3. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Return of the King (Film). 2003, Dir: Peter Jackson.

          Return of the King is the third and final movie in Jackson’s trilogy of The Lord of the Rings. This film encompasses all the critical story elements that make one memorable. From plotline to dramatic battle scenes, to slow, insightful conversation, this movie has it all.

Frodo Baggins, a former and respectable Shire resident, has been whisked away on an adventure with Gandalf the Grey. His long and tedious journey through the lands in-between the Shire recorded in the previous two movies. Return of the King starts out with Frodo and Sam trekking towards the dreaded Mt. Doom in the heart of Mordor, Sauron’s kingdom. Along the way, he discovers Gollum, the miserable creature Frodo picked up along the way, has been plotting against Baggins all along in an attempt to take The One Ring for himself. Meanwhile, Aragorn, the rightful heir to the throne of Gondor, makes a desperate attempt to buy Frodo and Sam more time by directly attacking the Black Gate of Mordor, Sauron’s Kingdom. The entirety of Middle Earth depends on the journey of two hobbits, with the greatest weapon the land of Mordor has ever produced. Will they succeed in their mission to destroy The Ring in the fires of Mount Doom, or will Sauron claim the upper hand and obliterate anything good in Middle Earth?

One part of The Return of the King I found noteworthy was Frodo’s journey towards Mt. Doom. He endures harsh trials, in the form of giant spiders, betrayal and starvation. Add to this the heavy burden of The Ring, confusion of where to turn next, plus your best friend complaining about everything every step of the way. All these points add to the immense suffering Baggins endures. However, not once throughout the movie does he ever give up. Frodo inspires the common folk of today to stand up in the midst of adversity, to stick through tough situations, and how to endure harsh criticism. Frodo Baggins is a character, even if he is fictional, that deserves to be a role model for people everywhere, Hobbit or otherwise.

Another commendable aspect of The Return of the King is the soundtrack. At times, the orchestras accompanying the movie get so intense, the music alone literally brings you to the edge of your seat. It rises and swells along with what’s being displayed on-screen. It slows down to come alongside the slow, walking scenes and picks up again perfectly when the action intensifies. Plus, there’s the ominous Ring Theme that plays every time the Ring shown on screen. Overall, the soundtrack alone makes you feel like you’re a part of the character’s lives. I think that Peter Jackson hit the nail on the proverbial head with this one. His efforts to recreate Tolkien’s Middle Earth have brought this movie to numerous awards. He will be forever remembered in the movie Hall of Fame.

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