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Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Movie Rating:
DVD Rating:
Overall Rating:

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Ian McKellen
Elijah Wood
Viggo Mortensen
Ian Holm
Cate Blanchett
Liv Tyler
Miranda Otto
Sean Bean
Sean Astin
John Rhys-Davies
Orlando Bloom
Andy Serkis
Karl Urban
Hugo Weaving
David Wenham
Dominic Monaghan
Bernard Hill
Billy Boyd
John Noble

Special Features:
Theatrical Trailers
Special Extended DVD Edition Preview
The Lord Of The Rings: Aragon's Quest Game Trailer
3 Remarkable Documentaries
Featurette Gallery Spotlighting The Breakthrough Effects Work And Character Detail
Theatrical Trailers and TV Spots

Other Info:
Video: Widescreen 2.40:1 Color
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 6.1
Spanish: DD-EX 5.1
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Run Time: 200 min
Rating: PG-13

Synopsis from DVD Cover:
The final battle for Middle-earth begins. Frodo and Sam, led by Gollum, continue their dangerous mission toward the fires of Mount Doom in order to destroy the One Ring. Aragorn struggles to fulfill his legacy as he leads his outnumbered followers against the growing power of the Dark Lord Sauron, so that the Ring-bearer may complete his quest.

Quick Review:
I've heard it said that despite it being the film which won the Best Picture Oscar, this is the weakest of the three Lord of the Rings films. I disagree. Yes, it ends several times. But I think we've earned some more extensive denouement after the previous eight-odd hours of cinema. The battles are epic, the personal struggles and triumphs are just as epic, and it's all so satisfying. Plus it looks amazing; capturing the scope of battles like this cannot be easy and yet it looks effortless. The music steps up to the plate, stirring and affecting, and the actors really take you there, not just into the reality of Middle Earth but into the emotionality of the moments, both triumphant and tragic.

There are moments that are over the top. But if there is a place for high-flown melodrama, this is it. A fantastical quest fulfilled, an epic battle won, and the triumph of goodness over the literal forces of darkness. If this isn't a time to go for the maximum effect, I don't know what is. It's hard to judge these films individually. As a unit, they're a cinema landmark, every bit as much as Star Wars was - and come on, this final film is a much better one than "Return of the Jedi."

This is also the film that differs the most from its corresponding Extended Edition cut, which is almost an hour and a half longer, and is I think the better film in its longer version. Conversely, this is also the best reason to own this film of the three in its theatrical cut; it's the most different. Plus it would shave the most time off your Lord of the Rings viewing marathon if you chose to use the theatrical cuts.

Some diverting making-of documentaries and a National Geographic special are worthwhile watches; especially interesting is "A Filmmaker's Journey," which provides insight into how the films were made and how the films were envisioned at various points of development. Some TV spots and a preview for the Extended Edition round things out. Interesting stuff, but again, the same offerings that are on the disc as included in the boxed set.

In Conclusion:
If you were to own any of these films in their theatrical cut, I'd recommend this one, simply because it differs the most from its Extended Edition. I also think the featurettes on this disc are the most interesting of the three theatrical Blu-Ray releases.

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