Fantasy and action fans rejoice – the final chapter of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, set in the fabled land of Middle-earth, has been brought to life on the big screen once again for a dramatic conclusion.
Director Peter Jackson and his amazing crew have created a formula for fantasy not seen in 20 years, since the last great trilogy of the silver screen, “Star Wars” (the original three being the great ones – not so much the new films).
After the opening segment demonstrating the ring’s frightening power over Smeagol and his transformation into the creature Gollum (Andy Serkis), we join the action, already in progress from the previous film.
The original fellowship is still separated. Frodo (Elijah Wood), Sam (Sean Astin), and Gollum have ventured farther into the evil land of Mordor in attempt to destroy the ring that is quickly driving them to madness.
While Frodo is on his quest to destroy the ring, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) and Gandalf (Ian McKellan) begin the ultimate battle for Middle-earth against hordes of Sauron’s evil minions.
The movie is filled with New Zealand’s amazing scenery, enhanced by some ingenious technology.
One of the most stunning visual moments comes when numerous beacons are lit atop snow-capped mountains hundreds of miles apart.
The city of Minas Tirith is a shining oasis of white towers and spiraling staircases, and a testament to the powerful role of computer generated imagery in movie production.
Digital effects also help create spectacular battle sequences during the clash between the massive armies of good and evil.
The first time the camera pans over the hill to reveal Sauron’s full regiment, there is indeed a great sense of shock and awe for both the characters and the audience.
But, for all the amazing visual elements, the storytelling that made Tolkein’s creation so popular seems a little lacking at times.
The movie far too often focuses on only two stories – Frodo’s quest to destroy the ring and Aragorn’s realization he was meant to be king – neglecting all other characters and plots.
In fact, the two characters of Legolas and Gimli are reduced to nothing more than comic relief and only chime in when the script calls for a droll one-liner.
Most dramatic scences are created through the use of sappy emotional sequences instead of the compelling story a person would expect.
By the end of the movie, especially the last 30 minutes, I just wanted the film to end so I could stretch my legs and empty my bladder.
Still, Peter Jackson and his crew have created something special for this time. There are few with their imagination and creativity.
Although the final film was not as solid as hoped, all three films together form something truly amazing, and there will still be Ring fanatics packing all-night showings in 20 years.