Director: Peter Jackson
Writers: J.R.R. Tolkien (novel), Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair & Peter Jackson (screenplay)
Running time: 225 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12
UK Release date: 18th December 2002
Watched on DVD Sunday 23rd September 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
Although I have seen all of the Lord of the Rings films before, I had never read the books, and so recently I decided to read them. I then thought it might be fun to watch each film as I complete each part of the story. And so, having finished ‘The Two Towers’… and read the first eighty or so pages or so of ‘The Return of the King’ we come to the second of Peter Jackson’s films. For the record I have to say that I watched the extended version, available on DVD and Blu Ray.
With the Fellowship broken at the end of the first film we follow the fortunes of the remaining adventurers. Frodo and Sam are to make their own way to Mordor, but not without a little help from an unexpected quarter. Gollum has been following them and now he finds himself aiding them on their quest; but can he be trusted? Sam certainly thinks not. Meanwhile Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are on the trail of Merry and Pippin who had been taken by a band of Orcs towards Isengard, the stronghold of the wizard Saruman, a follower of Sauron. The Orcs had been attacked by a band of horsemen from Rohan but the Hobbits escaped into the forest. Here they meet an Ent called Treebeard and he takes them to a gathering of all the Ents in the wood. Following them, the other three are surprised to be met by Gandalf who they thought had perished in the mines of Moria. From here on it begins to get a little complicated but needless say there are battles to be won as the war for Middle Earth hots up.
Peter Jackson and his team did not disappoint again, another epic film with tremendous scope. I also have to mention again the original music by Howard Shore; another great score with some really great themes. As far as performances go, well everybody did a great job but those that stood out (for me) were; Elijah Wood as Frodo, Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Sean Astin as Samwise ‘Sam’ Gamgee, Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn and Bernard Hill as Theoden (King of Rohan). Also worthy of note were; Billy Boyd as Pippin, Dominic Monaghan as Merry, Orlando Bloom as Legolas, John Rhys-Davies as Gimli/Voice of Treebeard, Liv Tyler as Arwen, Miranda Otto as Eowyn, David Wenham as Faramir, Christopher Lee as Saruman, Karl Urban as Eomer and not forgetting Andy Serkis as Gollum/Smeagol.
Having recently read the book I did find that this departed from J.R.R.Tolkien’s original to a much larger extent than the first instalment ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’. Much more is put into establishing background and motive than in the text and, to a large extent, it works pretty well. It does, however, distract from the task at hand in places and I did find it a little heavy going here and there. I can’t, on the other hand, fault the production; it is all brilliantly brought together and it looks fantastic! The battle scenes are immense and to be admired. It’s certainly one, despite a couple of misgivings, I still rate very highly.
SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
My score: 9.1/10
IMDb Score: 8.7/10 (based on 528,180 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 88/100: (Based on 38 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 92/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 1,207,142 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Theoden: A great host, you say?
Aragorn: All Isengard is emptied.
Theoden: How many?
Aragorn: Ten thousand strong at least.
Theoden: [astonished] Ten thousand?
Aragorn: It is an army bred for a single purpose: to destroy the world of men. They will be here by nightfall.
Theoden: Let them come.
Gollum: [to Sam] Stupid, fat hobbit.
Gimli: Oh come on, we can take 'em.
Aragorn: It's a long way.
Gimli: Toss me.
Gimli: I cannot jump the distance, you'll have to toss me.
[pauses, looks up at Aragorn]
Gimli: Don't tell the elf.
Aragorn: Not a word.
Gollum: We wants it, we needs it. Must have the precious. They stole it from us. Sneaky little hobbitses. Wicked, tricksy, false!
Smeagol: No. Not master!
Gollum: Yes, precious, false! They will cheat you, hurt you, LIE.
Smeagol: Master is our friend!
Gollum: You don't have any friends; nobody likes you!
Smeagol: I'm not listening... I'm not listening...
Gollum: You're a liar and a thief.
Smeagol: Go away!
Gollum: "Go away?"
[Gollum laughs as Smeagol begins crying]
Smeagol: I hate you, I hate you.
Gollum: Where would you be without me, gollum, gollum? I saved us! It was me! We survived because of me!
Smeagol: [stops crying] Not anymore.
Gollum: What did you say?
Smeagol: Master looks after us now. We don't need you anymore.
Smeagol: Leave now, and never come back!
Smeagol: Leave now, and never come back!
[Gollum screams in frustration]
Smeagol: LEAVE! NOW! AND NEVER COME BACK!
[Gollum is silent]
Smeagol: [looks around] We told him to go away... and away he goes, Precious! Gone, gone, gone! Smeagol is free!
Gandalf: The fate of the world will now be decided.
Theoden: So it begins.
…and there are so many more!
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.lordoftherings.net/