The final part of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Ring trilogy. I am finally done, so here we go!
Frodo and Sam simply walk into Mordor.
In the mean time Gondor struggles with holding the city against the Orcs. But they still have a glimmer of hope: the return of the king.
Book vs. Movie:
First of all, this was by far my favourite book of the series. It’s written far better than the other parts. Tolkien improved with the plotlines. In the other parts it all felt very isolated, he was telling one part of the story (for example Frodo and Sam), than went back and told the next part. That annoyed me a lot because you always have to rewind the story in your head. But in “Return of the King” this is not such a big problem anymore. Tolkien also manages to give (at least some of the characters) a bit of depth.
What did bother me is the ending. There are actually quiet a few chapters that didn’t make it to the movie – for a good reason. The Hobbits return to the Shire but find it completely changed. The start to clean up and deal with the shit while in the film the return home and everything is fine. This may sound like a good idea and an interesting storyline but the way it’s depicted in the novel it doesn’t work for me. The whole cleaning up works far too fast and way too easy to be credible in any way. At least however, this showed what happened to Saruman, while in the movie it seems like they just forgot about him.
While Merry and Pippin did get a lot of attention and depth in the book, the movie does not spend so much time on their transformation. On the other hand characters like Eowyn and Arwen are far better in the film. In the written version they remain very pale and just don’t get the credit they deserve. Especially Arwen is basically not existent. She’s briefly mentioned in one sentence in book 1 and then shows up again for the wedding in part 3. In the movie she has a real role, she has a story, becomes tangible.
Another aspect that works better in the movie is the final ring-scene. Frodo and Sam spent 3 entire books making the journey to Mount Doom and then the final destruction happens in one paragraph. Are you serious Tolkien? That’s supposed to be it? No way!
The film-version is far more credible. It shows a real struggle and depicts the situation better.
A negative aspect I need to raise about the film is Aragorn. As it can’t be five hours long they had to cut some stuff a bit short. But for me it feels like Aragorn’s big moment was taken away. The third part is called “Return of the King” but in the film he doesn’t get the credit or time he deserves. His coronation and wedding however looked absolutely flawless!
One more thing: hearing the songs come to live is far better than simply reading the lyrics. Especially Pippin gave me goosebumps all over.
So I guess this is the only part where I can’t say “skip the books entirely”. Both the novel and the movie have their advantages. For the best picture I’d say read and watch. When it comes to part 1 and 2 you needn’t really bother with the books.
What’s your opinion? Let me know in the comments below!