The Beginning of a Legacy – Return of the King review

by Dec 31, 2003Reviews

My purse had been stuffed with Kleenex. I wondered if it had been wise to put on mascara. I had cried three times at The Two Towers, and I knew that I would be a complete sob-rag at Return of the King.

It wasn’t so much the idea that it was the last one. I’m a sentimental fool, and I knew that it would never be completely “the end.” It would be watching those friendships, those ties that we had seen develop and grow so strong through the course of two movies, be severed.

I went with my best friend the Monday after it arrived in theatres. I had originally wanted to wait in line for the midnight showing, but what with finals and all the fanatics that swamped the place, it was impossible. Therefore, we bought tickets to an obscure time on an obscure day: Monday, the four o’clock showing. Believe it or not, the theatre was sold out by the time we arrived with our tickets, which my friend was smart enough to purchase beforehand.

After plodding through the endless amounts of trailers, I caught my breath when the opening song began.

What can I say about the film? In short, I needed my Kleenex.

However, for a longer review, I can say with confidence that it was the best of the three. The special effects floored me, the story rang through (even though Saruman’s absence made me wonder if this was opening a door for a PJ sequel. Gag.). The actors showed their true metal.

In the first two films, I had often doubted the abilities of Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan. They were comic relief, and I wondered how they would handle crying and being injured. They were haunting. That’s the best word I can describe it. It was haunting. To compare the Pippin of FOTR to the Pippin of ROTK, Pippin is but a shell of the happy hobbit he had been in the first film. He has seen far too many battles, and he is alone. And afraid. And when he sings! I felt chills!

Dominic Monaghan portrayed a resilient Merry, who seemed to understand far better than Pippin what was truly happening, but still managed to hold on to his sanity. And he had style, too. Style and courage.

Sam Astin developed the most, I would say. He was the grumbler in FOTR, the fat, slow one in TTT, but here…here in the last one, he was the loyal and stout-hearted hobbit that we all can fall in love with. He started out as a frightened gardener who was forced into the journey because he didn’t want to be turned into something unatural, but at last, he found his courage.

Elijah Wood’s transformation was chilling. Going from a rosy-cheeked hobbit lad to a travel-worn cripple of a hobbit, then finally what we could almost call a “Dark Hobbit” when he took the Ring for himself, was quite a feat for both the actor and the make-up department. Elijah Wood was only, what, seventeen when he took on the job? And he was able to pull off pathetic, frightened, and wounded, and in the next moment he was power-hungry, forceful, and evil.

Viggo Mortensen ought to win some type of award for his flawless performance and transformation from a bum to a king. I applaud him.

Orlando Bloom and John Rhys-Davies I can’t say much on their development. Elves and dwarves are stubborn creatures. Niether one seemed to change a lot, but Orli had his share of stunts, and John had his one-liners to keep the audience laughing. Comic relief is not a thing to take for granted.

Among the others, Denethor was the sort you had the great desire to slap in the face. Faramir needed to be hugged a lot, as did Eowyn…(so why wasn’t there a wedding, eh?) Andy Serkis as Smeagol was marvelous, and the transformation at the beginning was genius. Kind of gross, but genius all the same.

The effects awed me, from the battle sequences to Shelob (if I didn’t hate spiders before, I sure as heck do now).

The applicability is what seemed to touch me the most, and it wasn’t anything that the effects or the actors brought out, at least, not on their own. It was the story. Hobbits are the normal little people who go about their lives trying to be “normal.” And yet it is one of their own, not any of the more intelligent beings, who rose to the occasion and saved their world. The intelligent ones, the ones who would have lived forever, were scared. But the little people carried on for them. And what’s more, they won. Sometimes the ordinary are called to do the extroidinary.

And the friendships held a soft spot in my heart as well. Nothing stopped Sam from helping his best friend, not the heights or the dark or the lurking creatures, even the lies told about him. He is the epitome of selflessness. He was willing to go to the ends of the earth and back for the sake of his friend.

I left the theatre with an adrenaline rush that I so often get from good movies; that longing to run out there and make movies as well. But that’s my journey. And while the movies have ended, yes, we can’t possibly call this “the end.” On the contrary, the legacy has only begun….


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