LOTR: The Return of the King
Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Andy Serkis, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, John Rhys-Davies, Orlando Bloom, Bernard Hill, Miranda Otto, David Wenham, Karl Urban, Hugo Weaving, Liv Tyler, Cate Blanchett, John Noble, Ian Holm, Sean Bean, Marton Csokas, Lawrence Makoare, Thomas Robins
Oscar Wins: Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup, Best Musical Score, Best Original Song ("Into the West"), Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Picture
Other Nominations: No other nominations.
DISCLAIMER: Okay my adoring LOTR lovers, I have a confession. I admittedly have never read any of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books and I’ve only seen this movie trilogy once in totality. As a lover of literature and the daughter of a well-read Tolkien fan, I have often thought about giving this book series a try, despite the fact that it does intimidate me a bit. In expressing concern about starting to read LOTR, I was told, “If you love Game of Thrones (and I do), you’ll love Lord of the Rings.”
As I was watching Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, I jokingly made some comments about how certain characters and plot points reminded me of Game of Thrones. How they both have an army of the dead, destructive flying dragons, how the romance between Aragorn and Eowyn reminded me of the love between Jamie and Brianne of Tarth, how similar Gimli and Tormund were, not to mention they both killed off SEAN BEAN…at first it was funny, but then it became obnoxious.
Again, I can’t quite make this argument fully as I’ve never read LOTR, but I kind of have to side with you Hobbitses here because after watching this movie, it’s so incredibly obvious that George R.R. Martin was not “inspired” by LOTR, he freaking stole it. This had me in tizzy the entire time I watched this movie, so I’m apologizing now if I bust out in another rant later on down the line!
OK, ONTO THE REVIEW!
Man, they really don’t make movies like this anymore, do they? Though Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is the third installment of the LOTR series, this movie really can stand on its own without any problem. Will those unfamiliar with The Ring trilogy be lost? Most likely. But aren’t we all kinda lost in this magical Middle Earth? Even those who have seen these movies can’t admit fully that they understand EVERYTHING. But even if you don’t, there’s plenty of action and visual stimulation to keep you entertained for the 200 minutes you’ll spend watching this film.
Continuing the plot of the second installment, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, this final film has Frodo, Sam and Gollum making their way toward Mordor to destroy The Ring while Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli and our other favorites join forces against Sauron in Minas Tirith. With freaking amazing set design, cinematography and special effects, the world created by director Peter Jackson is nothing if not breathtaking. Even if you don’t care about Frodo’s mission, there’s plenty to enjoy in the vast New Zealand landscape where this story comes to life.
I really had trouble finding anything to dislike about this movie. Granted it’s been years since I’ve seen the other two films, so much of this story-line was slightly confusing, but I found I was able to follow the general gist of the movie. My only criticism about this film is that the female characters kinda fall flat. They don’t have as much growth as the main male characters and are often portrayed as soft, wispy fairy-like creatures, which I suppose is fine for a fantasy film – but they just seem to be begging for more development.
Though The Return of the King is the third installment in this series, it’s still thought to be a landmark in filmmaking and is wildly regarded as one of the greatest and most influential fantasy films ever made. It was nominated for 11 Academy Awards in 2004 and won EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. It holds the record for the highest clean sweep at the Oscars, as well as the record for the most Academy Awards won by a single film.
In short, there may come a day when another film beats out The Return of the King as the pinnacle of fantasy fiction but, it is not this day.
-Read the review for Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
-Read the review for Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers