|Lord of the Rings: Return of the King|
|Stars:||Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Sméagol|
What an incredible way to finish out what is now the most solid movie trilogy in the history of Hollywood. Return of the King was everything I wanted and expected from the final chapter in the über-epic Lord of the Rings saga, with an extra helping of goodness thrown on for good measure. It's probably good that Peter Jackson is finished with the story, or else he'd have a hell of a time topping this one.
I'll reiterate here that I've never read any Tolkien before; these movies are the only exposure I've had to the Rings story since a cartoon I saw when I was young (and even then, all I remember are the hairy legs; I didn't watch very much). I therefore can't/won't comment on the movie's faithfulness to the original texts. I'm sure you will have no trouble finding scores of reviews that nitpick any minor inconsistency. Geeks tend to do that.
I felt The Two Towers was a more solid film than Fellowship of the Ring, and Return of the King eclipses them both. Even Legalos' flashy-stunt-of-the-movie wasn't as hokey as that shield-riding bit from Towers. Okay, there were a couple of minor corny bits, but I'll let 'em slide because that's the kind of guy I am.
Special effects were, as one would expect, impressively solid. No suspension of disbelief required. Middle Earth was still rife with wonders-of-the-world worthy feats of art and architecture, though they must invariably be destroyed. The computer-generated characters blend perfectly with the live actors such that it's pretty tough to tell the difference.
I think there should be a moratorium on movies with giant man-eating spiders in them. Between this movie and Chamber of Secrets, they're just looking too creepily realistic. My wife couldn't bear to watch. I watched, of course, because it's my husbandly duty to tell her when it's over.
I was worried the movie would end before I was ready. When you spend so much time with characters like these, out of their element and saving the world, you want to see them back home. The final episode of M*A*S*H was close, Quantum Leap was far, far off. When the credits started to roll after Return of the King, I was happy.
There are rumors that Peter Jackson will attempt to tackle The Hobbit. Even though I haven't read that book, either, I hope he has the opportunity to turn that into a movie, too. I'll certainly see it.