out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
|*Also starring: ||Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Bernard Hill, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, John Noble, Hugo Weaving, Liv Tyler, Karl Urban||
Review by Susan Granger
4 stars out of 4
New Zealand director Peter Jackson's final chapter is the best of his
Middle Earth trilogy, based on J.R.R. Tolkien's classic sci-fi/fantasy - and
the film to beat at this year's Oscars!
The 3 1/2-hour epic begins where "The Two Towers" ended. While the naive,
innocent hobbits, Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) and his loyal pal Sam Gamgee
(Sean Astin), are trudging with The Ring toward Mount Doom in Mordor, led by
the treacherous Gollum (a CGI-creation, voiced by Andy Serkis), their cohorts
are preparing for a great battle against the fearsome, evil legions of Sauron,
led by the Orcs with their colossal Oliphaunts and reptilian Fell Beasts.
Valiant Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), the Elf archer Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and
the Dwarf Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) join with the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen)
to defend Gondor's city of Minis Tirith. Arwen (Liv Tyler) and Galadriel (Cate
Blanchett) exert their ethereal influence, yet Frodo must face the peril of the
giant spider Shelob, as Aragon enlists the aid of the ephemeral Army of the
Dead, and Eowyn of Rohan (Miranda Otto) becomes a mighty warrior.
Cleverly, Jackson and his co-writers (Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens) build
up an intimate, emotional attachment to these characters, vividly developing
their rivalries and relationships, even revealing the Gollum's backstory, amid
the tumultuous action. Grant Major's ingenious production design and Andrew
Lesnie's cinematography are spectacular. Despite the fact that it's at least
1/2 hour too long, on the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Lord of the Rings:
Return of the King" is a towering, transcendental 10. It's an enormously
exciting, exquisite, even exhausting, cinematic experience. Definitely one of
the 10 BEST MOVIES of 2003.
Copyright © 2003 Susan Granger
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