The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Reviews
Peter Jackson's fully-realized vision of Tolkien's work comes to a stunning close with emotionally involving action and committed performances.
I'll give it
The anticipation leading up to this concluding chapter was that of legend, and director Peter Jackson does not disappoint with this final film. Through the effective use of character development, music, and attention to detail, the themes from the Lord of the Rings saga by J.R.R. Tolkien's masterpiece are brought to life one last time. Hailed by critics the world round, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King exceeds expectations and becomes an instant classic.
The level of character development in The Return of the King cannot be understated. The depth that Jackson goes to with each individual character over the course of the 200-minute movie help us to better understand individuals and their important roles in the story, as well as transport us to the land of middle earth for a front row seat to the war to end all wars. The film opens up with a flash back of Sméagol's life pre-Gollum. The typically CGI (Computer Generated Image) Andy Serkis gives us a quick glimpse of a once playful, and loving Hobbit right before the ring takes hold of him and transforms him over the course of close to 500 years into the evil Gollum. This scene is key as it gives insight to the level of power the ring has, and the immense burden taken on by the ring bearer. Towards the end of the movie this is illustrated nicely by the markings around Frodo's neck from the chain on which he carries the ring. Although the physical changes are the most obvious, the emotional changes we see in the hero are even more shocking on screen.
Frodo is a character we see change over the course of the trilogy as the ring takes its toll over the course of the year long journey. Physically speaking Frodo appears weak and depends more upon Sam and Gollum to make the trek. His emotions change as well, as the naturally cheery hobbit becomes more impatient, and less trusting, as well as more shrill and critical of Sam. Just as the ring, and his travels have taken a negative toll on Frodo, The Return of the King does a magnificent job at illustrating quite the opposite for Samwise Gamgee.
Portrayed as the dimwitted friend, or clumsy sidekick at the beginning of the saga, Samwise takes very seriously his charge to watch over Mr. Frodo. Going against his shy and reserved nature, Sam's transformation is wonderfully completed and portrayed by Sean Astin. The hero of The Goonies, Rudy, and other films has his crowning and most famous performance here as he proves once a fool doesn't mean always a fool. Even when Frodo casts Sam away under false pretenses, Sam obeys but quickly forgives and comes back more determined than ever to destroy the source of Frodo's delusion. Countless other examples of Jackson's masterful use of character development bring this movie to life better than any other in the trilogy. We can see this influence throughout cinema today as well, as audiences are no longer satisfied with explosions and fight scenes alone. Even the simplest stories now feature extremely deep character development and transformation. Tony Stark wasn't always the caring, emotional individual we see in recent films after all.
The extended edition of these films gives even more insight to character motives, and personality traits. One of the best examples of this is in a scene where the last remaining soldiers from Minas Tirith follow Aragon to the black gate in an effort to draw Sauron's eye and give Frodo the best chance at destroying the ring. The deleted scene shows the Mouth of Sauron come out to meet the group, and he gives them a "token". He then throws Frodo's Mithril vest at Aragon and talks about the torture they inflicted on him. Even something as small as this gives us a better understanding to why the fellowship thinks Frodo is dead, and they fight with increased raw emotion and vigor. The effects used to enhance this scene such as slow motion, camera angles, and music create the perfect blend of emotions. Jackson's strong supporting cast each help create the perfect environment for an epic hero story such as this.
The London Philharmonic under the direction of the great Howard Shore play an integral role in the experience that is The Return of the King. The perfect blend of strings and wind instruments polish off the majesty of the Elves, while the strong percussion and deeper brass instruments create a tangible tension in the air during the monstrous battles, or any moments involving the fearsome Uruk Hai. The music almost goes unnoticed at seemingly insignificant parts of the film, but when paying close attention as one must in this film, true fans of Tolkien will realize the vital role the music plays in this final chapter of the saga. From the playful recorder melody that is the Shire theme song, to the unmistakable powerful percussion and thunderous tubas in the Isengard theme, this score features a full spectrum of instruments that Shore has arranged perfectly to bring to light underlying themes and help the audience make connections between scenes, as well as help us follow the intense web of storylines found in Lord of the Rings. Jackson uses the music as well as subtle transitional tricks to help the viewer understand where they are in the story as it bounces between the paths of the remaining members of the Fellowship.
Watching The Return of the King one will come to appreciate the seemingly minute details that really tie the story together. An excellent example of this comes in a scene where Frodo and Sam find themselves in the tower Cirith Ungol. As Frodo lies stripped of his clothes by Orcs, we see his body covered in scars that we can connect back to previous experiences he has had along his travels. Specifically, the scars left by the Morgul blade from the Witch King of Angmar at Weathertop. From the little tears in the costumes or props, to the amazing work done by the Foley artists to bring the cringeworthy sounds like Gollum biting into a fish, or the ear-piercing sound of the Nazgul, all contribute to the magic.
The focus of this movie is obviously on the acting, and Jackson has stressed that although a large portion of this movie is CGI the acting and people involved should drive the story. That being said, one cannot go without mentioning the unbelievable, and awe-inspiring aspect of the movie that is the special effects. From the grotesque creatures and gigantic structures, to the small hobbits that are the focal point of the trilogy; all aspects of the CGI realm big and small are done flawlessly. One leaves the movie almost forgetting that Elijah Wood, Sean Astin and company aren't actually three feet tall. No detail is too small for Peter Jackson and the rest of the genius minds that make up the production team.
Never before has the story of the unlikely hero been so well illustrated. Each character deals with different challenges, and the way they respond to said challenges determines their fate. In a movie with plenty to offer us, J.R.R. Tolkien and Peter Jackson do a wonderful job at subtly teaching us life lessons that never fade from relevance. This instant classic-- while entertaining and loveable at face value-- takes on whole new meaning for those fans willing to ponder and interpret this cinematic masterpiece. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King takes its place among the greatest movies in cinematic history thanks to the memorable characters, the timeless soundtrack, and the masterful display of detailed special effects. Peter Jackson has cemented his place as one of the greats with this closing chapter of the beloved classic saga.
The final battle for Middle-earth begins. Frodo and Sam, led by Gollum, continue their dangerous mission toward the fires of Mount Doom in order to destroy the One Ring.
If you've read my The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers reviews, so you know that I loved both of them very much, even with its flaws, it's still of the best fantasy trilogies ever made!
The final chapter of Lord of the Rings presents a very satisfying ending for every fan (of the movie or even the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien). Epic battles, emotional scenes, fascinating CGI, powerful and balanced-paced.
Everything was wrong or flawed with the previous two is now completely fixed, nothing went wrong with this movie! The performances got improved, they're way better now. The slow-mo scenes are improved too, which is mean that the direction is improved too! All of that makes The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King one of the best movie with lots of memorable moments.
The battles are essential, and even better than the battles of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. All of that is making it unique and breathtaking, with lots of fun and a repeatable movie, like for thousands of times!
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is definitely the best movie of the trilogy, and it deserves an A+!
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