The Main Event, Trinidad Guardian, December 19, 2003
typed by Becky
‘The Lord of the Rings’ The Return of the King
With “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” Peter Jackson delivers a
decent ending to his fantasy trilogy—actually, about 12 endings.
Unable to settle on a finale among the many farewells and epilogues in JRR
Tolkien’s text, director Jackson decided to use them all.
The result is an endless parade of false endings that will give you a great
lower back workout as your rise from your theater seat thinking things are
finally over, then settle back in for the next prolonged addendum.
This is the main flaw to an otherwise rousing, action-packed closing chapter
that began with 2001’s The Fellowship of the Ring and continued with last
year’s The Two Towers. The nine-hour theatrical epic (more like 11 hours once
the extended home-video version of all three flicks are out) winds up petering
out in anticlimactic torpor.
Jackson does scale back greatly on the aftermath of the final
good-against-evil battle, yet he preserves the main events to keep did-hard
Tolkien fans happy.
So viewers are treated in some detail to such comparatively passive sequences
as the survivors’ return home’ the ascension of human warrior Aragorn (Viggo
Mortensen) to the throne and his wedding to Elf hottie Arwen (Liv Tyler); the
mystical fate of runty Hobbits Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Bilbo (Ian Holm), wooly
wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and Elf top dogs Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) and
Elrod (Hugo Weaving); and the domestic bliss of Frodo’s Man Friday, Sam (Sean
That baggage make Return of the King the longest of the trilogy by far,
clocking in at 3 hours, 20 minutes.
There’s far too much cool-down time for casual viewers but probably not enough
to satisfy the hard-core Tolkien legions. So why not put Blanchett back in
voice-over mode, let her narrate a Reader’s Digest condensed montage of
Jackson’s interminable ending, and save the elongated conclusion for the
extended home-video cut?
The movie opens with a flashback explaining how Smeagol (Andy Serkis) came to
possess his “precious,” the nasty ring of ultimate evil, and the first dark
deeds that began transforming him into wizened computer-crafted fiend Gollum.
Then the action picks up where Two Towers left off, with Gollum plotting to
regain his precious as Frodo and Sam trek toward Mount Doom, where they must
destroy the ring to keep dark lord Sauron from enslaving Middle-earth.
Meantime, Aragorn, Gandalf and the gang square off against Sauron’s plug-ugly
If you’re looking for bigger and better battle than the first two chapters,
Return of the King comes through. Jackson and his New Zealand crew,
which filmed all three movies simultaneously, pile computer-generated props,
sets and creatures as high as a Nazgul’s eyes to create the colossal combat
Bat-faced orcs ride gargantuan elephants into battle against humans on
horseback. The adversaries engage in a very cool catapult duel that brings
mountains of broken castle stone down on the warriors. Aragorn and pals
Legolas the Elf (Orlando Bloom) and Gimli the Dwarf (John Rhys-Davies) charge
into the fray at the head of a ghastly ghost army.
Frodo’s battle with a giant spider-an encounter Tolkien placed at the end of
Two Towers but which Jackson transplants to Return of the King-is on the of
the creepiest computer-animated sequences ever produced.
Like Two Towers, Return of the King is more a bruising action movie that
Fellowship of the Ring, the best of the trilogy on the strings of the intimate
interplay among its misfit heroes.Hobbits Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin
(Billy Boyd) again play larger roles, but much of the original fellowship
members are relegated to prancing in larger-than-life mode. Secondary
characters step up to provide the final film’s most intriguing interpersonal
drama. Faramir (David Wenham), brother of the slain Boromir (Sean Bean), vainly
struggles to gain the respect of his contemptible father, Denethor (John
Noble). (If you have the chance, first watch the extended version of The Two
Towers, which includes an engaging flashback that adds texture to Faramir and
Boromir’s relationship with dear old dad).
While Tyler’s Arwen and Blanchett’s Galadriel again are mere window-dressing,
Mirada Otto’s Eowyn soars to provide the most forceful female presence in the
entire trilogy and arguable the strongest single moment in Return of the King.
Christopher Lee’s evil wizard Saruman unfortunately is absent, though no doubt
he’ll be back in the extended home-video version. Though the trilogy’s done,
Tolkien fans still can look forward to that precious longer cut next falls.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, a New Line release, runs 200
(There is also a picture of the Frodo ROTK poster, Gandalf and Pippin riding
to the White City, a picture of Gollum talking to his reflection, one of
Legolas, one of the elephants and one of Gandalf and Aragorn.)
‘Rings’ stars do last dance, Trinidad Express, December 4, 2003
typed by Becky
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP)-Lord of the Rings stars thanked fans at
Wellington airport yesterday with a short farewell dance before flying to Los
Angeles and the Hollywood premiere for the third movie in the trilogy.
Hundreds of people crammed the airport to catch final glimpses of cast from
The Return of the King as they left after taking part in the world premiere in
this capital city.
Some 100,000 people jammed the streets to fete the stars on Monday.
“It’s amazing. The whole experience has just been the most precious time
ever,” said Orlando Bloom, who plays Elf warrior Legolas.
Bloom led co-stars, including Sir Ian McKellen and Viggo Mortensen, in a
good-bye dance for excited fans.
Television New Zealand’s Holmes show yesterday ran an interview with the great
grandson of Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien, who played a cameo part in
the third movie.
Royd Tolkien, who played a warrior of Gondor, said “it was great”.
At Monday’s premiere of The Return of the King Tolkien said it was “so
emotional I cried like a baby. Literally for the last half hour of the film I
was just…gushing. Incredible.”