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By Clint Morris | December 18, 2003

Peter Jackson is so much more the filmmaker than George Lucas. Granted, Lucas use to be a good filmmaker – before he had money – but when you put Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy side by side with Lucas’s Star Wars prequel trilogy, the latter’s a mere pebble being skimmed across a huge mass stream that the New Zealand filmmaker has crafted. Whilst Lucas’s back-story of Anakin Skywalker has been just as highly anticipated, the end result is an inferior, rather lifeless series of films – nothing unlike the original Star Wars trilogy which incongruously, resembles Jackson’s grand series. There are some great special effects in the new Star Wars flicks but other than that, there’s nothing much else. Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy on the other hand is seemingly perfect. Extremely well written with larger than life landscape, fantastically created sets and characters, as well as spot-on pacing, they’re an immaculate bunch of films.
The third and final chapter in Jackson’s take on J.R.R Tolkien’s classic books, “Return of the King” picks up where The Two Towers left off. Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) are approaching Mount Doom to destroy the ever-so-threatening ‘Ring’. As we discovered at the end of the last film though, Gollum (Andy Serkis) has plans to get the powerful jewel back on his digits, and begins to lead the duo – whose relationship is now highly strained – down the wrong path.
Meantime, the Fellowship aid Rohan and Gondor in a great battle in the Pelennor Fields, Minas Tirith and the Black Gates as the evil Sauron wages his last war against Middle-Earth. Heroes will rise in the most unexpected of forms.
You’ll be hard pressed looking for a flaw in “Return of the King”, it’s an immaculate end to one of the best film trilogies ever. It’s extremely well structured, has some great characters and some wonderful moments. And at three and a half hours, you definitely get your money – and entertainment’s – worth.
There are some slow spots, but the only reason you’ll notice them is because – besides the fact that the movie runs quite long – there’s so many eventful moments. Any quieter, more chit-chattier moment is obviously going to stick out like a cow that offloads honey. For instance, the last half of the movie doesn’t stop for breath. There are some great battle scenes featuring a ghost army, larger-than-life elephants and villains of all shapes and sizes, as well as some remarkable final bows – Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee has some grand scenes towards the films finale as does Miranda Otto, as warrior princess Eowyn – that’ll tug at the heart strings and initiate a clap here and there.
A highlight of the series though has been the character of Gollum/Smeagol. Whilst George Lucas made many a new enemy with his bothersome CGI Creation, Jar Jar Binks, Andy Serkis’s diminutive computer conception is a delight. He’s amusing, appealing and very, very entertaining. The fine attention to detail helps remarkably.
Besides, the look of the film is guaranteed to keep anyone glued to the screen. It looks amazing. The sets are just outstanding, and the work that’s gone into these films is splashed across every angle of each frame.
Besides the multiple endings that seem to occupy the last reel of the film (maybe Jackson found it hard to let go?), “Return of the King” is a masterful moment in cinema. Jackson has created a film that’s deemed to be liked – even loved – by almost anyone of all ages. It’s destined to become a classic series. May the story live on for many, many more years. Difficult to say whether Lucas’s new Star Wars trilogy will do the same.
I tell you what though, I’m the Lord of my Ring, and I don’t know if I can stand putting it through another few hours like that. As great as it was, my rear end’s thankful it’s over.
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