Review: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (Extended Edition, 2003)

the lord of the rings: the return of the king

When they say extended, they mean extended!

Screenplay By: Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, & Fran Walsh
Directed By: Peter Jackson

I’m going to get my one major gripe with The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King out of the way right off the bat. There really was no need for the six or seven fade to black’s in lieu of an actual ending. I understand the need that Peter Jackson felt to provide closure for all of the key players, but I felt that closure was achieved at the first fade to black. Maybe I could see pushing it to the fade to black right after the coronation. But, the multiple endings did wear on me, so much so that I became frustrated with each successive ending. There’s nothing more frustrating than a great film that falters in its ending, and The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King is such a movie.

Outside of the endings I don’t have any other issues with The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King. It was nice to return to the characters I have come to love over the course of the first two films. More than anything it felt wonderful to get to spread the wings of my imagination once again. Whether it was the massive oliphaunts, the trolls, or the castle designs I loved the imagination on display in The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King. The entire series delivered on the imagination front and the final film was no different. When a film wows my imagination that film sticks with me more and brings a bigger smile to my face. The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King deftly stimulated my imagination and left me smiling from ear to ear.

I could talk about the acting, the setting, the CG, the practical effects, the directions, and so much more. But, to talk about all of that stuff would detract from the amazing nature of the film. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a film that left my jaw on the floor. There’s something about a great fantasy or science fiction film that simply gets to the heart of what makes me a happy camper. There were large stretches of The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King where I repeated, “wow, that was awesome,” over and over again. Watching the extended edition after so many years since I last watched the theatrical cut allowed me to appreciate how awesome the film was again. And yes, I do realize that saying something is awesome isn’t exactly hardcore film criticism. But, you know what, there are times when awesome is awesome and that’s all there is to it. I could unleash a thesaurus assault, but awesome does the job just fine. My jaw was on the floor for most of The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King, and that was due to how awesome I found the entire production.

I can no longer say that The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King is an end to a great trilogy. I recently watched The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and it is a welcome prelude to the trilogy. But, no matter what I can still write that The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King is a great film and a great finale to the first trio of films in the J.R.R. Tolkien universe of films. I love me some fantasy that gets my imagination rolling and my awesome meter going into overdrive. Th multiple endings were a problem, but on the whole I was happy with Mr. Jackson’s film. The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King is a great film, and a film that made me happy.

Rating:

***1/2

Cheers,
Bill

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