The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo courtesy New Line Cinema

In the first of the films based on J.R.R. Tolkienís trilogy, the characters form a coalition of hobbits, dwarfs, elves and men to defeat the dark evil in the world. In the second film, the coalition fights a series of battles in their war against evil. In the third and final installment, The Return of the King, every facet of full-scale war is employed to defeat the enemy. There is artillery, armor, Special Forces, infantry, cavalry, dive-bombers and fighter jets.

Of course you have to use your imagination. Indeed, this is the key to enjoying the fantasy world of Tolkien. Huge elephant-like creatures represent some of the heaviest armor, the dive-bombers are flying dragons and the fighter jets large eagles. The hobbits Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) are a hand picked Special Forces team.

Once again the powers of darkness are a corrupting force that would even surprise Vice President Dick Cheney. So powerful is the force of this evil that even the best of the gentile hobbits can be brought down by its dark energy.

But it is necessary to let your imagination go in order to fully enjoy this film. If you can accept this world and its fantastic implements of war, than you can feel for the characters caught up in their heroic battles and rejoice when they defeat the powers of darkness to once again live freely in the light.

Of the three films I still like the first the best because of the time it took for character development and drawing the audience into this mythical world. But The Return of the King is also well done with many spectacular and flawless special effects. My main criticism is that they could have ended this final film about 15 to 20 minutes sooner. There was no need to wallow in soap opera like schmaltz once the world was saved.

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