My current Top 5

My current Top 5


Number 07: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Best Picture Ranking)

I have to be honest and say: I don’t care about fantasy movies. Never have. Nor do I care about fantasy books. I tried to read The Lord of the Rings three times already but somehow I can never bring myself to go on because I just don’t care…but somehow Peter Jackson completely won me over with his movie version of Tolkien’s trilogy about Hobbits, Orks and the One Ring. It seems almost impossible to separate the three movies from another and maybe the high ranking for the final installment is a testament to the whole series but I honestly only tried to think of The Return of the King and not the two predecessors while I determined the position in this ranking. And since I personally think that the third of the three movies is also the best, this position seems justly earned.

I think that, of all the Best Picture winners, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King contains my single most favorite scene.
‘Arise! Arise, Riders of Theoden! Spears shall be shaken, shields shall be splintered! A sword day... a red day... and the sun rises! Ride now!... Ride now!... Ride! Ride to ruin and the world's ending! Death! Death! Death!’
This is a scene that, no matter how many times I watch it, constantly takes my breath away. It’s a pitch-perfect combination of plot, cinematography, editing and score. Maybe it’s because I am always overwhelmed by scenes in which new fighters join a battle to help the loosing side but I simply consider this one of the greatest moments in movie history.

But besides this scene, The Return of the King has much more to offer. It has brought a new meaning to the word ‘spectacle’ and the fact that Peter Jackson was able to bring this gigantic tale to the screen without any visible compromise is surely a stunning achievement. I think The Return of the King is my favorite of the three because it a) brings everything to a finale and b) benefits the most from the old good vs. evil theme with the battle of Minas Tirith, the character of Gollum and the story of Frodo and Sam who finally arrive in Mordor. Somehow, everything that you have waited for during the first two parts finally happens and The Return of the King does not disappoint. And it thankfully is also never just a pure fantasy story but instead uses its own themes to present a timeless tale and fills it with very believable and three-dimensional characters.

It’s no surprise that The Return of the King did not receive a single acting nomination since it’s a clear ensemble with no real standout but everyone still does excellent work nonetheless. Viggo Mortenson brings the right amount of energy to this part, Ian McKellen is again a graceful Gandalf, Elijah Wood and Sean Astin are excellent (even though a bit annoying sometimes) as Frodo and Sam, Miranda Otto almost steals the show while Andy Serkis is outstanding as Gollum.

The Return of the King manages to overwhelm the viewer again and again and, despite the length, never becomes boring at any moment. Sure, the ending may be too much for some but for me, it works just fine – I have spent so much time with these characters that I do not feel the need for a quick departure.

I have a feeling that it will become more and more popular to criticize the Lord of the Rings-series as the years go on but personally, I will forever cherish Peter Jackson creation which is one of the few times that a movie like this truly blew me away.


Louis Morgan said...

It most certainly has merit, no question. It has flaws as well though It is interesting though because I find some of its flaws derive from the changes from the book. Such as the ghosts being frankly overpowered, also things like Denethor being simplified is a real missed opportunity.

The film is good though, I was never bored by its running time either, although the fake out endings were a poor choice by the director. I think it has many mistakes like that but the product on a whole still is very good, it probably would not make my top ten though.

Anonymous said...

Perfect review of a perfect film, I completely agree about the scene you mentioned, perfect placing as well!