This is the end of the trilogy, and it did the rest of the series well with its no-nonsense style. It is by far the best movie in the series, and there are many reasons why. We learn so much more about the state of the Stewards of Gondor in this movie. Get an idea of exactly how palintirs work, and get away from the sappy romance of Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) and Arwen (Liv Tyler) for awhile. We see more focus on Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam’s (Sean Astin) trek into Mordor, and how much influence Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellan) and even Pippin Took (Billy Boyd) has in the grand scheme of things. We are treated to the simple grandeur of Rohan, and the bravery of Eowen (Miranda Otto) and Eomer (Karl Urban).
We open pretty much where The Lord of the Rings : The Two Towers leaves off, with Four of the Nine and King Theoden (Bernard Hill) of Rohan finding a very merry Merry and Pippin at a the flooded Isengard tower, enjoying some simple pleasures of home, like ale and high quality pipeweed. Even though Saruman (Christopher Lee) and the Uruk-hai were evil and power-hungry, at least they had good taste. This comes to and end thanks to the small army of ancient treants that took down the those left at the tower while the others were fighting down in Helm’s Deep. After some bad negotiations and some backstabbing, we see the end of the threat of Saruman. Pippin finds a palintir, and his curious Took nature gets the better of him, as he wants to know more about these communicators with Sauron’s Evil Eye. Even though the threat from Isengard is gone, the main threat from Mordor still looms over Middle Earth, and Frodo, Sam, and Gollum (Andy Serkis) get closer to Mount Doom.
The weight of The One Ring gets heavier and heavier on Frodo, Sam’s mistrust with Gollum keeps growing, and Gollum is coming back to that side of him that desires to own the ring more than anything, and he’ll do all kinds of nasty tricks to get it back. Sauron (Sala Baker) sends his troops into Gondor from the Black Gate with a darkness covering them to protect his orc army and the Nazgul from the goodness and light that cover Minas Tirith, the capitol of Gondor. This white, shining city looks to have been carved out of the mountain it is situated on, but that mountain cannot protect it from all sides. After a respite and celebration back in Rohan, Gandalf and Pippin head to Gondor on Shadowfax to warn Denethor (John Noble), the Steward of what is to come. Aragorn, Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) stay in Rohan to gather allies, and wait for Gondor’s signal. It takes some crafty work for Gandalf to get the signal fires lit. Denethor has learned his favored son, Boromir (Sean Bean) was killed by orcs while saving Merry and Pippin back in Parth Galen on the hill of Amon Hen, and as if he’s not gone insane enough by being under the influence of a palintir all these years, he loses even more sanity at the news, and hates his younger son Faramir (David Wenham) for letting the defense of Osgilath fall. Faramir has a much better fate in store for him, if he can get past his father’s magically-enhanced insanity. There is much psychosis going on in Middle Earth while Sauron is looking to take it back. From Denethor in Gondor, to Gollum, all those years ago, when he lived in the Misty Mountains, not to mention all those places influenced by the bearers of the lesser rings, which somehow, the elves managed not to be influenced by nearly as much.
There are great vistas and battles to behold, pacts with the undead, and places explored that no hobbit ever saw in his or her worst nightmare, but it all comes together in a grand scale when it all comes together on the plain before Minas Tirith and those who rule comes to those places that are truly theirs, and should have been since the beginning.
All these movies are wonderful, this is the fondant atop the cake, so much richer than regular buttercream, and it will keep you riveted for those four hours, if you are lucky enough to watch the extended version. Even the best hobbit baker could agree, and we know how much hobbits love their cakes! No doubt, The Lord of the Rings : The Return of the King gets six Musings stars today!
I give this film a Musing review of