Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Friday, January 30, 2009


LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING (2004). Director: Peter Jackson.

At first it may seem that this is a film – like the first two in the series – that can best be appreciated by Tolkien addicts who are familiar with every page of the books and re-read them repeatedly. However, once the movie gets going – and if you pay attention and don't resist its pull – anyone can see that this is quite a cinematic achievement, possibly better than the first two films put together. Some might suggest that it panders too much to the alleged glory of war while others might see it as saluting the nobility of fighting evil against impossible odds. The spectacular battle scenes have enough compelling and fantastic aspects to keep them from becoming tiresome: the attack of the giant elephants crushing everything underfoot; the catapult of massive rock slabs (and an earlier sequence when severed human heads are catapulted over a wall); the great dragons attacking the soldiers on horseback and carrying some of them off; the Army of the Dead enlisted by Aragorn etc. Of course, there are so many players and forces that it's sometimes hard to remember who's fighting whom. The towering rock stairs that lead up to Gandor is a nice touch, but the most horrific bit has to do with the giant spider, Shelub, who nearly makes a meal of Frodo (Elijah Wood). Glistening and beautifully articulated, this gruesome, gray monster creeps up silently on Frodo (in a very chilling sequence) and stabs him with his hook. Then follows a very effective scene with Sean Astin battling the creature to the death. After two earlier attempts Peter Jackson's direction seems more assured, and the effects work is simply outstanding throughout. Some magnificent sets go by too quickly, however, to be fully appreciated. Gollem/Smeagol remains a fascinating creation, and the acting by the entire cast is first-rate. Howard Shore's music is extremely effective this time out. The movie also features some honest sentiment – was there a dry eye in the house when Frodo took his last voyage out of Middle Earth?

Verdict: Despite some problematic aspects, this is very nice indeed. ***1/2.

1 comment:

download movies free said...

Its didn't disappointed at all as the other trilogies do so. Special effects used in this movie are magnificent. After watching this one out I have many favorites scenes of this movie that I can never forget.