Return of the King, a review

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Well, well, well. I'll say right off the mark this is the least of the three films, in my opinion. I know it swept all before them at the Academy Awards and other places. People can't praise the Return of the King enough.

Deagol, getting pulled along by a big fish

Theoden and Eomer

Pippin and the Palantir

Frodo, Sam and Gollum at Minas Morgul

Gothmog the Orc

Nazgul on his fellbeast

The King of the Dead

Aragorn under Dwimorberg

Merry as a Rider of Rohan


Frodo on Mt. Doom

Gollum falls into the Crack of Doom

Denethor, Steward of Gondor

Sam and Rosie and their children

The Witch-King of the Nazgul

I'm not saying it's a bad film. It's actually very good. It just doesn't hold a candle to the previous two as far as I'm concerned. There are far too many omissions, abbreviated story-lines and minor deviations for my liking. In other words, it doesn't stick to the book enough. I'm a Tolkien purist, a fanboy if you will, and I couldn't help feeling as I watched this film at the cinema, and on DVD later, that it was missing something. It also has far too many endings.

The characterisations and acting is excellent as usual. The effects, the settings and the action are flawless. If the film was based on an original work written for the screen, it'd be an all-time wondrous masterpiece. But it isn't. It's based, as everyone near or far knows, on a classic book. So, it comes laden with some tonnes of pre-conceptions and expectations.

I was disappointed with a great many things. most I'll cover in the differences section below. Once again, Éomer is relegated to bit player. He is a major character in both this film and in the Two Towers. The same is true for the most part with Faramir.

Australian actor John Noble plays Denethor extremely well, but sadly, the film doesn't give any real indication as to why the Steward of Gondor behaves the way he does. In fact, Denethor is rather pathetic in the film.

The introduction showing Sméagol and Déagol out fishing, the finding of the Ring and the corruption of Sméagol into Gollum is a wonderful touch. They look great, like a couple of hobbit bumpkins on their day out. They're ancestors of the "present-day" hobbits, being fisher-folk of the Gladden Fields, a region along the Great River between Rhovanion and the Misty Mountains.

All three films have a high "assume" level. It's expected that you've read the books, but that sentiment reaches an all-time high here in the Return of the King. The feeling that all will be explained (or expanded upon) in the upcoming extended version is very palpable. Oh well.

Memorable Moments

The Book and the Film :: The Differences and other Points