The Return of the King Film Review
“I’m glad you’re with me, Samwise Gamgee, here at the end of all things”. The touching conclusion of the final masterpiece “The Return of The King” that is The Lord of the Rings. Indeed any individual would be glad to view the splendour, intensity and glory, as well as the deepest bonds of friendship, courage and character contained in this truly remarkable film.
The theatre is silent. The air is charged. The music begins. Title credits appear, and then the darkness fades to reveal two young Hobbits, quite content, fishing in a small boat. They sit on a bright turquoise river, with mayflies buzzing. Quite the picture of tranquility, very different from the Battle of the Last Alliance, and the challenging of the Balrog in the opening sequences of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. If anything it is slightly unexpected. All of a sudden, one of the Hobbits makes a slight shriek: “A fish!” An almost comical moment, but one recognisable to anyone who has been fishing for the first time. This however, is where the pleasantries end, and the wicked will of The Ring is set about. We see The Ring twist one of the Hobbits, Smeagol, into a wretched and ghastly creature, and a fear is awoken inside of us. The film continues, and we move to two weary looking Hobbits, sleeping in a ruin for shelter. Continuing still, the film moves along, and before long we find the Fellowship, divided and scattered, following their paths set for them by fate.
Some truly incredible shots, accompanied by more than perfect music take us back to Edoras, and then forth to Minas Tirith, City of Kings. It is here that the greatest battle of all three films ensues. An army of some 50,000 Orcs stands at the gates, and before our eyes the fate of Middle Earth is decided. Terrific shots and spectacular effects tower over that of its predecessors in terms of magnitude and force.
Just as all hope is lost, a spectacular charge formed by 6,000 Rohirrim sweep through the Orcs like a wave of unstoppable power. Here truly begins the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Examples of magnificent courage are shown, as the horsemen now face huge challenges and enormous creatures.
Spectacular battles, both with numbers of enemies and one on one swordplay, sets this film apart from not only its fantastic prequels, but any film of today’s generation. Thanks to efforts made by Aragorn, Isildur’s heir, rightful King of Gondor, a spectacular army of living dead arrives on the scene, destroying everything in their paths. Aragorn, with the sword Anduril, Flame of the West in his hand, along with his ever-faithful companions Legolas Greenleaf and Gimli son of Gloin, the terrible force before them is defeated.
However this is not the end. A spectacular finish and inspiring speeches made by the characters bring even the least emotional of us to sorrow and yet hope simultaneously. A friendship tested to limits beyond belief holds true, and inspires each and every individual watching.
Bittersweet Endings and Hopeful Departures
The Return of the King feels more serious and sad compared to the first two Lord of the Rings movies. The Fellowship of the Ring was about getting the group together and starting the quest, while The Two Towers split up the characters on different adventures. The Return of the King brings all the storylines together for a big finale. The pacing matches this escalation, with huge battle scenes like Minas Tirith making the movie feel exciting and fast. But it ends quietly with Frodo and the hobbits returning home.
Thematically, The Return of the King is about the bittersweet feeling of saying goodbye after a long, hard quest. Frodo can never go back to his old life after having the Ring, and the elves have to leave Middle Earth. The movie shows how these sacrifices matter but also how strong friendship continues.
The last scene where Frodo leaves Middle Earth is very emotional after the whole trilogy. His talk with Sam about not being able to live peacefully in the Shire anymore is sad but makes sense. The sadness of Frodo leaving mixes with the warm friendship of the hobbits who went through it all together. But their smiles as the ship sails show hope rather than just sadness.
Their hard journey is over and what they gave up mattered. Frodo leaves Middle Earth in good hands with his loyal friends. The peaceful image of the ship sailing shows closure after the long struggle. It’s a bittersweet but good ending for Frodo and the whole trilogy, finishing the epic quest quietly but hopefully. The strength of friendship continues even through the pain of loss.