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

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10/10
15 years on... Still the greatest
jamiedphilips23 December 2015
I've just re-watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy for the 1000th time tonight... nearly 15 years since the Fellowship of the Rings was released... I still haven't seen a movie that's better, nor close, to any of these three films. The casting is perfection as well as the incredible acting by everyone in the movie. I can still watch these movies back to back and not get bored. They are a light to this world and wouldn't be the same without them.

I miss the good old LOTR's days. The best movies ever created. The Return of the King was the best way to end a thrilling journey through middle earth!
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10/10
A Timeless Classic
venividiamavi-v7 August 2019
This movie, and trilogy in general, is a cinematic (and literary) masterpiece, and simply refuses to get old. I love this movie so much it's become a tradition to watch the Lord of the Rings series at least once a year! It's just as good as Christmas
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10/10
This movie has marked my childhood!
athgeo21 January 2019
It is the best movie I can remember I've watched while I was a kid!
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10/10
They saved the best for last
Derek23716 March 2005
Obviously, I'm aware of the fact that the Lord of the Rings trilogy is actually one giant movie, but since it was released in parts, that's how I'm judging them. The Return Of The King is the final chapter, and since it is the climax and resolution of the epic journey, it has a little more intensity and urgency than the previous installments.

At this point everyone has come to know and love all of the characters, and the stakes have become tremendously high. Kingdoms are at their knees, and the only two characters who can save the day are getting weaker and weaker. The tension was very high in this episode and I can honestly say that out of all 3 this was the only one that had me on the edge of my seat. There were many memorable scenes (one of my favourites including the part with the giant spider)that made this the classic that it is sure to stay for decades to come.

This is the longest of the series, mostly because of the ending that seems to last a while. This was a good ending, and I can see why Frodo did what he did. He, and us the audience, have gone through an incredible ordeal and I think we needed that 20 minute linger. When the battle is over, and the celebrations have ended, there is a sad emptiness felt. The films spanned over 3 years, there have been the extended cuts of course, but after that, it's all over. Peter Jackson gave us an ending that was both appropriate and admirable.

These were some amazing movies and this one in particular is the best, in my opinion. As whole, the Lord Of The Rings is a phenomenon. An absolute phenomenon. Much more than just movies. They have a universal appeal and have touched the hearts and imaginations of millions. I'm one of them.

Sorry if I'm being all fanboyish and kissing this movie's ass, but I really admire it. It may not be among my personal favourites but generally this seems to be the movie event of the century. There will never be another Lord of the Rings film, and that's a bit depressing.

My rating: 10/10
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10/10
The best trilogy in the history of cinema
auuwws28 September 2020
Best movie in the trilogy and sealed in the best possible way
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Not only the best of the "Lord of the Rings" series, but sets a new standard of epic filmmaking.
danlongino16 December 2003
Saying that this film starts where `Two Towers' left off is somewhat misleading, for the film starts a great distance from the walls of Helm's Deep. `Return of the King' opens with a flashback of Smeagol (Andy Serkis) obtaining the one ring of power and an origin of his deterioration into the creature Gollum. This opening recaptures an emphasis that was somewhat lost within the epic battles of `Two Towers,' at that's the ring. The first installment, `The Fellowship of the Ring,' provided heaps of exposition on the ring's importance and influence, and in `Return of the King,' we see it pay off, big time.

After the armies of Isengard have been defeated due to an allegiance between Theoden (Bernard Hill), the king of Rohan, and the elves, the main threat to middle earth is now concentrated in the kingdom of Mordor, controlled by the dark lord Sauron. Sauron has turned his eye towards the realm of Gondor, the last free kingdom of men, and the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) must warn Denethor (John Noble), Steward of Gondor of the impending attack, while Aragorn (Viggo Mortenson), heir to the throne of Gondor, and Theoden gather men to aid against the armies of Mordor. The dark lord Sauron needs only to regain the one ring of power to conquer all of middle earth, and two hobbits, Frodo (Elijah Wood) the ring-bearer and Sam (Sean Astin), must continue their journey, directed by Gollum, to Mount Doom, the only place where the ring can be destroyed. Got all that? If not, you need to bone up on your `Lord of the Rings' before expecting to follow this film.

Since all three epics were filmed simultaneously, each individually has the feel of being part of a larger picture - except for this one. `The Return of the King' is just too big, the most epic of a set of epic films. Now that director Peter Jackson has brilliantly constructed the characters and plotlines throughout the first two films, he puts them to use.

All of the characters have their best moments within this film. The pair of mischievous hobbits, Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd), are no longer the tree ornaments they were from `Two Towers,' but are split-up, and take their characters in completely new directions. Aragorn, played with an unmatched sense of honor by Viggo Mortenson, is about to meet his destiny as the future king of all men, while Andy Serkis continues his expert portrayal of Gollum (Serkis' provided not only the voice of Gollum, but also assisted during production by acting out the scenes of the computer-generated character with his fellow actors).

However, the real acting triumph of the film is Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins. He continues his descent into corruption with an incredible talent that many could not pull off. Wood's performance is so critical to the film because it determines the ring's power to corrupt, which, needless to say, is absolute.

The first two films established Jackson as an incredible visionary, shooting vast landscapes from his native New Zealand. With `Return of the King,' Jackson really gets a chance to show off. With, hands down, the most beautiful visuals of the trilogy, Jackson makes `Return of the King' a gorgeous feast for the eyes, while never resorting to McG level over-the-topness. Jackson stays very grounded in his characters, not letting the effects tell the story, but only assist the wonderful dialogue and characters. Think of `Return' as a mix of `Fellowship' and `Two Towers,' with enough action and character development worthy of ending a film event of this magnitude.

The bottom line, fans of the films will not be disappointed. Hardcore Tolkien lovers might be upset by plot changes and interpretations made by Jackson and the other writers, however, it is unrealistic to expect a completely true adaptation of the novels, being that film is an entirely different medium. Despite the alterations, Jackson consistently stays true to the major themes and ideas from the original text, while adding some of the finest filmmaking ever put to screen. `The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King' is one of the most finely tuned and cinematically perfect films ever made. Not only the best of the trilogy, but a crowning achievement in epic filmmaking.
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10/10
All Good Things come to an End!
OttoVonB22 November 2006
All the threads of Tolkien's magnum opus come together in the most elegant of fashions in the final part of Peter Jackson's adaptation. Humanity makes a last stand at Minas Tirith, the Hobbits travel through Mordor, our heroes try to by time for Frodo to complete his mission and the Evil Sauron gets tired of the whole game and lashes out with all his might and fury.

"Return of the King" is 4 hours of payoff, a third act in a gigantic epic rather than a mere film of its own. As such it is intensely dramatic and dynamic and you can very much sense that though peter Jackson spared no effort on the previous episodes, this is clearly his favorite. the film floats by at a thunderous pace, taking us through unforgettable moments such as the battle of Minas Tirith itself, a marvel of seamless animation and epic film-making, it demands to be seen, as it has too many jaw-dropping moments to choose from. The quieter character moments keep gaining in potency and the full weight of the stakes and their heartbreaking consequences is never in doubt.

The cast of these films have played their parts to perfection and again Jackson deserves overall credit for choosing actors that so perfectly match Tlolkien's creations: Ian McKellen and Christopher Lee are their own usually excellent selves, and the hobbits remain endearing, but of all the uniformly great cast, the true standouts are Viggo Mortensen and David Wenham as the tragic Faramir, whose relationship with his brutish father is the most traumatic of the film. Jackson pushes them even further by having them sing at a few key moments (a practice employed to powerful effect by Tolkien in the books), a daring undertaking that works wonders. And though he may offer one ending too many, he does have the decency to show off each surviving character with the appropriate screen time and respect.

Now that the trilogy is complete, it can be viewed as one big film, as it should be. After 8 years, Jackson has done the impossible: he has taken Tolkien's huge legend and made films that stand on their own and have revolutionized film-making, setting the new benchmark for cinematic epics. Changes have been made to Tolkien's source novels, but they make for better, more fluid films, more faithful in spirit to Tolkien's myth than anyone had the right to hope for.

A masterpiece, whether as part of a bigger whole or on its own. Well deserving of all the high praise thrown at it, and then some...
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10/10
Great
MR_Heraclius15 February 2020
Wonderful on every level. Love the characters and special effects. One of the biggest, most massive battle scenes ever put on the silver screen. A great end to a monumental epic.
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10/10
A Brilliant Conclusion
eiratan17 December 2003
As a movie watcher, I tend to become bored with the constant, overdone, overdrawn, underplayed, overdramatized performance and production quality of most Hollywood films. It's a trait that in recent years has sadly driven me away from most big budget American films. A decent idea will become mangled by the money making machine that is Hollywood, hoping to pump the most raw cash they can out of it before it drops dead in the street.

We all saw the catastophre of a failure that arose from the Matrix Franchise. Such immense hype and professed genius only made the failure all the more poignant for those of us that really wanted and expected more from the franchise.

That all being said, I must say that The Lord of the Rings is an amazingly powerful visual experience. Not even just a visual experience. Peter Jackson has crafted one of the finest written pieces of our era into THE quintessential epic. He supplements the brilliant storytelling of JRR Tolkien with one of the most awe-inspiring collection of films ever created.

The 7 hours of film that leads up to the Return of the King is only precursor though, when you sit and watch this film. It's just plain brilliance. Everything about the film is wonderful. The manner in which Jackson has arranged the scenes, detracting slightly from the original flow of the novel really helps to keep the suspense strong in all three story branches. The Tolkien humor is intact perfectly and the gallantry and just plain coolness of these heroes is plain amazing. (Check out Legolas in the BIG battle) It's all just too much for words.

If one were to gripe, and I suppose there will never be a film made that one cannot find a point at which to grip, it is painfully long running time here. I personally believe that this is the only way such a film could be made, true to the source material and completely engrossing, but I found myself more worried about the pain in my posterior than the emotional final minutes after 4 hours (including ads and previews) that I had spent in a cramped seat. As such, this will be all the better (at least for me) when it's release on DVD (can't wait for the extended...get to see the Sauroman scenes that they cut out).

As a film though, this is amazing. A true lasting legacy in story telling and now cinema. Bravo Mr. Jackson.
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10/10
Nothing better
diffguy2 November 2020
The greatest tragedy of the human race is that they will never make a better movie than Return of the King.
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10/10
Part 3: It's Not Really the Thought that Counts
mstomaso30 November 2007
Just as Peter Jackson felt that LOTR had to be made as one large, three-part, cinematic piece, I decided to write my IMDb review of all three movies as a single, multi-part essay. Click on my screen-name and hit "Chronological" to view my reviews of the Fellowship and Two Towers. I make no guarantees about the quality and consistence of my review, but I do guarantee that these three films offer very high and very consistent quality from beginning to end. The acting, cinematography, art, and direction simply can not be beat.

Which of the three movies is my favorite varies with my mood – and the same holds true for Tolkien's books. When I am immersed in the story, ROTK is my favorite. When I simply want to have fun with the whole experience, I love Fellowship. And when I want something intense, evocative and thoughtful, I go for the Two Towers.

Frodo, Sam and Golem are on their way to Mount Doom and their bodies, nerves, and relationships have borne the greatest burden on middle earth. The rest of the fellowship is rallying to the defense of Minas Tirith, and preparing for even more deadly battles to come.

The heroism and romance are incredibly moving - when was the last time you saw an entire audience leaving a theater after a fantasy movie rubbing their eyes? The sets are breathtaking - even moreso than in the previous two films.

The casting and acting are superb.

The film delivers at every level and is the jewel in the trilogy's well-earned crown.

Return of the King offers a resolution of all of the major story arcs in LOTR. As with the classic Tolkien trilogy, however, you may be able to predict some of what will occur, but never all of it and you'll never guess how you will get there. The same fatalistic and paradoxically unpredictable feeling of Tolkien's grand plots is present throughout ROTK especially. The major theme in ROTK, however, is the varied ways and means of heroism – both intentional and unintended, and Tolkien's examination of sacrifice and heroism is as inspiring as it is subtle. Amazingly, it all comes through in the films.

Even more than the previous two films, Jackson and his writers took liberties with the story-line. Like the others, however, this serves the film better than simple adaptation from one medium to another. By reordering some of the chronology and adding scenes and plot devices which are consistent with Tolkien's world and characterizations, the film-makers actually do a better job of preserving the concepts and themes of the story than they could have with a pure adaptation. The lengthy epilogue in Tolkien's book is greatly reduced, reordered, and somewhat changed in order to work in the film. Some parts actually appear very early in ROTK. And some aspects of Tolkien's epilogue are disclosed in the Two Towers, though not directly depicted. But all of the really important components of the epilogue are, at least strongly implied if not well illustrated in ROTK.
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9/10
A monumental film
Chris_Docker17 December 2003
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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10/10
Brilliant. Simply brilliant
kevin_crighton1 September 2005
Where to start with this masterpiece? Quite simply one of the greatest movies ever made. A fitting end to a stunning trilogy. The acting as it has been is brilliant again. Special mention must go to Sean Austin, for his performance as Sam. In this one he gets his big moment in the trilogy, and he nails it perfectly. His scenes with Elijah Wood (Frodo) on Mount Doom, as Frodo weakens are full of emotion and very powerful. As for the rest of the movie? It has one of the greatest scenes EVER in a movie : the riders of Rohan charging into battle outside Minas Tirith. You simply cannot tell where the real riders end, and the CGI begins. The battles again are well done, and not simply a repeat of the siege at Helms Deep in The Two Towers.

As I said, the acting is again first rate from the entire cast. And it was nice to see Andy Serkis getting his face on screen as Smeagol, before his transformation into Gollum.

By the end of the movie, there were more than a few tears as the boat left the Grey Havens, as the movie ended on a quiet emotional note, after the epic battles before.

I could happily have sat through this again and again. Well done to everyone, both in front and behind the cameras for such a brilliant work, but of course special mention has to go to Peter Jackson. He deserves every award he's received for this.

One last point. If you only seen the theatrical release, then go get the extended version of this film. It's even better!!
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10/10
Five out of five decapitated orcs
eviltimmy20 December 2003
This is the final movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and certainly doesn't disappoint like some other trilogies *coughMatrixcough*. The three films had their principal shooting all done at the same time, which lowers their overall costs and keeps a good sense of continuity for the films.

The special effects, first of all, are excellent. While there's a few little things (a reversed shot with smoke flowing back into chimneys and occasional lighting that's a bit off), by and large they're excellent. The most impressive thing about them is the sheer scale. This isn't a small or simple scene; it often includes thousands of digital characters combined with filmed actors and action, sweeping landscapes, and dozens of things happening at once. This is a good reason to see it in theatres; even on DVD, there's little details that you can only catch when it's on a massive screen.

The filming is good, although there are a few evidences of digital smoothing and cutting that can nag at the mind and eyes of a picky movie-goer. There are a few interesting shots, but most are fairly plain and straight on, getting the point across without being dazzling. New Zealand's landscapes provide a great backdrop for everything going on, and there really are some beautiful places, especially up in the mountains. I hear land prices are quite good, what with the orcs warring and everything, so you may want to look into real estate purchases now.

Sound has been said to make 75% of the emotional impact of any production. This is a loud 75%. All the sound effects are very well pulled off, sound appropriate, and are generally loud. The Nazgul screeching was bordering on painful, but in a good way. Most everything has a distinct sound, and it's rare that anything feels out of place. In some of the battles, the roof of the theatre was shaking. The soundtrack fits the movie well, and Howard Shore has done an excellent job, as with the last two films in the series.

Performances all around were good, but Sean Astin as Sam and Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn really dominated the film. They performed their roles perfectly, and came away giving a good picture of the characters. Elijah Wood seemed to be stuck with the same terrified expression on his face through most of the movie, almost Max Payne-style, and it grew old quickly. Ian McKellen, the ever-wise white wizard, had a fair bit of dialogue which he delivered well; my only complaint is he had too much in the way of wistful sayings leading to scene changes. Orlando Bloom, favorite of young teenage girls everywhere, had a few more action sequences (which got cheers from the aforementioned girls) which were quite well pulled off, but his acting wasn't much tested by this film. John Rhys-Davies continued with Gimli's joking performance; he's really too amusing to take seriously, but does a good job at it.

For the old Tolkien fans, this movie stays quite close to the book, although they did have to omit some portions, most notably the taking and retaking of the Shire and the time spent in the Halls of Healing in Minas Tirith. Hopefully some of this will show up in the Extended Edition on DVD. Shelob's attack was left until this film, and much of the time spent in Mordor was shortened for the sake of pacing, and it was a good decision.

My favorite scene would have to be the battle at Minas Tirith. The incredible scope of the battle, with the special effects, sounds, and many close-ups of pieces of the action, make for an exciting scene. The visual effects especially are stunning; the 'oliphaunts' play a big part in the action, and they're entirely created by computer. There's also some wide shots with tens of thousands of digital characters marching on the field of battle, and even the individual actions have the masses warring as a backdrop. It's worth your movie-going dollar simply to watch this on a large screen. It was also intermingled with some smaller events inside Minas Tirith, so it's not pure battle for the whole of the scene, and it keeps it from being dreary or heavy-handed.

Overall, this is a movie well worth watching, and even paying to see in a theatre. I'd recommend against bringing small children, as there are some scary images, and they'd also be a distraction during the final movie in what will probably remain the series of the decade. Not a particularly great date movie, either...this is a real, bring-your-friends big movie. Five out of five decapitated orcs (and trust me, there were a lot more than that).
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My objective and unhyped view? Stunning. Simply stunning.
bob the moo25 December 2003
Frodo and Sam continue their quest to destroy the ring, led by the untrustworthy Gollum. Meanwhile the rest of the Fellowship prepare for another battle to hold a human city against an onslaught of orcs.

If you check my other reviews you will note that I wasn't a massive fan of the first two films - I loved them, but was not blind to their faults. However, let me just lay my cards out here, I was totally blown away by this film. For the vast majority (and more of that later) the narrative flowed really well where the other two films had struggled to really keep consistent. Here the various strands work well together and, while characters have only brief times to tell stories, on the whole it manages it well. I got the feeling that the film really let rip - it knew this was the ending and it did feel that everything came together in a collection of noise and energy which really made it feel like the final part of a trilogy rather than just a stand alone film.

The one area where the film really stutters (and actually caused people to leave the cinema in annoying numbers) is ironically the place where Jackson is true to the book, and that's the final 20 minutes. There is a clear scene where the film ends, however it then runs for another 20 minutes - which is a mix of scenes that all fade out like they were the end. To Joe Public (ie me!) I would have been happy not to have all the loose ends tied up in the way the book does it - the film should have ended on a high (with the King being crowned etc) but instead it seems to crawl to an end in a way that is not in line with the momentum of the film (if not the whole trilogy!) This problem is minor on the grand scheme of things, but I would rather have left the cinema on my high than be made to wonder `when's this ending? Is this the end now? Oh, maybe this is it now?' - but I do understand why it was done this way.

The cast, as they have been all the way, are excellent. Wood's Frodo changes well during this film while Astin is touching in his portrayal of unerring friendship. Bloom and Rhys-Davis had less to do but came into their own during the battle scenes - adding both action and the odd comic touch (`that still counts as one' being accepted by the audience as a chance to break the tension). Mortensen is the title character and serves it well, with McKellen also continuing his strong role. I could list through the whole cast but I will stick with noting two things. Firstly, both Monaghan and Boyd had bigger and more meaningful roles and rose to them well. Secondly I continue with my belief from the second film that Serkis is the stand out actor of the trilogy. His Gollum is so much more than an effect - he is tragic, fearsome, hateful and funny. Praise of course goes to the special effects for making this character tell so much with an expression but to pretend that the work of the actor is secondary to the character (as opposed the look) is foolish. He deserved one for Two Towers so I hope an Oscar goes his way. It was a shame to not have screen time for Lee but the film works well without him and it was a brave move by the editors.

The special effects do not stand out - and that's a compliment. Even in state of the art movies of late I have been aware that I could be watching a video game. Here I only occasionally noticed that things were clear computer effects, even though the majority of the film was! This is how they SHOULD be used - not as a draw in their own right but as part of the film. Whether it be the massive battle scenes that are spectacular or the animated spider or just the fact that I forget that Gollum is only an effect, I cannot fault it's use of effects or the sheer visual feast that is this film.

I have tried not to gush because there will be plenty of others to do that without me joining them, but it is hard to really fault this film. It is the strongest of the trilogy and brings it all together really well, it is an emotional event more than a film and, if Jackson needs 20 minutes of slow closure to finish it to his satisfaction then I can give him that in return for all the hours of wonderful cinema that he has given me.
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10/10
Meh it was alright
alexng-3758017 October 2019
Sike this is the movie to rule them all. T Here is nothing much to say other than go watch this masterpiece of a movie. An end to the best trilogy there ever was and probably will be. All the Oscars are well deserved and you will see why when you watch this film
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10/10
Pretty much outstanding
TheLittleSongbird9 March 2011
I admit it, I love all three Lord of the Rings films. People may say Return of the King is the best of the trilogy, some may say it is the worst. I personally think Two Towers is the best for its scope and better exploration of some of the characters, but while it is still great Return of the King is better than Fellowship of the Ring.

My only slight disappointment is the ending, it does feel overlong and bloated for me, almost as if there was more than one ending filmed. That said, what does make the ending at least watchable for me is the way it is shot, the marvellous score and the performance of Gollum.

Despite this minor discrepancy, Return of the King is extremely good and in my view one of the better Best Picture winners last decade. Peter Jackson's direction is very impressive here, and the scope is massive and just dazzling to watch. All three films of the trilogy are very well made, but Return of the King defines the term epic. The cinematography is mind-blowing, the scenery is superb, the costumes and make-up are well tailored, the effects are superb and don't distract too much and the lighting is authentic.

The score is phenomenal. Fellowship of the Ring had some ethereal, rousing, haunting and charming themes, whereas Two Towers was somewhat darker and more complex. Return of the King merges these together and the result is a perfect mixture of charm, darkness, etherality and complexity. The story is compelling with themes of friendship, strength and loyalty, the screenplay is well-written and literate and while the film is very long the three hours or so fly by seamlessly. The characters are engaging, Aragorn is even more interesting here than he is in the previous films while Gollum continues to steal every scene he appears in.

The acting is very good. Orlando Bloom(who I can find dashing yet uncharismatic and bland) and John Rhys-Davies are given less to do but do carry their parts very well, and Elijah Wood is likable enough. Sean Astin captures Sam perfectly and provides the heart of the picture, and Viggo Mortenssen is at his charismatic best here. Ian McKellen is perfectly cast, while the design of Gollum is still superb and Andy Serkis is equally phenomenal. I was slightly disappointed by the lack of any Sarauman, but I was more than I was satisfied with the final result.

All in all, an outstanding entry to a great trilogy. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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10/10
Quite Literally the Greatest Trilogy Ever Made
jrugg1911 March 2021
I'm not sure what could be said about LOTR that hasn't already been said, other than that I personally think it's best trilogy ever put to screen, and I really can't think of anything close. Peter Jackson took on the most demanding project imaginable and created a series that will be remembered forever. He respected Tolkien's literature and stuck so incredibly close to the source material and translated it so effortlessly in such grand fashion. I highly recommend the extended editions, as they devote more time to building Middle Earth and developing their incredible characters ever further. 20 years later and the series still looks incredible, especially in 4K. What Jackson did here could never be replicated; he created the best trilogy ever made.
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10/10
The problem with imagination
OboeSaxIII22 January 2005
Overall, I am disappointed, though not surprised, by the negative criticism of this movie. Indeed, this criticism exceeds the offering of alternative viewpoints and the expression of other cinematic possibilities and sinks into the realm of bitter invective. So many armchair critics are currently competing with avid Tolkien, Jackson, and movie fans alike in order to espouse the "true" value of Peter Jackson's landmark movie trilogy. For it is a landmark event in cinema history based on its sheer size and careful attention, praise and evisceration apart. The issue that greatly irritates me and pushes me to write is that many of the negative reviewers on this website have such limited room in their imagination that they cannot conceive of a world outside their own narrow framework. I find that a most sad reality in light of the legacy of Tolkien, Jackson, and all good story-tellers -- to create, to engender, and to nourish the growth of any and all imaginative ventures.

The problem with imagination is that it is an individual event, a unique subjective experience that a single person experiences completely alone. Those who enter into the realm of Art, Fiction, Fantasy, and any degree of Story-telling agree (willingly or no) to take that personal act of creation and primal nature and share it with the community of human beings, each of whom has his or her own imaginative context. It is a bold act of sacrifice, self-confidence, and faith (spiritual, one could argue) to thrust the contents of one's subjective reality into (to borrow from Douglas Adams) the Whole Sort of General Mish Mash. People who do so deserve respect for the mere creative act, the ability to foist forward what they believe is true. From Homer to Bill O'Reilly, this concept of personal creation, what Tolkien called Sub-Creation, is the essence of modern human existence, and we owe it to each other to respect the right to creation history has granted us.

Therefore, in defense of both Tolkien (whom some on this website have maligned) and Jackson (whom many have maligned), I forward that both are imaginative creators in their own right, with different and completely acceptable offerings to the world. Those who cannot tolerate either for "mediocre writing" or "atrocious film-making" should offer forth their literary or cinematic offspring instead of cunningly-worded diatribes of their deep dissatisfaction with all that does not conform to their inner reality. Then, we few who believe in and trust the creative ability of all will be able to see how those critical inner realities (so authoritative in exposition) match up with the rest of our perceptions.

Tolkien was an enormously talented, intelligent, and imaginative man, one whose stories, though unpolished by experience, still managed to attract a worldwide audience and devoted following with their luster. Jackson's movies took the sheen and inherent value of Tolkien's stories and placed it in a visual medium, a place where fans of LOTR could witness and love the events and people they held so dear. Of course Tolkien's story is imperfect; of course Jackson's movies aren't as full as we wish them to be. Their great successes are that they still manage to capture our imagination, to move us, to take genuine truth and isolate it in a world outside our ken, a place where we see ourselves better against a foreign backdrop. Both have created and done so masterfully, with the intuitive grasp that is termed "genius." Tolkien would have had much at issue with Jackson's movies, where plot incongruities, lapsed character development, and visual splendor overshadow the philological and melancholic overtones of his book. Jackson admits he finds much at issue with Tolkien's book, including a lack of clear character motivation, extended and largely extraneous dialog, and heightened language not suited for Hollywood. But Tolkien, despite his perfectionist griping and loathing for any film version of his book, would respect Jackson for continuing the act of creation, for taking his modern-day mythology and spreading it to as many people as possible. Jackson has taken the beauty, the scope, the complexity, the richness, and the loss that permeate Middle-Earth and shared those leitmotifs with the world. Tolkien's characteristic "niggling" would have prevented any such attempt (even Jackson's), but in the end, his heritage lives on in beautifully conceived and executed films.

I do not ask others to stifle their opinions of this movie or any other. Indeed, continue to express the direst and bleakest of your frustrations with the creative power of others, as it may lead you to actually do some creation yourself. Remember though, that the great evils of history, from Satan to Hitler to Sauron, are never capable of creation -- only twisting, mutilating, mocking, deforming, and misapplying. Be open to the vision of others and what they have to offer, especially when that offering comes in the virtuosic shape of Tolkien's writing or Jackon's movies. Look for the True in the Secondary and how it manifests itself everywhere once you recognize it.

This movie receives a 10 from me because it not only maintains incredible faithfulness to Tolkien's themes (and yes, events may deviate in completely separate and dissimilar media) but it asks intelligent viewers to look deeper into the circumstances of its own creation and beauty. From the loyalty of Sam and the weight of epic history to the sacrifice of Arwen and the never-completely-won nature of war, Jackson's movies capture the essence and heart of Tolkien's tale, with the benefit of the director's own imaginative fruit as well. The world owes Mr. Jackson its gratitude, as he has created another world and another reality that so many can, do, and will cherish.

One final word: There are few who would not rather be wandering in a far green country rather than dwelling in their own Circles of the World.
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10/10
Absolutely Awesome!
TomLong05072 May 2016
It's difficult to process something like The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King: Its very nature defies comparison.

There has never been a cinematic endeavour based on a more daunting...or more beloved...literary work. There have never been motion pictures of the magnitude undertaken by co-writer/director Peter Jackson and his production team. The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy will endure forever as one of the most bold and audacious enterprises in the history of cinema. It is, quite simply, a seminal event. Other projects (for example, a movie filmed in space) are already being considered and may someday be attempted. They may challenge LOTR's logistical complexities (or, at the very least, present a comparable set of obstacles), but it is unlikely the numbers of people involved or the sheer duration of the creative process will ever equal this effort.

Jackson & Company have made believers out of millions of readers who doubted the works would ever enjoy respectable translation into a more "mainstream" media. They have changed the way production models are approached for large-scale projects. They have forged what may well be the premiere visual effects house in the business (WETA Digital). They have raised the bar for all filmmakers to follow, and reminded millions of jaded moviegoers of one simple truth: Love, attention, and genuine dedication to (and appreciation of) one's material can overcome inconceivable obstacles, and always...always shows on-screen.

And now it's over.

With the longest running time of any film in the cycle (early indications suggest next year's extended DVD cut will clock in at over 4 hours long), RotK is an all-out assault on the senses. There are times when it is simply impossible to take it all in: Armies of hundreds of thousands clash beneath towering war beasts as deadly, dragon-like bird-things strafe hapless victims on the ground. Mountainsides erupt with pyroclastic fury as lava flows labour to engulf our heroes. This film is off the hook, gloriously so.

In tone and "feel", RotK rests comfortably between Fellowship of the Ring's penchant for character-centric drama, and The Two Towers' colder, more mechanical "war movie" approach. What we end up with, is, in essence, an emotionally charged war movie sprawling in scale yet intimate in heart, its effects are frequently overpowering.
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10/10
The Greatest Fantasy Trilogy of All Time
yungtonyfreeman1 March 2020
I've lost count of how many times I've watched this gorgeous trilogy, every time I rewatch it I find something new.
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10/10
There are no words to describe...
Bulleon18 December 2003
How superb 'The Return of the King' is. It is the ultimate fantasy film and a sure bet for all the film awards this year. Director Peter Jackson has achieved the impossible, to make this trilogy and make it so that Tolkien fans will be pleased with it in comparison to the book. The special effects are amazingly good, the actors (Sean Astin who play Samwise Gamgee particularly) are fabulous in their roles and the plot is unflawed, representing the book perfectly. There are parts left out but this was always to be expected. Peter Jackson, on first editing the film had a 6 hour long film that he was happy with. Now, although us Lord of the Rings fans may have been more than happy to sit through that, I don't think others would have been! So inevitably pieces and lines from the book have been taken out. But what we are left with is a film that works perfectly and is a masterpiece. Undoubtedly there will be plenty of extra footage on the extended DVD and so we'll just have to wait for that to see the film in its entirety. It's, arguably and in my own opinion, the best of the three films and one that fans and just movie-goers will love. It's got action, romance and an ending that leaves us satisfied and wanting to see it again and again. Go and see it now!
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beautiful
patrickjaoude28 March 2021
Art, poetry, poem, beautiful, masterpiece, incredible, awesome, outstanding, remarkable, just get on 9.0 already.
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10/10
An epic ending
dkncd5 October 2007
"The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" is the third and final installment of Peter Jackson's adaptations of Tolkien's famous fantasy novels. Once again the makers of the film have taken care with the costumes, sets, scenery, models, CGI effects and Howard Shore's epic score to create a convincing depiction of Middle Earth.

Once again the cast delivers expert performances. John Noble joins the cast as Denethor and effectively makes him into a despicable and repugnant character. Three of the performances in the film were particularly memorable for me. Bernard Hill once again brings authority to the role of King Theoden and his inspiring presence on the battlefield left me in awe. Miranda Otto brings strength to the role of Eowyn and makes the character's best moments unforgettable. Ian McKellen once again brought his commanding presence as Gandalf to bear as he tried desperately to hold everything together.

This film follows the familiar format of the first two films in taking Tolkien's work and streamlining it to create a well-paced film. The famous battle at Minas Tirith is on an unprecedented scale and the best fantasy battle ever filmed. As with the first two films, I found the added scenes for the extended addition interesting, but they didn't add much above and beyond the already great theatre cut.
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10/10
history.
NicholasThomo11 July 2019
This is one of my favourites,a classic.Full of action and entertainment to keep you interested every time its on.films like this are hard to come by,the detail and the precision that go into films like this is second to none.these sort of exceptional films will go down in history.
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