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Return of the King climaxes struggle of good vs. evil

by Joy Kikuchi, Student Life editor

Samwise Gamgee, carrying an exhausted Frodo Baggins on his back, struggles up the steep side of Mount Doom, an erupting volcano, while the rest of the Fellowship of the Ring and the remnants of the armies of Gondor and Rohan are surrounded completely by the army of the evil wizard Sauron. All seems lost for the brave creatures of Middle-Earth, even hope, yet they fight on.



This is the climactic scene of the three-film Lord of the Rings trilogy. The films shows not just the oppression of good by evil, but the overwhelming power of evil and the determination of good to resist the forces of evil even unto death.

The struggle between good and evil is the essence of the popular story by J.R.R. Tolkien. The finale of the trilogy builds the story continuously through the darkest hour for mankind and its allies, and then hope is once again renewed. The struggle, on the grand scale is the war between men, elves, and dwarfs against wizard-controlled orcs and goblins. On a smaller scale, is Frodo’s quest to destroy the Ring, and Sam’s struggle to protect Frodo from Gollum.

Seeing the struggles between good and evil on both small and large scale helps audiences to relate to the mythological epic of The Lord of the Rings, whether or not they have read Tolkien’s books.

The movie is set in the lush, majestic scenery of New Zealand, scenery so realistic that it is easy to believe that this story is actually real. The humanity and the emotion of the characters evoke the emotions of those watching. The film’s ability to make audiences care for the different characters makes these movies popular with people of all ages. This is why people all over the world have braved the three hours and 20 minutes to watch the finale of this epic story.

The first film in this trilogy was The Fellowship of the Ring, which came out in December 2001. The Fellowship introduces us to the “Ring of Power,” also called “The One Ring to rule them all,” which refers to the nine evil rings of power. Here begins the quest of Frodo Baggins, the “Ringbearer,” to destroy the ring in Mount Doom, where it was forged. Frodo is a hobbit – a mythological combination of man and fairie, smaller than a man and distinguished by large, hairy feet. The One Ring was made for the purpose of enslaving the entire population of Middle-Earth under the rule of Sauron, the Dark Lord of Mordor, a desolate land to the east of the lands of men, hobbits, elves, and dwarves.

Frodo (Elijah Wood) is joined by Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), the king of men; Legolas (Orlando Bloom), an elven prince; Boromir (Sean Bean), son of the steward of Gondor; Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), a dwarf warrior; Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), a wizard; and three of his fellow hobbits: Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck (Dominic Monaghan), Peregrin “Pippin” Took (Billy Boyd), and Sam (Sean Astin). Their group is called “The Fellowship of the Ring,” and together they depart to Mordor, to help Frodo destroy the One Ring.

The Two Towers, the second film in the trilogy, released in December, 2002, starts where the first ended, with Frodo and Sam alone on the road to Mordor, Merry and Pippin captives of orcs, and Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas searching for them. The first battle is between the creatures of good and an army of orcs created by Saruman (Christopher Lee), a turncoat wizard who has joined Sauron’s cause. As Frodo and Sam approach Mordor, they are joined by Gollum (Andy Serkis), to whom viewers were introduced in the first film.

Gollum’s relationship to the ring is established in the opening scenes of the conclusion of the trilogy, The Return of the King, when he kills a friend in order to possess his “precious.” The film has what many critics are calling some of the best battle scenes. One such battle takes place as the might of Mordor is brought against the city of Minas Tirith and the major battle takes place between men and monsters. The Return of the King divides the action between Frodo and Sam’s trek to Mount Doom, and the quest of Aragorn to fulfill his destiny and reclaim his crown and throne, and gather enough allies to defeat Sauron’s army.

The Return of the King was released Dec. 17, and it quickly shot up to the top of the box office.

Many critics have commended the movie and praised it highly, and there has been little to no negative criticism. According to New Line Cinema, the movie grossed a total of $490.7 million in its first two weeks, which is more than what was earned by its predecessor, The Two Towers, within the same time period.

The struggle between good and evil is what we all live with in our daily lives, and is the major draw of the film. The array of impressive locations, fearful monsters, and the triumph of good make this a great movie to see.


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