The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Review

by Joel B. Kirk (joelkirk AT sbcglobal DOT net)
December 19th, 2003

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
A film review by Joel B. Kirk

As the forces of darkness march to Gondor, Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli ride with those of Rohan to give aid. Simutaneously, Frodo and Sam make way to Mordor with the deformed two-faced Gollum as guide, to destroy the ring.

It is a race against time, as the fate of man rests on the actions of two hobbits.

The title itself may be play on words, as director Peter Jackson is somewhat the current king of cinema (and rightfully so). His trilogy of middle-earth is a work of true genius.

We may unknowingly wear a smug grin while our hearts race in anticipation during various majestic breathtaking scenes; particularly a battle to end all battles involving the elephant-like mumakil, uruk-hai, orcs, trolls, easterlings...and men...(for those into the middle-earth mythology).

And what of the main characters?

*Gollum (Andy Serkis) is more desparate in this picture, becoming a more villainous character (one we love to hate, and can't wait to see get his comeuppance).

*Faramir(David Wenham), knight of Gondor, is still trying to please his hardened father, Lord Denathor(John Noble), the steward of Minas Tirith.

*Samwise Gamgee(Sean Astin), becomes a hero watching over Frodo(Elijah Wood), be it fighting a huge spider named Shelob, or protecting his friend from Orcs and Uruk-hai...and Gollum.

*Gandalf(Ian McKellen) gets to show his commanding and fighting skills in that long awaited battle.

*The lovely Eowyn(Miranda Otto) shows her battle skills along with the two mischievous hobbits, Merry(Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin(Billy Boyd.

*Elrond(Hugo Weaving)returns to make history with Aragorn.

*The trio of Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas(Orlando Bloom), and Gimli(John-Rhys Davies)all have ample time to show their sides of the story, as the end draws near.

*Aragorn, whom was loved both by Eowyn and the elven girl Arwyn(Liv Tyler) when we last left him in THE TWO TOWERS, gets to choose his love.

It ends with a well-thought out credit sequence as we are treated to character sketches as Annie Lennox sings the tune 'Into the West'. (Although, it is not as smooth as Enya's 'May it Be' from FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, or haunting as Emiliana Torrini's 'Gollum Song' from THE TWO TOWERS, but it fits nicely as a closure theme).

THE RETURN OF THE KING is a film that balances special effects, with strong acting, and a tight script.

Howard Shore's theme seems to be more darker, more desparate in keeping with the theme of the film. Whereas the first had a lighter, hobbit-ish theme, the second had a Nordic sound for the Rohan scenes, and a military-like theme for the Helms Deep scenes, this film evokes the desparation to rid middle-earth of the darkness that has plagued it for so long.

As for particular scenes: We wonder what happened to Saruman, only given a hint of what has happened to him between this and the last picture. It is of note that actor Christopher Lee was upset that director Peter Jackson had cut his important scene. Hopefully, we will see it in the extended edition next year.

Is it really the end?

It is said that Peter Jackson wants to go back in time with the 'The Hobbit,' which will reunite him with some of his 'Lord of the Rings' stars.

With a brilliant trilogy behind us, it'll be interesting to see what started it all.

***** out of *****

Peter Jackson

J.R.R. Tolkien (novel)
Fran Walsh (screenplay)
Philippa Boyens (screenplay)
Peter Jackson (screenplay)

Sean Astin-Sam Gamgee
Sean Bean-Boromir
Cate Blanchett-Galadriel
Orlando Bloom-Legolas
Billy Boyd-Pippin
Marton Csokas-Celeborn
Bernard Hill-Theoden
Ian Holm-Bilbo Baggins
Ian McKellen-Gandalf
Sarah McLoed-Rosie Cotton
Dominic Monaghan-Merry
Viggo Mortensen-Aragorn
John Noble-Denethor
Miranda Otto-Eowyn
John Rhys-Davies-Gimli
Andy Serkis-Gollum/Smeagol
Liv Tyler-Arwen
Karl Urban-Eomer
Hugo Weaving-Elrond
David Wenham-Faramir
Elijah Wood-Frodo

201 minutes


2003 by New Line Cinema

EMAIL: [email protected]

Copyright 2003 Joel B. Kirk

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