The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Reviews

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David Germain
Associated Press
November 19, 2013
With The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Peter Jackson delivers a decent ending to his fantasy trilogy -- actually, about 12 endings.
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Keith Phipps
AV Club
November 19, 2013
The Return Of The King ultimately proves up to the series' increasingly difficult task: making movies that echo legends, making legends that reflect life, and reconciling it all with the fact that both legends and lives all eventually meet their ends.
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
November 19, 2013
Yes, the running time is long, and yes, those many endings in a slow, dreamy coda left me feeling spent -- better spent than I can ever remember.
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Andrea Gronvall
Chicago Reader
February 6, 2007
Standing out amid an excellent cast is Elijah Wood, stymied by tweeness in the earlier films but here convincingly developing the character of Frodo as the embodiment of valor and self-sacrifice.
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Tom Charity
Time Out
February 9, 2006
Some story strands are crudely abbreviated; others fail to develop elements that were already well-established.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
January 15, 2004
Pops your eyes, excites your senses and brings you in as close as a whisper for scenes of startling emotion.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Anthony Lane
New Yorker
January 6, 2004
As I watched this film, an eager victim of its boundless will to astound, I found my loyal memories of the book beginning to fade.
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Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
December 18, 2003
Not only has Jackson boldly and faithfully brought J.R.R. Tolkien's world to life, he's created the most epic and sweeping fantasy adventure of all time.
| Original Score: 5/5
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Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
December 18, 2003
Both the longest film in the series and the most confidently paced, striking an ideal balance of combat and camaraderie.
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
December 17, 2003
Completes the picture, magnificently so, and all honour and praise are due the visionaries behind the project.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
December 17, 2003
The thrilling conclusion to what has become the film event of our time -- the definitive screen fantasy -- features more spellbinding moments, bigger battles, more emotion and more poetry than the terrific first two films in the trilogy.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
December 17, 2003
A movie for our time, perhaps for all time, mostly a good time and definitely a long time.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
December 17, 2003
It reminds you of the power of film like no other movie in memory.
| Original Score: A+
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
December 17, 2003
I went along with the first and admired the second, but it wasn't until the third that I was swept away by the magnitude of Jackson's vision.
| Original Score: A-
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
December 17, 2003
Confirms Jackson's reputation as a kinetic director who has made author J.R.R. Tolkien's work his own -- not as plagiarist but as a visionary.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
December 17, 2003
Return of the King is such a crowning achievement, such a visionary use of all the tools of special effects, such a pure spectacle, that it can be enjoyed even by those who have not seen the first two films.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
December 17, 2003
The final chapter completes The Lord of the Rings series in thrilling style -- and restores faith in the idea that popular entertainment can soar to majestic heights.
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Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
December 16, 2003
The film event of the millennium.
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December 16, 2003
This is the best of the three Rings movies -- more than that, it makes the others look even better.
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
December 16, 2003
Not only a thrilling experience, it closes the book on a truly satisfying trilogy.
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Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
December 16, 2003
Tolkien and his representative on Earth, [Peter] Jackson, really know how to get a tale roaring down the tracks.
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Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
December 16, 2003
The director and screenwriter brings unity to a somewhat unwieldy story and handles the spectacle scenes with flourish and coherence.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
December 16, 2003
The word trilogy, which was handed such a black eye by the Matrix movies, is restored to its proper dignity with Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
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David Ansen
Newsweek
December 16, 2003
The second installment was better than the first, and this one is best of all.
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Todd McCarthy
Variety
December 16, 2003
Peter Jackson's final installment in his monumental The Lord of the Rings represents that filmmaking rarity -- a third part of a trilogy that is decisively the best of the lot.
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
December 16, 2003
Like all the other installments in the saga, The Return of the King is part of a good movie, but only mediocre on its own, full of awkward pauses and redundancies.
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
December 16, 2003
A rich, layered tale of a king, a wizard and two little hobbits whose courage saved their world.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
December 16, 2003
[The] trilogy is, by any measure, a crowning moment in cinema history ... So why is the final installment, less than awesome?
| Original Score: 3/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
December 16, 2003
A magical movie in every sense of the word.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
December 16, 2003
A movie that exceeds even the most formidable expectations without straying from its singular path.
| Original Score: 4/4
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Bruce Westbrook
Houston Chronicle
December 16, 2003
This film is everything a fan could want and possibly more. For three-plus hours, it entertains, enthralls and awes.
Full Review | Original Score: A+
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
December 16, 2003
It not only stands as fantasy filmmaking on a peak of previously unscaled proportions, it now officially takes its place in the Great Hall of Movie Mythology, the place we return to again and again to share our dreams.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
December 16, 2003
Utterly breathtaking.
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
December 16, 2003
Audiences who don't have halberds to grind and who possess rear ends of steel and a taste for declamatory heroics will find themselves rewarded.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
December 16, 2003
With The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Peter Jackson brings his epic series to a glorious finish. And in doing so, he's made the greatest movie trilogy in cinema history.
| Original Score: A
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
December 16, 2003
This Krakatoa is at once exhausting and riveting.
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
December 16, 2003
A grand adventure with lots of fun things to look at.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
December 15, 2003
As a model for how to bring substance, authenticity and insight to the biggest of adventure yarns, this trilogy will not soon, if ever, find its equal.
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Elvis Mitchell
New York Times
December 15, 2003
King is the product of impressive craft and energy.
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Glenn Lovell
San Jose Mercury News
December 15, 2003
Combines the best moments of Fellowship and Two Towers and brings the Arthurian trilogy to a rousing, satisfying finish.
| Original Score: 4/4
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
December 15, 2003
The jewel in the crown of the masterful trilogy.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
December 15, 2003
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is Peter Jackson's crowning achievement.
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John Anderson
Newsday
December 15, 2003
Jackson closes his trilogy with a movie far more humorous, good-natured and emotionally engaging than its predecessors.
| Original Score: 4/4
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
December 15, 2003
Towers above its predecessors with cleaner storytelling and a more satisfying balance between terrific acting and eye-popping effects.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
December 15, 2003
[Director Peter Jackson] can lay claim to one of the greatest achievements in film history.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
December 15, 2003
Both profoundly moving and deeply satisfying.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 14, 2003
An experience of epic scope and grandeur, amazing emotional power, and relentless momentum.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
December 10, 2003
Passionate and literate, detailed and expansive... it's conceived with a risk-taking flair for old-fashioned movie magic at its most precious.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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David Hunter
Hollywood Reporter
December 8, 2003
A masterfully entertaining final installment.