Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, 2003
Directed by Peter Jackson
Nominated and Won 11 Oscars
Wins Include: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, Best Sound Mixing and Best Visual Effects

Return of the King is third movie in the epic franchise of Lord of the Rings. Based on the extremely popular novels of the same name, Peter Jackson directed what will forever be heralded by fanboys, nerd culture and well, just any guy, as truly epic. Having read the books myself (though more than a year prior to watching the films), I enjoyed the films. They are well acted, they look great, and the scenery is amazing. 

The problem with Return of the King winning Best Picture though, is it is a third film in a trilogy. While a good movie, it is not a stand alone. Much of what you are watching and need to understand come from the first two films before it. I suppose you could grasp the basic understanding of what's going on (Frodo needs to destroy the Ring), but much else will remain slightly unclear. 

That being said, had you watched the first two films, or even just read the books, this is a pretty well done adaption of the book. As with the previous 3 films, the scenery is incredible. New Zealand is the perfect backdrop for Middle Earth, with it's mountains, volcanoes, field and lakes. It is a beautiful country, and it was a well chosen place to film each movie. 

As for the acting, it is quite solid. Ian McKellan is spot-on as Gandalf, and Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn is great as well. Personally, I always enjoy the Hobbits. While not quite in league with McKellan or Mortensen, I personally prefer their storylines. With Frodo and Sam together with Gollum are trying to get into Mordor, towards Mount Doom to destroy the ring. Andy Serkis plays Gollum, and he does a wonderful job. While underrated as a real actor, as most of his work has been motion capture, Serkis really captures Gollum incredibly, getting his craziness, his obsession and his confusion. This storyline I find most interesting, the travels of Sam, Frodo and Gollum. Though additionally, we get a little female action with Eowyn taking on a slightly bigger role, sneaking off to war, and sneaking Merry along with her, as they are both told they cannot go, and they ultimately prove exactly why they should be allowed. 

The film is rife with battle scenes. Yes, I know the battle scenes are important and aid in the story, but much of it could have been cut down, making the film tighter and less drawn out. Then again, this is Peter Jackson directing so that wasn't going to happen. 

Overall, I'm proud something a little out of the ordinary won Best Picture, and swept many of the awards as well. This is the first and only fantasy film to win Best Picture. Fantasy has been severely under-represented at the Oscars, which is sad, because there are many quite good fantasy/sci-fi films worthy of acclaim. While it isn't the strongest movie to ever win Best Picture, with lots of battle scenes and only a medium amount of plot, it is nice to have fantasy represented in a big way. And with Lord of the Rings being as popular as ever, having been popular for a long long time, it is a fitting win. 

Acting- 8/10 
Directing- 8/10 
Screenplay- 7/10 
Visuals- 9.5/10 
Music- 9/10 
Emotional Connection- 7.5/10 
Entertainment- 8/10 
Rewatchability- 7/10 
Overall Enjoyment- 8/10 
Overall Package- 7.5/10       

Total: 79.5/100

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