|Directed by:||Peter Jackson|
|Written by:||Peter Jackson, Frances Walsh, Philippa Boyens|
|Cast:||Elijah Wood, Sir Ian McKellen, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd, Orlando Bloom, Kevin Conway, Hugo Weaving, Brad Dourif, Martin Csoka, Bernard Hill, Sir Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys-Davies, John Noble, Liv Tyler, Karl Urban, Cate Blanchett, David Wenham|
|Studio:||New Line Cinema|
Return of The King is my favourite out of the Trilogy because it’s the climax of this 9 hour epic, therefore everything big happens here and now, the pieces have been set and shit goes down. Essentially this film is a two hour battle with the other hour going to Frodo and Sam’s quest.
And what a battle, the fight for Minus Tirith needs to go down as one of the great battles of our age, the vast amount of orcs and trolls and vicious dog things against the large but not that large army of Gondor, the battlefield consisting of the huge, shining city and the large, desolate Pelennor fields, the flaming wolf ram, the Rohan charge, the oliphaunts, the army of the dead. I could go on and on about how amazingly epic this battle is, it goes from hopeless to hopeless before finally the tide is turned at the last minute.
As for Frodo and Sam, with Gollum’s vicious words in his ear and the weight of the Ring on his neck Frodo pushes Sam away, their friendship breaks in its weakest moment. But Samwise stays ever loyal and they pull through to become better friends than ever.
Everyone’s arc reaches its apex here, Sam’s loyalty is stronger than before, Frodo’s weakness to the Ring, Gollum’s madness, even Gandalf shows us what a true fighter he is in a few parts as well as a great leader when Gondor’s ruler falls into insanity. The main arc finished here is Aragorn, the juxtaposition of being the shadowy man in the corner of The Prancing Pony to front and centre King Of Gondor is a great one to witness, his noble nature shines through and he comes out victorious at the end.
There are so many fantastic moments in this conclusion it’ll be impossible to name them all, Pippen’s song played against the suicidal charge of Faramir, the aforementioned Rohan charge of the Pelennor fields, Eowyn showing us all what a badass she is when she kills The Witch King and his Nazgul, Sam fighting Shelob and the final charge at The Black Gate are all but a few epic moments that set the film and this Trilogy head and shoulders above anything else.
The film also gives rise to three of the Trilogy’s greatest villains, the mad Denethor, the terrifying Witch King and the sneaking Shelob, her surprise attack on Frodo is another of the film’s highlights. It’s a shame Saruman doesn’t appear in this film because he’s proven himself to be one of the Trilogy’s main antagonists and he just seems to drop off. (I know he appears in the extended edition but I haven’t seen that)
As ever the scope, score and cinematography are top notch, from the rousing battle music for Rohan’s warriors making them all the more powerful to the dark noise of Mordor giving it the true evil it holds. Visually as well it’s stunning, Minus Tirith does seem like a kingly city, Mordor’s fire and brimstone shows it be a hellish place and the resting place of the Dead Army has a true ethereal sense to the place.
Now I know some people complain that the film has too many endings and yes it could’ve been trimmed, but I’ve just spent the last 8 and a half hours of my life with these people, I want to find out what happens to them. And those ending lead to one of my favourite shots in all three films, once the hobbits have returned home they sit in the bar, just the four of them, no songs are sung, no people listing to their tales. Life goes on as normal for Hobbiton.
Overall, a grand conclusion to a grand Trilogy with everything coming to a head and the Battle for Middle-Earth reaching its most violent and dangerous point. Highly recommended.