37. 6.31 vs. 9.68 hours
How Long Were the Star Wars Movies? 6.31 hours
How Long Were the Lord of the Rings Movies? 9.68 hours
Verdict: A difference of a little over three hours is pretty huge in the right context. Binge-watching the original Star Wars trilogy is a lazy way to spend the afternoon. Attempting to do the same with Lord of the Rings is something that demands meticulous planning and ample amounts of caffeine, especially if you prefer the Extended Editions that add still more hours to the runtime.
What do we get for all that time?
In Star Wars, we get three tight stories, each told in three distinct acts. There’s very little fluff, the jokes and the action come quick and fast, and you leave satisfied as if you just finished a bag of potato chips.
Watching the entirety of the Lord of the Rings is to be immersed in fluff, in backstory, in minutes-long interstitial shots of landscapes and buildings. It is a deliberative and thorough movie experience. It that takes its time getting from point to point, both literally and figuratively. It is the cinematic equivalent to eating a crockpot full of particularly chunky soup spoonful by spoonful.
The latter way of movie-making leaves a lot of room for world-building, and Lord of the Rings certainly doesn’t waste it. While it’s doing that, though, Star Wars is efficiently telling you a lean but tasty story.
It’s all a matter of taste in the end, but for those of us with busy lives the choice is obvious.
Star Wars wins
Next: 36. Force vs. Magic