Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

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Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett
Director: Peter Jackson

Trilogies are a bit of a gamble. You have classic trilogies such as the original STAR WARS, BACK TO THE FUTURE and INDIANA JONES to name a few. You have other trilogies that stumble at the last hurdle such as THE GODFATHER and THE MATRIX. Then you have THE LORD OF THE RINGS. A lot of people are keeping their fingers crossed in the hope that THE RETURN OF THE KING delivers the same quality experienced in the first two movies. To find out if it does, go straight to the last paragraph of this review as I am now about to, dear reader, reveal some possible plot spoilers.

At the end of THE TWO TOWERS, we left Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) being guided to Mordor by Gollum (Andy Serkis), who was planning to kill the two Hobbits and reclaim the Ring. The movie begins with a look at how Smeagol found the Ring and his subsequent transformation into Gollum. Under the influence of the Ring, Frodo fails to listen to Sam’s warning that Gollum will turn against them. This allows Gollum to turn Frodo against Sam, which he does, leaving Frodo no choice but to tell his former companion to go back to the Shire. With nothing to stop him, Gollum can now put his scheming plan back into action to regain the Ring.

Meanwhile, the other remaining surviving members of the Fellowship reunite at Saruman’s captive Tower of Isengard. Pippin (Billy Boyd) finds Saruman’s palantir, a device that links him to Sauron’s eye. Realising that Sauron mistakenly believes Pippin to be The Ring bearer, Gandalf (Ian McKellen) takes Pippin away to Minis Tirith. Arriving at the White City where Aragorn’s ancestors once ruled, the leadership of Gondor is now run by Stewards of which Denethor (John Noble) is now in charge. Knowing what the future will hold has made Denethor both paranoid and depressed. Believing that there is no hope for humanity, Denethor’s actions or lack of will lead to the fall of Minis Tirith and subsequently Gondor.

At the Rohan capital, Edoras, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom) offer their services to King Theoden (Bernard Hill). Realising that the Battle of Helm’s Deep was only a small victory compared to what will be waiting for them, they receive word that Minis Tirith is about to fall. They proceed to Gondor with an army of only six thousand men. Even though they are willing to fight in battle, Eowyn (Miranda Otto) and Merry (Dominic Monaghan) are told to remain in camp by King Theoden. Convinced that he cannot escape his destiny, Aragorn leaves Theoden’s army for a quest into the Paths Of The Dead in the White Mountain. Accompanied by Gimli and Legolas, Aragorn must convince the countless ghosts loyal to Isildur to aide him in defeating Sauron.

Can Gandalf and Pippin hold off the invading army at Minis Tirith? What can King Theoden do to help them? Will Aragorn be able to prove to the ghosts that he is the heir to Isildur? What will become of Frodo if Gollum is successful in getting his hands on The Ring? Is there anybody that can help the two Hobbits in destroying The Ring?

For a movie that weighs in at 3 hours and 20 minutes, the time passes by quickly. That is a sign of a great movie, a great story and a great time to be had by all. The emotional ride as we follow the various storyline threads, cheering our heroes on as they battle against overwhelming odds is enough to leave the moviegoer drained. For anyone who has bought the 4 DVD disc version of the first two movies will understand and appreciate the amount of work that has gone into the trilogy. For now, the CGI-aided battle scenes featured will not be bettered for some time to come. As for Peter Jackson, it will be a travesty if he does not get a Best Director nod at the Academy Awards. So, that’s it folks, we have come to the end of THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. Was it worth it? Every single frame was worth it. Is it the best trilogy? I think you know my answer to that.

6 out of 6 stars