Watching all the movies on the Warner Bros. 50-movie box set that I bought for cheap. This week the random number generator does not simply walk into Mordor (although it kind of does) in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
Here’s what happens: In part three of the LOTR trilogy, Aragorn and the other members of the fellowship rally three armies to make a last stand against the armies of Mordor, in the hopes of drawing the enemy troops away from Mount Doom, where Hobbits Frodo and Sam are headed, to destroy the ring. The creature Gollum, getting increasingly unhinged, is also headed toward Mount Doom.
Why it’s famous: After the hugely successful first two installments, everyone wondered if director Peter Jackson and his team could stick the landing. They do, concluding this epic series with some epic battles.
Get your film degree: While LOTR: ROTK is famous for the big action scenes, the movie covers a lot of ground in its character work. Aragorn learns what it means to be a king, Gandalf struggles to keep two kingdoms from falling apart, Merry and Pippin fight to prove themselves, Frodo keeps moving forward despite the ring eating away at his mind, and Sam maintains his course no matter what.
Movie geekishness: For as big as this movie is, it succeeds in a lot of little details as well. I like how Gandalf is called by the name “Mithrandir” at one point, and the filmmakers don’t stop to explain this, instead trusting the audience to understand that all the action on screen is part of an even bigger world.
Thoughts upon this viewing: I remain a big fan of the LOTR movies, and this third one’s “go big or go home” works in its favor, for a satisfying fantasy adventure filmmaking.
Next week: You can even eat the dishes.
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