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

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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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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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MR-ODIN15 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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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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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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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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I lived to see them all!
Hitchcoc16 March 2006
I am in awe of the knowledge of some of the reviewers. I've been disappointed with virtually every film version of a beloved book that I have seen. I have not studied "The Lord of the Rings" though I have read the trilogy twice and parts several times. I know what a scholar Tolkien was and admire his work in linguistics as well as storytelling. The two entities do not need to cross over. If one really wanted to make the book you would have about two hours of poetry and a 56 hour movie. Movie-making is, unfortunately, forced to play by different rules. First of all, this film could not have been made until now. Imagine people dressed as trees. Remember those old Superman serials where whenever the Man of Steel flies, he becomes animated. Now that is genuinely bad. What Peter Jackson did here will be his legacy; had he died the day the film was complete, he would go down in film history. Everything is set up. The ring must be returned. Frodo is drunk with power and is latched on by the forces of evil. Those continuing the quest must face the ultimate and some do. Gollum is in the way, using his wiles to drive the ring back to him. The visual magnificence of Mount Doom and Mordor are unbelievable. One thing that is never mentioned is the incredible acting of most of the characters. Jackson may be a master of spectacle, but Frodo's character is a mass of impulses and expressions. He believes he is going to die and is afraid. Do you see a little bit of Christianity mixed in here? I'm not going down that road because, of course, the Bible is an epic too and has its own story. This is a movie about how friendship, loyalty, and sacrifice will out against evil. The evil is so remarkable and so oppressive.

I can't begin to talk in the terms of other reviewers, but I do need to make sure that I weigh in on this film and the other two because this is a product of our society that we can all be proud of.
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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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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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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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Still the greatest movie ever made
terrylarosa11 February 2022
Nothing even comes close and I may well not see it personally topped. Every single scene is magnificent. The acting is superb as is the direction, script, hauntingly beautiful music, cinematography and the incredible battles; especially the hour long battle on the Pellenor Fields and Minas Tirith. The characters are some of the greatest ever created and to root for. The movie is simply perfection from beginning to end and the 4 hour version is just as majestic. There's not a single negative thing I can say about a movie that deserves all it's nominated Oscars. My family and I watched it 4 times in its first 12 days of release. A joyous experience every time. Magnificent!!!!!!
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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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The epic conclusion to the story
acedj1 November 2019
Before I talk about this movie, I want to say that I got my aged grandmother hooked on the series. I would visit her every Saturday, and I brought the first two movies over on DVD and we watched them. She was hooked. Peter Jackson did such a good job bringing the books to life. Surely there was a lot left out, he would have needed six movies to fit in everything from these novels. I am happy to say that I brought my grandmother to the theater to see this when it came out, and for the entire run, she did not move an inch. To me that says all there can be said about this movie. To see a woman well in her 80, so transfixed was such a treat. This movie is sad and happy all at the same time and is wonderfully done.
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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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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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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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marianstelian25 December 2020
In my opinion,this is one of the best movie ever, maybe the best.
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Al_The_Strange6 April 2014
After the last two Lord of the Rings films, the journey of so many heroes has come so far, and it all leads up to this. Darkness falls upon all of Middle-Earth. Huge armies of orcs march upon the kingdoms of men. The One Ring comes closer to its evil master. Could this be the end of the world, or the start of a new beginning? This final chapter in the film series starts off with an incredibly moving sequence: the heartbreaking tale of Gollum's origins. From the on, it picks right back up where the last films left off, chronicling the journey of Frodo, Sam, and Gollum as they tread in dark and dangerous territory, combating orcs, one giant spider, and ultimately themselves as they approach the threshold of Mount Doom. At the same time, the film presents some of the biggest and most epic scenes ever committed to film: the Battle of Minas Tirith. It is a huge spectacle that fills up the entire screen with thousands and thousands of orcs, men, war machines, lumbering beasts, Nazgûl, cavalry, massive elephants, and even ghosts. It is a long struggle that fills up most of the movie's runtime, but it's always awe-inspiring. As if that's not enough, the film then brings the battle to the gates of Mordor, for one grand climax. Even in the calm before each battle, the film remains as captivating as its predecessors, thanks to its style and storytelling prowess. If there's anything to truly complain about, it would be the lengthy denouement. Overall, however, the experience of The Return of the King has never failed to invoke feelings of awe.

At this point, the characters of the film are well-established and intimately familiar, but the film does take its time to explore more of the familiar faces and elaborate on fresh new characters. They all come together to contribute to the multiple conflicts, tying every strand of the plot to one epic climax; it's a sublime union that makes everything in the three movies relevant, and provides satisfying closure all around. Many liberties are taken from the original novels, but for the big screen, it works to generate the best possible spectacle and make the plot work evenly. Themes of war, corruption, addiction, good and evil, and adventure all prevail.

As before, this film is crafted with excellent photography and editing. All the major players return and contribute fantastic performances in their respective roles (especially Viggo Mortensen, who stands out more in this film than before, but it is always a pleasure to watch Ian McKellen as Gandalf, along with the rest of the fellowship and all their allies). Writing is superb. This production boasts some excellent sets, props, and costumes. Special effects are huge; at its time, it was most groundbreaking for generating the biggest armies ever seen on screen all at once. Despite aging a bit, the effects are still impressive. Howard Shore's music score is as masterful as ever.

Return of the King delivers the best possible payoff for the Lord of the Rings trilogy (and it might even outshine the Hobbit saga in the end). Not only does it boast some of the biggest battles, but it is also a film with power and beauty. It has cemented itself as one of my all-time favorites (was my number-one favorite for quite a few years), and the Lord of the Rings saga overall remains one of the most sublime marriages between spectacle, storytelling, and style.

If you watch the Extended Edition of this film, you will be treated to about an hour of bonus scenes, which offers a lot of excellent substance. Among the additions, there are longer battle scenes, a scene showing the fate of Saruman and Wormtongue, an extended encounter with the Army of the Dead, a parley with the Mouth of Sauron, and more. I think most of these scenes are really awesome, and this version of the film is definitely worth seeing.

5/5 (Experience: Perfect | Story: Perfect | Film: Perfect)
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The journey and the destination are both well worth the investment of time
TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews27 December 2009
I haven't read anything by Tolkien. It is a great credit to these movies that you can watch all three without needing to have taken in the novels beforehand. This is an excellent end to an incredible trilogy. The plot is engaging from start to finish, and this moves rather smoothly, with great pacing. This is funny several times, and there is very little of the annoying(and still easily ignored) comic relief. I am thrilled to see Gollum turn out to be such a richly detailed and thoroughly developed character. The meld of live-action and CGI elements is perfect. You forget that not everything you're seeing is really there. The effects are impeccable, in general, and the imaginative designs, and boundless creativity are amazing. Creepy and dark, this isn't actually depressing, in spite of many gloomy moments. The battle sequences are intense, well-choreographed and awesome. This has astonishing editing and cinematography, and has a marvelous look. The acting doesn't let you down at any point. There is a lot of scary and disturbing content in this, and it might be too much for children. I recommend this to any fan of the fantasy genre, and, really, everyone who enjoys an appreciation for the medium of film. 10/10
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The only movie I don't want to finish
mrmocun13 March 2021
If we consider The Fellowship of the Ring is a history, we could consider The Two Towers as a legend,and we could consider The Retern of the King as a myth.
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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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I cry buckets every time
numenorsniper-6639624 October 2020
I'm writing this review as I watch Fellowship again right now. I was 12 when Fellowship first released in the cinema, and LOTR defined my life ever since for many years, and the trilogy has remained my favourite movies, with no others that come close. They made me cry in the cinema, and in every viewing since. I can put on even a brief portion of the films, and the feelings come rushing back. Everything about these three movies is perfect, in my opinion, especially the amazing music that is so perfectly crafted that I can't think of a better movie soundtrack. The only OST that matches it is the Halo game soundtrack. Both the Halo and LOTR franchise began in the same year (2001), and were the two major pillars of my life since childhood.

It's crazy to think that this trilogy began almost 20 years ago. I wonder if anything will ever touch LOTR. I suspect it will remain the all-time pinnacle of cinema, at least for the sheer love of them it has inspired in its vast fanbase.

I think that the extended editions are indispensable and feel much more complete than the original cinematic releases. They are definitely worth watching in one sitting, back-to-back, which will take from wake til sleep, with breaks in between for second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, supper.

Although I think Return of the King is the greatest possible ending to the greatest trilogy ever made, I still feel Fellowship of the Ring, where it all began, is the most rewatchable and comfy of the three. It has an air of enticing, dark and foreboding mystery that always captivates me. And that ending... what a cliff-hanger. I still remember the excitement it first created in me for the story's continuation, and the year-long wait for The Two Towers to release in the cinema. I would pay good money to see them all in a large and full theatre again.

And the video games... I played most of them I think. I still play Battle for Middle Earth, i.e. the Edain mod.

I can't imagine what my life would have been like if the LOTR films had never been created as they were, as they have been that important to me for well over half of my time alive at this point. They played a part in inspiring me to travel, to pursue filmmaking, and most importantly to get me interested in Tolkien's works.

I am so thankful to everyone who were a part of creating them, as they are easily the greatest treasure of cinema.
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The conclusion of 'epic'
bowmanblue15 January 2020
It's hard to imagine that anyone would join 'The Lord of the Rings' saga so late in its on-screen life, so if you've never heard of this tale (there must be at least one of you!) then I suggest you begin with 'The Fellowship of the Ring' and take it from there. However, if, like the rest of us, you've been closely following the story of 'Middle Earth' where two innocent hobbits are carrying an evil ring of power to its destruction, then you'll be desperate to see how it ends. Although, based on what most people seem to think about the trilogy overall, 'The Return of the King' appears to be most people's favourite (worth noting that mine is 'The Two Towers!').

Maybe it's because the source material (J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy of novels) has already been written that the concluding chapter is so good. Many stories start out with much promise and tend to die off (see the last series of 'Game of Thrones!'). Luckily, this doesn't happen here. Everything and everyone that made the saga great comes together and gives the audience the perfect ending that they deserve.

Yes, purists of the book may argue about the odd creative liberty here and there which has been taken when transferring it to the big screen, but, more often than not, everything lands where it should. Re-watching the trilogy today (nearly twenty years after its release) I noticed that some of the special effects in the first film ('Fellowship') didn't look quite so good as they did at the time (i.e. more green screen-ish), yet this final chapter seems as perfect as it was in its day.

There are so many fine performances in 'Return of the King' that it's hard to pick a favourite. In the first two movies I always preferred the human characters, such as Gandalf and Aragorn (and, of course, the computer-generated Gollum in 'The Two Towers'). Yet now, I really felt more of a connection to the two hobbits - Frodo and Sam. Following their journey I really did get a sense of how much they'd suffered here - a rare feat nowadays when so many on-screen heroes seem to be able to absorb inhuman amounts of punishment with barely a ruffled head of hair (and don't get me started on Disney's 'Star Wars' trilogy).

As I said before, you really need to watch the first film to know if you'll truly enjoy its conclusion and, if you do, then 'Return of the King' will certainly not disappoint. It has everything from great character-acting, to excellent special effects and a perfect setting and direction. Not since the ORIGINAL 'Star Wars' trilogy has a set of films come together so spectacularly.
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The epic conclusion to one of the greatest film trilogies of all time
cricketbat4 February 2020
The Return of the King is an impressive film because it wraps up the Lord of the Rings trilogy in a way that is satisfying for both fans of the books and those who have only seen the movies. This finale is a rollercoaster of emotions, with impressive sets, elaborate costumes, and eye-popping visual effects. The Lord of the Rings was already a great novel, but it has now become one of the greatest film trilogies ever made.
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Perhaps the greatest film ever made.
Keemshave19 February 2020
It is difficult to argue that many films should sit on top of the mountain of the greatest movies ever made, but one of those is The Return of the King. Technical, writing, and production aspects are all the best you can have in a film.

The most impressive thing about ROTK is that it is the series ' third entry and that it is so good. Most trilogies that exist have the problem of the third being the weakest in the bunch. Not with this trilogy, though, this film is incredible on all levels.

This film's drama and overall epicness is something I have simply not seen since its release. Not many films can so effortlessly blend fantasy and serious dramatic plot elements that sell the film's overall message.

Not to forget the amazing display of acting that the whole cast put together. This is one aspect of the movie that does not appear to be getting enough credit. EVERYONE sells every scene and contributes to the film's immersion.

The Return of the King holds the record, in a tie, for the most academy awards ever won and I cannot think of another film more deserving of this honor. The world-building displayed by Peter Jackson, coupled with the cast and crew, has not been matched outside of this series.
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