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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Review

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by AVForums May 1, 2004

    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Review
    Following on directly from the events
    depicted in The Two Towers, the fate
    of Middle-earth still hangs in the balance.
    Saruman may have been defeated, but the
    forces of Mordor are preparing to wipe
    out the race of man.
    To put an end to all this nonsense
    Gandalf (Ian McKellen) must head to
    Minas Tirith to rally the city's steward
    Denethor (John Noble), who has lost his
    way following the death of his beloved son
    Boromir; Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) must
    ride with the army of Rohan to take part in
    the biggest battle Middle-earth has ever
    seen while struggling to come to terms
    with his own destiny; in Mordor, Frodo
    (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) have
    to continue their journey to destroy the
    One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom
    under the guidance of the duplicitous
    Gollum (Andy Serkis). That's not the sort
    of thing you can do before breakfast.
    While we all expected The Return of the
    King to be something special, who knew
    that Peter Jackson's final instalment in The
    Lord of the Rings trilogy would be this
    epic, moving and extraordinary? The cast
    continue to excel in their roles, the special
    effects are breathtaking, the writing is
    impressive and the story is constantly
    gripping. Despite all of this, it's not quite
    perfect - the loss of Saruman's downfall
    and The Mouth of Sauron from the film,
    plus some slightly choppy editing in a
    couple of scenes disappoint, although
    they should be remedied when the longer
    cut arrives later in the year. Then there is
    also the question of the multiple endings,
    but personally I find the time devoted to
    them quite apt for what is in reality a
    single 549 minute movie (at least in
    the theatrically released version). Still,
    whatever its flaws, Jackson and his
    superb cast and crew, have provided a
    spectacular and fitting conclusion to the
    greatest fantasy saga ever put on the big
    screen. The only question now is whether
    we shall ever see its like again.