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on June 12, 2004
The virtues of this part of the trilogy are the same as the virtues of the first two parts. Superb acting, visuals, and of course Tolkien's story.
However, this last effort had too much action for action's sake. This left less time for in-depth dialogue. The interaction between characters was left to the minimum, lowest common denominator stuff. It is in this film especially that a bigger dose of Tolkien's wordiness would have been welcome. Less action, more talk. I suppose Jackson was unable to resist the temptation to try to compete in spectacle and unrestrained busy-ness with other contemporary action films. Pity. LOTR is so much more than that. Or it should be.
Also, the emotional peak of the film is the coronation of the king, and particularly his showing honor to the four hobbits. The two epilogues following this were not necessary. The ending therefore is strung-out to no good purpose.
These flaws could be fixed in the directors cut, but I doubt they will be. If Return of the King could be made more like Fellowship of the Ring, then this trilogy would be an unqualified success, and I would pronounce it the greatest epic film ever made. But they dropped the ball at the last. I think it was fatigue on Jackson's part. He lost sight of what he'd done in the first two that made them so magical.
Still, a trilogy must have an ending, even if it is somewhat flawed. I will wait with faint hope for the director's cut.
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on May 5, 2004
I think the distributors deliberately release this shorter, inferior 2-dvd set long before the 4-dvd extended set is released like they did with the last two in the series. I was tricked into buying the 2-dvd first release of "Fellowship" and then only regretted it when the 4-dvd release came out a few weeks later - i sold it on ebay and coughed up the extra dough for the 4-dvd set. if you're a real fan, you'll want to wait for the 4-dvd set to come out, which will likely include extra footage and other special features.
BUT... this movie series rocks, and this version will cost less than the extended set will, so i have to give it a neutral rating based on that.
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on May 20, 2004
It has been said that by many people, including , if i am not mistaken, the director that the return of the king would be the best of the three. But i think it is sadly the worsen if compare to previous two, though itself is not bad at all.
The flow of the film is boring without coming to a peak as the fellowship of the ring and two towers. In the fellowship of the ring, we got the set up of fellowship and fighting in the forest. it is good beginning showing the introduction to the whole story with great entertainment. For two towers, we saw a great battle to defense the castle. These are peaks in the films. But what we have in three? a more big castle and more oracle and men fighted and died. It is REPEATING the two towers but turn out to be worse than the fight in two tower, of which the whole story of chapter two is to prepare for that fight, What else we have? Sam and Frodo climbling the mountain and revealing human nature? What a old and dull screen we have! the technique is bad to show that "Nature".
I come with great expectation to see the film but go home with great disappointment. The flow of the film is so loose that i could not counted to be great that many do. The combination of three i agree that it worth the best picture in Oscar but it alone wouldn't.
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on May 10, 2004
This is easily the 'best' of Peter Jackson's tacky and over-produced trilogy. The characters come off as less dimwitted than in 'Fellowship Of The Ring' and there is far less deviation from the book, the plot of which works just fine, as in 'The Two Towers'.
However, once again Jackson, Ms. Jackson & Ms. Boyens contrive to jettison beautiful dialogue penned by Tolkien & to replace it with Hollywood rubbish. For instance, in Tolkien, upon King Theoden's death:
Forgive me lord, if I have broken your command, and yet have done no more in your service than to weep at your parting.
It is forgiven. Great heart will not be denied. Live now in blessedness and when you sit in peace with your pipe, think of me.
In the movie it is Eowyn, Theoden's niece, who recieves his death words, which are taken verbatim from 'Return of the Jedi' for some unfathomable reason. Merry and Pippen trade Hollywood dialogue: "I knew you'd find me!" etc...
Elsewhere: the ghostly warriors summoned by Aragorn look like escapees from the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland; King Denethor is turned into a pathetic whining pansy; one anonymous CGI battle is followed by another until you can hardly stand it anymore; Gimli is reduced to a comic afterthought; the last hour is almost entirely shot in slow motion; every inch of film is underscored by heavyhanded music etc...
Having said the above, this is the most involving of the three films, despite its apalling and unnecessary 3 1/2 hour length.
Peter Jackson is a hack - a hack of near unlimited energy and creative resources. He has stretched the dollar farther than it has ever gone before in cinema history and I suppose he deserves every dime and accolade he's recieved for completing this unlikey pop-culture watermark. However, he'll not be remembered for subtlety or insight, two things which Tolkien possessed in spades.
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on March 19, 2004
There were a number of terrific scenes, and the cinematography and special effects were probably the best I've ever seen. I do not think it was too long, or had too many endings -- in fact I look forward to the extended edition. The Aragorn/Legolas/Gimli story was especially well adapted, and Gollum was a delight, but after an astonishingly good start (the first two movies), I feel that Jackson slipped a little on this one. I have three complaints:
1 - Overlooking Minas Tirith (the big Gondor city) is an absurd man-made cliff with an opening in the middle of the wall. All that was missing was a sign saying "leap here". Was it really neccessary to create this monstrosity so that the steward could jump rather than just burn to death?
2 - Some scenes were so melodramatic (including orchestra swells so obvious it seemed like parody) that I found myself laughing during what were supposed to be tender moments. Sam and Frodo were the primary culprits. Entirely too much time was spent repeating the same extreme close-ups of those two doing their best "love and concern" faces.
3 - There was also a dull, unneccessary (and to those who read the books, confusing) side story about Arwen becoming mortal.

A good movie, but not a great one. I expect that the scenes added in the extended edition will bump it up to 4 stars for me, but it can't compare to Fellowship, or even Two Towers.
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on May 29, 2004
I am not a big fan of fantasy genre movies or tv shows, but when the first and second LOTR movies came out I was stunned by the brilliance of the people in front of and behind the camera. The same mostly goes for this last installments, but it also just seems to maudlin - there are probably 5 different endings to the movies and it just drags on. I certainly respect the director and his crew for putting so much effort into making the books come to life, such an epic movie on such a grand scale has not been tried in recent memory with such aplomb, but I feel unlike those grand pictures of before, LOTR goes more for show and special effects to make its impact rather than dialogue and simplicity. Lawrence of Arabia was an epic film, yet it had so many great lines and the acting was magnificent. The Last Emperor and Gandhi, big sweeping films with wonderful visuals, were just as great too. Unfortunately, LOTR can never compare to these grand films of yesteryear.
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on May 25, 2004
The three stars is for the DVD, not the film.
Theres no point in even reviewing this film, its an above average beautifully crafted piece of cinema that concludes one of the greatest stories of all time. But THIS dvd release? The sound and picture quality are about as good as can get, but the extra features are pretty useless. Infact the first two documentaries "The Quest Fulfilled: A Director's Vision" and "A Filmmaker's Journey: Making The Return of The King" use so many of the same images and snipets of interviews that they are almost identicle. They even have the same basic structure.
It all depends on how much your into the trilogy, if you enjoyed the movie and want to own it, theres nothing wrong with this release, if your LOVED the trilogy then rent this one, watch the feature and the extras and wait for the extended edition, that will be the version worth owning.
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on March 12, 2004
I, Like all Tolken fans have suffered through this set of three movies which end with the Return of the King. I should have known how this set of movies was going to end up when Frodo was rescued by a pretty woman instead of an Elf Lord in the first movie. But that I could forgive. I cannot forgive the return of the king. Having read the books... several times, I know that there were three great moments in this story. The first is Denathor's speach to Gandolf about the Black fleet. The second is when Aowyne slays the lord of the Nazgul, and finally Arogons speech to the dead. I will not even comment on the ending. I expect too much. It would have taken five movies instead of three to make things come out right. I have bought all the extended versions of this movie. The return of the King is not great.... It is simply all that we have.
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on April 11, 2004
Mum taught me to read
The Hobbit Book from the film
Sitting on her lap.
I read the series
Continued all the stories
When I was quite young.
The Lord of the Rings
Was a pleasant memory
Over many years.
Then I heard about
The movies they were making
And dread filled my heart.
I re-read the books
And was surprised to see now
All that I had missed.
The movies came out;
They were not quite as awful
As my heart had feared.
I do not believe
That they can truly capture
That brilliant story.
From this trillogy
With its roots in myth and dream
You get what you bring.
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on April 15, 2004
This thing is about 25 minutes toooo long. The ending just drags on forever. It could have stopped at the wedding scene. There are parts in the middle that need to be cut, they add nothing to the story and seem to be just left in as filler. I saw it twice, didn't really like it 100% the first time and truly disliked it the second time. The CG and other special effects are too obvious, and at times I felt like the story was just meandering all over the place. When you compare it against the first movie it defects just glare at you.
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