Movie Review: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (A) has such a graceful finale, director Peter Jackson ends it three or four times. But it’s hard to admonish this visionary for wanting to take an extended curtain call to send off such a magnificent cast of characters at the end of what has become such an epic film trilogy about Hobbits and other inhabitants of Middle Earth. Viggo Mortensen gets his best showcase this time around, and the characters get to truly stare evil in the face as they end their quest. The film sustains moments of charm, introspection, delight, full-blooded adventure, wonder and thrills. Because of the goodwill developed for these characters, the film can plumb truly dark territory as the titular ring works its soul-crushing magic. By the end of Jackson’s three-part masterwork, he has reinvented film fantasy.