There’s little to say about Return of the King that I haven’t already said about the first two installments in Peter Jackson’s trilogy of Lord of the Rings movies. To my mind, it inherits the same virtues of the previous two movies while bringing the cycle to an epic and satisfying conclusion.
The middle entry in a trilogy often has the hardest job, picking up where the first story left off and leaving enough for the final part to build on. In other words, it has to hit the ground running, assuming you remember what you saw a year ago and then leave you hanging two or three hours later. I don’t count faux trilogies like the Indiana Jones movies, which are only called a “trilogy” because there just happened to be three movies. There was, however, no common narrative thread tying the films together, like there is for Lord of the Rings.
Like The Empire Strikes Back, The Two Towers successfully avoids the “middle movie” trap. Continue reading
The first film of the Lord of the Rings trilogy had a tall order to fill. It had to establish the complex fantasy universe of Middle Earth and the peoples who inhabit it, while putting the story of the Ring into motion and accomplish this in the amount of time you could reasonably expect an audience to sit still for a movie. It probably would have been no problem to make a ten-hour film out of the first book alone.