The Return of the King

"We come to it at last...the great battle of our time."   - Gandalf

release year: 2003
genre: fantasy
viewing setting: home Bluray 5/19/18 and 4/26/15 and 12/30/13 and home DVD, 11/28/09 and theater, 12/23/03

synopsis: The War of the Ring nears its end, as armies fight for the future of the world and the ring-bearer nears his goal.

impressions: Long, sometimes slow, but very good. The slow stuff is necessary to make this a faithful adaption of the books. The big battles are, again, awesome - there are men, orcs, trolls, ancient elephants, fire, arrows, swords, catapults. There's also treachery and stupidity, as some men can't put aside their own problems to fight for the freedom of their world; the Steward of Gondor, in particular, suffered from ego and idiocy, if not insanity as well. The other plot thread involves Frodo, Sam, and Gollum taking the ring to Mount Doom so it can finally be destroyed. I know the books had this too, but for crying out loud, couldn't the smartest and wisest minds of Middle-Earth have picked a stronger, sturdier person to carry the ring? I guess that's the point, though: even the smallest, weakest individual has it in them to be a hero. It's just that I wouldn't have made the big bet on someone like Frodo.

things to watch for: The big battle for Gondor.

overheard: (humorous comments from the 2009 viewing, courtesy of my former wife, who had never watched these and took a more practical point of view)

   "Oh, let's just sleep on the side of a mountain. Look, if they turn over the wrong way, they'll fall all the way down there. This is the dumbest thing they've done yet."

   "I like how he's just got this hair coming from nowhere on the top of his head."

   "Just send them all to get slaughtered. At least they have horses."

   "Let's just go toward the road to the evil mountain. I bet he does."

   "Even the dead army warriors have shoes."

   "Finally! It takes three damn movies to kill that guy."

   "Don't bring a horse to an elephant fight."

   "They finally have shoes only took them 11 hours worth of movie. But they should take all that armor's only slowing them down."

   "Shoes would really help now...with molten rock. No wonder they fell down."

   "Eagles? What eagles? I guess they came from eagle land."

   "He's just lying there flying. In a hawk's foot. Just look at him!"

   "Where are all the orcs? Did they just go away? Or maybe they died."

   "Why does that one elf have a black leather gimp mask on?"

   "They're just going to put him on this boat with the elves? Where is this boat going? Elf-ville? I guess you just go on the elf boat like it's elf-hospice."

acting: Outstanding. I won't rehash what I said in the reviews of the first two movies. Big, varied ensemble cast here.

final word: Fitting finale to an epic trilogy. Hats off to Peter Jackson, the cast, and the crew.

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