Originally Posted by Mjölnir
You can definitely do epic with a different aspect ratio than 2.35:1. The aspect ratio isn't at all in the front of things that create an epic feel in my opinion and the choice in ratio depends on what you want to show. The film has lots of scenes where the vertical space is important and then you'll get closer to the action if you use a more narrow AR.
Yeah, you'll get "closer to the action," but you capture as much/wide of a landscape.
I couldn't imagine The Lord of the Rings shot in a smaller aspect ratio. There's no way you'd get the same breadth, scope of the picture, even if you do get more height.
Here's a dumb but simple example. Imagine if you had to shoot a movie, and you could only use the printer-setting "landscape" or "portrait" ratios as your camera aspect ratio -- which would feel more "cinematic"?
It's the same idea, trading width/breadth for height.