2017 Movie #12: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

2017 Movie #12: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

It’s hard to pick a “worst” film from a series of such high quality as The Lord of the Rings trilogy – they’re all exceptionally well made, compelling films. That said, The Return of the King, in my estimation, is probably the least of the three films. On the one hand, it’s the culmination of an unbelievable amount of setup – hours and hours of film that are paid off, moment after great moment. On the other hand, it’s certainly the most flawed of the three, the most bloated. The battle scenes are, at times, problematic, and with so much territory to cover, director Peter Jackson had to make certain sacrifices.

The film is so filled with epic moments, though, that you can’t really knock it down too much for its flaws. My best advice? Fast forward through some of the slower parts, and you’ll have a fine time.

2017 Movie #11: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

2017 Movie #11: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

It’s been observed that the middle movie of a trilogy is often the best film. There are several examples that bear this hypothesis out – The Dark KnightThe Empire Strikes BackThe Godfather Pt. II, Spiderman II. 

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers turns out to be no exception to this rule. It is a tour-de-force of fantasy action and adventure that really stands alone in its scale and scope. Although The Two Towers hardly stands on its own as a film (it’s really all over the place in narrative, thanks to the splintering of the Fellowship of the Ring), it offers some of the best individual moments of the Lord of the Rings series.

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2017 Movie #10: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

2017  Movie #10: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

I don’t know that I could even count how many times I’ve seen this series – it’s that good. As a fantasy nut, my personal strategy is to watch the incredibly long extended editions, even though I know that the edited theatrical release versions are probably superior films. Whichever way you choose, there’s no question that this series is one of the most epic, expansive, ambitious in film history. Peter Jackson’s attention to bringing almost every detail from the books to life is incomparable, and the decisions of what parts of the book to cut are almost unanimously good ones. In The Fellowship of the Ring, particularly, there’s a lot to be set up, and aside from an expository monologue to start the film, most of the setup is established rather elegantly.

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