User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 2602 Ratings

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User Reviews

  1. Lolita
    Jan 8, 2004
    4
    Crying at the ending of this movie, pleeeeze? Sorry, not my cup of tea either.
  2. StabsM.
    Sep 4, 2008
    5
    Look, the movie was good. The best that can be done turning the compelling, but slow-paced and sprawling, Tolkein trilogy into a movie. I loved the books. I liked the movies fine. But I never understood the intense love-a-thon thrown to the movies - they aren't exactly masterpieces of anything but special effects (though the special effects were incredible). It isn't like Look, the movie was good. The best that can be done turning the compelling, but slow-paced and sprawling, Tolkein trilogy into a movie. I loved the books. I liked the movies fine. But I never understood the intense love-a-thon thrown to the movies - they aren't exactly masterpieces of anything but special effects (though the special effects were incredible). It isn't like there's any acting in the movie, and it isn't like they were somehow better than the books, you know? Expand
  3. Jan 21, 2015
    6
    It's absurd that the most acclaimed Lord of the Rings movie is the weakest one (at least to me). Return of the King lacks the tightness of Fellowship of the Ring and the emotional touch of The Two Towers. The formula it uses is- Build up to battle - Battle - Build up to battle - Battle - Half a dozen endings. This may be one of those rare examples of an adaptation being too faithful. AnIt's absurd that the most acclaimed Lord of the Rings movie is the weakest one (at least to me). Return of the King lacks the tightness of Fellowship of the Ring and the emotional touch of The Two Towers. The formula it uses is- Build up to battle - Battle - Build up to battle - Battle - Half a dozen endings. This may be one of those rare examples of an adaptation being too faithful. An extremely accurate adaptation doesn't always qualify as a good one. A film stands on its own. It can't justify its flaws by leaning on the book. Return of the King blends in its enchanting score with its pitch-perfect cinematography, but it lacks the focus of the previous 2 film. Expand
  4. JohnF.
    Jan 21, 2004
    5
    If you like to see creatures banging hammers on the heads of other creatures, this is the movie for you. Otherwise, it is pretty boring.
  5. RuisertTheGael
    May 17, 2009
    5
    Well, Jackson managed to not foul this one up quite as bad as Two Towers, but still, it has to pick up and continue all the problems from TT. I was not about to spend decent money on this in a theater, since I pretty much knew it was going to inherit all the junk leftover from TT, and probably add to it. At least it did NOT have Arwen take the sword from Aragorn and show him how to use it Well, Jackson managed to not foul this one up quite as bad as Two Towers, but still, it has to pick up and continue all the problems from TT. I was not about to spend decent money on this in a theater, since I pretty much knew it was going to inherit all the junk leftover from TT, and probably add to it. At least it did NOT have Arwen take the sword from Aragorn and show him how to use it right, like I feared it might... Add to that the half dozen or more times when Jackson re-wrote some of the best scenes from the book and pretty much ruined them, well. I'm just glad I can read. Expand
  6. C.B.
    Oct 20, 2005
    6
    More like "Lord of the Borings."
  7. Danko
    Dec 17, 2003
    6
    Veeery slooow movie.
  8. ArthurF.
    Feb 18, 2004
    4
    I could take it or leave it. Not deserving of the raves it received.
  9. GregoryS.
    Mar 1, 2004
    6
    This movie is incredibly overrated and did not deserve all the oscars. I find that it becomes tiresome after watching the first, and then second movie to even get a glipse of LOTR:RotK. I also feel that they chose this movie, not only because of the bandwagon that everyone has been hopping on, but also because it is fantasy and no fantasy has ever made it to the oscars. I also felt that This movie is incredibly overrated and did not deserve all the oscars. I find that it becomes tiresome after watching the first, and then second movie to even get a glipse of LOTR:RotK. I also feel that they chose this movie, not only because of the bandwagon that everyone has been hopping on, but also because it is fantasy and no fantasy has ever made it to the oscars. I also felt that this movie unfairly overshadowed other great movies of this year, such as Mystic River. Expand
  10. MichaelRamsey
    Jun 4, 2004
    6
    While all-in-all was a decent conclusion to the series. I agree with Mr. Phipps in his (Jackson's) not adding the "Scouring of the Shire". There are moments in it which let us understand what it all was about, at least for the Hobbits. And that wisdom does come from experience... not age.
  11. AndyM.
    Jun 4, 2004
    5
    Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Boring ending, the script has nothing to do with the book. Much, much, much overated.
  12. KelvinL.
    Aug 14, 2005
    6
    It was okay but not the great masterpiece that a lot of people are claiming it to be. Too much CGI and no real suprises (I haven't read the book). Much too long especially the last tortuous drawn out ending! It was as if Peter Jackson could not bear to actually finish the project because he enjoyed it so much! People in the cinema fans of the trilogy included were laughing and It was okay but not the great masterpiece that a lot of people are claiming it to be. Too much CGI and no real suprises (I haven't read the book). Much too long especially the last tortuous drawn out ending! It was as if Peter Jackson could not bear to actually finish the project because he enjoyed it so much! People in the cinema fans of the trilogy included were laughing and cringing at the last 30 minute ending, it was that bad!! Less is most definitely more in this case!! Expand
  13. Stefan
    Mar 5, 2006
    4
    A magnificent fantasy film, but I can't bear to watch it. Jackson invents unnecessary scenes which makes it apparent that he hasn't understood the original story, or deemed it more important to cater for his own visual and dramaturgical interests. This is ok when it comes to King Kong, but Tolkien's book has a much different, and imho superior quality of atmosphere: more A magnificent fantasy film, but I can't bear to watch it. Jackson invents unnecessary scenes which makes it apparent that he hasn't understood the original story, or deemed it more important to cater for his own visual and dramaturgical interests. This is ok when it comes to King Kong, but Tolkien's book has a much different, and imho superior quality of atmosphere: more wise, more witty and more... magnificent. Expand
  14. JackS
    Jul 26, 2007
    6
    My wife and step daughters loved the books and the films, but I could never get into them. Granted, the acting, cinematography and attention to detail are there, but in my opinion, this movie drags on and on. My family was riveted and loved every second, but I was reaching for the No-Doze.
  15. Dave
    Dec 21, 2003
    5
    I must say i'v read Rick's review, and although i don't agree, i was laughing my a** off. The moive did start to drag ALOT in the middle, and it seemed like everyone was kinda forcing there acting(script) parts. The effects however, is the most superior to date than any other movie.Absolutely demolish?s matrix special effects. I did however understand what Rick meant by I must say i'v read Rick's review, and although i don't agree, i was laughing my a** off. The moive did start to drag ALOT in the middle, and it seemed like everyone was kinda forcing there acting(script) parts. The effects however, is the most superior to date than any other movie.Absolutely demolish?s matrix special effects. I did however understand what Rick meant by "nerds". I think it was geared to more of the hardcore fans. With such length, thats why it kinda fell in the middle and picked itself back up again. I don't think it was that bad though, in consideration of the whole film, and its length. I know it's based on a book but i lowered my score based on the ending as well, it could have been better. I do feel that Ebert's review was dead on. And Tyler G., you don't have to read all the books to tell if this movie was good or not. It's like looking at Matrix Revolution(without seeing the pervious installments) and saying Matrix Revolution was a perfect movie. Its not, it was horrible. The return of the king, stands by ITSELF as not such a great movie. And no i didn't compare it to Hogwarts and what Middle-Earth stands for, and bla bla bla, cuz im not that much of a diehard fan.I just thought the movie really disappointing. Expand
  16. Scott
    Jan 17, 2004
    6
    Put simply, after reading the books, those who praise it, don't know great and amazing it could have been. Pity.
  17. PollyJ.
    Jan 28, 2004
    4
    As far as I'm concerned this overrated turkey got 11 Oscar nominations too many. Can't understand all the hoopla? It was just okay but nothing spectacular.
  18. KrisD.
    Jan 29, 2004
    6
    This movie is pretty good, with an "all happy ending" sort of, but there was just too much fighting for my taste. True some people really enjoy action movies with a bit fighting, but from begginning to end to be honest it is really just all fighting. Too much credit from critics in my opinion. Honestly, do you want to see dead, chopped up heads thrown around?
  19. YoonMinC.
    May 25, 2004
    5
    Give that spiggo guy a t-shirt at least. aint it cold up in the mountains? and give him nasal spray; he sounds like marge simpson. long, dreay, and repetitious but it has 3 genuinely great action moments. for those who wondered why sam the hobbit remains fat throughout, i think it's because he killed and ate that elephant sized spider.
  20. Marionm
    May 1, 2008
    4
    The music is the best ever for any relaxation therapy !!!! Its kinda like church MUSIC!!!!!! sadly most of these people think this movie is GREAT!!!! its aint trust me folks!!! It was boring and REALLY REALLLY CHEESY. It might have passed as a when-you-have-nothing-to-do FILM!!!! but ist just wayyyyyyyyy tooo long!!!
  21. Dave
    Dec 21, 2003
    5
    I must say i'v read Rick's review, and although i don't agree, i was laughing my a** off. The moive did start to drag ALOT in the middle, and it seemed like everyone was kinda forcing there acting(script) parts. The effects however, is the most superior to date than any other movie.Absolutely demolish?s matrix special effects. I did however understand what Rick meant by I must say i'v read Rick's review, and although i don't agree, i was laughing my a** off. The moive did start to drag ALOT in the middle, and it seemed like everyone was kinda forcing there acting(script) parts. The effects however, is the most superior to date than any other movie.Absolutely demolish?s matrix special effects. I did however understand what Rick meant by "nerds". I think it was geared to more of the hardcore fans. With such length, thats why it kinda fell in the middle and picked itself back up again. I don't think it was that bad though, in consideration of the whole film, and its length. I know it's based on a book but i lowered my score based on the ending as well, it could have been better. I do feel that Ebert's review was dead on. And Tyler G., you don't have to read all the books to tell if this movie was good or not. It's like looking at Matrix Revolution(without seeing the pervious installments) and saying Matrix Revolution was a perfect movie. Its not, it was horrible. The return of the king, stands by ITSELF as not such a great movie. And no i didn't compare it to Hogwarts and what Middle-Earth stands for, and bla bla bla, cuz im not that much of a diehard fan.I just thought the movie really disappointing. Expand
  22. DamianP.
    Dec 21, 2003
    6
    The acting did annoy me in parts, and I didn't feel drawn into the movie the way I was with the others. Overall, it was still a good movie and I could watch it again.
  23. LanceEcnal
    Jan 15, 2004
    6
    [***SPOILERS***] -Oh ye who think this movie is the greatest and anyone who disagrees must be an idiot, read and read well. This movie has many faults, not only as a translation of the book, but as a movie in itself. I will state what's wrong with it and give reasons behind it explaining WHY so. -PLOT: Since the movie decides to go off on a tangent from the book, a problem arises.[***SPOILERS***] -Oh ye who think this movie is the greatest and anyone who disagrees must be an idiot, read and read well. This movie has many faults, not only as a translation of the book, but as a movie in itself. I will state what's wrong with it and give reasons behind it explaining WHY so. -PLOT: Since the movie decides to go off on a tangent from the book, a problem arises. They include Shelob, the spider, in this movie instead of the third. The problem is that if it had ended as the book did, then we would have left off at the second movie thinking Frodo was dead--which is much better than this. In this movie, the scene where Frodo supposedly dies is reduced to a mere few minutes, and as a result, THE most vital part in the second chapter was lost and made unimportant in this. -Also, for those who complain that the books were long and the movie can't fit everything in, why would they cut out the Shelob scene in the last movie and move it to this just because they could make the Battle of Helms Deep central to the last movie? -The ending is terrible for this movie. People say it's supposed to bring everything together, but guess what? The ending in the novel is MUCH longer. And who cares about the DVD, the theatrical experience is more important. -Since Peter Jackson so stupidly loves to take out important scenes and create his own, THE ENDING HAS SUFFERED. How so? Well much of it didn't make sense to those who haven't read the novels. For example, "The eagles are coming!" Many people didn't understand that. Many didn't understand why Frodo and Gandalf left Sam at the end to the Gray Havens. And most did not understand that Gandalf possessed one of The Rings and that he too was going to die. Yeah, great job Jackson. -SCRIPT: For those who think the script is top-notch, just know that it was dumbed down greatly. Every time Jackson added a new scene that wasn't in the book, such as the one where Merry and Pippin are dancing on the table and the others are having a party; the script is terrible. Then Aragorn steps out of the building and talks to Legolas and the Elve talks about how "the eye is moving" and what he says is so moving in words and possesses such grace and fluidity. So it becomes easy to see that Tolkein's writing is on another plane than Jackson and his poor prose. Also, the whole movie has been reduced in intelligible speech because the regular, non-literary audience wouldn't understand. Don't believe me? Read the books. ACTING: Decent at best. Ian McKellen shines, Viggo is rather good, Orlando Bloom is apt, as well as Elijah Wood, but many of the actors CANNOT ACT. For example, Hugo Weaving as Elrond is very poor to the role. The scene where he gives Aragorn the sword in the tent is just an example of how poor an actor he is. (Watch his facial expressions) Let's not neglect to mention Arwen's acting, or Denethor. -Music: Perhaps the best part of the movie. However, the second movie, which was the most horrid and untrue of the series, had the best music, which they did not seem to include in this movie. The commercial for the TT had some amazing and epic compositions, this one lacks it. For example, the theme in the TT where we first see the search party that is looking for the two Hobbits was amazing; the main theme I think it was. It was played only once at the end when Aragorn visits Frodo after the ring has been destroyed. -OTHER PROBLEMS: The movie is purely based on the battles and is focused on the "big heroes" such as Gandalf and Aragorn. This is not in keeping with the essence of the novels, which is about the Hobbits and the whole concept of "size doesn't matter." -Also, the movie is VERY DISJOINTED. It's like watching episodes of a TV show and the transitions between the different character stories isn't done well. -The plot has also suffered because Jackson decided to cut out scenes from previous movies. For example, the orb (Palantir) that the Hobbit looks into and Sauron managing to see him was supposed to be in the second movie. As a result, the effect of foreshadowing is diminished and it doesn't prove a surprise when Aragorn was supposed to look into it and warn Suaron that he was going to come for him. -CONCLUSION: So in summary, this movie IS overrated. It is NOT the greatest movie of all time. It has been dumbed down greatly in plot, script, made more action- oriented and has pretty bad acting on some parts. It does NOT retain the essence of the novels, and for those who have read them and think they do, then ask yourself, "What was the essence of the novels?" The answer is, the characters. More precisely, the Hobbits. That however, has been changed greatly due to the poor direction Jackson has taken it to make it an action adventure which is propelled by the "big heroes". Expand
  24. IlzeS.
    Dec 26, 2004
    5
    This was really great action movie,the effects are cool, but movie is empty. I think that "King Arthur" is better. But this movie is much more better than "Alexander". Just a fairytale!
  25. Jajabobo
    Feb 24, 2004
    6
    Without a doubt, this movie is one of the most overrated movies of the year. With that said, I won't take away from the story and rate this movie a 0. I didn't particularly like the way Peter Jackson approached the "huge battle" but ROTK is what Tolkein designed and Jackson did a good job following that design.
  26. SeadN.
    Mar 21, 2004
    4
    I think that academy awards are going too far about this movie, i dont think that the "RETURN OF THE KING" is so good to get 13 oscar for movie included oscar for the best picture. The Academy Awards are not what they used to be in 1950 to 1990.
  27. T.M.
    Jan 24, 2005
    4
    At one point at over three hours (!) into this bloated mess, I honestly thought it would never end. The previous two in the trilogy were enjoyable in their uninspired, pseudo-Masterpiece Theatre, workmanlike way, but this installment was just tedious, repetitive, disjointed, formulaic, maudlin, cheesy, and overwrought. And yet it won more Oscars than...any...movie...in...history. At one point at over three hours (!) into this bloated mess, I honestly thought it would never end. The previous two in the trilogy were enjoyable in their uninspired, pseudo-Masterpiece Theatre, workmanlike way, but this installment was just tedious, repetitive, disjointed, formulaic, maudlin, cheesy, and overwrought. And yet it won more Oscars than...any...movie...in...history. Unbelievable. A symptom of all that's wrong with Hollywood and our society. Where was the character development? Where was the soul? Where was the heart? Where was the decent dialogue? Nearly four -- yes, four -- the length of "Gone with the Wind" (a film that truly is an epic) -- hours of often obvious CGI, gratuitous gore, hammy acting, cardboard characterization, self-importance, and diarrhea of the screenwriters' pens. Sorry, but it could have been so much better. Maybe when our culture stops being so into "hype" (people buying into the hype, and the media's creating the hype), average to mediocre films like this one won't disappoint discerning viewers quite so much. Expand
  28. NikkoC.
    May 19, 2006
    6
    Crying, weeping, applauding - the movie had come to an end.......and finally, I could leave. Jackson's inability to 'kill his babies' in the diting process means an exercise in ticking boxes and presents, because of the world's inherent fantasticness and ymtholigical landscape, characters one simply cannot care for becuase they are clearly total bollocks in any real Crying, weeping, applauding - the movie had come to an end.......and finally, I could leave. Jackson's inability to 'kill his babies' in the diting process means an exercise in ticking boxes and presents, because of the world's inherent fantasticness and ymtholigical landscape, characters one simply cannot care for becuase they are clearly total bollocks in any real sense. So if the premise is ridiculous, yet is subsequently treated seriously and with the most mundane of affection (clearly caring for 1d characters who he does not give enough to for us to do the same), the movie is undited nd almost seven hours long.......why wouldn't anyone, as I did, stand and applaud in sheer relief at its conclusion (about an hour late)....I mean shit! Boot camp was finally over....and this kiwi (but no dim one) could finally fly home. A movie review is not about judging a film's vision or the child-like sinserity of its maker...NO!...It is about the merits of the film as they sit objectively and whether it stacks up in all the genral areas and any we didn't see coming...this does neither. Expand
  29. AustinW.
    Dec 17, 2003
    6
    I was picking it for best picture... until I saw it. Way too long, and way too proud of itself. Too much CG and substandard acting - the 'frodo face' gets a little old. Sean Astin rocks as Samwise, though.
  30. Apr 28, 2016
    6
    All 3 of these were a poor interpretation of the books.

    Take the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, for example. In the books it's basically a showdown between the forces of Sauron with the Witch-king leading them, and the forces of good with Gandalf in command. The destruction of the Witch-king is a pivotal moment in the story, and greatly cheapened in the movie. It's impossible to know
    All 3 of these were a poor interpretation of the books.

    Take the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, for example. In the books it's basically a showdown between the forces of Sauron with the Witch-king leading them, and the forces of good with Gandalf in command. The destruction of the Witch-king is a pivotal moment in the story, and greatly cheapened in the movie. It's impossible to know why a hobbit stabbing the Witch-king would have any great effect because they left out the Barrow-blades. They might have at least explained it afterwards, even if they just used "Elf magic" as a lame excuse.

    And there's no dramatic showdown between Gandalf and the Witch-king like in the books. In the movie, Gandalf's staff breaks and that's about it.

    Anyway, it's somewhat enjoyable overall, even if it's like "The Lord of the Rings" for the mentally disabled.
    Expand
Metascore
94

Universal acclaim - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 41
  2. Negative: 0 out of 41
  1. The conclusion of Peter Jackson's masterwork is passionate and literate, detailed and expansive, and it's conceived with a risk-taking flair for old-fashioned movie magic at its most precious.
  2. An epic success and a history-making production that finishes with a masterfully entertaining final installment.
  3. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    100
    The second installment was better than the first, and this one is best of all. It has spectacular action scenes and imaginary creatures, and it’s by far the most moving chapter. The performances have deepened.