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

Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Ring trilogy is concluded in the final film translation of Tolkien’s masterpiece. The surviving members of the Fellowship are scattered all across Middle-earth and Sauron is preparing an all-out assault on mankind. This was the first movie since Titanic to make over a billion dollars and it won eleven Oscars. Not too shabby.

Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) and the faithful Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) are slowly but surely making their way to Mount Doom to destroy the Ring. Their treacherous guide Gollum (Andy Serkis) is leading them into a trap.

Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli (Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, and John Rhys-Davies) find Merry and Pippin (Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd) chilling in the flooded ruins of Isengard. After a brief and happy reunion, Pippin picks up Sauruman’s palantír and Sauron invades his mind. Gandalf is able to deduce that Sauron will attack Minas Tirith and that Sauron thinks Pippin has the Ring.

Gandalf and Pippin head out to Gondor and try to warn Denethor, the Steward of Gondor and Boromir and Faramir’s dad. Gandalf recommends that he asks Rohan for help, but he refuses because he is stupid and stubborn. Pippin lights a beacon and Aragorn, Theodan and his Rohirrim answer the call.

Elrond (Hugo Weaving) briefly visits Aragorn and presents him with his sword, Andúril, and Aragorn accepts his destiny as Isildur’s heir. He also realizes that they don’t have enough warriors to fight Sauron’s forces. His only chance to find the King of the Dead and get all his ghost fighters to join his side.

There’s a huge battle at Minas Tirith. There’s tons of orcs and men and massive oliphants and CG fighting. It’s not looking good for Gondor, but then the Rohirrim show up and the battle continues. And then when it’s not looking good for Gondor and the Rohirrim, Aragorn shows up with the Army of the Dead and they win the battle.

Gollum is leading Sam and Frodo closer and closer to Shelob the giant hobbit-eating spider. Gollum manipulates Frodo into thinking that Sam wants the Ring for himself and that he can’t be trusted. Frodo tells Sam to fuck off and go home. Frodo keeps following Gollum and enters Shelob’s lair. The spider gets him and it looks like he’s pretty boned, but Sam shows up and fights Shelob off, but it looks like Frodo is dead. Some orcs come along, find Frodo, and it turns out that he’s just paralyzed and they take him to Sauron’s fortress. Sam manages to free Frodo, and the two of them continue their trek to Mount Doom.

Aragorn and a ragtag army make their way to the Black Gate of Mordor with the intention of distracting Sauron while Frodo destroys the Ring. Just as Frodo is about to throw the Ring into the fire, he gets attacked by Gollum. They struggle and fight and Gollum and the Ring are briefly reunited as they fall into the lava pit. The Ring is destroyed but the movie is not over.

This movie has like 5 endings. You think it’s over when Sam and Frodo get rescued by Eagles. But it’s not. You think it’s over when Aragorn gets crowned King. But it’s not. You think it’s over when everyone bows down to the four hobbits. But it’s not. You think it’s over when the hobbits finally get back home to the Shire. But it’s not. You think it’s over when Frodo finally leaves Middle-earth with the elves. But you aren’t sure. And you are relieved when the credits finally roll.

This movie has a lot of differences from the book. All that business with Shelob takes place in the second book. Aragorn gets his sword in the first book. There’s a bunch of stuff missing. But it’s a movie and not a book and the movies left shit out but they did the books justice by capturing the feel of them. It’s a satisfying conclusion to a great trilogy. It didn’t deserve all those Oscars though.

Critically Rated at 13/17

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