The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Extended (2003) Review

Posted February 21, 2016 by in Fantasy


Our Score

5/ 5

Length: 263 min
Release Date: December 14th, 2014.
Studio: New Line Cinema
MPAA Rating:
Actor: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Another masterpiece, great visuals, acting music and emotion.


I suppose you could say it takes too long to wrap everything up but for me it was all necessary to complete everyone's journey.

Spectacular battle scenes, moving character moments Return of the King is a near perfect finale to one of the greatest trilogies of all time.

by Eoin Friel
Full Article

Plot: Gandalf and Aragorn lead the World of Men against Sauron’s army to draw his gaze from Frodo and Sam as they approach Mount Doom with the One Ring.

Review: And so we reach the end of ourĀ epic journey and I don’t know what it is about the finale of this movie that makes me cry like a schoolgirl every single time! The Grey Havens scene is arguably the most moving scene for me. I know everyone loves to whine about the ending but I wouldn’t change a thing, although I still would have liked to see the scouring of the Shire.

The Return of the King is yet another masterpiece in this classic trilogy and I am so glad I lived in the time they were released. Once again, the visuals, music and performances are wonderful. Favourite character this time? Sam, the most loyal friend anyone could ever have is now a one-liner spewing action hero. He single handedly kicks Shelob’s spidery ass, rescues Frodo and is essentially the TRUE hero of the piece. By the end of this movie, the Frodo we were introduced to in Fellowship is a shadow of his former self (literally). He has basically become Gollum, needing the ring like a fix of Heroin.

I’ll never forget the first time I read the book and THAT finale in Mount Doom when Frodo fails. What a ballsy thing to do, to make him not the hero at all and to actally not give up the ring.

Frodo becomes really unsympathetic in this movie, completely ruined by the ring and his mind clouded by the lies of Smeagol/Gollum. What sympathy you had for Gollum in Part 2 is long gone as he is now just an irredeemable creature, only wanting the ring for him(them?)self.

You have truly jaw dropping battle scenes in this movie and my favourite is when Theoden arrives and gives his speech before charging heroically at the Orc army in Gondor.

One thing I’ve failed to mention in my other two reviews is the camera work, the sweeping landscape shots of beautiful New Zealand are amazing, but also the technical side with the rapid zooms in/out are like nothing you’ve ever seen. It really helps to create a genuine sense of scale.

I also think John Noble was superlative as the mad Steward of Gondor Denethor; the way he treats his son Faramir is so awful that you absolutely hate him. The scene with Pippin singing before him is fabulous and easily the highlight of Billy Boyd’s character.

In terms of the extended footage, ROTK is the one film that really benefits from the footage reinserted as there was so much missing from the book in the theatrical version. In the Extended Edition we finally get the resolution with Saruman (Christopher Lee) which was bizarrely excised from the theatrical cut; it provides much better closure for his character and is an excellent scene.

My very favourite new scene however, is The Mouth of Sauron; disgusting to look at and genuinely upsetting but fantastically realized, it was always a great scene in the book and was played to perfection. I also love the Houses of Healing scene with Liv Tyler’s beautiful song in the background. There are more scenes with Frodo/Sam/Gollum just adding to the conflict between the three. There’s a sweet little addition with Merry and Eowyn talking about how all he wants to do is help is friends; it’s a nice scene that gives a bit more meat to the character of Merry. The scene between The Witch King and Gandalf is also another fave.

Overall, I don’t care what anyone says, I love the ending, I love everything about it. These are arguably the only movies that make me feel genuine emotion from beginning to end; they made fantasy a respectable genre that could be taken seriously and enjoyed by everyone.

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About the Author

Eoin Friel

I started The Action Elite a few years ago; it's grown from strength to strength but now seems like the right time to expand. I've always loved different movie genres like horror, sci-fi and dramas so you'll see a wide range of different movies covered here.


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