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The final confrontation between the forces of good and evil fighting for control of the future of Middle-earth. Frodo and Sam reach Mordor in their quest to destroy the One Ring, while Aragorn leads the forces of good against Sauron's evil army at the stone city of Minas Tirith.Written by
Orlando Bloom's big heroic scene atop the Mûmak was shot in just one day. Bloom was filmed on top of a pile of sandbags. See more »
During the Black Gates scene, Gimli's body double is seen in a frontal shot that last at least one and a half seconds. See more »
Smeagol, I've got one! I've got a fish, Smeag. Smeagol!
Pull it in. Go on. Go on. Go on. Pull it in.
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Just like the two previous "Lord of the Rings" movies, there are no opening credits after the title has been shown. See more »
In December 2004, an extended edition of the movie was released on DVD, containing 50 minutes of new footage. It a complete re-cut of the movie and so almost every scene contains small changes in pacing, music, framing, etc. Some use slightly altered takes. Major changes are listed below (spoiler warning):
a) Some extra dialog in Merry and Pippin's first scene at Isengard, making them seem a little "stoned" from the pipe-weed.
b) A final confrontation between Gandalf and Saruman has been restored, including the final fates of Saruman and Grima Wormtongue and a slightly different acquisition of the Palantir.
c) The celebration at Edoras has a few extra little snippets, most notably a drinking game between Legolas and Gimli.
d) Right before Pippin takes the Palantir, Aragorn enters the Great Hall and has a conversation with Eowyn about a dream she had.
e) Extra dialog from Merry when Gandalf and Pippin leave.
f) An extra line of dialog when Pippin meets Denethor.
g) After Gandalf storms out of the White Tower, he has a long monologue explaining the history of Gondor to Pippin.
h) A new scene with Frodo, Sam and Gollum centered on the discovery of a ruined and defaced statue at the crossroads.
i) When Pippin and Gandalf are talking on the balcony, an alternate take is used in which Gandalf chokes on the smoke from his pipe.
j) After Frodo and Sam begin climbing the stairs, Sam warns and threatens Gollum not to betray them.
k) Additional footage when the Orcs cross the river showing they take the Gondorians by surprise.
l) More dialog from Faramir and more violence as well.
m) A scene in which Merry asks to serve Theoden and Gimli and Legolas wonder what is happening in Gimli's home.
n) After Faramir arrives in Gondor, there is a scene where Denethor confronts him for not taking the Ring, which includes an appearance by Boromir.
o) An additional scene between Pippin and Faramir before the former swears fealty to Denethor.
p) Additional dialog when Faramir is riding out of Gondor.
q) Additional lines from Eomer after he tells Eowyn not to encourage Merry.
r) An additional line of dialog when Aragorn says farewell to Eowyn.
s) More dialog from Legolas when he explains the Paths of the Dead. The Paths of the Dead sequence is heavily revised, including the appearance of thousands of skulls, wispy ghosts, an earthquake and Aragorn's emergence from the mountain.
t) We see Gothmog dismounting a warg as the siege of Gondor begins; additional action during the siege of Gondor, including the Orcs using a small battering ram on the gates and cheering on the approach of the huge battering ram, Grond.
u) A new scene in which Aragorn attacks the Corsair ships, which includes a cameo by Peter Jackson (he's the one killed by Legolas).
v) A scouting report is brought to Theoden on his way to Gondor; a conversation between Merry and Eowyn.
w) More footage as Denethor takes Faramir to be cremated alive.
x) As Gandalf is riding to rescue Faramir, he is attacked by the Witch King.
y) The charge of the Rohirrim is moved to after this scene.
z) Another line of dialog before Denethor lights his pyre.
aa) More action during the battle of the Pelennor, including a fight between Gothmog and Eowyn.
bb) After Eowyn kills the Witch King, Gothmog tries to finish her off.
cc) Pippin's search for Merry is much longer and he finds him at night.
dd) Eomer finds Eowyn on the field and mourns when he thinks she is dead. A restored healing sequence between Aragorn and Eowyn.
ee) A much longer fight among the Orcs in the tower of Cirith Ungol.
ff) After Sam rescues Frodo, we see a surviving Orc sneaking off with the Mithril shirt.
gg) Aragorn finds a Palantir in the White Tower and uses it to reveal himself to Sauron.
hh) Faramir and Eowyn meet in Minas Tirith after Aragorn leaves.
ii) Frodo and Sam, wearing a disguise of orc armor, are found and forced to march with a detachment of Orcs while trying to reach Mount Doom.
jj) Near Mt. Doom, Frodo and Sam throw away the last of their gear.
kk) While resting, Sam sees a star through the clouds.
ll) At the Black Gate, the Aragorn, Gandalf, Legolas, Gimli, Pippin, Merry, and Eomer are first confronted by the Mouth of Sauron. (This also induces a goof as his body & horse have disappeared when they retreat from the gate.)
mm) More dialog when Gollum (acting as Smeagol) attacks Frodo on Mt. Doom.
Feeling weary and battle-worn, I have just staggered out of the cinema after three and a half hours of special effects creatures fighting other special effects creatures. I had taken refreshments but barely touched them - probably because the film I had watched is one of the most mesmerising, evocative, inspiring, and awesome I have witnessed of any big adventure epic. Not to mention superb ensemble acting, moods that shift effortlessly between mediaeval battles of colossal proportions and convincing bloodshed, beauty and wonderment, fantastic natural and artificial landscapes and cityscapes, touches of humour, well-paced dramatic tension, and human bonding that is moving enough to just let you dry your eyes as the unassuming credits flash by.
Return of the King is the greatest of the Tolkien trilogy by New Zealand director Peter Jackson. Although I've seen the other two and read the book, I felt it would also stand alone well enough for people who hadn't done either.
The storytelling is much more professional that the first one - which maybe laboured to introduce so much information - or the second one - which has little let up from the tension of long battle scenes. In Return of the King, there is an emotional sting at the start, as we watch the transformation of Gollum from warm, fun-loving guy to murderous, mutated wretch. The movie then moves deftly between different segments of the story - the sadness of the lovely soft-focus Liv Tyler as fated Arwen whose travails and woman's love succeeds in having the Sword that was Broken mended, the comradeship of Sam and Frodo (Sean Astin & Elijah Wood) that is tested to the limits, the strong commanding presence of Gandalf (Ian McKellen) who keeps an eye on things whilst turning in an Oscar-worthy performance, the ingenious and very varied battle scenes, and the mythical cities of that rise out of the screen and provide key plot elements.
This is a fairy story of human endeavour, the defeating of power cliques and the triumph of the human spirit that could almost be compared to Wagner's Gotterdammerung. It is a fairy story without any sugary sweetness, a fairy story the likes of which hasn't been told so well before, and is even unlikely to be done so well in the future. The haunting scream of the Nasgul stays with you, the physical attractions are not airbrushed, and the battles are about as far from pantomime characters waving wooden swords as you can get. The ingenious monsters keep you on the edge of your seat. The whole narrative maintains the spirit (if not archival, detailed accuracy) of the original and makes you want to read the book (or read the book again!)
The worst I can say about it is that it is maybe a tad long - but not that you'd notice . . .
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