MAJOR MAJOR SPOILERS! – My review/recap of The Return of the King

by Dec 20, 2003Reviews

First of all, I have to say, it was beautiful, excellent, amazing. I was just sitting in the cinema before it started and I was thinking ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe I’m really seeing it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’
It began with Smeagòl killing Deagòl and taking the Ring and transforming into Gollum (God did he look scary).

Then it went to Rohan. Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Thèodon were riding to Isengard, where they meet Merry and Pippin drinking and smoking, which of course makes Gimli angry. They ride through the water to the Tower to Treebeard. Pippin sees the fire of the palintìr glimmering underwater and bends down to pick it up. When Gandalf sees what he is doing, he takes it off Pippin and says ‘I’ll take that my lad’ and rolls it up in a cloth.

That night everybody is asleep in the Golden Hall of Edoras. Pippin sneaks over to Gandalf and gets the cloth that the palintìr is wrapped in. Merry, alarmed asks ‘What are you dong?’ ‘I only want to look at it…’ says Pippin. Then when he takes the palintìr in his hands he is in agony, writhing around on the floor. Aragorn, who had been outside with Legolas, heard him yelling and came running in. He took the palintìr from Pippin and when he touched it he sort of fainted in Legolas’s arms. Gandalf ran over and threw the cloth back over it. He made Pippin tell him what he had seen. Pippin, shaking and weak, tells him that he had seen a tree burning. Gandalf guessed that this was Sauron’s next place to attack, and knew he had to warn Denethor. So next morning he lifted Pippin on to his horse and rode off. It was terribly sad when Pippin realised Merry wasn’t coming- he cried out ‘Merry!’ and Shadowfax left.

Then we see Frodo and Sam and Gollum, not a vey important scene, just Frodo not sleeping, the usual stuff. Then they were sneaking by the gates of Minas Morgul, but Frodo, drawn to it began walking slowly, staggeringly, towards it, like he couldn’t help himself (well he couldn’t). Then the green-blue beacon shot up, the signal for war. It was actually really cool, this HUGE thick, twisting beacon, going upwards and upwards. Gandalf and Pippin, who were by this time in Minas Tirith, saw it. ‘
It is time. War is upon us’ said Gandalf (or something like that)

Frodo and Sam hid behind a large rock and watched the huge army of orcs marching out from Minas Morgul. After a while, they began to climb the stairs, which really didn’t seem like stairs at all, just a VERY steep cliff with rough steps hewn out.

Meanwhile, in Minas Tirith, Gandalf realised that if Denethor, stricken by grief by news of his son’s(Boromir’s) death, would not take action and call to Edoras for aide, he would have to do so himself. Pippin had to creep up and light the enormous beacon, which signalled to the other beacon on the mountain side, which lit up and signalled to another beacon, which signalled to another beacon… All the way across the montains, until it was sighted by Edoras. The Riders of Rohan, along with Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Merry and Èowyn set out to help Gondor. There is a scene where Èowyn is standing by her horse and Aragorn comes over and lifts up her saddle flap. He spots the sword concealed underneath and she slaps his hand away. I found this rather amuing.

In Osgiliath, the city is overrun by orcs, and Faramir and his men are forced to retreat. As they gallop away, a Nazgul swoops down at them. Gandalf rides out with a bright light shining from his staff which scares it away.

When they reach Minas Tirith(a BEAUTIFUL city- I don’t know HOW the film-makers achieved what they did with it) there is a very emotional conflict between Faramir and Denethor.

‘You wish that it had been me who had died, and not Boromir’ says Faramir quietly. ‘Yes’ says Denethor shortly. This was a little bit upsetting, as it is clear that Denethor really does not care for Faramir.

On the stairs of Cirtith Ungol, Frodo and Sam were asleep. Gollum slyly takes the last of the lembs bread, crumbles a bit onto Sam’s jacket and tosses the rest down the cliff.

Next morning Sam cried ‘All the lembas is gone! It’s all we had left!’ Gollum whispers to Frodo about the crumbs on Sam’s jacket. Frodo, already corrupted by the Ring and Gollum’s evil whisperings, believes that Sam took it. They fight, ending with Frodo saying ‘You can’t help me anymore Sam. Go home.’ He turns and continues to climb up the stairs with Gollum while Sam sits down and sobs and sobs. It is heartbreaking.

The Riders of Rohan make camp. Èowyn fits Merry with Rohirrim armour. Èomer shortly tells her not to encourage him, for war is no place for a hobbit.
Aragorn has a dream about Arwen dying and whispering ‘I wish I could have seen him one last time’ and then he dreams that the Evenstar necklace falls and shatters. Waking up, he is called to see an unknown visitor. It is Elrond. He tells Aragorn that Arwen(who on the way to the Grey Havens had a vision of Aragorn and her son, which would have been her future. She turned Asfolath around and rode back to Rinendell) was indeed dying while Sauron’s evil remained. He then gives Aragorn Andùiril, Flame of the West, reforged from the shards of Narsil. Aragorn knows he has to accept kingship to command the Dead, who linger in the Paths of the Dead. He sets out for the Paths at once, which are beside the campsite. Everyone begs Aragorn not to leave on the eve of war, but they cannot conquer Sauron’s armies without the dead, so he, Legolas and Gimli leave into the darkness. The next day the Riders leave. Merry is forbidden to go but Èowyn in disguise sweeps him onto her horse in front of her.

Faramir had been dragged unconscious by his horse back to the White City in an attempt to retake Osgiliath. Denethor, overcome by madness, believes he is dead, and wanting for them both to die in glory, he orders a funeral pyre to be prepared for them. Pippin rushes to get Gandalf, who is partaking in the battle. Just as the fire is lit, they burst in and rescue Faramir, but Denethor is now a flaming human fireball and runs out and along the clifftop and throws himself off the cliff(Of course, in real life he wouldn’t have gotten anywhere near that far)

Frodo is lured into Shelob’s lair, where he is left by Gollum in the darkness. He panics and begins to run, pursued by the gigantic revolting spider Shelob. He remembers the light Galadriel gave him and thrusts it at Shelob, who scuttles away. Gollum leaps at Frodo suddenly, and they fight, resulting in Frodo throwing Gollum off the cliff. He whispers ‘I’m so sorry Sam’ and continues on alone.

Sam, still weeping, descends the stairs only to find the remains of lembas that Gollm threw away. He knows what Gollum must have done and realises that Frodo had been led into a trap.

In Minas Tirith, the orcs break through and there is a retreat from the lower level, with much the same cries from Helm’s Deep such as ‘Retreat! Retreat! They have broken through! Pull back!’ and so on.

The Riders of Rohan arrive at last. The orcs realise this and begin to march on them, but the Riders were fighting a losing battle, becase Oliphaunts begin to turn up. But when all hope was nearly lost, boats drew up on the shore and Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli jumped out. They had persauded the Dead to help them, who simply swarmed over the Oliphaunts.

Then the Witch-King arrived.

Èowyn cut off the head of the Fell-beast, then plunged her sword deep through the Witch-King’s helmet, while Merry drove his through the back of his leg. The Nazgul gave a great cry and disintegrated away. Èowyn ran to her injured uncle, who died in her arms.

Frodo had spotted the Tower of Cirith-Ungol and was advancing towards it. But he didn’t notice Shelob once agin creeping up behind him. There was a shot of his face, the just a jabbing sound. Frodo’s eyes roll up and saliva came to his mouth and he collapses. Shelob catches him and rolls him up in sticky web-stuff, until he looks like a corpse, or a shroud. Then Sam comes running in! He holds up Frodo’s light and bandishes it at Shelob. Then there is a big fight between them, with Sam sticking his sword into Shelob and she runs away for the last time.

Then Sam runs to Frodo and tears the sticky web away from his face and oh my God, he looked dead. His face was so pale and his eyes were stark and staring, his mouth slightly open. Sam thought of course that he was dead and held his body and cried. He hears orcs coming and leaving Frodo he hid behind a rock. He heard the orcs talking among themselves. They say that Frodo is not really dead, the sting of Shelob had just knocked him out for a while. Sam whispers ‘You fool, Samwise Gamgee’

On the battlefield of Minas Tirith, Aragorn keeps his promise to the Dead and releases them. Pippin suddenly sees Merry lying underneath a pile of bodies. He pulls Merry free. Merry croaks ‘Are you going to leave me?’ ‘No Merry’ says Pippin, on the verge of tears. ‘I’m going to help you’

In the Tower of Cirith Ungol, Frodo wakes up, naked except for his trousers. He listens to the orcs arguing about his mithril shirt. A fight breaks out and nearly all of the orcs get killed among themselves. Sam, meanwhile, is running up the Tower stairs, and hears the orcs coming towards him. He kills them with cries of ‘Thats for Frodo!’ and ‘Thats for the Shire’ and ‘And THATS for my old Gaffer!’

An orc advances towards Frodo with a whip in his hand, saying threatening things, when he falls forward, because Sam has stuck his blade in his back. ‘Sam!’ cries Frodo and then tells him how sorry he is for not believing him. ‘Its over Sam’ he continues in despair. ‘Don’t you understand? They have the Ring!’

‘Begging your pardon, Mr Frodo, but the haven’t’ replies Sam. He holds up the Ring. ‘I thought I’d lost you so I took it’
Then Frodo snatches it from him, because the Ring still has power over him. Sam is hurt, but he understands.

In Minas Tirith, a debate is going on. Aragorn wants to lead the remainder of the soldiers to the Blak Gate and confront Sauron, to draw his eye away from Frodo and the Ring.

Frodo and Sam are very near Mount Doom by now, but thousands of orc are beteen them and it. They are in despair, but to their surprise all of the orcs start maeching away. Their path to the Firey Mountain is clear.
On the way, the Eye of Sauron suddenly sweeps around, beaming like a searchlight. He can sense the Ring, but cannot see them-yet. Sam throws himself onto the ground and yells ‘Get down Mr Frodo!’ Frodo is nearly caught in the beam and collapses. The Eye turns its attention elswhere, for no apparent reason.

The reason is Aragorn. He and the now-small army confront Sauron at the Black Gate of Mordor. The Gate slowly opens and the army of Mordor march out and begin to circle the Riders of Rohan and the soldiers of Minas Tirith.

Frodo and Sam make their way through a passage in the mountainside, Sam carrying Frodo. Out of nowhere Gollum appears. He was not dead after all. He struggles with Sam, and with his last remaining strength runs into the passage. He stands holding the Ring staring into the swirling lava.
Sam comes running in. ‘What are you waiting for?’ he cries. ‘Throw it in!’

‘No’ snarls Frodo. ‘Its mine!’ He slips on the Ring and disappears.

‘NO!’ shouts Sam. Gollum then suddenly leaps on the invisible Frodo, fighting with him. He bites off Frodo’s finger and holds aloft his Precious in delight. Frodo reappears, clutching his bloody stump. He and Gollum continue to keep fighting until the two of them fall over the edge. Gollum sinks into the lava. A crust forms underneath the Ring until it finally dissolves into the molten rock.

At the Black Gate, all the ground beneath the orcs circling the army crumbles away, apart from behind them. There, the remaining orcs flee in terror. Barad-dur collapses with the Eye. Mount Doom begins to spew tons of lava.

There is great rejoycing until Aragorn, Gandalf, Legolas, Gimli and the hobbits stare in horror at the errupting Mount Doom as they realise what it means for Frodo and Sam. Merry and Pippin cry- to mournful music you can see Pippin mouthing ‘Frodo’ through his tears.

Sam rushes to the edge of the precipice and looks down. Miraculously, Frodo did not fall into the lava, but was hanging on by his fingertips. Sam grasps his wrists and hauls him up.

On the slopes of the volcanoe, they stagger up onto a large rock just in time as the lava flows beneath them. There they lie and wait for the end.
But it was not the end. Gwahir, Gandalf’s eagle friend, and a couple of more eagles swoop down and grasp the two hobbits in their claws and bear them off to safety.

A few days later, Frodo wakes up in what I assume is the Houses of Healing. Gandalf is standing by the end of his bed and Frodo whispers ‘Gandalf?’ Then they look at each other and burst into laughter – just like the old days.

Then Merry and Pippin come running in and leap onto his bed. One by one the remaining members of the Fellowship appear at the doorway – Gimli, Legolas, Aragorn, and last of all Sam.

The next day Aragorn is crowned by Gandalf as King of Gondor. Then as he moves forward to greet Elrond and some other Elves, Arwen in a wedding dress and holding a white banner comes forward. The two stare at eachother, and then Aragorn grabs Arwen in a long kiss.
They walk over to Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin, who at once kneel but Aragorn bades them to stand up and says ‘You bow to no-one, my friends. Then hundreds of people, Aragorn and Arwen included, kneel before them.

Afterwards, on return to his home, the Shire, Frodo found himself unable to pick up the threads of his old life. Sam was now married to Rosie Cotton, and had two children. Four years to the day Frodo was stabbed on Weathertop, a horse and cart came with Gandalf and an extremley wrinkled old Bilbo. The four hobbits accompanied to them to the Grey Havens. There Galadriel, Celeborn and Elrond awaited them. When Gandalf was bidding them goodbye, he said ‘It is time Frodo’ The hobbits turn to Frodo in disbelief and sorrow as they realise he will be going too. Frodo hugs the sobbing Merry and Pippin. Then he embraces Sam last of all, and kisses him gently on the head. Then he embarks the ship with Gandalf, Bilbo, Galadriel, Celeborn and Elrond and it sails into the West, to the Undying lands. Sam, Merry and Pippin turn wearily for home.

Sam is walking up the lane when his daughter comes flying into his arms. He picked her up and Rosie comes out to him with the baby in her arms. ‘Well, I’m back’ he says, and they all go inside, shutting the round yellow door behind them.

Well, that is my LONG (and probably boring) review of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Although it was the best film I have ever seen, I can’t help feel a bit annoyed at some of the loose ends left, such as Èowyn and Merry not even coming off the battlefield injured! It left the whole Houses of Healing sequence out, it did not even show Faramir and Èowyn falling in love and getting married, just the two of them clapping and smiling at eachother at Aragorn’s coronation. We didn’t evn find out what happened to Faramir after he gets rescued from the pyre! I was also disappointed at the way ‘The tale of Aragorn and Arwen Appendix’ was left out. Maybe in the extended DVD? The death of Thèodon was forgotten as well.
But all that aside, it was a BRILLIANT film, absolutley EXCELLENT, you MUST see it.



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