THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (2003) 5 star – Review by : Benjamin Kuwas @collisionfilm49
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy has managed to captivate audiences all around the world for the past decade, it was a huge commercial and critical success. The concluding chapter in the trilogy The Return of the King earned over $1 billion worldwide and won 11 Oscars including Best Picture. Everything from the first two films has built to this moment, it’s the final showdown and finally we see the conclusion to this epic saga. As audiences we’ve had the chance to go on a journey with these characters, thus seeing them develop and fleshed out. For example, we see the ring taking a deeper hold on Frodo with the help of Gollum. Frodo’s friendship with Sam is tested in this film, this perfect friendship starts to see some cracks as the corruption of the ring and Gollum’s evil intentions intensify. Frodo and Sam’s friendship is the core of the film, as their mission can only be complete with their support and universal goal to destroy evil.
Aragon is gradually accepting his true destiny as he seeks out additional forces for the final battle of Middle Earth. There is still a reluctance, but he realises the time has come to come into his own and help win the battle for mankind. It seems like a natural profession of the character because you see the journey of dealing with his heritage and trying to run away from it in the previous films, but in this film you see him use it to his advantage. This is very much Aragon’s film as it’s about the fate of the ring.
One of the strongest characters is Eowyn, she is a great representation of strength and bravery. Defying the norms of gender stereotypes and warfare, she doesn’t let her love for Rohan prevent her from trying to fight in one of the biggest battles of Middle Earth. Her connection with Merry as well, who also intends to fight, is special because by spurring him on to fight for those he loves, she also is given the confidence and reassurance that this is what she must do. Eowyn is an incredibly inspirational female character that becomes a vital part of the film.
Peter Jackson manages to successfully breathe life into these characters and add depth and substance to them, allowing the audience to truly care for them and stay with them over the course of the film. His care for narrative is evident as well as he effortlessly weaves the multiple story lines together to make one cohesive film, with the help of the amazing Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh. It truly is on an epic scale, emotionally and physically as we see one of the biggest battles at Minas Tirith, Saurons last attempt to destroy the world of Men.
Howard Shore is a genius when it comes to composing music for Middle Earth, The Oscar winning soundtrack is a perfect send off for the trilogy. The music is beautiful on so many levels, it can be sinister and yet ethereal and so many other things. The soundtrack is like a character itself, a tool to allow the audience to feel certain emotions and understand the mood of the film.
The Return of the King is an exciting, emotional, epic fantasy film soaked in depth and universal themes that have resonated with audiences across the word after all this time. The trilogy itself is a huge success story, as incredible as the third film is you need to watch the first two first because it’s like one long 12 hour epic. It’s more than a film, it’s an experience.