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A Truly Grand Finale: ‘The Return of the King’

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A Truly Grand Finale: ‘The Return of the King’

Samantha Meek, Staff

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Hey, Tolkien fans! Guess what? Your journey is almost done. Let`s finish it in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King released in 2003. 

The Return of the King film by Peter Jackson is based on the final part of J.R.R Tolkien`s fascinating trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. The movie has several storylines. The War against Sauron and the world has finally begun. Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Samwise (Sean Astin) finally reached Modor and attempt to destroy the Ring while Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and his companions struggle to ally Gondor with Rohan so they can win the war to save the world of mankind. Lastly, Aragorn must make the decision whether to take the throne of Gondor. 

 According to Rotten Tomatoes, it has scored a high rating of 93% and the audience rating is 86% due to its breathtaking and emotional plot, bringing a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. Iwas the highest-grossing movie of 2003 and has won all 11 Academy Awards. 

Like the previous movie, The Two Towers, new characters appear, especially new antagonists. Denethor II (John Noble) is a madman who grieves from the loss of his son and despair over the superior army of Sauron has driven him insane. John Noble’s deep accent gave Denethor a very deep and powerful tone to create Denethor`s insanity and grief, making the character scary, but fantastic.  

Gollum (Andy Serkis) also becomes less sympathetic in his desperation for the Ring, something Sam begins to suspect which, in turn, deepens that conflict. Gollum also deepens as a character via a flashback that gives insight into his past and how the Ring changed Gollum. Andy Serkis has made the character famous through not just his creepy and childish voice and appearance due to the use of GCI, but also through his story, making more sense to what`s happening to him throughout the story. 

Apart from the antagonists, let`s talk about one of the protagonists. Aragorn`s (Viggo Mortenson) character has begun to grow throughout the movie. His character was shown to the most beloved, from being a ranger to a warrior, and then king. He was a character beloved for his bravery, bad-ass fighting, wisdom, and always keeps hope in the darkest places. 

Aside from great opinions about the characters, you should thank the actors. Throughout the previous movies and The Return of the King as well, the actors did an absolutely fantastic job portraying these amazing characters. They have brought emotion, strength, and weakness to all of their characters, good or bad. They have played so well that they made the movie and every single moment of it alive. 

The production was also very amazingand director Peter Jackson said that the making of the movie was the easiest of all because the movie had a climax. The settings were proven to be the greatest part of the trilogy`s creation. Minas Tirith, a well-known but corrupt stronghold in Gondor was created in Dry Creek Quarry in Wellington, New Zealand, and the stronghold`s design and gate engravings were inspired by the Baptistry of San Giovanni in Florence, Italy. The four levels of streets and the heraldic motifs of the houses in Minas Tirith were also inspired by Siena in Tuscany, Italy, making the scene shockingly big and quite ancient. The inside proves to more ancient in the movie, not just because of its inspiration of design, which was in Charlemagne`s Chapel, a medieval chapel in Germany, but also engravings of the ancient kings of Gondor, containing Gondor`s history through sculpture. They were even influenced by many cultures, such as Celtic, Aztec, and Kiribati to create artistic, but inspiring designs/costumes for many characters.  

The soundtrack would probably be one of the most moving uses of the movie`s creation, including soprano singers, who have added voice to the tracks and uses of Celtic and Eastern instruments and much more. One track, “The Steward of Gondor” is one of the saddest when soldiers of Minas Tirith leave for battle, not knowing if they will return. Further in the track, Billy Boyd, the actor of Pippin Took, sings one of the most moving and beautiful song called “Mist and Shadow” that might make you bawl your eyes out, especially when the soldiers charge while he sang that song.  

There are many tracks that have contained happy tones, such as this track “The Return of the King” reflecting Aragorn becoming king, where evil has finally faded and peace wins. It containing the Shire`s most beautiful and cheerful tone since the war is finally over, and everyone is safe and happy. Some tracks don`t contain a happy tone, such as “The Fields of the Pelennor,” for it starts off with the beat of drums and then goes to battle music; then it shifts to a scarier tone, containing loud and scary soprano music, making the scene foreboding and scary. 

Overall, it`s not just the music, the production, the characters, and the plot that makes it a great movie. It`s how they connect to make a fantastic theme: don`t let your hopes down and always rely on each other for the world always needs help: we just have to be there to help. Sure, it may be hard. Things are not always easy but, we just have to try.   

As a fan of Tolkien, my expectations went so high. That`s how good it was. It is, out of all the other ones, the far most amazing movie in the trilogy. Peter Jackson, the producers, and the actors couldn`t have done anything more to make this movie outstanding. It has brought fantasy-like realism, in relation of our own world. I would highly encourage you to watch this movie, either you are a fan of Tolkien yourself, or for the dramatic scenaries, learning experience, or even your favorite actor. Who knows? Whatever the reason, I know you`ll love it. You might even love the whole series as well.  

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A Truly Grand Finale: ‘The Return of the King’