The Lord of the Rings 2 - The Return of the King (2003)
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Plot: While Frodo & Sam continue to approach Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring, unaware of the path Gollum is leading them, the former Fellowship aid Rohan & Gondor in a great battle in the Pelennor Fields, Minas Tirith and the Black Gates as Sauron wages his last war against Middle-Earth. Runtime: 201 mins Release Date: 05 Feb 2003
Peter Jackson has done it. He has created an all-encompassing epic saga of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings books, and after coming away from the final chapter, how does this rate not only as a film on its own, but as a part of the whole?Perfect.I've never seen a series like this. A trilogy of movies created with such love and care and utter perfection of craft that you can't help but walk away and wonder how did Peter Jackson make this possible? I have always loved the original "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" series for their epic storytelling, and just for just <more>
fitting in as a great moment in cinema. This should be, will be, remembered with as much revered fondness for generations to come. They do not make films like these anymore.As a stand alone film, it picks up immediately where "Two Towers" ends, so brush up before seeing it. I've read the books, and the anticipation of seeing some of the more profound moments in this film made me kind of view it with a rushed sense of perspective. I wanted to make sure everything in this film was done "right". And when it happened, it was. I will need to see this again to enjoy everything on a more casual level.The cast comes through once more. The musical score retains its beauty, elegance and power. The special effects, notably Gollum again, are nothing less than breathtaking, and simply move the story along. The battles are monumentally huge and exciting. There are some liberties taken with the story, especially during the end with the homecoming, and yet, everything that needed to be covered regarding the main characters was handled. After the greatest moment of the series resolves itself, the story provided a breather. And gives a good-bye to friends seen on screen for the last three years. It was truly a bittersweet feeling in realizing that there will be no "Rings" movie in 2004. I will miss this talented group of actors.As with the first two, the film is very long, but goes by without you ever truly realizing it. This film is so much more than a simple "fantasy" epic. It's a story about strength of character, friendship, loyalty and love. And while every member of the Fellowship has their part to play, I finally understood why some critics have said this series is a story about Sam. It's his unwavering resolve that led the quest to its victory. Sean Astin is a true credit for adding the inspirational heart to this epic. As as far as the ending goes, they ended it the way that it had to be ended. Jackson ended this film the way it should have been.I will miss looking forward to a new "Rings" movie, but these movies provide hope that high-quality films can still be made without special effects taking over a story, bathroom humor, or a "Top 40" soundtrack. George Lucas could learn a lot from these films about how not to alienate the fanbase.Each film has earned a "10" from me for the last two years, which for me to give is a rarity. This one, however, is as equally deserving as its two predecessors. The Academy had better not look over this film for "Best Picture" of 2003. To do so would be greatly disrespectful of the craft and care that anyone involved with these films put into them.
The first great cinematic masterpiece of the twenty-first century. (by JamesHitchcock)
I am, I admit, an unlikely convert to the religion of Tolkienism. I have never read the books, having, I thought, been put off them for life by the sort of obsessive freaks who read them when I was at school. One classmate, then aged about sixteen, told me with great pride that he had read the whole of 'The Lord of the Rings' at least fifty times . I also have never been a great admirer of the 'sword and sorcery' school of fantasy writing or film-making; indeed, some of this genre mostly those starring the current governor of California struck me as being among the worst <more>
films ever made. I was, however, persuaded to see the first in the trilogy, 'The Fellowship of the Ring', by its overwhelmingly positive reception from the critics, and was quickly won over by the scope of Peter Jackson's vision. I had been expecting some twee tale of elves, gnomes and fairies; what I experienced was a genuine epic in the true sense of that overused word . Ever since December 2001, I have been waiting for parts two and three of the trilogy to be released. Neither has disappointed me. The story of 'The Lord of the Rings' is too complex to be told in a review such as this. Suffice it to say that it revolves around a magic ring which will give its possessor immense power. The power-hungry Dark Lord Sauron a figure who is never actually seen on screen desires to obtain the ring in order to dominate Middle Earth. His enemies, led by the wizard Gandalf, are seeking to destroy the ring, which can only be used for evil purposes, not for good. At the beginning of the final part of the trilogy, Sauron's forces are massing for an attack on the kingdom of Gondor. The film relates the story of the conflict which follows, and this leads to some of the most spectacular battle sequences I have seen, even more impressive than those in 'The Two Towers'. Inevitably, the film makes much use of computer-generated effects, but unlike many films dominated by special effects, plot and character are not neglected. The acting is uniformly good, and in some cases outstanding. Special mentions must also go to the camera-work, which made the best possible use of the magnificent New Zealand scenery, and to Howard Shore's memorable musical score. So, looking forward to the Oscar ceremony, I have no doubt that this should be the best film and that Peter Jackson, who has amply fulfilled the promise shown in the excellent 'Heavenly Creatures', should be best director. Best Actor? I would find it difficult to decide between the competing claims of Sir Ian McKellen, who brings wisdom, kindliness and the required touch of steel to his portrait of Gandalf, and of Elijah Wood, who plays the brave and resourceful hobbit Frodo to whom falls the dangerous task of ensuring the ring's destruction. Best Supporting Actor? My own nomination would be for Sean Astin, as Frodo's loyal companion Sam, but several others might have claims, notably Viggo Mortensen or Bernard Hill. Is this the best movie ever made, as some of its admirers have claimed? Possibly not- that is, after all, a very large claim to make. I have no doubt, however, that the trilogy as a whole is the first great cinematic masterpiece of the twenty-first century. It has certainly inspired me to start reading Tolkien's original novels. 10/10.
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 <more>
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.
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, <more>
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 . . .
The high rating of this movie baffles me. While it had superb special effects and above average acting, it failed miserably in telling the story. I was extremely disappointed. I adored the first film in the trilogy, understanding that you cannot include everything in a movie that is in a book. The second film was also excellent, although it began to try too hard to be important and profound. This last installment was intensely boring at times as it strived to be profound. This could have been a great movie, as it so often depicted scenes according to my imagination. Unfortunately, while <more>
describing the world it lost the essence of the story. The movie seemed to lose its way not only with pace, but with its heart. This marvelous story of extraordinary effort by the gifted and those less so to face head on an evil of incredible proportions went astray at too many crucial points. Granted it hit the mark in places, but it in others it almost seemed to take the credit from the valiant and place it solely on supernatural and circumstance.
Spoilers herein.This raises the bar on production values, as it certainly is competently made, say, compared to the `Star Wars' stuff. It seems oddly paced, lacking a rhythm, and more importantly lacking the patina of magic that colored the first two. In fact, everything seems brighter this time out.Unlike the battle of the second, they have decided to not have any movie jokes, like the surfer/warrior who winks at the camera. But there is still a variety in tone from place to place as if different directors were involved. I suppose that's true.I remarked on the earlier films that they <more>
innovated primarily in how they use the vertical dimension. This third film is even more competent and extreme in that regard. They knew it was a discriminator and exploited it. Unfortunately, the towers and cities and mountain gates all have an unnatural sameness to them, they are photographed with huge vertical sweeps. Even the first ending where everyone bows to the hobbits and there is the obligatory `helicopter' shot, it goes shockingly far beyond what one expects. The way it pulls back fast and swoops reminds that we are used to an eye that is constrained by the aerodynamics of light helicopters.Not so here. When this is considered in hindsight, I'm pretty sure that the high production values won't be noticed; that all the effects and conventions here Â– especially the battle scenes Â– will be seen as borrowed, all except for the exhilarating use of height. That's worth watching. Magic of its own.That magic is enough to carry this project for me. It is clearly Jackson's intent to move his camera in great vertical arcs, usually in ways that no physical camera could. That gives us a fantastic eye. Just a few hours later, I saw `The Lion King' again and noticed that although they were never constrained by physics, they always moved the `camera' in ways we have seen in ordinary `real' films. That's because `Lion' wanted to look real while `Return' wanted to seem ultrareal.Ian McKellen has always puzzled me, he's sort of a working man's John Gielgud, an engineer of the spoken word. Here, he stoops to Alec Guiness' role. A sad way to cap a career.Ted's Evaluation: 3 of 3 Â– Worth watching
The journey comes to an end. For me the final installment ensures that the Lord of the Rings replaces Star Wars as my favourite fantasy movie franchise. In time the film will look dated, but the story and characterisation far surpass that of Star Wars. The Empire Strikes Back is the only one of the Star Wars films that is in the same league as LOR.As with Two Towers, the Return of the King doesn't recap the story so far, so don't even think of seeing this film if you're unfamiliar with the story. It starts with a flashback to Smeagol and means Andy Serkis gets to appear on the <more>
finished print. Frodo, Sam and Smeagol then continue on their quest, whilst the remaining members of the fellowship are briefly reunited at Isengard before taking different paths to Minas Tirith.The action is unrelenting and most people will not notice the running time is over 3 hours. As with the previous films the combination of sets, models and cgi brings middle earth to life.I suspect quite a few of the performers will be in with a chance of Oscar recognition. Miranda Otto is the stand out performer and is outstanding as Eowyn and surely deserves the Best Supporting Actress honour. I'm sure that Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, and Orlando Bloom will all have their supporters for acting honours and rightly so, as they all put in fine performances. I'm not sure whether Andy Serkis is elligable, but I suspect the success of Smeagol/Gollum owes as much to him as the animators. Bernhard Hill should also be in with a shout for recognition for his performance as King Theoden. My guess is that it'll miss out on the acting awards with the exception of Miranda Otto. It's absolutely certain to take Best Director, Best Picture and a string of technical awards though. My guess is that it will be nominated for about 12 categories and take 8 gongs.Return of the King isn't flawless however. Saruman was cut entirely from the theatrical release of the film. We therefore missed out on the final face off between Gandalf and Saruman at Isengard. This was certainly filmed and will no doubt be on the extended edition. When the Hobbits return to the Shire it looks remarkably like when they left. No sign that Saruman has arrived back before them and taken over. In the book Merry, Pippin, Sam and Frodo help rally the rest of the Hobbits to retake the Shire, but at some cost to both the hobbits and the environment. Merry, Pippin and Sam become heros to the rest of the hobbits who are largely unaware of Frodo's adventure and exploits. I'm not sure if any of this was shot, but it would be a welcome addition to the extended addition. Personally I would have followed Tolkien and got rid of 7 minutes of Arwen footage and kept Saruman in. Bearing in mind Christopher Lee's passion for the trilogy it is also sad to see him removed from the final episode. I'm quite sure Peter Jackson must have had a few sleepless nights over that decision.If Saruman's exclusion was the biggest blunder of the film, Gimli's consignment to comic interlude was also a bit disappointing. I'm not against a bit of light hearted relief every so often, especially in such a long film, but it seemed that every time Gimli appeared on screen it was for light entertainment. The "That still only counts as one" line to Legolas was very funny though.Despite these gripes Peter Jackson can certainly be very proud of the Lord of the Rings. Very few people thought it possible to do justice to the book. He has crafted a film that many people will enjoy for many years.
Tolkien fans, this is what we feared (by shattenjager777)
"The Return of the King" is certainly not the strongest of Tolkien's trilogy, "The Fellowship of the Ring" blows both of the others away, but it is, in the novels, a considerable step up from the slop of "The Two Towers." This film series is different--"The Return of the King" is the worst.There are two gigantic, absolutely unforgivable and completely and utterly wrong changes made from the novel that absolutely kill this film: 1. Frodo's madness ends when Golem takes the ring and then Golem falls into the fire, but the film forces Frodo to <more>
continue his madness and push Golem in. WRONG. 2. Samwise would NEVER leave Frodo, but the film has him head back down the mountain. WRONG. Not only are they differences from Tolkien, but these are changes that work against the story in which they fit and that is why they are so egregious.The production is mostly the same as the previous two in other aspects, with the exceptions that Ian McKellen's performance of Gandalf the White is annoying and nowhere near as good as Gandalf the Grey and that as he is given more to do, Sean Astin completely outshines the rest of the cast. It's also notable that this film has no appearances by Saruman, which cuts out the wonderful, charismatic performance that Christopher Lee has otherwise given--he was, in my opinion, the best casting choice of the entire series, with the only possible exception of Viggo Mortensen's perfect Aragorn.It's still a fantastic film, because Tolkien on a less-than-perfect day wrote a novel far beyond what most writers will even dream of being capable of writing, but this production's changes are absolutely unforgivable. The worst of the series, contrary to what the Oscars said.And how in the world can Howard Shore deserve two Oscars for one score that really wasn't all that impressive to begin with? And how can Peter Weir be denied AGAIN?
Great story; well adapted for enthusiasts but feels long for others. (by jesse-115)
Let me say first that after seeing Fellowship of the Ring, I went out and read the LOTR trilogy for the first time. I enjoyed it immensely, but I only read it once and not before I saw the first movie. So I might not be what you'd consider a true enthusiast. From an Enthusiasts perspective:There were a few disappointing momemts: the fact that Gandalf *still* didn't break Sarumon's staff on screen, and the way a lot of things were glossed over a bit. Additionally, there was way too much Legolas jumping around during battles. I understand they cost $9 million to make and not showing <more>
them would be effectively "wasting" $9 million, but there are more important things to show.Finally, and this was known very early on so it wasn't a surprise, the conclusion of the trilogy was completely removed. This trilogy began and ended with the Hobbits. It began by exposing them as lovable but helpless characters, and ended showing them to be courageous and capable of addressing significant problems. The movies, however, focused a little more on the characters people love, and while I don't fault them for that, I do fault them for not trying to show the ending of the trilogy in any way whatsoever. As an enthusiast, I can't grade the movie on its own; I must rate it as a trilogy. And this trilogy would get 9.5 / 10. From Joe's perspective:Joe wouldn't be nearly as acquanted with the characters, and a lot of what this movie succeeds on for the enthusiasts plays off of that. This is still a good movie, if a bit broken up giving far too many "it's wrapping up" signals. Frodo spends far too much time crying honestly, this dragged on , and the characters spend far too much time saying "farewell." Joe liked the movie, but gave it a 7.0 / 10 because there are movies he simply enjoys more.