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


run time: 201 mins
rated: 14A
considered: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchette, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Sean Bean, Ian Holm, Andy Serkis, Bernard Hill, Karl Urban, Bruce Hopkins, John Noble, Miranda Otto

movie summary: Gandalf and Aragon led the World of Men against Sauron’s army to draw his gaze from Frodo and Sam as they approach Mount Doom with the One Ring. (www.imdb.com)

In the previous film, The Two Towers, the evil Saruman the White (Christopher Lee) was defeated by an army of humans and trees led by Aragon (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), Théoden (Bernard Hill), Gamling (Bruce Hopkins), Eomer (Karl Urban), Merry (Dominic Monaghan), Pippin (Billy Boyd), and Treebeard. The Dark Lord Sauron may have lost his Orc army’s human leader, but the Nazgûl army continues to grow and continue their domination of Middle-Earth. Frodo, Sam, and Gollum are also closer to their final destination, Mount Doom, but have encountered many problems and setbacks along the way.

After the battle, most of the fellowship ends up in Edoras, which is in Rohan, when they figured out Sauron is sending all his creatures to Minas Tirith to defeat the humans. Gandalf the White (Ian McKellen) knows that these first battles were beginning and begs for help from Denethor (John Noble), Steward of Gondor, who brushes him off. Pippin then sneaks past the guards and lights the distress beacons to send a message to Théoden and Aragon to prepare the Rohirrim for war. Elrond (Hugo Weaving) appears and informs Aragon that with the sword of Andúril, he must meet with the Army of the Dead, who owe their allegiance to the heir of Isildur (Aragon), for help.

The evil Orc armies reach Minas Tirith, where they seem to control the battlefield. The Witch-King is out for total destruction and is about to end the siege when the Rohirrim armies show up and send the Orcs retreating. After a brief moment of relief, the Orc army is back with Haradrim warriors and their monstrous elephants. The human troops are pushed back on their heels, while Merry and Éowyn (Miranda Otto) can kill the Witch-King, which just pisses off the Orcs even more. Aragon, Legolas, and Gimli arrive with the Army of the Dead to slay any and all Orcs.

After the war of wars is ended with good conquering evil, Aragon rushes his troops to the gates of Mordor, which is a tactical diversion so that Frodo, Sam, and Gollum can enter into Mordor and climb Mount Doom. Unaware of the war that has raged on for them to climb the mountain, Frodo and Sam have a huge fight when Frodo is in a bad mood because of the One Ring’s powers. He tells Sam he doesn’t need him and that he should go home. When he continues down the trail, Frodo is captured by a giant spider, and then a group of Orcs before Sam reappears and rescues him. Gollum has been lurking in the shadows the whole time, waiting for his moment to kill Frodo and take back the ring.

Frodo is so weak that Sam has to carry him up the mountain to destroy the ring at this point in the journey. Frodo has a hard time throwing the ring into the fire pit inside the lava-spewing mountain when Gollum attacks and tries to take it back. After a lengthy struggle, Gollum gets the ring only to fall into the lava destroying the ring. Frodo and Sam now must rush out of the core of the mountain because it will blow. Outside, Mordor crumbles, and all the evil armies disappear. The good forces lead by humans, hobbits, dwarfs, elves, and trees had overcome all the evil in the world, and finally, there was an opportunity for peace in Middle-Earth.

my thoughts: The third film in this blockbuster franchise was the best of the series. In the previous movies, it was teased that the war to end all actions were coming with numerous battles, and when everything finally broke loose and the fighting began, lots of humans and creatures lost their lives. There were so many new places to defend, and thousands of troops came out of nowhere, which also seems to apply to the evil army.

The good forces needed a leader, someone with a rich history and royal bloodline, which left Aragon to step up and save Middle-Earth. When I watched the first and second movies, I never imagined that Viggo Mortensen would be the human hero of this whole saga. Don’t get me wrong, he earned it by sacrificing himself numerous times and going to dark places to get the resources he needed to win; I just didn’t see him being the King. As much as Frodo is the ultimate hero of everything for his bravery to carry the ring and nearly die like 18 times on the quest to destroy the ring, Middle-Earth would have never been saved it wasn’t for the team effort of everyone. Every team needs a captain and assistant captains who would have been Aragon, Frodo, and Gandalf.

I wonder where J.R.R. Tolkien got the idea to create a Middle-Earth and write a long story about good conquering evil. It took some time, but I am now a fan of this action-packed adventure series. The characters he imagined are very unique and creative. All of them have their own unique backgrounds and, despite their differences, come together for the greater good. He created characters we can all relate to on some level or another and root for to win. There’s a little bit of Aragon, Frodo, Sam, Gandalf, Legolas, Gimli, Merry, and Pippin in all of us, and we would all serve those kinds of roles if such an epic adventure ever really took place.

my rating: 9 out of 10

One thought on “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)

  1. All of the jokes about this having about twenty different endings is much deserved, however, still doesn’t matter all that much because this is exactly what one fan could want with an ending to a beloved trilogy. Shame that Jackson had to screw it all up and go back to Middle Earth, as if the money from these flicks weren’t enough. Good review Ryan.

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