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December 19th, 2001 The day that the first installment of the wildly popular Lord Of The Rings Trilogy was delivered to us from New Zealand born director Peter Jackson, The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring. It was also on that day that a jumpstart to a whole new generation of rabid fan boys was unleashed, and a whole new meaning to the word epic was born.
One year soon passed, marking the arrival of the second part of the epic trilogy, The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers. While not as good as FoTR, TTT was a very good installment that introduced us to a whole new world of CGI characters - Gollum. Finally, after another agonizing yearlong wait; The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King arrived, setting the standard on how to properly release (and end) a trilogy.
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 3 years, the whole plot of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy is about a Hobbit named Frodo Baggins who is sent on an agonizing and rough journey to destroy `the one ring' that holds the power to all Middle Earth. After creating a fellowship of the ring, Frodo and the newly found fellowship continue the journey to Mount Doom - the one place where the ring can be destroyed. The fellowship soon gets split up, leaving Sam and Frodo all alone. Both Sam and Frodo then have a run in with Gollum, the former possessor of the ring. After a brief fight, Gollum then reluctantly agrees to help Frodo on his quest. However, during the painstaking journey, Gollum soon becomes entranced by the ring's power once again, secretly turning his back on Frodo. All right, so that was FoTR and TTT. RoTK is where we finally see Frodo destroy the ring (If you did not know this, then I have pity on your poor soul. It's how they get there that matters) and finish his book (Also titled The Lord Of The Rings)
Regarding the Oscars, I'd say RoTK is a shoe-in for Best Picture. Out of the all the other possible nominees, this one is most deserving, as both its technical merit and entertainment value deliver like no other Best Picture nominee I've seen. So now that Best Picture is taken care of, what's left? The stunning direction by Peter Jackson? Of course! The beautiful and poetic score by Howard Shore? Without a doubt. The dazzling New Zealand cinematography? Flawless. Or how about the special effects used to create Gollum and the rest of the movie? Oh heck, every technical aspect of this movie is perfect. I believe Elvis Mitchell from the New York Times summed it up when he said, ' King is the product of impressive craft and energy.'
Remember Helms Deep from The Two Towers? Ha! The battle on Pellenor Fields ups the ante and absolutely CRUSHES Helm's Deep. It is quite possibly the best fight scene I have ever witnessed. Not once did I get bored or want it to end. In short, it's breathtaking. There will most likely be countless studios trying to duplicate and make a better fight scene than this one, but quite frankly, I don't think it will ever be beaten.
See this in theatres, folks. Not even a big screen TV and surround sound system can match this theatrical experience.
Technical details aside, allow me to mention the acting. How I loved the acting here (Well, all but one performance which will be mentioned later) There is not a doubt in my mind that someone here will win an acting award - particularly Sean Astin as Sam, Elijah Wood as Frodo and Ian McKellen as Gandalf. I have not yet had the chance to read the highly acclaimed books, but I'm sure the performances are worthy and ones that would make JRR Tolkien happy if he were alive today.
I also just want to take time and mention a performance that I'm sure is going to get overlooked. Billy Boyd as Pippin. I quite liked the guy here. He added something special to the third installment, with his appearances being high up on my list of favorite moments. His song playing in the background to when the Orcs arrived on land was beautiful.
When it comes to complaints, I have only one, but it is enough to bring down the overall score. That one minor complaint involves the very stupid and pointless role of Arwen. Why Peter Jackson decided to keep her in this movie is beyond me. She added nothing at all. Also, it didn't really bother me, but I know it will for some - and that's the butt numbing runtime of 201 minutes, nearly the length of FoTR's Extended Edition.
In conclusion, I am still undecided as to with LoTR is better. A re-watch on FoTR might be in order, but for now I think I'll give the slight edge to RoTK. Regardless of who gets top spot, it's really hard to believe that the journey of Frodo Baggins is over. A spectacular finale to a wonderful trilogy that is sure to be remembered for years to come. Take that Matrix Revolutions.