Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King
  • Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King
  • Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King

Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King

4.8 173
Director: Peter Jackson

Cast: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen

     
 

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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King makes its way to DVD in this two-disc edition of the theatrical cut of the film thanks to New Line Cinema. Just as both of its two-disc predecessors, this initial release presents the movie along with a small amount of extras to tide fans over until the archives are opened for the Special Extended Edition, comingSee more details below

Overview

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King makes its way to DVD in this two-disc edition of the theatrical cut of the film thanks to New Line Cinema. Just as both of its two-disc predecessors, this initial release presents the movie along with a small amount of extras to tide fans over until the archives are opened for the Special Extended Edition, coming later in 2004. As usual, the picture and sound presentation is astounding, with a crisp 2.35:1 widescreen image (also available in a full-screen version) and both a Dolby Digital EX 5.1 Surround track and a 2.0 Surround Sound audio option ready to bowl you over with their layers of clarity -- for proof, skip right to Chapter 37 and the Battle of Pelennor Fields to really understand the time and effort that was put into this transfer. As far as extras go, this edition carries on the trend of including all of the two- to four-minute lordoftherings.net featurettes (five in total), along with other material that is mostly exclusive to this release. First off, there's "The Quest Fulfilled: A Director's Vision" and "A Filmmaker's Journey: Making Return of the King" featurettes, both of which seem to include many of the same interview segments and stories as not only each other, but also as all of the releases leading up to this one. Needless to say, thanks to the cheesy voice-over work by the narrator and the overlapping content, these two seem disappointing, but end up in the same ballpark as the two-disc Two Towers' Starz/Encore specials or the WB making-of. Those who have purchased the National Geographic special on the third film will be equally saddened by its inclusion here, just one year after it was initially released to DVD in 2003. One place where this edition does stand out is in its inclusion of both original theatrical trailers and a whopping 13 TV spots! Exclusive to this disc is the brand new six-and-a-half-minute Lord of the Rings Trilogy super-trailer documenting the story in a recap fashion that is almost more exhausting than any of the actual films, though neat nonetheless. Also included is a trailer for Electronic Arts' The Lord of the Rings video games, including the latest one, The Battle for Middle Earth. It's strange that New Line didn't include a trailer for the Extended Edition, since such trailers were on both of the last two-disc releases (for their corresponding extended versions). In fact, that was reason enough to buy the initial disc for many fans, so this really was a misstep on New Line's part for not including it. Still, for the stellar presentation of the theatrical film alone, this release is worth it for those looking to own a piece of history -- others might want to bide their time until the mammoth set hits the shelves.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
The third and most spectacular installment of Peter Jackson's remarkable Lord of the Rings trilogy builds to a climax of almost endurable suspense as Middle-earth is rocked by the prospect of impending Armageddon -- an all-out war that can only be prevented by two lowly hobbits. Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) follow the treacherous Gollum (Andy Serkis) to Mount Doom, into whose fiery core must be hurled the all-powerful ring. Meanwhile, as Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) cast their lot with the besieged inhabitants of Gondor, the remaining members of the Fellowship -- Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) -- attempt to recruit the spirit warriors of Cursed Mountains in the final conflict against Sauron. Return of the King reaps the benefit of narrative seeds sown in the previous two installments: The characters and conflicts having been well established in Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, Jackson resolves everything in King on a grand scale that old-school filmmakers would never have imagined possible. Computer-generated special effects account for many of the film's visual delights, but this superb director invests the proceedings with intense emotions as well, and once the final battle has been decided he presents a protracted but satisfying denouement that ties up all the loose ends. Perfection is nearly impossible to attain in any human endeavor, but with this film Jackson has come as close to it as anybody in motion-picture history. We're hard pressed to imagine anybody else having realized a live-action version of J. R. R. Tolkien's story with as much imagination, expertise, and feeling. King swept this year's Oscars for good reason -- it's a stunning, unforgettable work that has already taken its place in cinema history. Jackson's Special Extended Edition adds 50-minutes to the theatrical cut of the film.
All Movie Guide
Grander in scale, in many ways, than the first two installments of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Return of the King hosts even more amazing action scenes than the earth-shaking battle of Helm's Deep in The Two Towers. But what really sets it apart from most action and fantasy films is its ability to simultaneously focus on the emotional and the epic. Frodo and Sam's journey to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom, as epic as it may be, gains all of its weight from the friendship, love, and mutual respect shared by the two hobbits and evidenced in the bonds forged between the Fellowship members earlier in the trilogy. All of the events in the prior two films have been leading up to the conclusions in this one, and the many climaxes do not disappoint. Unfortunately, with the further divergence of the characters' paths in this installment, the filmmakers clearly struggled to keep a balance between them. The general pacing of the film is off in parts, too slow in the first hour, and too rushed later on. Many fans of the books may be frustrated by some of the decisions made in adapting the story; changes in plot and character motivations from book to screen are inevitable, but many cherished elements of the novel are missing or altered in ways that sometimes seem unneeded. Some characters, such as Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), Merry (Dominic Monaghan), and Éomer (Karl Urban), get pushed to the sidelines, only getting in a few lines here and there, and others, such as Éowyn (Miranda Otto), get hugely emotional scenes only to be essentially dropped from the story line for the rest of the picture. Aragorn (the king referred to in the title), though well-played by Viggo Mortensen, also misses out on characterization, with many of his most insightful moments missing from the film. Doubtlessly, some of these oversights will be smoothed over in the extended DVD edition of the film, which adds almost an hour more to the runtime. Despite its flaws, The Return of the King has retained the most important element of the book: its spirit. Furthermore, the characters who are in the forefront of the story, as with the others, are wonderfully portrayed by the film's ensemble cast. Andy Serkis brilliantly takes Gollum on a downward spiral of greed, deception, and madness, and the CGI character animators have brought even more life to his appearance this time around. Elijah Wood is equally impressive in his portrayal of Frodo's deterioration, and Sean Astin, as his loyal friend and servant Sam, is heartbreakingly noble, becoming, in a way, the heart of the film. Ian McKellen, as Gandalf, continues his admirable portrayal of the wise wizard, while Billy Boyd adds depth to the newly courageous Pippin. Miranda Otto, as Éowyn, and Bernard Hill, as Théoden, deliver some of the most profound and moving moments in the film, and Liv Tyler continues her emotional portrayal of the conflicted elf Arwen. As the demented steward Denethor, John Noble brings added intensity and drama to the proceedings, and David Wenham is wonderfully subtle as his long-suffering son Faramir. But accolades must go to all involved in the making of this trilogy; it is continually impressive, from its breathtaking cinematography to its jaw-dropping special effects to its brilliant and heartfelt score. Overall, Peter Jackson has orchestrated this trilogy masterfully, and was certainly deserving of the Best Director Oscar he received. The Return of the King made history in many ways, but one of the most telling is that it became the first fantasy film to take home the Oscar for Best Picture. Surely, a large determining factor for that accomplishment was the authenticity with which the filmmakers told this story. The passion, detail, dedication, skill, and hard work that went into these films is clearly evident, and is not likely to be equaled any time soon.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/25/2004
UPC:
0794043692925
Original Release:
2003
Rating:
PG13
Source:
New Line Home Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Surround EX]
Time:
3:20:00
Sales rank:
5,950

Special Features

Three in-depth documentaries: "The Quest Fulfilled: A Director's Vision," "A Filmmaker's Journey: Making The Return of The King," and a National Geographic special; six featurettes: "Aragorn's Destiny," "Minas Tirith," "The Battle of Pelennor Fields," "Samwise the Brave," "Eowyn: White Lady of Rohan," and "Digital Horse Doubles"; The Battle For Middle Earth Continues -- Video Games from EA; TV Spot; original theatrical trailers; The Lord of The Rings trilogy supertrailer; Audio: 5.1 Dolby Surround EX English; 2.0 Dolby Surround Stereo English; Stereo English; Stereo Espanol.

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Elijah Wood Frodo Baggins
Ian McKellen Gandalf
Viggo Mortensen Aragorn
Sean Astin Samwise Gamgee
Orlando Bloom Legolas
Andy Serkis Gollum/Sméagol
Billy Boyd Pippin
Dominic Monaghan Merry
John Rhys-Davies Gimli
Liv Tyler Arwen
Bernard Hill King Théoden
Miranda Otto Éowyn
Hugo Weaving Elrond
Cate Blanchett Galadriel
David Wenham Faramir
Karl Urban Eomer
John Noble Denethor
Ian Holm Bilbo Baggins
Joel Tobeck Orc Lieutenant #1
Sean Bean Boromir

Technical Credits
Peter Jackson Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Joe Peter Bleakley Art Director
Philippa Boyens Screenwriter
Christopher Boyes Sound/Sound Designer
Victoria Burrows Casting
Carolynne Cunningham Asst. Director
Ngila Dickson Costumes/Costume Designer
Weta Digital Makeup Special Effects
David Farmer Sound/Sound Designer
Michael Hedges Sound/Sound Designer
Dan Hennah Set Decoration/Design
Michael Horton Editor
John Hubbard Casting
Philip Ivey Art Director
Peter King Makeup
Peter King Makeup
Alan Lee Set Decoration/Design
Annie Lennox Songwriter
Andrew Lesnie Cinematographer
Michael Lynne Executive Producer
Amy MacLean Casting
Grant Major Production Designer
Liz Mullane Casting
Jabez Olssen Editor
Mark Ordesky Executive Producer
Barrie M. Osborne Producer
Rob Otterside Art Director
Peter Owen Makeup
Hammond Peek Sound/Sound Designer
Rick Porras Co-producer
Mark Robins Art Director
Ann Robinson Casting
Jamie Selkirk Co-producer,Editor
Michael Semanick Sound/Sound Designer
Robert Shaye Executive Producer
Howard Shore Score Composer
Stephen Sinclair Screenwriter
Richard Taylor Costumes/Costume Designer,Makeup Special Effects
Ethan Van der Ryn Sound/Sound Designer
Fran Walsh Producer,Screenwriter
Bob Weinstein Executive Producer
Harvey Weinstein Executive Producer

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Scene Index

Side #1 -- The Return of the King
1. The Finding of the Ring
2. Journey to the Cross-Roads
3. The Road to Isengard
4. Return to Edoras
5. Gollum's Villainy
6. The Palantir
7. Arwen's Vision
8. The Reforging of Narsil
9. Minas Tirith
10. "The Deep Breath Before the Plunge"
11. Minas Morgul
12. "The Board Is Set..."
13. Osgiliath Invaded
14. The Lighting of the Beacons
15. Théoden's Decision
16. The Fall of Osgiliath
17. The Stairs of Cirith Ungol
18. Allegiance to Denethor
19. The Parting of Sam and Frodo
20. The Sacrifice of Faramir
21. Marshalling at Dunharrow
22. Andúril - Flame of the West
23. Aragorn Takes the Paths of the Dead
24. "No More Despair"
25. Dwimorberg - The Haunted Mountain
26. The Muster of Rohan
27. The King of the Dead
28. The Siege of Gondor
29. Shelob's Lair
30. Grond - The Hammer of the Underworld
31. The Tomb of the Stewards
32. Breaking the Gate of Gondor
33. The Choices of Master Samwise
34. Denethor's Madness
35. The Ride of the Rohirrim
36. The Pyre of Denethor
37. The Battle of the Pelennor Fields
38. "A Far Green Country"
39. The Nazgûl and His Prey
40. The Black Ships
41. Shieldmaiden of Rohan
42. Victory at Minas Tirith
43. The Passing of Théoden
44. Oaths Fulfilled
45. The Tower of Cirith Ungol
46. The Last Debate
47. The Land of Shadow
48. The Black Gate Opens
49. "I Can't Carry It for You... but I Can Carry You"
50. The Last Move
51. Mount Doom
52. "The Eagles Are Coming!"
53. The Crack of Doom
54. Sauron Defeated
55. The End of All Things
56. The Fellowship Reunited
57. The Return of the King
58. Homeward Bound
59. The Grey Havens
60. End Credits

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