The Return of the King - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Return of the King Reviews

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½ February 3, 2017
Singing Uruk-hai. Need I say more?
½ November 10, 2016
The Return of the King cartoon is a letdown that probably shouldn't have been made. It was produced by the same people who did The Hobbit cartoon, which was the first miscalculation. The Hobbit is a light children's story that is better adapted to a cutesy cartoon. The Lord of the Rings is darker, and the cute approach made this movie hard to appeal to children or adult audiences. Somehow, that is nowhere near the biggest flaw.

The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers were adapted in a film the previous year by Ralph Bakshi, which had a darker mood to the animation and performances better suited for The Lord of the Rings. So this movie had to pick up where Bakshi's movie left off, while being a direct sequel to The Hobbit, basically acting like Bakshi's movie didn't exist, while continuing the story. This made for some odd narrative choices.

The movie is framed with the story being told in flashback at Bilbo's birthday party. This removes tension from the movie as we know all the characters will survive. We are thrown in to the story with little background, and we don't get to know the characters. As they look and act different from their characterizations in Bakshi's film, they can't really be considered the same. Also, as Bakshi's film didn't end at the exact point as The Two Towers, we don't know what became of some characters, or how the characters in this movie ended up where this story begins.

The light folk music, while enjoyable at times, is mostly annoying as it contrasts with the mood of the movie and gives spoilers in the lyrics. One good thing: the "Where There's a Whip, There's a Way" song is a little bit of a guilty pleasure.

Pretty shitty movie overall, though.
April 25, 2016
That's probably the worst Art I've seen for it.. the Videocassette art is better.
also, it's one of those "Technically an anime" movies.
January 3, 2016
It certainly captured the tone of despair and corruption caused by the ring, even if much of the other grandiose detail of the story is lost.
½ March 8, 2015
It's creepy, weird, and I just downright hate it.
½ March 5, 2015
This is by far the worst thing to happen to the Lord of the Rings. This awful 1980s version of the book is so far from the original work, it is hard to say whether anyone working on it had even read, or met anyone who read Tolkien's books. What is most frustrating about this movie is the lengths at which they go to get things wrong. The villains reflect the style of Skeletor, from He-man; an insulting comparison to be made of a product of Tolkien. The story is bombarded with offensively tacky music that completely disregards even the vaguest hint of Tolkien's poetry.
March 2, 2015
Incredibly disappointing after such a strong showing from Bakshi in "Lord of the RIngs" Rankin/Bass are not wanted nor welcome in this Disnified sequel to such a dark and brooding second installment of this trilogy. The third, and most serious of the three, instead becomes a Disney musical. Such a disappointment.
Super Reviewer
October 10, 2014
Rankin/Bass return to the works of Tolkien once more for the concluding chapter of The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King. The story picks up with Frodo, Gandalf, and Elrond celebrating Bilbo's 129th birthday, and recounting how Frodo and Sam went on a quest to Mount Doom to destroy the magic ring Bilbo found. Some impressive actors lend their talents to the film, including John Huston, Roddy McDowall, and Casey Kasem, and they deliver strong performances. The musical numbers however, are a little lackluster and aren't quite up to the Rankin/Bass standard. Still, the animation style is pretty good and is full of interesting character and set designs. While it may be a little too kidafied for die hard Tolkien fans, The Return of the King is an entertaining fantasy adventure.
September 4, 2014
Although it feels forced and should have been made by Ralph Bakshi, the imagery in Rankin & Bass's "The Return of the King" is mostly stunning for its time, and the essence of the story is here.
April 12, 2014
It lacks much of the excitement and character development of the books, but how else can one adapt this book to the TV screen?
February 15, 2014
A decent cartoon adaption of the book. Gollum is green...the orcs are furry...its just weird and nothing as good as the Peter Jackson films.
January 6, 2014
Marketed as an unofficial sequel to Ralph Bakshi's far superior Lord of the Rings cartoon, it's more of sequel to the animated Hobbit. Being that it was the same team from said Hobbit, many of the voice talent from that return. For fans of Samwise, this is a treat since he seems to be the central character. But the movie feels rushed and cheap, almost like a very long clunky trailer. Still, fun to watch as a capper to the Animated Tolkien universe.
½ December 12, 2013
A major step-up from Ralph Bakshi's animated Lord of the Rings, Rankin/Bass's Return of the King is a much more amiable and coherent take on the Tolkien story.
½ December 8, 2013
The animation was nice and.........
December 2, 2013
From what I've seen, it's awful. Rankin/Bass gave themselves so much work to do that they ruined the third novel. Now they must endure angry fans who don't know better and constantly be pissed on
½ November 10, 2013
It picks up where Bakshi's Lord of the Rings left off, but is produced by the people who did The Hobbit, therefore abandoning the rotoscoping animation style. It's not a complete failure, but its the lesser of the animated Tolkien movie.
½ September 2, 2013
A little too dark to be as enjoyable as the one that precedes it, the music and action are still up to par.
½ May 23, 2013
For the hardcore LOTR fan only. The modern trilogy nukes it out of the water. It's like a corny cartoon version of Return of the King, complete with pointless song interludes with terrible lyrics and singers that got lost on the way to the 1960s. Aside from that though, it was decent enough. As I said, if you're a hardcore LOTR fan, this will interest you if only due to curiosity regarding how they fit it all into 1 1/2 hours.
½ April 30, 2013
As a sequel to Ralph Bashkis movie its poor and as an adaptation of Tolkein even worse. Bashkis movies for all its flaws at least respected the adult nature of Tolkeins books. This sequel kiddifies Return of the King to death and adds all kinds of terrible folk songs making it a shame Bashki didn't get a chance to make the sequel he wanted to make
April 18, 2013
Jackson's film is better, but this is still a classic to me.
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