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The Next Reel • Season 12 • Series: The Lord of the Rings • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

“A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we foresake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day!”

There and Back Again

With the success of Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy in 2003, he proved that epic fantasy storytelling could not only work, but that it could be worth the risk to film them all at once. It could be argued that the biggest downside to this production method – filming all three movies at once then releasing them separately over the course of three years – is that many awards voters didn’t feel each film deserved to be recognized individually. This film won all 11 Oscars for which it was nominated, but should the previous efforts also fared better? Regardless, Jackson delivers an epic trilogy, and this film’s extended edition certainly gives us a lot to enjoy. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our conversations about the Lord of the Rings trilogy with a conversation about Jackson’s 2003 film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Here’s a hint at what we talk about.

The opening’s fantastic, but why does Smeagol talk the way he does when he’s morphed into Gollum? Andy has a bit of a quibble with that. We look at a number of the added scenes in the extended edition, focusing on the death of Saruman, the mouth of Sauron, and the relationship between Faramir and Eowen. How does the mad steward Denethor work for us? What about the massive armies and the battle at the end? Does it go a bit too far? We talk about a few of our favorite sequences – the lighting of the beacons, Shelob’s lair and Sam rescuing Frodo from the Orc tower, Sam picking Frodo up to carry him up Mount Doom. We continue looking at the roles of women in the films and how Jackson and his writing team handled expanding their roles. And then, of course, we ponder the plight of the cave trolls. The olyphaunts aren’t treated very well either, but we’ve seen cave troll abuse from the start. 

No matter how many points we have to poke at in this film, it’s an easy one to love. We have a great time talking about it, so check it out then tune in. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

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