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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

  • I lead such a charmed life...

The long-awaited conclusion to the trilogy brings the strands of the storyline together. Frodo continues with his mission to destroy the ring, while dealing with treachery and starvation. The warriors get involved in major warfare, as the final battles for Middle Earth rage. At stake is the survival of mankind, and many are doomed to die in the struggle.


201 minutes, No persons under 13 (Violence)
Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Male conflict & bonding

Where's it showing?


Credits
Cast
Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Orlando Bloom
Director
Peter Jackson
ScreenplayFrances Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, from the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien
MusicHoward Shore
CinematographyAndrew Lesnie
Sound formatsDolby EX 6.1, Sony Dynamic Digital Sound, DTS
SoundtrackNot available
Made in2003
Produced byNew Line Cinema, The Saul Zaentz Company, WingNut Films

Official Site



Ratings
Scale (Max)20
South African Media
The MoviesiteIan Douglas10
Cape ArgusBianca Coleman15
The Star 18
Die BurgerFrancois Smith10
TygerburgerMariana Malan10
Sunday TimesBarry Ronge20
International Media
eye Weekly (Canada)Jason Anderson15
Box Office (USA)L. J. Strom13
ReelViews (USA)James Berardinelli20
Chicago Sunday TimesRoger Ebert18
IMDB8177 Netizens18
Average .. 76%15
Visitor Ratings
Michael Moreau (12)20
Johan (23)19
Ram P. (29)12
Chris P. Toast (35)20
Nimmi Kowlaser(37)18
Chloe Roberts (14)20
Steve Hwang (13)20
Ron Wang (17)18
Melanie Kimberling (15)16
Katy Martin (14)20
Duncan Rodgers (27)18
Mechelle Rice (21)18
Thomas Wolf (21)10
Stefanus Gariseb (21)16
Peter Alabaster (31)6
Melanie Diesel (34)20
Roger Owen (54) '8
Mitchell (20) '20
Roba (26) '16
Tian Taljard (29) '18
Average .. 83%17

Visitor Comments
Ian Douglas: At the time of writing this, I'd already received some hate mail (see below) for daring to have a critical opinion on this movie. These insulters obviously don't realise that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and it doesn't have to be the same as theirs.

I've always offered my honest opinion on movies, and sometimes they agree with the popular view and sometimes they don't. But it is always my honest opinion, unswayed by media and industry hype. I believe that's what visitors to this site want — an honest opinion.

Before we start discussing the movie, remember I have not read the books and thus evaluate the movie in terms of itself, not in terms of how accurately it portrays the book.

Anyway, as to the movie... on the positive side, the cinematography is astounding, often producing images reminiscent of Raphael paintings. Helped by the usual spectacular scenery, an Oscar nod would be appropriate.

On the downside, however... well, where do I begin? The film kicks off with a segment that properly belonged in the first movie, showing how Gollum got and lost the ring. Presumably this was meant to serve as a kind of ''previously on Lord of the Rings'' flash-back intro, but it was confusing at the time until I figured out it belonged in the first movie, not the third.

Then I had to try and figure out what the different strands of the storyline were up to. Could not remember all that had happened in the last movie a year ago (once again, these epics need a quick summary at the beginning to get everyone up to speed).

There were lots of battle scenes which were impressive, but so what? We've seen computer-generated battle scenes before. The amazing thing is how the Main Characters lead such charmed lives that they go through all this warfare with hardly a scratch, let alone getting killed. Even Gandalph gets to swing a sword like a twenty-something.

Which raises another question — why does a powerful wizard have to resort to swordplay instead of using magical powers to deal with the situation? Perhaps these questions are answered in the book.

Even more importantly, why didn't Frodo (or Gandalph, for that matter) just hop onto one of those giant flying eagles and fly to the volcano, instead of *walking* all the way there?

I was a little lost in the battle scenes — I thought that the second movie had the Climatic Battle, but now we have two more...

The spider sequence was straight out of a 1950s B-grade horror movie. I wasn't sure whether I was supposed to laugh or be scared, given that we knew nothing of consequence would happen to Frodo at this point. I actually found this to be the most entertaining part in the whole movie.

After the climax of the ring being destroyed, the standard dramatic method is to have a brief ''wrap-up'' scene and roll the end credits. Instead, the movie went on and on and on, leading to a confusing scene where it appears that Frodo was ''dying'' — in some sort of mythical way — sailing off on the last boat to leave. This ended the movie on a perplexing note for me.

I notice that Die Burger has not yet published a review. I know that last year, the editor was loathe to publish his comments on The Two Towers, presumably because he had no desire for more hate mail. Speaking of which, here are some of the comments I have received (based soley on my rating of 10/20 above)

From a 20 year old: Anyone who rates this movie under a 10 obviously knows nothing about cinematography, storyline and culmination. What an amazing denouement! Ian Douglass (sic) an (sic) Mariana Malan rate this a 10/20. What idiots.

From another 20 year old: YOUR A DUMB PO*S! (edited by Ian)

From a 15 year old: It seems like there's a familiar trend here with you two ''critics''. Why jump on the same bandwagon? Make up your own minds. This is a masterpiece, if you can't see that then please remove your blinkers.

Further hate mail deleted... — Ian


Michael Moreau (12): I thought it was a very good movie, there should be many more like it.

Johan (23): Very well done, allthough some scenes from the book were not in the movie it finishes nicly off as a screen play. Battles are epic, very emotional movie.

Johan Groble: I felt so bad for you because of all the hate mail about your review on LOTR: The Return of the King, that I thought I should let you know that I agree with you on most points. Concerning the book I feel that you would have understood the movie better — unlike most movies based on books this one was quite accurate, and you should know that if they used the end of the book as it is (what happened when they went back to the Shire) they would have had to make a fourth movie. What bothers me is the fact that they never let the audience know what happened to Saruman, and like you I've wondered even when I read the book, about why Gandalf didn't use magic instead of a sword. Clearly they missed some logical details like the fact that you mentioned about the hero's coming out of a battle scratchfree and not even a drop of sweat. The point of my yakking is — Thank you for your honest opinion and for they great service you offer through your website. Kind regards and best wishes for the new year.

Ram P. (29): While I was thrilled with the first two instalments, I was less pleased with the final movie. Jackson's interpretation of the Tolkien ethos not withstanding, the sequence or flow of the story just did not seem to be cohesive. Why the Gollum/Smeagol story was left for the end is also beyond me! Overall, a satisfactory movie which did not quite do justice to the book - but then which movie really does?

Chris P. Toast (35): After reading Ian Douglas' review, I went to see the movie armed with another's jaundiced view of what to expect. Having not read the books, only seen the first two movies, I too viewed the movie in terms of itself. Over 3 hours in length seemed daunting, as I have a tendency to nod off in movies, but this one kept me alert throughout.

I have to say in more eloquent terms than Ian's other critics that I really think you grossly underrated this movie. I agree that the first half took some unravelling after the year's interval since the last, but all became clearer as the second half progressed. As for the 'standard dramatic method' of a 'quick wrap-up'... methinks you have been far too corrupted by the Hollywood machine, especially the holiday type movies. When the end came, I wondered how this 'on and on and on' feeling came for you? After 10 hours (in total for all 3 films) of the story, a 'quick wrap-up' would've seemd grossly inadequate. Did you have a hangover when you watched it, or maybe not buy a big enough slushy to last you through the whole movie? [ad hominen... discuss the issues, don't insult. Ed.] And Gandalf's power as I perceived it came through wisdom, not the ability to cast lightning bolts from his staff as in some Disney presentation [Forgotten the first movie already? Ed]. A wizard would have had knowledge of healing powers of plants and such, and have the ability to concoct potions for various things; be a visionary in terms of reading nature's signs... not a Copperfield of medieval times... [See the first movie. Ed] I loved it, and would gladly recommend it!

Chloe Roberts (14): I think some scenes weren't portrayed properly, as they were in the book, but in my opinion Lord of the Rings is a very hard book to film in a way that will please everyone. I loved the books and I think they filmed it incredibly well.

Steve Hwang (13): this movie touches your heart
especially when frodo leaves his friends
this movie can not be described with negative words

Ron Wang (17): ''The film kicks off with a segment that properly belonged in the first movie, showing how Gollum got and lost the ring. Presumably this was meant to serve as a kind of ''previously on Lord of the Rings'' flash-back intro''

This is a reminder of the corruptive power the ring has on people. And also to shed some light on the Gollum character. They chose to have this scene in the 3rd movie because Gollum remained somewhat a mystery throughout the 1st two films, they wanted to satisfy the viewers' curiosity about the character. Why does it belong to the 1st film, does everything have to be in chronological order?

''Could not remember all that had happened in the last movie a year ago''

Shouldn't you at least go and rent FotR and TTT before watching this? Not knowing the storyline will hinder the enjoyment of the story, which is obvious in your case. [Sigh. They should have had recaps. Ed.]

''There were lots of battle scenes which were impressive, but so what? We've seen computer-generated battle scenes before.''

Have you seen any movie with battle scenes as majestic as the ones in this film? I think not. [Star Wars. Gladiator. Braveheart. The Patriot. Your opinion may vary. Ed]

Melanie Kimberling (15): I like the movie but parts of it was a lot different than the book. But if I had not read the book first I would have loved the movie.

Duncan Rodgers (27): Perhaps the best of all three in the trilogy.

Thomas Wolf (21): Great Special Effects, of course. But it's only popular because it cost a fortune, for that thumbs up, but everything else, including the book, 10 thumbs down.

Peter Alabaster (31): It is puerile. Every movie needs a good badie, take Star Wars and Darth Vader. Here all we have is some big eye that sends all his troops off in the wrong direction at the most critical moment. The scenes chop and change so much that there is no chance for character development. Peter Jackson has failed to bring the pathos of the books to the screen and has resorted to the over dramatic making every scene life or death. However this wears thin when no one dies. I agree with Ian.

Melanie Diesel (34): This is movie making at its best. Peter Jackson has succeeded in bringing the world's best loved book to the screen. Frodo, Sam, Gandalf, Elrond, Merry, Pippin and Saruman are brought vividly to life on screen. The acting is top-notch, the script almost faultless and the cinematography awesome. But, great as it is, it does have it's faults — Where is Goldberry and Tom Bombadil? Why does Faramir's character change in the film? Why does Frodo abandon Sam? Why no scouring of the Shire and what happens to Saruman?

Roger Owen (54): I found the whole series rather ordinary. It was like a schoolboy essay. We went there and we did this, then we went there and we did that and then we went... you get the picture! Although special effects were spectacular, character development was thin to non-existent (No Oscar nominations for acting!), and there was little thematic depth. And, like Ian, I found myself laughing out loud at the ridiculous spider scene! So there are those who agree with you Ian, and even if we don't, please write what you think anyway...

Mitchell (20): Ok, to make a few comments about your review:

''Which raises another question — why does a powerful wizard have to resort to swordplay instead of using magical powers to deal with the situation? Perhaps these questions are answered in the book.'' - First of all, you don't even have had to have read the book to understand why this does not happen. I find your comment here to clearly show that you really have no understanding of the story at all. If you compare the story of this trilogy, and this movie in particular say to every movie of this year, I think anyone with any common sense at all could agree that it has the best story, quite obviously. But besides that, to help you maybe understand; firstly maybe you must watch the previous two movies again to help you understand Gandalf's purpose in the story. For it is not his purpose to fight the battle for the humans, but to be more of a guide and the one whom the other main characters look to for wisdom and strength.

Secondly — ''Even more importantly, why didn't Frodo (or Gandalph, for that matter) just hop onto one of those giant flying eagles and fly to the volcano, instead of *walking* all the way there?'' - I am rather disappointed with your comment here, you must obviously own moviesite.co.za in order to be able to post reviews with a comment like that; because reading a comment like that makes the reader think twice about whether they are reading something written by a 5 year old. [Sigh. Enough with the insults.. Ian] CLEARLY once again you show you have NO understanding for the story at all, and I pleed [sic] with you to please go watch the movies again. [If I can't understand the movie from one viewing, there must be something wrong with it. I'm not stupid. Ian] Clearly the power of the eye of Sauron is talked about throughout the entire movie, so flying a giant eagle straight into Mordor wouldn't exactly seem logical to anyone? [It is to me. Walking takes ages, giving the stupid eye plenty of time to find you. Hop on an eagle with a wizard to ward off the dragons, fly there, get the job done. But that's only a short story, not a nine-hour epic. Ian] Yet for you it seems to make sense to fly a giant eagle straight into mordor and actually believe you could accomplish your mission that way. Please do not forget, the burden is Frodos to bare. [Another stupid plot point. Wizard should have done the difficult job himself. Ian]

Next — ''The spider sequence was straight out of a 1950s B-grade horror movie.'' - I guess all I can say here is I once again pleed [sic] with you to GO WATCH a 1950s B grade horror movie, and then come back here and actually try tell readers that they can be compared in anyway. [See comment from Roger above - Ian]

Next — ''After the climax of the ring being destroyed, the standard dramatic method is to have a brief ''wrap-up'' scene and roll the end credits. Instead, the movie went on and on and on, leading to a confusing scene where it appears that Frodo was ''dying'' — in some sort of mythical way — sailing off on the last boat to leave. This ended the movie on a perplexing note for me.'' - I am almost crying at what you write. I can't actually believe that someone would publicly display what little understanding they have for a film they just saw. How do you get the impression that Frodo is dieing [sic] in some way? [Ask Peter Jackson or Tolkien. Ian] It is so clear from when the hobbits arrive back in Hobbiton that Frodo is uncomfortable there [clear? - Ian], and as a viewer you yourself can feel that he does not belong there anymore as he has been changed forever [?? Ian]. This is CLEARLY spoken about AND explained in the film, so I don't understand how ANYONE could think otherwise.

There were a few other things I disagreed with in your review, but I think I have commented on the main topics. To wrap up, I did want to just write ''hate mail'' straight up, and just insult you. But I thought I would rather write something constructive and hopefully try bring an understanding of the movie that I honestly believe you do not have. I agree that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I tell you this — I believe that what have written here is not based solely on your opinion but more on the fact that you do not understand the movie and the story. So I hope that what I have written will aid you in bringing about some form of understanding to The Lord Of The Rings. [Yes, you highlight how silly the story is :-). I guess I'm just too stupid to understand such complicated movies. Ian].

Roba (26): The last 20 min took longer than the rest of the entire movie. I really saw no point or necessity for any of it. Yet it was an artistic masterpiece. I was always entertained, just wish Gandalf had a bit more power and didn't need to swing a crude piece of rusted metal, such as a sword, around to kill an average orc. I mean have a heart, he IS a powerfull wizard...

Tian Taljard (29): I thought this was a good movie. I have read the books; I agree that without the books the story line might be a bit confusing BUT since I already knew the story the audio and visual experience the movie offered was just brilliant.


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