The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

PG-13   |    |  Adventure, Drama, Fantasy


The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) Poster

Gandalf and Aragorn lead the World of Men against Sauron's army to draw his gaze from Frodo and Sam as they approach Mount Doom with the One Ring.

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  • Peter Jackson in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
  • Ian McKellen in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
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  • Hugo Weaving at an event for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
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  • Sean Bean at an event for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

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22 November 2006 | OttoVonB
10
| All Good Things come to an End!
All the threads of Tolkien's magnum opus come together in the most elegant of fashions in the final part of Peter Jackson's adaptation. Humanity makes a last stand at Minas Tirith, the Hobbits travel through Mordor, our heroes try to by time for Frodo to complete his mission and the Evil Sauron gets tired of the whole game and lashes out with all his might and fury.

"Return of the King" is 4 hours of payoff, a third act in a gigantic epic rather than a mere film of its own. As such it is intensely dramatic and dynamic and you can very much sense that though peter Jackson spared no effort on the previous episodes, this is clearly his favorite. the film floats by at a thunderous pace, taking us through unforgettable moments such as the battle of Minas Tirith itself, a marvel of seamless animation and epic film-making, it demands to be seen, as it has too many jaw-dropping moments to choose from. The quieter character moments keep gaining in potency and the full weight of the stakes and their heartbreaking consequences is never in doubt.

The cast of these films have played their parts to perfection and again Jackson deserves overall credit for choosing actors that so perfectly match Tlolkien's creations: Ian McKellen and Christopher Lee are their own usually excellent selves, and the hobbits remain endearing, but of all the uniformly great cast, the true standouts are Viggo Mortensen and David Wenham as the tragic Faramir, whose relationship with his brutish father is the most traumatic of the film. Jackson pushes them even further by having them sing at a few key moments (a practice employed to powerful effect by Tolkien in the books), a daring undertaking that works wonders. And though he may offer one ending too many, he does have the decency to show off each surviving character with the appropriate screen time and respect.

Now that the trilogy is complete, it can be viewed as one big film, as it should be. After 8 years, Jackson has done the impossible: he has taken Tolkien's huge legend and made films that stand on their own and have revolutionized film-making, setting the new benchmark for cinematic epics. Changes have been made to Tolkien's source novels, but they make for better, more fluid films, more faithful in spirit to Tolkien's myth than anyone had the right to hope for.

A masterpiece, whether as part of a bigger whole or on its own. Well deserving of all the high praise thrown at it, and then some...

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Witch-king's true name was never given, and therefore, among J.R.R. Tolkien fans, the Witch-king is often simply called Angmar, after the name of the realm he founded and led (like how Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington who helped defeat Napoléon at Waterloo, was and is referred to as simply "Wellington"). Many fans also identify him as one of the three Black Númenóreans that J.R.R. Tolkien stated had become Nazgûl or possibly Isilmo, a Númenórean Prince and father of Tar-Minastir. In the now defunct Middle-earth role playing game, he was named "Er-Murazor", a Númenórean Prince, though this is strictly non-canonical. In the Angband computer game, he was listed as "Murazor, the Witch-king of Angmar".


Quotes

Deagol: Smeagol, I've got one! I've got a fish, Smeag. Smeagol!
Smeagol: Pull it in. Go on. Go on. Go on. Pull it in.


Goofs

There is no stairway or other form of entry to the roof of Orthanc. This is most evident in the extended edition of ROTK: Grima's sudden appearance behind Saruman when moments before an all revealing overhead shot didn't show him or any means for him to get there.


Crazy Credits

Just like the two previous "Lord of the Rings" movies, there are no opening credits after the title has been shown.


Alternate Versions

In some prints, the subtitles during Aragorn and Elrond's conversation (I give hope to men, I have kept none for myself) are missing.


Soundtracks

A Shadow Lies Between Us
(uncredited)
Music by
Howard Shore
Lyrics by J.R.R. Tolkien
Performed by Liv Tyler

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Adventure | Drama | Fantasy

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