Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Written by: Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens (screenplay), J.R.R Tolkien (novel)
Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, and Andy Serkis
An epic by any standard and a finale to this behemoth of an undertaking, LOTR: Return of the King continues the evolution of Peter Jackson’s vision. Bigger battles, higher stakes, and a conclusion drenched in emotion wrought the team behind this movie 11 Oscars, including Best Picture. Does this make it the best one of the trilogy? Not by a long shot.
While I wouldn’t go so far as to call Return of the King a disappointment, it is the weakest film of the three. Though it is still excellent in many ways, most notably the battle sequences, it is held back by Jackson’s refusal to end it. It essentially has an ending for each Oscar it won, also putting it in contention for the longest denouement in film history. One of the biggest strengths of the Lord of the Rings movies was Jackson’s willingness to skim it down and make it fit a movie. The last 45 minutes of this one are almost painful even if it is shorter than in the book.