The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is an exhilarating and emotional trilogy finale that must be seen on the big screen.
Let's just get this out of the way: Return of the King was awesome.
There, I've said it. Now we can move on....
First thing you need to know is that if your date takes too long to get ready, then you hit traffic on the way to the theater, and your date annoys you again by wanting to stand in line for popcorn..... it's OK. Why? Because if you miss the first 30 or 40 minutes it's not that big a deal.
So I'm kidding. Sort of.
During that time there's some backstory involving Gollum (which is very important), but then there is more dreaded Arwen/Aragorn romance related stuff, which to me dragged more than a bit. The real reason you went to see the movie starts after all that.
I think the reason I felt this way was because the previous film (The Two Towers), ended on such an exhilarating note: The battle for Helm's Deep.... which just rocked my world. I mean really, just put that entire battle on a loop, hook it up to my brain, and I'm good to go for a few days. I went in pretty much expecting things to pick right up at that pace, but Peter Jackson (the director) decided to downshift for a bit.
After that? Man, where to start... keep in mind I didn't go in with a pad and paper, I'm just writing this off the cuff. Once again we see the weakness of Man demonstrated, but there is also redemption. Most of the characters evolve, growing from their experiences in the previous film and this one. Surprisingly Frodo and Sam are two characters that don't change much from the previous film, but to me it's just because they've gotten there before everyone else.
The battles... ah the battles. There is some stuff in there that will make you cringe because it's so effectively done, and one scene in particular where the audience actually cheered AND applauded. I don't want to spoil it for you, but you'll know which one I'm talking about when you see it.
The scope and cinematography was breathtaking and on a grander scale than the previous two films, as is fitting for the final chapter in the greatest trilogy ever put on film. You will see thousands on the battlefield, Nazgul in the air, giant Oliphants and Trolls on the ground, and the ugliest damned Orc I've ever seen (and that's saying a lot).
The film really makes you understand the difficulty Frodo and Sam faced in carrying the Ring to its destruction. The moments leading up to the destruction of the One Ring are truly excruciating to watch... these Hobbits had to reach DEEP down to summon the strength to complete their task.
As to the ending, Peter Jackson could have copped out with an easy Star Wars-type celebration, but he takes it further... showing us the effects and consequences of being involved in such a harrowing and epic journey. You'll keep thinking it's over, but it won't be.
Aw, just go see it already! Then come back and post your comments here and let me know how much you disagree with me. :-)