Reflections on LotR II

I had the pleasure of viewing Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King last night, and I must say, I am impressed. Peter Jackson deserves a whole lot more than the Oscar he'll receive for this. The Return of the King is remarkable in that it is even better than it's predecessors, which were exceptional movies in themselves. Naturally, we have the source material to thank for that, but it is in no small part due to Jackson's vision and imagination as well.

My reflections on the Fellowship of the Ring still hold true and apply equally to The Return of the King:
I would describe the film as a sweeping epic, in the true sense of those words (before they were perverted by the use of critics describing the like of, say, Gladiator) and Peter Jackson should be honored for being able to capture the spirit of Tolkien's work while, at the same time, not shutting out those who are not familiar with the books. This is perhaps one of the most ambitious efforts in film history, and Jackson actually manages to imbue the film with the depth and texture that it demands. From beginning to end, the film showcases the grand beauty of Middle Earth, with graceful vistas, immense landscapes of forbidding snow or rolling greenery, and sweeping shots of terrifying battles, but don't let that fool you - Jackson was able to temper the pace and suspense of the film so that its scale does not detract from it. This is grand filmmaking, yes, but Jackson also focuses on the human side, letting his wonderful actors do their thing and also showing the details of Middle Earth's history and architecture... This is an adventurous effort at its best, and its one of the best movies I've seen in a long time.
The Return of the King builds on the base created by the first two films, making for an even more grandiose experience - complete with yet another breathtaking battle (the cavalry charge floored me), jawdropping visuals, and genuinely powerful emotional arcs. This being the conclusion of the story, there are several compelling dramatic moments (which elicited cheers from the crowd), and Jackson absolutely nails it. Also, unlike most trilogies, the climax of Lord of the Rings doesn't dissapoint. I don't know what it was about this film, everything just seemed better. Bravo!