The Lord of the Rings 3: The Return of the King

Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox
Runtime: 201 mins. Reviewed in Dec 2003
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Rating notes: Intense epic battle sequences and frightening images

The Return of the King is the third and final episode of Peter Jackson’s magisterial and highly profitable Lord of the Rings trilogy. If you have seen the first and second installments, I suspect there is little I could write that would influence your decision whether to see this film one way or the other. As such, I will move straight to the point: The Return of the King is wonderful; a cinematic experience worthy of its over-the-top hype.

As real as your neighbors, the Hobbits, Elves, Wizards and Men – oh, and of course, those foul and crusty, Orcs – gloriously battle their way to the end of J.R.R. Tolkien’s tale of good versus evil. The performances of the film’s stars range from competent (McKellen, Tyler) to outstanding (Mortensen, Wood). And yet, the acting is almost beside the point. The real star of the film is the technology Peter Jackson expertly employs to magic Middle Earth into reality. Jackson provides us a breath-taking sprint of more than 3 hour through another world entirely. It hardly matters if we almost all know how the film will end – even if you haven’t read Tolkien’s original texts, it is hardly difficult to predict – because we are thrilled to run with Aragon into battle, to clamber up Mount Doom with Frodo and Samwise Gamgee and to believe, in spite of current events to the contrary, that ours is the time of man.

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