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"The Ultimate Return"
By Kathleen D., Fredericton High, Fredericton, NB

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Peter Jackson
New Line Cinema (2003)

Elves, dwarfs, warriors and sorcerers gather from far and wide to worship the lord of all cinemas.

The classic trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien is pulled from its pages and brought to life on the big screen in a series of three consecutive movies. The Lord of the Rings is spaced out into three novels: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and finally, The Return of the King.

The legend of the ring is based on the adventures of a hobbit named Frodo. Frodo and his friends, Merry, Pipin, and Sam, journey to the west to destroy an ancient ring that was once owned by a terrible king named, Sauron. Sauron's ring was blessed with magnificent and terrorizing power. Sauron ruled over the lands from his home in Mordor until his ring finger was cut of and the ring with it. Now the ring is in Frodo's hands. The mangled Sauron calls to it from afar as Frodo and company travel to Mordor to destroy the ring in the giant volcano. It isn't long before Frodo and his band of Hobbits are joined by several other individuals that would also like to see the ring destroyed: Aragon, the prince of the lands, Gimli, a dwarf, Gandolf, the gray, and Legolas, the elf.

In the third sequence, "The Return of the King," The fellowship finds itself drawing to a close as Mordor becomes just beyond the horizon. The team finds itself torn into three separate groups, scattered about the hills and valleys. Frodo and Sam journey toward the home of Sauron while carefully being lead by a former prisoner of the ring, Smeagle. Aragon, Gimli, Gandolf and Legolas are bound to the aid of the kingdoms in a fight between Orcs and humans. Merry and Pipin are battling through the thick forests before Mordor.

Pipin and Merry are soon discovered by the group of Aragon, Gimli, Gandolf and Legolas. The newly formed alliance battle in a tragic war of beast and man as Aragon fights for his rightful place as king.

Sam and Frodo are lead across the wastelands by Smeagle, a two-faced creature that once was possessed by the rings power. Smeagle soon turns on his loyalty and becomes obsessed by the precious ring again. Smeagle frames Sam for attempting to hold back Frodo on his journey and battles for his precious at the brink the volcano.

As Aragon becomes king and Frodo lets go of his own secret obsession and destroys the ring, the masterpiece of the series draws to a close.

The movie, "Return of the King," is rich with detail and depth.

Millions of specific costumes were constructed for the crew. Outstanding detail was woven into each helmet and chest guard. Each scene was blessed with originality and a medieval style. Castles and villages were draped across a landscape of breathtaking mountains and beautiful forests.

Peter Jackson made an effort to spin together a group of new and fresh actors like Orlando Bloom (Legolas) and Viggo Mortenson (Aragon). Despite such a risky move with unknown actors, the crew was magnificent and took pleasure in making every second of the movie memorable. Ian McKellen (Gandolf) spent his free time between takes reading the 500 or so page novels from cover to cover to get a feel for his character. The actors felt comfortable with their character's personality. Friendships were formed between actors and the connections also played into the movie. Dramatic clips of tears and firey glares helped make each character believable. Accents were woven in along with hours of makeup to transform the actors into the most possibly believable characters possible.

The movie was composed of great battle scenes, overwhelming dialogue and conversations, and simple overhead views of the paths and hills traveled on.

The beauty of this movie is the reality of the two separate stories taking place at once. Half of the movie was dedicated to Aragon and his team, where as the rest of the time was spent focusing on Frodo and the ring. The movie switched back and forth between the harsh battles beyond the castle walls and Frodo's drastic hike to Mordor. Amazingly, the two stories were pulled together at the end. Aragon, after winning his battle, rushed to Frodo's side and distracted Sauron's eye as Frodo and Sam destroyed the ring.

Such a wonderful movie is paired evenly with a magnificent soundtrack. "Into the West" sung by Annie Lenox has been known to bring people to tears. Beautiful lyrics matched by a hauntingly unique voice is the perfect combination for the theme song to "Return of the King." Songs composed and performed by Renee Fleming, and Billy Boyd, added distinct emotion to the film.

Armies of monsters were created by computer. Each monster was framed with its own look and mind: All 1,000,000 or so of them!

This represents power and how someone can become obsessed so quickly with it. Its destruction can only be accomplished with the help of a friend, like Frodo and Sam. If it weren't for Sam's enforcement, Frodo would have fell victim to the ring's call. A contrast of races ranging from the proud Dwarfs to the loyal Elves make this movie a powerful message in unity and the celebration of differences. With a true synergy, the fellowship conquers all odds and defeats temptation of power.

This movie is surely a classic and will be treasured for years to come. Every thing screams middle earth; from the castles to the paupers. The music is done in an orchestra style. The story is unique and fluent. It will inspire many movies to come with its fresh characters and epic battle scenes.

It's a bitter sweet end to "The Lord of the Rings" saga. We don't want to bid farewell to the magnificent adventure of a young hobbit and his friends. Although we are touched by the beautiful ending to the movies we loved so dearly, we hate to say good-byes to the ring.

"Return of the King" is a film to be cherished by all races for eternity.


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