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A film by Peter Jackson

It is finally here: the concluding chapter to the Lord of the Rings. Before the first movie was released, I was highly skeptical that a live action adaptation of the book would work. The animated version certainly wasn t any good. Happily, The Fellowship of the Ring turned out not only to be a good movie, it was one of the best movies of that year (not bad for a fantasy) and arguably the best fantasy movie ever made. A standard was raised that if the next two movies could meet it, we would have (perhaps) the greatest movie trilogy ever made. I don t say that lightly. With The Return of the King , the saga has finally come to a close and once again, we are given one of the best movies of the year.

Since The Return of the King is really a continuation of one story (that being The Lord of the Rings), we pick up where The Two Towers ended. Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) are still heading towards Mordor, and since they don t know the way, they are being led by Gollum (Andy Serkis). At the end of The Two Towers , Gollum spoke about how he was going to lead Frodo to her so that he will be able to get the Ring back. If you have not read the books, you won t know who she is, but if you have, there is not let down in the realization of Shelob.

While Frodo and Sam are venturing towards Mordor, the rest of the Fellowship are having their own adventures in Middle Earth in the fight against the forces of Sauron. When we left off in The Two Towers Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) were part of the battle with the Ents against the forces of Isengaard. Gandalf (Ian McKellan), Aragorn (Viggo Mortenson), Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) arrive at Isengaard after the battle of Helm s Deep, and are finally reunited with Pippin and Merry (rescuing the two hobbits was the inspiration for the action of The Two Towers . Not long after, the Fellowship is separated with Gandalf and Pippin riding to Minas Tirath, and the others taking a longer way gathering up warriors to fight in the coming battle. Aragorn (and the rest of the Fellowship) know that what they do is only a diversion, trying to slow down the forces of Sauron and buy Frodo a little bit more time to destroy the Ring.

This is the conclusion to an epic story, and if I took the time to write about all that worked in this three and a half hour film, I would easily end up with a review that is several pages long. Suffice it to say that for a movie this long, the time passed very quickly and there were still aspects of the movie that I would have loved to have seen fleshed out a little bit more, mostly scenes with Aragorn. The one scene that I truly wish would have made it into the theatrical release, however, is that of the end of Saruman. There is a little bit of an explanation in the film, but because of his importance in the first two films, his storyline seemed to be dropped a little bit hastily. Other than the absence of Saruman, I have no complaints with this movie. I have heard people mention the fact that the movie has something like 5 different endings, but it felt appropriate to me. This is a story that lingers after the final scene fades and when the last page has been turned, and if Peter Jackson lingers a bit in the ending, he is only bringing closure to the story (this same closure was provided in Tolkien s appendices).

This tale has been a long time in the telling, and as a fan of the novels, I was so pleased to see just how fine a job Peter Jackson did with Lord of the Rings . It is a masterwork and an ambitious project that, had it failed, could have destroyed New Line Cinema. Instead, Peter Jackson is deservedly being awarded for his achievement. At this point, the only thing I am still anticipating is the Extended Edition DVD, and perhaps a theatrical release of The Hobbit . Right now, this is the best movie of 2003.

5 out of 5 pugs
 

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I agree with the rating. I felt as though they could have cut some parts out to cut down the time. 3 hours 20 was too long. After everything was said and done there is 20 minutes that could have been compressed to 5, it is just drug out too long and I was ready to go.

Otherwise the allegory was excellent. And I am one person who cannot stand the fantasy genre. I actually got this one
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exactly.
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agree.......the entire end could have been cut. Yes, I like loose ends tied up.....but they tried to tied it into knots. They could have simply ended it when Aragon became king......then when Liv Tyler came....it was "oh yeah....they are together again....end". Nope they move back to Bilbo---could have ended it again. Nope......Frodo has to go on the ship. Wave goodbye to the ship. The end????? nope, we have to go back to Sam and his family.......is it over???? or is a little hobbit going to hop out of the house. Nope. THE END.
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I like the ending. After 10+ hours of film (more if you count the length of the Extended Editions), you have gone on a huge, epic journey. It gives us a greater sense of closure in Middle Earth with the lengthy ending. I was surprised by the stuff with Sam and his wife, but otherwise it was perfect. I like how it lingered and closed out the tale of Middle Earth.
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