Joshua Rich
January 09, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

We’d never dare call Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson (right) a rip-off artist. But when a movie — even one as brilliantly inventive as Return of the King — is 200 minutes long, it is bound to include a few cinematic, uh, cowinkydinks.

THE RING WILL BE WITH YOU Blur your vision and you’ll think the Mumakil (the elephantlike beasts thwarted by dreamy Legolas in King) are actually those mechanical AT-AT snow walkers thwarted by dreamy Luke in The Empire Strikes Back.

SAVING HOBBIT FRODO A battle will be fought. Lives will be lost. Troops arrive ominously through ominous waters on ominous-looking seacraft. Where have we seen this before? The Normandy beach opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan, perhaps.

SUPERSIZE-ARACHNID SMACKDOWNS Tolkien envisioned this scenario ages ago, but spooky Shelob still resembles the multilegged monsters in films like Starship Troopers and Clash of the Titans (left), in which Perseus spars with stop-motion scorpions.

DIMINUTIVE DUDES WITH ICKY NOSES SAYING SILLY THINGS We’re talking, of course, about goofy Gimli, whose rousing, prefight yelp — ”What are we waitin’ fer?!” — sounds just like goofy Mickey, who offers the same rousing, prefight yelp in Rocky II.

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