LOTR: Return of the King

It's over. It's actually over. Unbelievably, but it's over. 2 years after Fellowship made fantasy somewhat cool, it's all over. SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS. The ring has been cast into the mountain of fire. The king has been crowned. The ship for the Grey Havens has sailed. Before I go any further, I've got to structure this review so I don't go raving about one particular aspect. So I'm gonna talk about 1)actors, 2)filmmakers, 3)battles, and 4)F/X. First of all, the actors. Ian Mackellan just dominates any scene that he's in. There's a scene where he protects Pippin, and he just goes completely insane with his sword and staff, like a true warrior. Viggo Mortensen finally has his on-screen transformation into a movie star as he takes the throne of Gondor. Orlando Bloom and John-Rhys Davies do amazing work with what they've been given. Elijah Wood has thankfully reached a level of his craft so that he convincingly plays a Frodo that wants the Ring for himself when he finally reaches Mount Doom. David Wenham, Miranda Otto, John Noble, and Hugo Weaving also deserve special attention. For the life of me, the two actors in this movie that sell it for me are Sean Astin and Bernard Hill. Astin plays a Sam that isn't so much a living being as he is a beacon of pure courage in living men. He is chewed up and spat out by Frodo, yet still fights on for him. Bernard Hill does an amazing job playing a King who is riding to the aid of another who ignored him. Peter Jackson deserves(and hopefully will recieve), the dreaded Oscar nod this year. If he does, he may just receive a lot of respect from his colleagues. If he doesn't, I'll be fine. I, for one, don't need a panel of old white men who liked Chicago to tell me which movies are good. The battle scenes are off the hook. Pelennor Fields, obviously, is amazing. Easterlings and Oliphaunts and the Rohirrim all battling each other, right before the King arrives with the Army of the Dead. And by the way, Legolas performs the coolest stunt in any modern movie that I can remember. You'll know it when you see it, and Gimli's line afterwards makes it even better. As for the F/X this time around, you never even doubt that Gollum is real. In this film, we actually see Gollum bleed and drool. It looks so real!! It's unbelievable what WETA has accomplished. This movie has set the standard for all fantasy epics for the foreseeable future, and it will reign forever. Sure, the journey's over. But what a journey it was. And hey, we've still got the extended cut coming in November.