(out of 5)
The exciting, brilliant trilogy finally reaches its breathtaking conclusion of Frodo’s quest to save Middle Earth . While Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom) continue to lead the humans of Middle Earth against the armies of Sauron, Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) continue on their perilous journey towards Mordor to destroy the One ring of power and save the world from destruction and doom. Every single strand of story that was ever brought up in either of the first two installments of the story is dealt with and resolved here, making for one of the most satisfying and exciting films ever made in this genre, if not in any genre. Every compliment bestowed on either of the previous films naturally continues to apply here, and in some cases Peter Jackson and his team of superb filmmakers have somehow managed to outdo themselves yet again. The visual effects have even more eye-popping spectacle to offer, and the screenplay passes between the thrilling battles to the intimate dramatic character situations without ever skipping even a Hobbit-sized beat. What’s so magnificent about these movies is that no matter how modern and hip the technology is, Jackson never loses sight for a second that he is telling a story based on fable and myth, giving the film a classic quality that can appeal to all audiences. Performances continue to stand out, mostly in the touching and vulnerable turns by Astin and Wood, while Ian McKellen still has a devilishly good time as the wonderful wizard Gandalf. The action sequences reach their zenith with a breathtaking stampede of giant elephants (mastodons?) and what is probably the scariest spider in all of movie history. To top it off, the magnificent Cate Blanchett makes another cameo as Galadriel and adds the perfect finishing touch to a complex, rich and never for a moment dull experience. The film’s three hour-plus running time will fly by without your noticing it for a single moment.
Directed by Peter Jackson
Cinematography by Andrew Lesnie
Produced by Peter Jackson, Barrie M. Osborne, Fran Walsh
Music by Howard Shore
Production Design by Grant Major
Film Editing by Jamie Selkirk