9.6

The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)


With Saruman beaten and his army decimated, the fellowship must move their fight to the Kingless land of Gondor. With the war raging nobody is free from it, not even Hobbits, as Frodo and Sam get closer to the mountain of fire, but only once they get across Mordor. Winning […]

With Saruman beaten and his army decimated, the fellowship must move their fight to the Kingless land of Gondor. With the war raging nobody is free from it, not even Hobbits, as Frodo and Sam get closer to the mountain of fire, but only once they get across Mordor.

Winning the Oscar for Best Picture has led this film to stand out from the crowd but what makes it truly deserve this honour is the fine detail that goes into the completed film. As well as focusing on the minutiae of the characters performances, it is the spectacle of the armies that raises it above other nominees. Creating a crowd behavioural computer system for the battle sequences led to extreme realism as well as heart pumping action; that resulted in countless impressive moments like during the epic Pelennor Fields battle where one short dynamic shot shows an impressive 43 Orcs being killed.

This hardcore action is beautifully counterbalanced with the story of Frodo and Sam where extreme close ups are lingered upon; this makes the scenes appear more realistic and the characters more emotionally captivating. A great use of this is when Gollum manages to split the two hobbits up, with Jackson using an elongated shot of Sam’s teary eyes to frame the moment exquisitely.

Situations can appear extremely similar when working with a vast selection of character’s traits, but Peter Jackson highlights these differences and subverts the source material. This is the case with, King Théoden and Lord Denethor, who have both lost a son and have a surviving male heir that doesn’t mean as much to them. Denethor, played sympathetically by John Noble, loses all hope, falls into a depression and is portrayed as a villain, whereas Théoden, played powerfully by Bernard Hill, comes out of a similar depression and rides for death and glory as a hero. Jackson highlights this by delaying the death of Théoden’s son from its original place in the novel therefore forcing the audience to consider this connection.

 

THE VERDICT

Plenty of battle sequences ensure that action junkies are satisfied and a story of platonic love between friends gives the film a friendly, relatable feel. Return of the King is certainly worthy of the eleven Oscars it took.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Extended Edition) [Blu-ray] [2003] (Blu-ray)

Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Andy Serkis
Rating: Suitable for 12 years and over

New From: £13.61 GBP In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock