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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Few movie experiences have been as sublime or heartrending as the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, which began with the forming of a Fellowship and grew with the battle against the Two Towers.

And in "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," Peter Jackson brings JRR Tolkien's epic fantasy to its powerful, heartbreaking close. While the ending is notoriously gradual to unfold -- not surprising in a story this long and complicated -- it's a glorious experience that can only end in beauty, sorrow and the ultimate battle between good and evil.

Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) are still following the treacherous Gollum (Andy Serkis) on the path to Mordor, with Frodo unaware that Gollum is sowing suspicion between the two best friends. By the time he realizes his mistake, he's been dragged into the lair of Shelob, a monstrous spider, and then abducted by orcs who want the Ring he carries. Determined to find his friend, Sam heads into an orc citadel to get Frodo back.

Meanwhile, Gandalf (Ian McKellen) takes Pippin (Billy Boyd) with him to Minas Tirith, after the hobbit has a close encounter with Sauron through a palantir. Not only is the city under siege, but the Steward Denethor is slowly going insane, even sending his one remaining son, Faramir (David Wenham), on a suicide mission to reclaim a dead city. With Minas Tirith crumbling, Aragorn's (Viggo Mortensen) only hope may to be summon an army of the dead, who will only obey the King of Gondor. But even the joined forces of Gondor and Rohan will not be enough to stop Sauron unless Frodo destroys the Ring -- and with his mind being worn away by its evil, he might not be able to.

The "Lord of the Rings" trilogy is one of those once-in-a-lifetime movie experiences. There has never been anything quite like it in movie history, and there probably never will be again. It seems somehow fitting that the book that every other fantasy has to measure up to, has now become a sweeping cinematic triumph that actually stays halfway loyal to the books. Good things come to fans who wait, I guess.

Peter Jackson manages to craft a genuine sense that this is an epic story -- the scope of the story grows even larger when Gandalf and Pippin ride to Minas Tirith, especially when we see the sweeping grandeur of the signal fires. And of course, he sweeps through a series of increasingly explosive battle scenes (involving oliphaunts, Black Riders and glow-in-the-dark ghosts). Each action scene a shattering ride, and there's no guarantee that all the beloved characters will make it out alive. Some of them don't.

But if Jackson manages the epic battles well, he does an even better job with the gentler, quieter moments. The action slows down, and the characters take a moment to support and comfort each other. They cry, they hug, they think about home -- such as Gandalf comforting the frightened Pippin with a description of the afterlife. Jackson and his fellow screenwriters Fran Walsh and Phillippa Boyens throw themselves into the semi-formal language of Tolkien's world, resculpting Tolkien's words into equally rich movie dialogue.

Elijah Wood gives an unparalleled performance as Frodo Baggins. Frodo's gradual deterioration is wrenching to watch, and the climactic scene at Mount Doom displays just what the Ring can do to even the pure-hearted hobbit. Sean Astin follows up with his powerful performance as Sam, who is increasingly the "strong" unbowed hobbit, rather than the follower ("I can't carry it for you... but I can carry you!"). The final scenes between these two outstanding actors are beautiful and understated.

But all the supporting cast also give powerful performances -- Boyd and Dominic Monaghan put their characters through some intense growing pains, as both younger hobbits are forced to deal with the horrors of war. Ian McKellen balances action with grandfatherly wisdom, and Bernard Hill, Miranda Otto as the despairing Eowyn and David Wenham as the noble, kindly Faramir all give amazing performances. And of course, the titular king is Mortensen's Aragorn, now faced with the ultimate challenges -- and possibly the ultimate sacrifices -- that will decide whether he falls or triumphs over Sauron.

Perhaps the most striking thing about "Return of the King" is the final fourth of the film. While the "multiple endings" may annoy some viewers, it seems somehow right to gently let go of these characters rather than have a sudden, splashy finale. And whether they have a happy or sad ending, Jackson never lets us forget that they all made sacrifices to battle Sauron.

"Return of the King" brings the epic "Lord of the Rings" trilogy to a close, and cements Jackson's reputation as a master filmmaker. With the outstanding cast, beautiful scripting and amazing direction, this is a fitting capstone to the trilogy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Gandalf said it best: "I will not say: do not weep. For not all tears are an evil."

And it's of tempting to weep as the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy draws to a close, with the "Return of the King." Peter Jackson's brilliant adaptation ends the classic fantasy epic with a bang... but then quiets down to let us bid farewell to these lovable characters. Astounding direction, action, and a little pang when it's all over.

Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) are still following the treacherous Gollum (Andy Serkis) on the path to Mordor, with the increasingly strained Frodo unaware that Gollum is sowing suspicion between the two best friends. By the time he realizes his mistake, he's been dragged into the lair of Shelob, a monstrous spider, and then abducted by orcs who want the Ring he carries. Determined to find his friend, Sam heads into an orc citadel on his own.

Meanwhile, Gandalf (Ian McKellen) takes Pippin (Billy Boyd) with him to Minas Tirith, after the hobbit has a close encounter with Sauron through a palantir. \Not only is the city under siege, but the Steward Denethor is slowly going insane, even sending his one remaining son, Faramir (David Wenham), on a suicide mission to reclaim a dead city. With Minas Tirith crumbling, Aragorn's (Viggo Mortensen) only hope may to be summon an army of the dead, who will only obey the King of Gondor. But even the dead won't help him if Frodo doesn't destroy the Ring -- and its power over him is growing.

The "Lord of the Rings" trilogy is one of those once-in-a-lifetime movie experiences. There has never been anything quite like it in movie history, and there probably never will be again. It seems somehow fitting that the book that every other fantasy has to measure up to, has now become a sweeping cinematic triumph that actually stays halfway loyal to the books. Good things come to fans who wait, I guess.

And in this movie, Peter Jackson really outdoes himself. You know those battle scenes in "Two Towers" and "Fellowship of the Ring," with the swooping camera and thousands of orcs, clashing with men on a gloomy battlefield? In "Return of the King," Jackson surpasses that. There's everything from volcanic eruptions to an invasion of howling ghosts to the attack of the oliphaunts (like elephants, only bigger). Each action scene is a shattering ride, and there's no guarantee that all the beloved characters will make it out alive. Some of them don't.

But if Jackson manages the epic battles well, he does an even better job with the gentler, quieter moments. The action slows down, and the characters take a moment to support and comfort each other, such as Gandalf comforting the frightened Pippin with a description of the afterlife. Jackson and his fellow screenwriters Fran Walsh and Phillippa Boyens throw themselves into the semi-formal language of Tolkien's world, resculpting Tolkien's words into rich movie dialogue.

Elijah Wood gives an unparalleled performance as Frodo Baggins -- it's hard to imagine any young actor in recent memory who has given a performance this wrenching. Frodo's deterioration is horrifying to watch, and the climactic scene at Mount Doom displays just what the Ring can do to even the pure-hearted hobbit. Sean Astin follows up with his powerful performance as Sam, who is increasingly the "strong" hobbit, demonstrated in a tearjerking scene as they scale Mount Doom.

But all the supporting cast also give powerful performances -- Boyd and Dominic Monaghan put their characters through some intense growing pains, and the "I'm going to take care of you" scene is enough to bring tears to your eyes. Mortensen and McKellen are astounding as the kingly outcast and the kick-butt wizard, while Miranda Otto, David Wenham and Bernard Hill are brilliant on the sidelines.

Perhaps the most striking thing about "Return of the King" is the final fourth of the film. While the "multiple endings" may annoy some viewers, it seems somehow right to gently let go of these characters rather than have a sudden, splashy finale. And whether they have a happy or sad ending, Jackson never lets us forget that they all made sacrifices to battle Sauron.

"Return of the King" brings the epic "Lord of the Rings" trilogy to a close, and cements Jackson's reputation as a master filmmaker. With the outstanding cast, beautiful scripting and amazing direction, this is the best of the "Lord" films -- and that's saying something.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Peter Jackson's epic adaptation of "Lord of the Rings" reaches its pinnacle in "Return of the King." The stellar cast, mind-blowing special effects and heartbreaking script are all present in the third movie, which is not only the last of the "Lord of the Rings" films, but the best.

Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) are still following the treacherous Gollum (Andy Serkis) on the path to Mordor, with the increasingly strained Frodo unaware that Gollum is sowing suspicion between the two best friends. By the time he realizes his mistake, he's been dragged into the lair of Shelob, a monstrous spider, and then abducted by orcs who want the Ring he carries. Determined to find his friend, Sam heads into an orc citadel...

Meanwhile, Gandalf (Ian McKellen) takes Pippin (Billy Boyd) with him to Minas Tirith, after the hobbit has a close encounter with Sauron through a palantir. \Not only is the city under siege, but the Steward Denethor is slowly going insane, even sending his one remaining son, Faramir (David Wenham), on a suicide mission to reclaim a dead city. With Minas Tirith crumbling, Aragorn's (Viggo Mortensen) only hope may to be summon an army of the dead, who will only obey the King of Gondor. But even the dead won't help him if Frodo doesn't destroy the Ring...

The "Lord of the Rings" trilogy is one of those once-in-a-lifetime movie experiences. There has never been anything quite like it in movie history, and there probably never will be again. It seems somehow fitting that the book that every other fantasy has to measure up to, has now become a sweeping cinematic triumph that actually stays halfway loyal to the books. Good things come to fans who wait, I guess.

Peter Jackson really outdoes himself. You know those battle scenes in "Two Towers" and "Fellowship of the Ring," with the swooping camera and thousands of orcs, clashing with men on a gloomy battlefield? In "Return of the King," Jackson surpasses that. There's everything from volcanic eruptions to an invasion of howling ghosts to the attack of the oliphaunts (like elephants, only bigger). Each action scene a shattering ride, and there's no guarantee that all the beloved characters will make it out alive. Some of them don't.

But if Jackson manages the epic battles well, he does an even better job with the gentler, quieter moments. The action slows down, and the characters take a moment to support and comfort each other. They cry, they hug, they think about home -- such as Gandalf comforting the frightened Pippin with a description of the afterlife. Jackson and his fellow screenwriters Fran Walsh and Phillippa Boyens throw themselves into the semi-formal language of Tolkien's world, resculpting Tolkien's words into equally rich movie dialogue.

Elijah Wood gives an unparalleled performance as Frodo Baggins. Frodo's gradual deterioration is wrenching to watch, and the climactic scene at Mount Doom displays just what the Ring can do to even the pure-hearted hobbit. Sean Astin follows up with his powerful performance as Sam, who is increasingly the "strong" hobbit, rather than the follower. The final scenes between these two outstanding actors are beautiful and understated.

But all the supporting cast also give powerful performances -- Boyd and Dominic Monaghan put their characters through some intense growing pains, and the "I'm going to take care of you" scene is enough to bring tears to your eyes. Mortensen gets more kingly every moment, while Ian McKellen balances action with grandfatherly wisdom. Bernard Hill has a quietly moving final scene, while Miranda Otto makes the despairing Eowyn a strong, kick-butt heroine.

Perhaps the most striking thing about "Return of the King" is the final fourth of the film. While the "multiple endings" may annoy some viewers, it seems somehow right to gently let go of these characters rather than have a sudden, splashy finale. And whether they have a happy or sad ending, Jackson never lets us forget that they all made sacrifices to battle Sauron.

"Return of the King" brings the epic "Lord of the Rings" trilogy to a close, and cements Jackson's reputation as a master filmmaker. With the outstanding cast, beautiful scripting and amazing direction, this is the best of the "Lord" films -- and that's saying something.
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Wow. That's what I said once I finished 'The Return of the King Extended Edition'. After it's astounding prequels, this final touch to The Lord of the Rings is truly an amazing piece in itself. Not only is there nearly and hour of new and extended scenes, but there are two extra discs with documentaries, stills, cast interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage of about just everything you could think of. I loved watching 'Cameras in Middle earth', and I actually cried when it was over for the fellowship of the actors. There was a mirror experience with them and the story; just as we are saddened when Gandalf, the elves, Frodo, and Bilbo leave Middle earth, we are also saddened by the eventual breakup of the actors and crew who have become such close friends over the years. It was a wonderfully personal look into the making of a movie that we don't rarely see. I felt as though I knew the people after watching. There is also a lengthy tribute to J.R.R Tolkien with much information on his work and life, discussed by people who've studied his writings for years. I'm glad Peter Jackson put this in- Tolkien deserved recognition for creating such a beautiful world as Middle earth.

As for the movie itself, I loved it. Many of the extended or new scenes that were put in I felt belonged there. Some of them should have stayed in the original movie, especially the scene where Frodo and Sam see a crown of flowers on the fallen king.
However, a few scenes were a little bizarre, and I'm glad they were cut. The avalanche of skulls in the paths of the dead, for example. It wasn't in the book, and not only that, it just really didn't go. At all. I thought it was weird and I'm glad it wasn't in the real movie.
Above all, the worst possible scene was the mouth of Sauron. It was disgusting and not how I pictured him at all. Actually, he made me laugh. He wasn't frightening, or mysterious, and dark, like he was written in the story. The costume and special affects were silly and gross. That's all. Extremely glad it didn't make it into the movie, and I wish it hadn't made it into the extended edition as well, but hey, I guess some people liked it.
The rest of the added footage however was very special. I loved all of it, especially the extra scenes between Lord Denethor and Faramir. As in The Two Towers EE, it added deep insight into that family relationship, and again, should have been kept in.
All in all, this set is a real treat, and will not disappoint.
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Tolkien 's works had been put into TV with animation by Rankin/Bass (1977 and 1979). In 1978, Ralph Bakshi had animated the first two books of the famous trilogy to the silver screen. And now, with today's technology,an all-star cast, and a fabulous music score, New Line Cinema has brought the the trilogy to a new level in a live-action spectacle and one of the best film series of the 21th century. Each scene has heart,a bit of humour,heart-thumpin' action, and excellent effects. And I should like to tell you, that Rings is what got me to love four of the film's stars - Elijah Wood,Orlando Bloom,Viggo Mortensen and Liv Tyler.

In this adrenaline-rushing conclusion of our adventure, The War of The Ring has began, and Frodo & Sam (who are led by Gollum) continue their dangerous quest to destroy The One Ring. But they are unaware of the trap that set for them by Gollum. Meanwhile, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Gandalf are united with Merry & Pippin at the now destoryed Isengard, thanks to them, Treebeard and the other Ents. Now the friends celebrated their victory. But Aragorn was worried of Frodo. And in the dead of the night, Pippin snuck out of bed to take a peek at Saruman's palantir, that was found and confiscated. But something happened, the palantir showed him The Eye of Sauron, and that he is planning to attack Minas Tirith; So Gandalf took Pippin, and rode to Minas Tirith. Meanwhile, on the road to the ships that will take elves away from Middle Earth, Arwen was thinking over her choice of path. Until has a vision of her son that convince her to go home. So she rode home and plead her father to reforge the ancient blade of Narsil, and give it to her beloved Aragorn, so he can become the king he was born to be.

So overall ALL three films are excellent. And you know, I do feel sorry for Faramir being an the unappreciated son, I mean it was his big brother Boromir who was their dad's favorite. I love the developing friendship between Merry & Eowyn. And I love the end-title song performed by Annie Lennox.
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Gandalf said it best: "I will not say: do not weep. For not all tears are an evil."

And it's of tempting to weep as the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy draws to a close, with the "Return of the King." Peter Jackson's brilliant adaptation ends the classic fantasy epic with a bang... but then quiets down to let us bid farewell to these lovable characters. Astounding direction, action, and a little pang when it's all over.

Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) are still following the treacherous Gollum (Andy Serkis) on the path to Mordor, with the increasingly strained Frodo unaware that Gollum is sowing suspicion between the two best friends. By the time he realizes his mistake, he's been dragged into the lair of Shelob, a monstrous spider, and then abducted by orcs who want the Ring he carries. Determined to find his friend, Sam heads into an orc citadel on his own.

Meanwhile, Gandalf (Ian McKellen) takes Pippin (Billy Boyd) with him to Minas Tirith, after the hobbit has a close encounter with Sauron through a palantir. \Not only is the city under siege, but the Steward Denethor is slowly going insane, even sending his one remaining son, Faramir (David Wenham), on a suicide mission to reclaim a dead city. With Minas Tirith crumbling, Aragorn's (Viggo Mortensen) only hope may to be summon an army of the dead, who will only obey the King of Gondor. But even the dead won't help him if Frodo doesn't destroy the Ring -- and its power over him is growing.

The "Lord of the Rings" trilogy is one of those once-in-a-lifetime movie experiences. There has never been anything quite like it in movie history, and there probably never will be again. It seems somehow fitting that the book that every other fantasy has to measure up to, has now become a sweeping cinematic triumph that actually stays halfway loyal to the books. Good things come to fans who wait, I guess.

And in this movie, Peter Jackson really outdoes himself. You know those battle scenes in "Two Towers" and "Fellowship of the Ring," with the swooping camera and thousands of orcs, clashing with men on a gloomy battlefield? In "Return of the King," Jackson surpasses that. There's everything from volcanic eruptions to an invasion of howling ghosts to the attack of the oliphaunts (like elephants, only bigger). Each action scene is a shattering ride, and there's no guarantee that all the beloved characters will make it out alive. Some of them don't.

But if Jackson manages the epic battles well, he does an even better job with the gentler, quieter moments. The action slows down, and the characters take a moment to support and comfort each other, such as Gandalf comforting the frightened Pippin with a description of the afterlife. Jackson and his fellow screenwriters Fran Walsh and Phillippa Boyens throw themselves into the semi-formal language of Tolkien's world, resculpting Tolkien's words into rich movie dialogue.

Elijah Wood gives an unparalleled performance as Frodo Baggins -- it's hard to imagine any young actor in recent memory who has given a performance this wrenching. Frodo's deterioration is horrifying to watch, and the climactic scene at Mount Doom displays just what the Ring can do to even the pure-hearted hobbit. Sean Astin follows up with his powerful performance as Sam, who is increasingly the "strong" hobbit, demonstrated in a tearjerking scene as they scale Mount Doom.

But all the supporting cast also give powerful performances -- Boyd and Dominic Monaghan put their characters through some intense growing pains, and the "I'm going to take care of you" scene is enough to bring tears to your eyes. Mortensen and McKellen are astounding as the kingly outcast and the kick-butt wizard, while Miranda Otto, David Wenham and Bernard Hill are brilliant on the sidelines.

Perhaps the most striking thing about "Return of the King" is the final fourth of the film. While the "multiple endings" may annoy some viewers, it seems somehow right to gently let go of these characters rather than have a sudden, splashy finale. And whether they have a happy or sad ending, Jackson never lets us forget that they all made sacrifices to battle Sauron.

"Return of the King" brings the epic "Lord of the Rings" trilogy to a close, and cements Jackson's reputation as a master filmmaker. With the outstanding cast, beautiful scripting and amazing direction, this is the best of the "Lord" films -- and that's saying something.
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Gandalf said it best: "I will not say: do not weep. For not all tears are an evil."

And it's of tempting to weep as the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy draws to a close, with the "Return of the King." Peter Jackson's brilliant adaptation ends the classic fantasy epic with a bang... but then quiets down to let us bid farewell to these lovable characters. Astounding direction, action, and a little pang when it's all over.

Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) are still following the treacherous Gollum (Andy Serkis) on the path to Mordor, with the increasingly strained Frodo unaware that Gollum is sowing suspicion between the two best friends. By the time he realizes his mistake, he's been dragged into the lair of Shelob, a monstrous spider, and then abducted by orcs who want the Ring he carries. Determined to find his friend, Sam heads into an orc citadel on his own.

Meanwhile, Gandalf (Ian McKellen) takes Pippin (Billy Boyd) with him to Minas Tirith, after the hobbit has a close encounter with Sauron through a palantir. \Not only is the city under siege, but the Steward Denethor is slowly going insane, even sending his one remaining son, Faramir (David Wenham), on a suicide mission to reclaim a dead city. With Minas Tirith crumbling, Aragorn's (Viggo Mortensen) only hope may to be summon an army of the dead, who will only obey the King of Gondor. But even the dead won't help him if Frodo doesn't destroy the Ring -- and its power over him is growing.

The "Lord of the Rings" trilogy is one of those once-in-a-lifetime movie experiences. There has never been anything quite like it in movie history, and there probably never will be again. It seems somehow fitting that the book that every other fantasy has to measure up to, has now become a sweeping cinematic triumph that actually stays halfway loyal to the books. Good things come to fans who wait, I guess.

And in this movie, Peter Jackson really outdoes himself. You know those battle scenes in "Two Towers" and "Fellowship of the Ring," with the swooping camera and thousands of orcs, clashing with men on a gloomy battlefield? In "Return of the King," Jackson surpasses that. There's everything from volcanic eruptions to an invasion of howling ghosts to the attack of the oliphaunts (like elephants, only bigger). Each action scene is a shattering ride, and there's no guarantee that all the beloved characters will make it out alive. Some of them don't.

But if Jackson manages the epic battles well, he does an even better job with the gentler, quieter moments. The action slows down, and the characters take a moment to support and comfort each other, such as Gandalf comforting the frightened Pippin with a description of the afterlife. Jackson and his fellow screenwriters Fran Walsh and Phillippa Boyens throw themselves into the semi-formal language of Tolkien's world, resculpting Tolkien's words into rich movie dialogue.

Elijah Wood gives an unparalleled performance as Frodo Baggins -- it's hard to imagine any young actor in recent memory who has given a performance this wrenching. Frodo's deterioration is horrifying to watch, and the climactic scene at Mount Doom displays just what the Ring can do to even the pure-hearted hobbit. Sean Astin follows up with his powerful performance as Sam, who is increasingly the "strong" hobbit, demonstrated in a tearjerking scene as they scale Mount Doom.

But all the supporting cast also give powerful performances -- Boyd and Dominic Monaghan put their characters through some intense growing pains, and the "I'm going to take care of you" scene is enough to bring tears to your eyes. Mortensen and McKellen are astounding as the kingly outcast and the kick-butt wizard, while Miranda Otto, David Wenham and Bernard Hill are brilliant on the sidelines.

Perhaps the most striking thing about "Return of the King" is the final fourth of the film. While the "multiple endings" may annoy some viewers, it seems somehow right to gently let go of these characters rather than have a sudden, splashy finale. And whether they have a happy or sad ending, Jackson never lets us forget that they all made sacrifices to battle Sauron.

"Return of the King" brings the epic "Lord of the Rings" trilogy to a close, and cements Jackson's reputation as a master filmmaker. With the outstanding cast, beautiful scripting and amazing direction, this is the best of the "Lord" films -- and that's saying something.
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Peter Jackson's epic adaptation of "Lord of the Rings" reaches its pinnacle in "Return of the King." The stellar cast, mind-blowing special effects and heartbreaking script are all present in the third movie, which is not only the last of the "Lord of the Rings" films, but the best.

Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) are still following the treacherous Gollum (Andy Serkis) on the path to Mordor, with the increasingly strained Frodo unaware that Gollum is sowing suspicion between the two best friends. By the time he realizes his mistake, he's been dragged into the lair of Shelob, a monstrous spider, and then abducted by orcs who want the Ring he carries. Determined to find his friend, Sam heads into an orc citadel...

Meanwhile, Gandalf (Ian McKellen) takes Pippin (Billy Boyd) with him to Minas Tirith, after the hobbit has a close encounter with Sauron through a palantir. \Not only is the city under siege, but the Steward Denethor is slowly going insane, even sending his one remaining son, Faramir (David Wenham), on a suicide mission to reclaim a dead city. With Minas Tirith crumbling, Aragorn's (Viggo Mortensen) only hope may to be summon an army of the dead, who will only obey the King of Gondor. But even the dead won't help him if Frodo doesn't destroy the Ring...

The "Lord of the Rings" trilogy is one of those once-in-a-lifetime movie experiences. There has never been anything quite like it in movie history, and there probably never will be again. It seems somehow fitting that the book that every other fantasy has to measure up to, has now become a sweeping cinematic triumph that actually stays halfway loyal to the books. Good things come to fans who wait, I guess.

Peter Jackson really outdoes himself. You know those battle scenes in "Two Towers" and "Fellowship of the Ring," with the swooping camera and thousands of orcs, clashing with men on a gloomy battlefield? In "Return of the King," Jackson surpasses that. There's everything from volcanic eruptions to an invasion of howling ghosts to the attack of the oliphaunts (like elephants, only bigger). Each action scene a shattering ride, and there's no guarantee that all the beloved characters will make it out alive. Some of them don't.

But if Jackson manages the epic battles well, he does an even better job with the gentler, quieter moments. The action slows down, and the characters take a moment to support and comfort each other. They cry, they hug, they think about home -- such as Gandalf comforting the frightened Pippin with a description of the afterlife. Jackson and his fellow screenwriters Fran Walsh and Phillippa Boyens throw themselves into the semi-formal language of Tolkien's world, resculpting Tolkien's words into equally rich movie dialogue.

Elijah Wood gives an unparalleled performance as Frodo Baggins. Frodo's gradual deterioration is wrenching to watch, and the climactic scene at Mount Doom displays just what the Ring can do to even the pure-hearted hobbit. Sean Astin follows up with his powerful performance as Sam, who is increasingly the "strong" hobbit, rather than the follower. The final scenes between these two outstanding actors are beautiful and understated.

But all the supporting cast also give powerful performances -- Boyd and Dominic Monaghan put their characters through some intense growing pains, and the "I'm going to take care of you" scene is enough to bring tears to your eyes. Mortensen gets more kingly every moment, while Ian McKellen balances action with grandfatherly wisdom. Bernard Hill has a quietly moving final scene, while Miranda Otto makes the despairing Eowyn a strong, kick-butt heroine.

Perhaps the most striking thing about "Return of the King" is the final fourth of the film. While the "multiple endings" may annoy some viewers, it seems somehow right to gently let go of these characters rather than have a sudden, splashy finale. And whether they have a happy or sad ending, Jackson never lets us forget that they all made sacrifices to battle Sauron.

"Return of the King" brings the epic "Lord of the Rings" trilogy to a close, and cements Jackson's reputation as a master filmmaker. With the outstanding cast, beautiful scripting and amazing direction, this is the best of the "Lord" films -- and that's saying something.
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Peter Jackson's epic adaptation of "Lord of the Rings" reaches its pinnacle in "Return of the King." The stellar cast, mind-blowing special effects and heartbreaking script are all present in the third movie, which is not only the last of the "Lord of the Rings" films, but the best.

Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) are still following the treacherous Gollum (Andy Serkis) on the path to Mordor, with the increasingly strained Frodo unaware that Gollum is sowing suspicion between the two best friends. By the time he realizes his mistake, he's been dragged into the lair of Shelob, a monstrous spider, and then abducted by orcs who want the Ring he carries. Determined to find his friend, Sam heads into an orc citadel...

Meanwhile, Gandalf (Ian McKellen) takes Pippin (Billy Boyd) with him to Minas Tirith, after the hobbit has a close encounter with Sauron through a palantir. \Not only is the city under siege, but the Steward Denethor is slowly going insane, even sending his one remaining son, Faramir (David Wenham), on a suicide mission to reclaim a dead city. With Minas Tirith crumbling, Aragorn's (Viggo Mortensen) only hope may to be summon an army of the dead, who will only obey the King of Gondor. But even the dead won't help him if Frodo doesn't destroy the Ring...

The "Lord of the Rings" trilogy is one of those once-in-a-lifetime movie experiences. There has never been anything quite like it in movie history, and there probably never will be again. It seems somehow fitting that the book that every other fantasy has to measure up to, has now become a sweeping cinematic triumph that actually stays halfway loyal to the books. Good things come to fans who wait, I guess.

Peter Jackson really outdoes himself. You know those battle scenes in "Two Towers" and "Fellowship of the Ring," with the swooping camera and thousands of orcs, clashing with men on a gloomy battlefield? In "Return of the King," Jackson surpasses that. There's everything from volcanic eruptions to an invasion of howling ghosts to the attack of the oliphaunts (like elephants, only bigger). Each action scene a shattering ride, and there's no guarantee that all the beloved characters will make it out alive. Some of them don't.

But if Jackson manages the epic battles well, he does an even better job with the gentler, quieter moments. The action slows down, and the characters take a moment to support and comfort each other. They cry, they hug, they think about home -- such as Gandalf comforting the frightened Pippin with a description of the afterlife. Jackson and his fellow screenwriters Fran Walsh and Phillippa Boyens throw themselves into the semi-formal language of Tolkien's world, resculpting Tolkien's words into equally rich movie dialogue.

Elijah Wood gives an unparalleled performance as Frodo Baggins. Frodo's gradual deterioration is wrenching to watch, and the climactic scene at Mount Doom displays just what the Ring can do to even the pure-hearted hobbit. Sean Astin follows up with his powerful performance as Sam, who is increasingly the "strong" hobbit, rather than the follower. The final scenes between these two outstanding actors are beautiful and understated.

But all the supporting cast also give powerful performances -- Boyd and Dominic Monaghan put their characters through some intense growing pains, and the "I'm going to take care of you" scene is enough to bring tears to your eyes. Mortensen gets more kingly every moment, while Ian McKellen balances action with grandfatherly wisdom. Bernard Hill has a quietly moving final scene, while Miranda Otto makes the despairing Eowyn a strong, kick-butt heroine.

Perhaps the most striking thing about "Return of the King" is the final fourth of the film. While the "multiple endings" may annoy some viewers, it seems somehow right to gently let go of these characters rather than have a sudden, splashy finale. And whether they have a happy or sad ending, Jackson never lets us forget that they all made sacrifices to battle Sauron.

"Return of the King" brings the epic "Lord of the Rings" trilogy to a close, and cements Jackson's reputation as a master filmmaker. With the outstanding cast, beautiful scripting and amazing direction, this is the best of the "Lord" films -- and that's saying something.
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on August 26, 2004
I don't usually write reviews, especially of such huge and widely established masterpieces like Lord of the Rings, figuring that everyone else has said it before and better ... but I was sadly disappointed here. This is without a doubt the best film in the trilogy, far surpassing The Two Towers, (which I disliked until the Extended Edition anyway), and even FotR. This was simply an awe-inspiring movie. Yes Tolkien fans like me were a little put out by some of the changes made, (like the emphasis on Arwen - but that bothered me more in the first two films), and especially how they messed with Aragorn's sword, Anduril. (How in the world did Elrond get to Aragorn so fast? And why didn't they just have Aragorn carry the sword from Rivendell? It played such a huge part in the battle for Helm's Deep.) But most of my complaints, like the lack of Eowyn, Faramir, and especially Merry will hopefully be pacified with the extended edition, and I'm sure once that is released nearly every Tolkien fan will have all their issues resolved. (Though I'm not looking forward to more Arwen sequences, useless as they are.)
But I still can't understand these criticisms over 'cliches' and 'too many endings' ... especially when the critical person can't even spell the names correctly. And for goodness SAKE please stop comparing it to Star Wars. They're completely different and made in a completely different style. I also love Star Wars and while I dislike comparing them, I must admit I think LOTR infinitely better. (But that's not the point here, is it? ^_~) These movies were greatly in keeping with what Tolkien wrote, and tried (and succeeded) to keep the spirit and pathos of those magnificent novels. And they succeeded, in spades. I simply can't praise this movie enough, and not just as a part of the whole, but as an individual movie as well. It did everything it could within the time constraints and did it well. How can you say it was 'too long' when there was so much else they could have and should have put in? (I for one think that the EE time of 4hr10min is too short.) The only explanation I have is if you don't appreciate just how great this film and this trilogy was ... well then, you just don't get it.
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