The final confrontation between the forces of good and evil fighting for control of the future of Middle-earth. Frodo and Sam reach Mordor in their quest to destroy the One Ring, while Aragorn leads the forces of good against Sauron's evil army at the stone city of Minas Tirith.Written by
Facts and numbers about the trilogy: Over six million feet of film was shot during production; 48,000 swords, axes, shields, and make-up prosthetics; 20,602 background actors cast; 19,000 costumes made by the wardrobe department; 10,000 crowd participants at a New Zealand cricket game who made orc army grunts; 2,400 behind-the-scenes crew members at the height of production; 1,600 pairs of prosthetic Hobbit feet created; 250 horses used in one scene; 180 computer visual effects artists employed; one hundred fourteen total speaking roles; one hundred real locations in New Zealand used for backdrops; fifty tailors, cobblers, designers, and others in the wardrobe department; thirty actors and actresses trained to speak fictional dialects and languages; seven total years of development for all three movies. See more »
When at the Black Gate, the army of men are surrounded by Orcs, then after Aragorn's "For Frodo" line, they charge across the screen from left to right. When they are running, in a shot where Gandalf is seen on the very right of the screen, you can see through some gaps and there are no Orcs, just an open field. See more »
Smeagol, I've got one! I've got a fish, Smeag. Smeagol!
Pull it in. Go on. Go on. Go on. Pull it in.
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The credits are accompanied by preproduction sketches that appear along the left and right sides of the screen. The final sketch, in the center of the screen, is The One Ring. See more »
In some prints, the subtitles during Aragorn and Elrond's conversation (I give hope to men, I have kept none for myself) are missing. See more »
Not only the best of the "Lord of the Rings" series, but sets a new standard of epic filmmaking.
Saying that this film starts where `Two Towers' left off is somewhat misleading, for the film starts a great distance from the walls of Helm's Deep. `Return of the King' opens with a flashback of Smeagol (Andy Serkis) obtaining the one ring of power and an origin of his deterioration into the creature Gollum. This opening recaptures an emphasis that was somewhat lost within the epic battles of `Two Towers,' at that's the ring. The first installment, `The Fellowship of the Ring,' provided heaps of exposition on the ring's importance and influence, and in `Return of the King,' we see it pay off, big time.
After the armies of Isengard have been defeated due to an allegiance between Theoden (Bernard Hill), the king of Rohan, and the elves, the main threat to middle earth is now concentrated in the kingdom of Mordor, controlled by the dark lord Sauron. Sauron has turned his eye towards the realm of Gondor, the last free kingdom of men, and the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) must warn Denethor (John Noble), Steward of Gondor of the impending attack, while Aragorn (Viggo Mortenson), heir to the throne of Gondor, and Theoden gather men to aid against the armies of Mordor. The dark lord Sauron needs only to regain the one ring of power to conquer all of middle earth, and two hobbits, Frodo (Elijah Wood) the ring-bearer and Sam (Sean Astin), must continue their journey, directed by Gollum, to Mount Doom, the only place where the ring can be destroyed. Got all that? If not, you need to bone up on your `Lord of the Rings' before expecting to follow this film.
Since all three epics were filmed simultaneously, each individually has the feel of being part of a larger picture - except for this one. `The Return of the King' is just too big, the most epic of a set of epic films. Now that director Peter Jackson has brilliantly constructed the characters and plotlines throughout the first two films, he puts them to use.
All of the characters have their best moments within this film. The pair of mischievous hobbits, Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd), are no longer the tree ornaments they were from `Two Towers,' but are split-up, and take their characters in completely new directions. Aragorn, played with an unmatched sense of honor by Viggo Mortenson, is about to meet his destiny as the future king of all men, while Andy Serkis continues his expert portrayal of Gollum (Serkis' provided not only the voice of Gollum, but also assisted during production by acting out the scenes of the computer-generated character with his fellow actors).
However, the real acting triumph of the film is Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins. He continues his descent into corruption with an incredible talent that many could not pull off. Wood's performance is so critical to the film because it determines the ring's power to corrupt, which, needless to say, is absolute.
The first two films established Jackson as an incredible visionary, shooting vast landscapes from his native New Zealand. With `Return of the King,' Jackson really gets a chance to show off. With, hands down, the most beautiful visuals of the trilogy, Jackson makes `Return of the King' a gorgeous feast for the eyes, while never resorting to McG level over-the-topness. Jackson stays very grounded in his characters, not letting the effects tell the story, but only assist the wonderful dialogue and characters. Think of `Return' as a mix of `Fellowship' and `Two Towers,' with enough action and character development worthy of ending a film event of this magnitude.
The bottom line, fans of the films will not be disappointed. Hardcore Tolkien lovers might be upset by plot changes and interpretations made by Jackson and the other writers, however, it is unrealistic to expect a completely true adaptation of the novels, being that film is an entirely different medium. Despite the alterations, Jackson consistently stays true to the major themes and ideas from the original text, while adding some of the finest filmmaking ever put to screen. `The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King' is one of the most finely tuned and cinematically perfect films ever made. Not only the best of the trilogy, but a crowning achievement in epic filmmaking.
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