The Lord of The Rings trilogy draws to its end with The Return of The King as Frodo and Sam near Mount Doom and the end of their journey, while Sauron mounts his forces for a final attack on Gondor in order to destroy it, the film stars Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Jonathan Rhys-Davies, Ian Mckellan, Andy Serkis, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Bean, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving, Billy Boyd, Sean Astin, Christopher Lee, Cate Blanchett.
Return Of The King is quite the epic in every sense of the word, a very natural feeling crescendo to the LOTR trilogy I feel, as we follow the main characters from the films (the fellowship mostly) go along their separate journeys, now even more separated in different stories, though off together in pairs aside from the trio of Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, it’s great to see some characters together even though they’re separated as a group as a whole, all working towards the same goal of fighting against Sauron/evil essentially. The stakes just feel a bit higher this time around with all of Gondor being the centre piece for battle and the focus for a lot of the film as we really get a scale of the power of Sauron and the armies that he commands, dwarfing the already massive army that Isengard brought out at Helms Deep in The Two Towers.
Like I mentioned in a previous preview, I like how the series shows war as it is, gritty, indiscriminate and brutal – even with the fantastical elements of this story and we see this in the chaos that takes place during the battle of Minas Tirith and Pelennor fields later in the film, with some great editing and use music in particular to emphasize the tone of certain scenes – a loss of hope, fear against evil while Minas Tirith was besieged which slightly turned to hope when Gandalf marshalled the cities forces and rallied them. I feel like small details like this are great, showing the complexity of the characters in the situations they’re in, the characters are just like people – even Gandalf, sometimes hopeful, fearful, happy and sad but importantly for the story with the main characters, they never give up.
The set pieces in Return Of The King dials things to 11 in terms of action and set pieces as well, in massive open fields, tens of thousands of soldiers in armies and of course, the ever memorable Rohirrim charge, the challenge to adapt such ambitious battles on screen must have been a huge undertaking but they’re done well, showing the action clearly and again, emphasizing the mayhem and ruthlessness of war when it all comes down to man to man combat. And for a film in the early 2000s, the visuals still hold up and look decent due to prosthetics and more ‘real’ looking Orcs that aren’t all CGI, though even the CG looks okay. The film isn’t all action – though there is a fair amount of it, with some great, downplayed emotional moments between characters, Faramir wanting his father (Denethors) love and respect, even to the point of endangering himself, Sam and Frodos ongoing journey and tumultuous friendship due to Gollum which almost breaks them apart as well as other side stories that are ongoing that are all important to the main over arching plot. And again the stories are balanced well, leading to a satisfying and emotional conclusion.
I’m not going to lie, I kinda love Return Of The King as I feel it’s a perfect conclusion to one of the best stories on film, with great set pieces, great character arcs/developments and some fantastic individual moments that remind you why you probably like or love the series as a whole, excellently well done fantasy with a compelling world and engaging story.
. Brilliant conclusion to the overall story. Good character development and arcs, characters grow and change
. Fantastic, poignant set pieces with some good visuals even up to today
. Consistently strong performances