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Top Movies of the Decade #51

51. Return of the King

returnoftheking The final movie in the trilogy won all the Oscars, but clearly they were being awarded to the trilogy as a whole — as far as individual movies go, “The Two Towers” is far superior.   For one thing, “Return” takes 45 minutes to end six different ways.   How much resolution do we really need?

And yet…it’s a spectacular film unto itself, a spectacle indeed, a hearty feast for the hungry moviegoer.  The battles scenes were unlike anything ever seen before, and, almost a decade and numerous CGI advances later, still hold up.  But what makes “Return of the King” grand are the scenes in between — crestfallen Sam, outwitted by Gollum, Pippin singing to the mad king of Minas Tirith…the fragile courage of Eowyn.   These are the moments that make the film, and that make it one of the best films of the decade.

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