2003, TSPDT Rank #940
I finally forced myself to watch the conclusion to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and "force" is none too strong a word either. I liked The Return of the King even less than The Two Towers - it is even longer, the cinematography is merely serviceable, and even the battle scenes are flawed and less visceral. They have all these mutated elephant creatures and what not running amok to distract from the details of what's going on during the battle. The acting is bad, the script is terrible - I just couldn't stand this film. It's almost as bad as how I felt about Ben-Hur - both big Oscar winners, both including Best Picture. However, I almost gave the film the same rating as the Two Towers (4/10) because of the truly spectacular "ending" sequence at Mordor, but what should have been the ending came 45 minutes before the actual end of the film. After sitting through all of the treacly falling action bullshit, I decided to give it a lower rating. I've gone into further detail about my problems with The Two Towers, and if you read that again, the thoughts expressed in my review of that film largely express how I felt about Return of the King as well. So I know a lot of people found the Lord of the Rings films to be "cinematic masterpieces" but I have to wholeheartedly disagree. Aside from the first film, which I still think is a great, promising epic, I think these second and third films are terrible and pointless, at least for someone who hasn't read Tolkien's trilogy of novels.