january 8, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 54  

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Finale of the Rings

By Emmett Macfarlane
Gazette Staff

Gazette File Photo
V-I-G-G-O, V-I-G-G-O, V-I-G-G-O AND VIGGO WAS HIS NAME-O. Viggo Mortenson, as the smoldering Aragorn, marvels at the power of his strong and polished sword. My my Viggo, that’s quite the weapon.

The third film in a trilogy, when compared to its counterparts, often sucks.

Whether it’s because the initial vision is lost, the director loses creativity or something just doesn’t click, sequels matching the quality of their predecessors are hard to create.

Back to the Future III, Godfather III, Return of the Jedi, The Matrix: Revolutions are just a few examples. The third Police Academy (which was in fact an octology or something) was actually one of the better movies in that series, but that’s kind of like saying you prefer stepping in dog shit to having bird shit land on your head. At any rate, the list could go on and on.

Fortunately, the final installment of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings proves a rare exception to the rule: no Ewoks showed up to fight the Orcs, and Frodo wasn’t forced to throw multi-coloured logs into the engine of a 1890s-era train to get it up to the critical 88 miles per hour time travel speed.

Return of the King bears witness to the climactic final battle for Middle Earth, as Frodo and Sam continue their journey with the treacherous Gollum to destroy The Ring. The film features the same stunning visuals as the first two movies and will hopefully garner Jackson the Academy Award he so richly deserves.

With a running time of just over three hours, the last few scenes in the film do run a little long. After an orgy of action and intensity, the final half hour crawls, almost making the film end with a whimper. Such criticisms are virtually meaningless if you consider that if the films were a more pure adaptation to JRR Tolkien’s work, each film would be 11 hours long.

Return caps a trilogy that is sure to go down in movie history as a great example of cinematic storytelling. It is so good, in fact, that it’s kind of like Star Wars without the Ewoks.



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