Monaghan.
“That’s what Peter is saying,” Wood continued. “I mean, it’s a massive boast, but I’d say it’s pretty close to that.”
Last year’s “The Two Towers” ended with a cliffhanger as the duplicitous Gollum resolved to lead Frodo and Sam (Sean Astin) into a trap. As fans of the classic “Rings” books by J.R.R. Tolkien already know, what’s awaiting the heroes is the giant spider Shelob, but nobody will know what the big-screen version will look like until “Return of the King” gets closer.
“You get things like Shelob, which a lot of the fans have been waiting for, because Shelob actually is in the second book, but it’s gonna be in the third film,” Wood explained.
“Return of the King” will also resolve most of the various plot threads from the first two films, specifically the fates of the Ring of Power and the brave and noble Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), on an epic and somewhat tragic scale.
“['Return of the King'] is truly sad,” Monaghan said. “It’s the kind of bringing together of a lot of stories. And what the fellowship has to sacrifice to essentially save Middle Earth is huge. So you see these people facing the consequences of their actions. It’s just a beautiful, beautiful film.”
“There is something really emotional about it,” Wood agreed.
Fans who can’t wait until December 17 to get their “Rings” fix can look forward the August 26 DVD release of “The Two Towers,” followed by an expanded edition in November. Both will be loaded with extras.
“You’re gonna get the theatrical release, which will be frozen in time,” Wood promised. “You’ll always have what you saw at the cinema on a DVD. And then, Sean Astin’s short film, which is called ‘The Long and Short of It,’ is gonna be on the DVD. A little bit of a teaser for ‘Return of the King,’ maybe. [And] the cool thing about the special edition of the DVD that comes out in November is that it’s an extended cut, so it’s gonna have about 35 minutes of extra footage cut back into the film.”
“Plus a new score, new documentaries and new commentaries,” Monaghan said, adding with a wry smile, “What a beautiful Christmas gift that will make.”