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EntertainmentNutz Feature

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Lord of the Rings - Return of the King - Aragorn sword with group
Lord of the Rings - Return of the King -
Aragorn sword with group
Buy this Poster at AllPosters.com

Release Date: December 17, 2003
Studio: New Line Cinema
Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson, Frances Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair
Elijah Wood, Sir Ian McKellen, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd, Orlando Bloom, Kevin Conway, Hugo Weaving, Brad Dourif, Marton Csokas, Bernard Hill, Sir Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys-Davies, John Noble, Liv Tyler, Karl Urban, Cate Blanchett, David Wenham, Miranda Otto
Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for intense epic battle sequences and frightening images)
Official Website: LordoftheRings.net

Plot Summary: Sauron's forces have laid siege to Minas Tirith, the capital of Gondor, in their efforts to eliminate the race of men. The once-great kingdom, watched over by a fading steward, has never been in more desperate need of its king. But can Aragorn (Mortensen) answer the call of his heritage and become what he was born to be? In no small measure, the fate of Middle-earth rests on his broad shoulders. With the final battle joined and the legions of darkness gathering, Gandalf (McKellen) urgently tries to rally Gondor's broken army to action. He is aided by Rohan's King Theoden (Hill), who unites his warriors for history's biggest test. Yet even with their courage and passionate loyalty, the forces of men--with Eowyn (Otto) and Merry (Monaghan) hidden among them--are no match for the enemies swarming against Gondor. Still, in the face of great losses, they charge forward into the battle of their lifetimes, tied together by their singular goal to keep Sauron distracted and give the Ring Bearer a chance to complete his quest. Their hopes rest with Frodo (Wood), a tiny but determined hobbit making a perilous trip across treacherous enemy lands to cast the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom. The closer Frodo gets to his final destination, the heavier his burden becomes and the more he must rely on Samwise Gamgee (Astin). Gollum-and the Ring itself-will test Frodo's allegiances and, ultimately, his humanity. "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" concludes the epic story of these characters, their relationships and rivalries, and reveals how through courage, commitment and determination even the least of us can change the world.

Reviewed by Peter Veugelaers © 2003
- Words escape me ... ecstasy

When excitement around the filming of The Lord of the Rings was in full swing in the late 90s, there was a resurgence of interest in J.R.R Tolkienís novel. I decided to buy a second-hand copy. I read The Fellowship of the Ring, but then thought I would wait and see the movies, preferring the cinematic experience. I watched The Two Towers and The Return of the King without the images from the novel running around in my head. What I found in viewing was a solid piece of well-crafted story telling that engages as well as it titillates with its spectacle, credit to co-writer/director Peter Jackson for producing a good old fashioned epic in a time of less grandiose films.

In The Return of the King Gollum (Andy Serkis) continues his double-crossed mission to guide Frodo (Elijah Wood) to deliver and destroy the ring in Mordor, but also desires to possess and lust after it, an allurement that is brilliantly and tragically captured in the first five minutes, and not only for its artistic achievement.

While Frodo and his travelling companion Sam Gamgee (Sean Astin) look to forsake the ring their friends face brutal physical conflict in the long battle of Minas Tirith, the focus of the action. The parallel plot-lines are skilfully interwoven with surreal visual effects action, battle sequences and intrigue, beautifully photographed by Andrew Lesnieís camera.

Not just a complex character, Gollum is a masterful piece of digital wizardry the gestures and mannerisms of the digitally enhanced Gollum are perfectly articulated, conveying the subtleties and ambiguities spot-on, and praise to Andy Serkis for creating the backbone of a lively characterisation.

The hordes of Orcs are depicted evocatively (they also get some spectacular CGI shots and a new ground leader Ė the foreboding and menacing Witch King). Evil is portrayed in simple unadulterated malice, quite pathetic like Gollum. They are conformers with no motive but domination; they are dogs merely living out of animal instinct, under the control of darkness, giving no thought for goodness, day and night they blood lust for power. On the opposing side are the forces of good that face out these adversaries always in a position of obvious struggle (Gimli says during a tactical session about a forthcoming plan of attack: "The chance of success is small. It canít do any harm".)

There is a large ensemble cast, impressively acted. Ian McKellen as Gandalf conveys the sage confidence and wisdom of his character in grand and royal stature; John Noble as Denethor is tragic in his role of a disappointed father at the news of the death of his favourite son, Bromoir (Sean Bean), and endures madness; Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn conveys the depth of his responsibility as he journeys into becoming a king; Dominic Monaghan as Merry, and his close companion Pippin (Billy Boyd) develop significantly and likeably as humble heroes; and Miranda Otto develops from film two as she flexes the feminine strength of a stout-hearted Eoywn.

The Lord of the Rings is a landmark production, happens to be good for New Zealand, the place of the filmís origin, and is an historical piece of film making, but this is also a kind of prophetic trilogy. It reflects Biblical truths that came out of the story of history as recorded in the Gospels and foreshadows the book of Revelations. In apocalyptic fashion, The Return of the King predicts in mythology the great showdown at the end time of history where evil will be fully extinguished and peace reigns, where this fantasy story will foreshadow reality - the king of the filmís title significantly parallels Christís kingship (Aragorn as an image of Christ was a deliberate Tolkien touch).

This elimination of evil is the hope in the film, which is a principle of the series, and motivates all the struggles in the interim, from arduous journeys to forlorn intrigues and tactics gone asunder. It offers hope for the audience in their lives and is maybe why they have taken to it because it tells a compelling story about how the Truth that prevails will not die.

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TV Spot:
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Japanese Trailer (Spoilers):
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Clip 1 - 'I'm on Your Side':

Clip 2 - 'It is Time':

Clip 3 - 'Tell Me Everything':

Clip 4 - 'The Way is Shut':

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