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94

Universal acclaim - based on 41 Critics What's this?

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9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 2210 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Sauron's forces have laid siege to Minas Tirith, the capital of Gondor, in their efforts to eliminate the race of men. The once-great kingdom, watched over by a fading steward, has never been in more desperate need of its king. But can Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) answer the call of hisSauron's forces have laid siege to Minas Tirith, the capital of Gondor, in their efforts to eliminate the race of men. The once-great kingdom, watched over by a fading steward, has never been in more desperate need of its king. But can Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) answer the call of his heritage and become what he was born to be? In no small measure, the fate of Middle-earth rests on his broad shoulders. [New Line Cinema] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 41
  2. Negative: 0 out of 41
  1. The invisible wizard Peter Jackson makes use of every scene to show us the meaning of magnificence. Never has a filmmaker aimed higher, or achieved more.
  2. 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.
  3. First and foremost, it soars because its grand design and numerous story problems were worked out half a century ago by a guy named Tolkien, and Jackson was smart enough to realize this.
  4. Like all great fantasies and epics, this one leaves you with the sense that its wonders are real, its dreams are palpable.
  5. Reviewed by: Alan Morrison
    100
    Those who have walked beside these heroes every step of the way on such a long journey deserve the emotional pay-off as well as the action peaks, and they will be genuinely touched as the final credits roll.
  6. 88
    There is little enough psychological depth anywhere in the films, actually, and they exist mostly as surface, gesture, archetype and spectacle. They do that magnificently well, but one feels at the end that nothing actual and human has been at stake.
  7. Add a lot of dull acting -- except Sir Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis -- and you have an uneven movie with yawns aplenty.

See all 41 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 84 out of 744
  1. Apr 23, 2015
    10
    According to the calendar, Christmas is December 25. According to the movie release schedule, it's December 17. There can be no greater giftAccording to the calendar, Christmas is December 25. According to the movie release schedule, it's December 17. There can be no greater gift for a movie lover than the one bestowed upon audiences by Peter Jackson, whose The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is not only the best movie of 2003, but the crowning cinematic achievement of the past several years. In fact, labeling this as a "movie" is almost an injustice. This is an experience of epic scope and grandeur, amazing emotional power, and relentless momentum.

    One could be forgiven for initially approaching The Return of the King with a little trepidation. As good as the first two films, The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, are (in either their theatrical or extended DVD versions), movie history is littered with occasions when trilogy conclusions have crashed and burned. Return of the Jedi. Godfather III. The Matrix Revolutions. And so on? Yet, with The Return of the King, Jackson has done more than just bucked the trend. Not only is this motion picture an entirely worthy conclusion to the landmark trilogy, but it's better than its predecessors. Somehow, Jackson has managed to synthesize what worked in The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, while siphoning off the less successful elements. The result is amazing. Taken as a whole, there is nothing out there today that can come close to comparing to The Lord of the Rings.

    The slowest portions of The Return of the King occur early in the proceedings, as Jackson re-establishes the characters. From there, it's a slow, steady buildup to a rousing climax. The experience is so immersive that I found myself in the middle of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields along with the heroes, rooting for them - even though I knew how things were going to turn out! Along the way, there are moments of genuine pathos that draw a tear from the eye; times of triumph that cause the heart to soar; instances of overwhelming tension that cause the adrenaline to surge; and images of spectacle that make the jaw drop. The pace is unflagging - once Jackson has us, he doesn't let go. When the movie was over, I couldn't believe that 3 1/4 hours had passed.

    Although it's unfair to characterize the film as a collection of great moments - the character arcs and overall narrative are too strong for that - it is nevertheless impossible to deny the power of many individual scenes. One of Jackson's most notable contributions is that he directs the film with the intention that certain instances will raise nape hairs. It's the "wow" factor, and it is frequently repeated. Gene Siskel once argued that a great film needs three memorable scenes to go along with no bad ones. The Return of the King exceeds that criteria by a considerable amount.

    For those who despise truncated endings, Jackson has a treat in store. The Return of the King ends with a 20 minute epilogue that chronicles events after the War of the Ring, going as much as four years into the future and tying up nearly every possible loose end. The film concludes on exactly the same note as the book (in fact, with the same line), and, while the final chapter of the trilogy is as satisfying as it could possibly be, there's still a vague sense of melancholy when "The End" appears on the screen, because it means that these adventures are over.

    The acting shines through more in The Return of the King than in the other films. Elijah Wood is excellent as Frodo, a shell of the cheerful hobbit he once was. Sean Astin transforms Sam into a fierce knight protector, defending his master against the treacherous Gollum, the terrifying Shelob, and the forces of Mordor. Viggo Mortensen gives Aragorn his fullest opportunity to be seen as a three-dimensional hero. Newcomer John Noble, as Denethor, the Protector of Gondor, displays madness laced with cunning. Orlando Bloom and John Rhys-Davies have less to do, but provide us with a little comedic banter as well as some more serious moments. Miranda Otto's Eowen is as sharp and fierce as any man, and far better looking. Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan are given a chance to flesh out Pippin and Merry. Cate Blanchett, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving, and Ian Holm all make brief appearances.

    Expectedly, the special effects set a new standard. The CGI participants of the major battles look more like real combatants than cartoonish computer creations. The locations, set design, and costumes are without flaw. By building many of the elaborate locales, Jackson achieves a sense of verisimilitude that he might not have attained by relying more heavily on computers. And composer Howard Shore's score is perfectly wed to the visuals, being alternately bombastic and delicate, as circumstances dictate.

    The Lord of the Rings will go down in cinematic lore as a milestone.
    Expand
  2. Aug 9, 2011
    10
    It's a perfect epic. There's not one false step. The battles are incredible, the characters just as fun as ever. This movie is basicallyIt's a perfect epic. There's not one false step. The battles are incredible, the characters just as fun as ever. This movie is basically flawless. One of the best ever Expand
  3. Furbydude
    Dec 14, 2007
    10
    I see some of you hated this movie. but that's silly because a LOT of movies are long and boring nowadays (and I was being sarcastic). I see some of you hated this movie. but that's silly because a LOT of movies are long and boring nowadays (and I was being sarcastic). LOTR was at least a good trilogy. in some of the boring bits, I tried to stay awake for the exciting parts, and yes it was a good movie. Expand
  4. Aug 27, 2013
    10
    This is one of the best movies I've ever seen, epic. Even if you're not a fan of fantasy films, you're definitely going to love this one! ItThis is one of the best movies I've ever seen, epic. Even if you're not a fan of fantasy films, you're definitely going to love this one! It lasts for more than 3 hours, but you'll enjoy every minute of it. Expand
  5. Jul 21, 2012
    10
    the best trilogy ever created. Peter Jackson has done what most people thought was impossible, made 3 amazing movies. Lotr deserved all 17 ofthe best trilogy ever created. Peter Jackson has done what most people thought was impossible, made 3 amazing movies. Lotr deserved all 17 of its Oscars and probably more. this will remain my top 3 movies ever!! Expand
  6. Dec 6, 2011
    9
    I agree that the film is a masterpiece and not only shows Peter Jackson's direct skills at full blast but it shows that even now we can stillI agree that the film is a masterpiece and not only shows Peter Jackson's direct skills at full blast but it shows that even now we can still produce a film that will stun you in the way that Return Of The King has.

    The only problems with the film I have are this - The acting ,will solid through out, is no where near as good as any other part of the film and it is a bit disapointing. Also there are parts with the CGI and special effects look painfully obvious (usually when the actors are on the screen when they occur). Besides that, Its a great film.
    Expand
  7. LegionODorkS
    Dec 19, 2003
    0
    This ZERO is for the pinheads rating this movie as 'BEST MOVIE EVER'. Yes, if you've seen only three movies in your life--This ZERO is for the pinheads rating this movie as 'BEST MOVIE EVER'. Yes, if you've seen only three movies in your life-- including the first two installments of this outrageously overrated series-- than yes, FANBOY, this is the best picture ever. If, on the other hand, you're over 3 years old, you may have seen... oh... I don't know... 200 better films, conservatively? Let me guess: George W. Bushole.. best President EVER?!? I thought so... Expand

See all 744 User Reviews

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