Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Review: The Return of the King

Director: Peter Jackson

Starring: Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Ian McKellan, Viggo Mortensen

Year: 2003

Genre: Action/Adventure

Rated: PG-13

Length: 201 min.

IMDB Summary: Aragorn leads the World of Men against Sauron's army to draw the dark lord's gaze from Frodo and Sam who are on the doorstep of Mount Doom with the One Ring.

While still action-packed, well-acted and impressively filmed, The Return of the King takes a while to get to the action. It's not that every scene has to be a battle--however, the characters spend a lot of time encamped as they journey closer to the enemy's lair. Mortensen excelled in his role as Aragorn the Ranger, but his wimpy speeches, smooth-brushed hair and tidy costume do not make him a believable King of Gondor. On the other hand, Wood and Astin's character acting only improves, especially when Gollum betrays Frodo, leaving Sam to make a tough decision. Supporting characters Eowyn, Faramir and Theoden are also further developed. Theoden's death scene is especially touching, though Eowyn's slaying of the Witch King was nowhere near as impressive as it was in Tolkein's book. And lastly, the ending of The Return of the King is fragmented. We see Frodo and Sam laying side by side on a rock as Mount Doom explodes, then the screen goes black, only to return when the eagles are seen lifting Frodo and Sam with their talons and bearing them away from the mountain. Then the film transports us to Aragorn's coronation and then, after an unbelievably wimpy speech, to The Shire, where nothing appears to have changed (unlike the book, where an evil wizard has destroyed much of the Shire and the hobbits fight to free their homeland). This unblemished Shire runs contrary to the movie's theme that evil unchecked will spread everywhere, affecting good and bad individuals alike. When all is said and done, however, The Return of the King remains a cinematic masterpiece. Some moments will make you laugh (the drinking game between Gimli and Legolas), others will make you cry (Frodo's leave-taking into the West). Despite its flaws, The Return of the King is a fine ending to The Lord of the Rings trilogy and is definitely worth the watch.

For Parents:
There is no crudity or language. The PG-13 rating comes from the fantasy elements--battle scenes, a huge spider, ghostlike creatures.

My Rating:

Image from imdb.com

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