LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE
D: Peter Jackson
New Line/Wingnut (Barrie M. Osborne, Peter Jackson & Fran
US/New Zealand 2003
W: Fran Walsh, Phillippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair &
Peter Jackson [based on the novel by J. R. R. Tolkien]
DP: Andrew Lesnie
Ed: Michael Horton
Mus: Howard Shore
PD: Grant Major
Cos: Ngila Dickson & Richard
Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Viggo
Mortensen (Aragorn), Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), John Rhys-Davies (Gimli), Bernard Hill (King Theoden), Dominic Monaghan (Merry), Billy Boyd (Pippin), Orlando Bloom
(Legolas), Miranda Otto (Eowyn), Hugo Weaving (Lord Elrond), David Wenham (Faramir), Karl Urban (Eomer), Liv Tyler (Arwen), Andy Serkis (Gollum/Smeagol)
I can only review the trilogy based on the strength of
this film as it was wholly intended to watch all three films.
The Return Of The King is possibly the best segment of the
Lord Of The Rings tale, simply because of the battle scenes, particularly the fight for the Kingdom of Gondor. The special effects and technical achievements are no better than the
first two segments, unsurprisingly as they were all filmed in unison.
Here's a breakdown of the trilogy.
LOTR: The Fellowship Of The Ring: An excellent
adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's novel, showing promise of the great things to come. The introduction of the characters eats up a lot of the running time, but this is forgivable because
there are plenty. Setting up a good vs evil fantasy where the most unlikely of individuals, a diminutive Hobbit comes into the possession of a magical ring that holds an unspeakable power,
and is given the quest of destroying the ring in the fires in which it was forged before a dark lord can once again claim it for himself.
Jackson's direction uses majestic, sweeping photography to
bring the fantasy world of Middle Earth to life, using cutting edge visual effects, makeup and wonderful costumes and production design to make it feel as photo-realistic as
The only black mark comes from an ending which leaves you
emotionally empty and needing to watch more.
LOTR: The Two Towers: The introduction of Gollum
give the visual effects a new dimension, but as the story now splits into three narratives it becomes a little distracting.
Hobbits Frodo Baggins & Samwise Gamgee continue their
journey to Mount Doom, while the others from the Fellowship fight their own battles, freeing a town from the curse which hypnotised their king and preparing for a battle against the forces of
The weakest of the three segments, especially the scenes
featuring Treebeard, which drag on a little too long, although they are wonderfully realised by Peter Jackson's direction.
LOTR: The Return Of The King: The concluding part, where
the two story strands from the second film continue, as Frodo and Samwise near Mount Doom, where they plan to destroy the ring. Meanwhile, their friends prepare for a battle to end all
battles, as the forces of darkness send all their armies to fight for the thrones of Middle Earth.
Although the last half hour drags on far too long (to tie
up all the loose ends). This is the best of the lot. The epic battle scenes are amongst the best captured on film. I'd like to think though that the 11 Oscars lavished upon this
film were for the entire trilogy as a whole, and not just for this one segment.