The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

"I guess that concludes negotiations."

“I guess that concludes negotiations.”

What can I say about The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the epic conclusion to Peter Jackson’s epic adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkein’s epic fantasy adventure, and this week’s Saturday Replay? Well, to start with, it certainly won’t be part of my Winter Sorts series. In fact, with the extended blu-ray edition, (that I watched today,) clocking in at almost four and a half hours in length, it’s pretty much the antithesis of a short film.

Of course, it’s totally worth it. The film is so incredibly rich in character, in plot, in detail, that it really needs the time it takes in order to feel complete.

While I’m somewhat torn as to which film is the best film in the series, I’m pretty sure that when push comes to shove, I’d go with Return of the King. It is, after all, the only volume with an ending. That said, it’s also sometimes the toughest to watch. In addition to its massive running time, much of the Sam/Frodo/Gollum storyline isn’t a lot of fun. It’s fantastic drama, and absolutely integral to the plot, but watching the slow deterioration of Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), is more than a little bit depressing. Of course, in a lot of ways this plotline is all about Sam (Sean Astin) getting stronger as Frodo gets weaker, but that only makes some of the moments, like when Gollum tricks Frodo into sending Sam away, all the more difficult to watch.

Meanwhile, over in the other movie, John Nobel’s Denathor also provides more than his share of aggravating moments as well. Of course, its necessary for things to get dark and depressing so that the victory at the end can mean something, and fortunately, when the ending finally arrives, it means alot.

There has been plenty of pixels spawned over the perceived multiple-endings to this film, and to be fair, the ending is long and somewhat drawn-out, but we’re talking about the conclusion to a twelve-hour epic here, there’s a lot to wind down from.

Honestly, anything I have to say about this movie won’t begin to do the film justice. Suffice to say, it’s an absolute essential film, and a clear-cut Must See.

[The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) – Directed by Peter Jackson – Rated PG-13 for intense epic battle sequences and frightening images]

OM|ED Rating: Must See