Synopsis: In the final film of the trilogy Frodo and his companions complete their dangerous journey to destroy the final ring, but not without a great deal of death and drama along the way.
Description: As Frodo, Sam and Gollum attempt to cross the boundary into Mordor and destroy Sauron’s infamous ring, Aragorn and their other companions find themselves fighting a great battle at the gates of the city of Gondor where Aragorn is the rightful king. Yet with even a ghost army at their backs Aragorns army are hugely outnumbered, the fate of all Middle Earth lies in the hands of two hobbits very far from home.
Review: In the most emotional movie of the trilogy Frodo and Sam find themselves tricked into endangering their lives even further as they cross into Mordor. This part of the movie is far darker than any aspect of its predecessors and will not sit well with anyone who is even a little uncomfortable around spiders. Whilst Aragorn’s descent into the mountains that holds the spirits of a deserting army is also a dark and creepy experience, making this movie the least family friendly of the trilogy. Beyond this, Aragorn’s ascent to King and the return of Arwen Evenstar into his life actually creates a rather complex romantic sub-plot which is likely to go straight over the head of a younger audience.
Other aspects of the movie, which largely stays true to Tolkien’s original material, that gives this movie a creepier and foreboding edge is the depiction of Denethor, the Steward of Gondor, whose distress upon the death of his son and disbelief at the return of the true king is genuinely quite harrowing and his behaviour quite disturbing.
This is not to say that children will not enjoy the movie as it continues to give the tremendous visuals, excellent performances and return of these beloved characters of its predecessors.
The movie’s biggest flaw has become some what of a joke since it’s release as after Frodo finally destroys the ring (by allowing it, still on his severed finger, to fall into the fires of Mount Doom clutched in Gollum’s hands) the movie has several short scenes that provide closure to it’s individual story lines; these include the sight of Bilbo and Frodo leaving for the Undying Lands with Gandalf and the elves whilst Sam remains in the Shire to marry his sweetheart and keep Frodo’s story alive. This repeated cutting makes the ending of the movie somewhat anti-climatic, not because it lacks a sense of drama, but rather because after a while the drama becomes tediously frequent.
This doesn’t spoil the film however; rather it feels like a necessary evil in order to complete the trilogy properly. Utterly brilliant and the winner of eleven Academy Awards, it is no surprise that The Return of the King was the third highest grossing movie of all time until only a few months ago when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 surpassed it.