The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) movie poster

(2003) dir. Peter Jackson
viewed: 01/07/04 at Loews Theatre at the Metreon, SF, CA

The biggest epic battle of this film was the one that most people probably had with their bladders while trying to endure the full three and a half hours of this, the final segment in the much ballyhooed trilogy. It’s long. Very long. Epic long. And even the ending is long.

Overall, this series of films was very satisfying and is quite an accomplishment, bringing an enormous beast of a story to the screen and managing all of the storylines and viewer-expectations, visual thrills, characters, and everything. On the whole and even in many of the details, it’s hard to fault director Peter Jackson, who has really pulled off something pretty amazing in this film series.

And on the whole, his accomplishment has been well-acknowledged and though there are nay-sayers out there, the overall general reception to this series of films is largely well-deserved and recognized. There’s virtually nothing to add to the litany of praise or even criticism of these films. All I can say is that I found them on the whole entertaining and pretty satisfying, which is by and far their primary goal.

I think I found the second of these films the most satisfying, for whatever reason. It’s been a year since I saw it and I can’t say exactly what was better/more pleasing about it. This third and final segment felt a little slow to get going and then culminated in climax after climax and denoument after denoument where I was eagerly awaiting the credit roll.

Ultimately, though, these films are part of a whole and would be interesting to see back to back, if one ever had the strength to endure such an undertaking. I mean, after all, put end to end and added with all the DVD additional footage and seen in total, this thing would outpace Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah (1985), which has been since its creation a joking comparison point for length in film (554 minutes).

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