The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The (2003, USA/NZL) C-201m. SCOPE ***½ D: Peter Jackson. Starring Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd, John Rhys-Davies, Dominic Monaghan, Miranda Otto, Bernard Hill, John Noble, Orlando Bloom, Andy Serkis, Karl Urban, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Sean Bean, Ian Holm, Peter Jackson. Truly extraordinary, excellent conclusion of the trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. With the Battle of Helm's Deep over, Aragorn must mobilize all forces to help defend human kingdom of Gondor (ruled by stubborn Noble) against ultimate army of the Dark Lord. Meanwhile, Frodo and Sam have been led into Mordor by Gollum… into their demise? Even more epic, more spectacular, this extravaganza is the highpoint of the saga, featuring some of the most breathtaking battle scenes ever filmed, complemented by Jackson's expert direction and fine performances by all. While the first film was adventurous, the second one exciting, this last part pulls all stops, resulting in a powerful movie experience (even if it takes a while to get going). Best line: 'I am not a man'. Christopher Lee's scenes as Saruman were cut from final print. THE RETURN OF THE KING was filmed before in 1980 (as a sequel to the animated Ralph Bakshi version).


© Ron Altman