NewsWire: Third 'Lord of the Rings' Film Unveiled -

Third 'Lord of the Rings' Film Unveiled

Early last evening I got to see about 20 minutes from "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," Peter Jackson's third and final installment in his epic rendering of the Tolkien books.

As we could have predicted, the scenes a few of us had the pleasure of screening were top notch -- indicating that Jackson and the folks at New Line Cinema will go boldly into this year's Oscar race with every intention of winning.

And why not? "Return" looks amped for success. We saw about five completed sequences. A couple of them involved Frodo, Sam, and Gollum. Two others were impressive, expansive battle scenes. We got a look at Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Bernard Hill, and Hugo Weaving -- as well as at Elijah Wood and Sean Astin -- in full regalia.

One thing that jumped off the screen right away: Howard Shore's terrific score seems even better used in "Return." And Jackson has grown even more accomplished with his special effects and CGI. One battle scene in particular, which starts with about 500 extras and then pulls back to an army of computer generated thousands, will be quite stunning on a big screen.

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