While Frodo & Sam continue to approach Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring, unaware of the path Gollum is leading them, the former Fellowship aid Rohan & Gondor in a great battle in the Pelennor Fields, Minas Tirith and the Black Gates as Sauron wages his last war against Middle-Earth.
Peter Jackson waited until the last installment in the greatest trilogy in film history to pull out all the stops. Return of the King was already the longest of the three films, and with an additional 50 minutes of footage added, the extended version clocks in at and insane 4 hours and 10 minutes- but, of course, it’s 4 hours and 10 minutes of the most beautiful cinematography from the final installment of the most unbelievably epic film series you’ll most likely ever lay eyes on. As with the other two films the extra scenes in the extended edition are a welcome addition to the film and make the theatrical release pale in comparison. The most important new scene to many fans that has an inclusion on the extended edition is the resolution of the Saruman storyline. Many fans, including this one, were a bit disappointed, to say the least, to hear that the Saruman scene would be cut from the theatrical release which would leave the Saruman storyline unresolved and just kind of hanging out there- more controversy was also raised when actor Christopher Lee complained in the press about having his only appearance in the film edited out.
It may be a blasphemous statement to make, but in some ways, the films actually outperform Tolkien’s original novels. Apart from the obvious being that you actually can actually see Middle Earth in all its untouched beauty and glory (however, many could argue that nothing on screen could compare to one’s imagination), there is also an emotional intensity that is achieved in the films that is a bit more understated in the book. It’s as if the relationships between the characters, the fight against evil and to save Middle Earth is a bit more potent in the films. I would attribute this to flawless action all around and beautiful, emotionally charged cinematography and story-telling fueled by the vision of Peter Jackson. It may be a grand statement to make, but it remains one that is undeniably true- Jackson has eclipsed, by leaps and bounds, the direction and storytelling prowess of Stephen Spielberg. It’s hard to recall many films that perfected every conceivable facet of the film from casting, to acting, to the writing, and direction- it’s quite a daunting task to come up with a complaint about The Lord of the Rings trilogy aside from wishing that Jackson would have started with The Hobbit giving us four films in the series. The Return of the King is the one film to rule them all and the ultimate climax and conclusion to the finest bit of fantasy film-making in history.
Review by Emma Loggins
Official site: http://www.lordoftherings.net/
Buy on Amazon: Lord of The Rings- The Return of the King (Limited Edition)