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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The king returns
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...
Published on Oct. 12 2007 by E. A Solinas

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Scripting/editing not up to previous standards
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...
Published on June 12 2004 by Eric J. Anderson


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The king returns, Oct. 12 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
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
5.0 out of 5 stars The king returns, Aug. 29 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
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
5.0 out of 5 stars King returns, March 4 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still waiting for the extended version!, Aug. 9 2004
By A Customer
I LOVE the Lord of the Rings. I loved the first movie, loved the second, loved the third, but less so than the first two. I also love the extended versions of both the first two films much more so than the theatre versions. Why? They fill in the story which Tolkien wrote so beautifully. This is a very complex book and it just bothers me to see so many things changed. I know it is impossible to have the whole book made into a movie, but the additions in the extended version allow us to see more of the characters and understand them, just like reading the book.
Since I am a real Middle Earth junkie, I have this, but I will be first in line when the extended version (the real story) comes out. Hope it is a good one!
Return of the King is beautiful. I love Middle Earth and would enjoy any movie about Middle Earth I think. However, there are some things which are just such a stretch that it changes the book and I think what Tolkien intended. Will the extended version make things better? I hope so. I think that is why I am a bit dissapointed in this film... there are too many things I was looking forward to seeing which did not happen. I especially want to see more of Eowyn, Eomer and Faramir. The whole point in this is the age of the elves is ending and this its the age of men, so let's see a bit more about them!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extras hit and miss this time, Jan. 9 2005
By 
Ralph Fuhrmann "SF R ME" (Calgary, Alberta) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The extra scenes this time around do not always add to the movie. While as a LOTR's fan I would still recommend getting this set, just don't count on liking it better. I won't pick out specifics, everyone is going to have their favorite grips and cudos here. I would add that it is amazing what got chopped in terms of special effects. Overall, interesting, but not an improvment to the movie like the first two extended editions were.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Remarkable Edition, May 27 2010
By 
atanali "-Atanali-" (Ont. Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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5.0 out of 5 stars The adrenaline-rushing conclusion of the Epic, Jan. 1 2010
By 
Frances L. Arsenault "lover of literature" (Nanaimo, BC, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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5.0 out of 5 stars The journey ends, Jan. 12 2008
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
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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5.0 out of 5 stars The story ends, Dec 11 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
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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5.0 out of 5 stars The king returns, March 19 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
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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