The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is a 2003 epic fantasy adventure film directed by Peter Jackson, based on the third volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. The film is the final instalment in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and was produced by Barrie M. Osborne, Jackson and Fran Walsh, and written by Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Jackson. The film features an ensemble cast including Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Bernard Hill, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Hugo Weaving, Miranda Otto, David Wenham, Karl Urban, John Noble, Andy Serkis, Ian Holm, and Sean Bean. It was preceded by The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and The Two Towers (2002). It premiered on 1 December 2003 at the Embassy Theatre in Wellington and was theatrically released on 17 December 2003 in the United States, and on 18 December 2003 in New Zealand.
The culmination of nearly 10 years' work and conclusion to Peter Jackson's epic trilogy based on the timeless J.R.R. Tolkien classic, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" presents the final confrontation between the forces of good and evil fighting for control of the future of Middle-earth. Hobbits Frodo and Sam reach Mordor in their quest to destroy the `one ring', while Aragorn leads the forces of good against Sauron's evil army at the stone city of Minas Tirith.
Why It Rocks
- The visual effects are really impressive like the capital city of Gondor, Minas Tirith, and the final battle.
- A great and compelling story that follows the source material really well.
- Very exciting and satisfying action sequences.
- Peter Jackson's direction is still quite astonishing.
- The acting, as well as their characters, are really excellent, especially for Viggo Mortensen, Miranda Otto, Orlando Bloom, and Bernard Hill.
- The music is pretty awesome as well as the song "Into the West".
- The costume design of the characters are really beautiful.
- Well made emotional and intense moments.
- Excellent morals filled with truth.
- Billy Boyd's singing voice is amazing to hear.
- In the extended cut, Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas run away from an avalanche of skulls. It's fun to watch.
- The runtime of the movie, especially the epilogue, is criticized for being too long.
- Speaking of the epilogue, it also has more endings than it needs (there are 5 fade outs before the actual ending 30 minutes later.)
- The Army of the Dead's appearance rapidly ended the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, a great battle to start with!
- There are some violent moments (e.g., Sméagol choking Déagol, catapults firing decapitated human heads, Gollum biting Frodo's finger, etc.) that might be too much for a PG-13 film (even the extended cut).
- It didn't explain how Gollum came back while Sam and Frodo were getting closer to Mt. Doom.
- Saruman's death is very disappointing. Plus, you only get to see it in the Extended Cut.
The movie was critically lauded by critics and moviegoers alike and was hailed as one of the best movies of 2003. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 93% approval rating based on 275 reviews, with an average score of 8.69/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Visually breathtaking and emotionally powerful, The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King is a moving and satisfying conclusion to a great trilogy.". Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, gives the film a score of 94 out of 100 based on 41 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim", and has therefore made it the highest-scoring film in the trilogy (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring scores 92 out of 100 and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers scores 87 out of 100). Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a rare "A+" grade on an A+ to F scale. It got an IMDb rating of 8.9. At the 76th Academy Awards, it won all 11 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director. It also won four Golden Globes (including Best Picture and Best Director), five BAFTAs, two Grammys, etc.
- Lord of the Rings: Return of the King was the only fantasy movie to ever win Best Picture at the Academy Awards until in 2018, when Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water won the award.