The Return of the King (2003)

New Warhorn Media post by Nathan Alberson:

Cinematic masterpiece or Tolkien-lite garbage? A good adaptation, a good action movie that’s not quite an adaptation, You can argue that Peter Jackson’s The Return of the King (2003) really works as the ending to a great cinematic trilogy. You can also argue that is has a lot about it that is just plain … stupid. Our heroes try to sort it all out in this episode.

The other main point of this episode is to hear why @jacob.mentzel intentionally went to Panda Express.

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Now that’s a hook. Why would someone do this?


LISTEN, and find out TODAY!

Listened! I can relate—there were two days this year when I absolutely had to have Five Guys instead of any number of proper local restaurant-sized burgers, and Five Guys is at the edge of town. Though I will grant that the Cajun fries are not as easily substituted.

As for the movie, you said it pretty well. They each have some spectacular moments that are fun for a number of viewings, more than most action-drama movies, apparently. But what is left is not a repeatedly good meal as the books are for so many.

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Five Guys >>> Panda Express. But fair enough. I think in retrospect maybe we could have emphasized more of the good things about the movies. There are a lot of fun things. But, alas, as you said, they haven’t really help up over the years.

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After listening to the episode, I think I’ve figured out why The Return of the King is my favorite movie. Like Jake’s oldest son, I watched this movie for the first time when I was 12 or 13. It was so grand and epic and perfect for that age range that I think it’s always stuck with me as being the best.

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It is great for that general age (early teens). But the older I get the less use I have for these films (or any film?). I’ve been reading the books with my boys (8 and 10) over these past ~6 months. We are about to wrap ROTK and went ahead and watched the film last weekend. So its fresh in my mind.

My main beef with ROTK is the first scene. Smeagol’s murder of his friend is rough. I do not like that scene. Its not adventurous sword-play violence. Its dark malevolence. That was the scene that kept me from showing it to my kids for so long.

Then there’s the ending, when Arwen shows up at Minas Tirith and she and Aragorn start making out in front of all Gondor. Not very regal. I don’t think Tolkien would have liked that. It was my daughter’s favorite part (She’s 6. She didnt get to watch the bulk of the films but showed up for the end of this one.)

The Shelob scene is the scene my kids were most looking forward to and enjoyed. That surprised me a little. When I was a kid I liked the epic battle scenes. I think I was in college when these films came out and I still really liked the battle.

Overall, I’ve gotta say I think Fellowship is the best film and ROTK is the worst. Thats just my preference. I enjoyed hearing your guys thoughts on it all.

And I think the music from Pirates of the Caribbean is pretty catchy. But at this point I can only whistle one of the songs.

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Oh, yes, the soundtrack—my kids have not seen the movies yet, but they love the score, to the extent that a few of them requested the sheet music for Christmas and have worked hard on several of the pieces. It is successfully dramatic and melodic. I’m thankful it was made before Inception’s.

This is most certainly true.

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The score rocks.

Yeah that early murder is rough.

I feel like a creep for liking Denethor, and especially the eating close up. :sweat_smile:

After rewatching it recently I found the size of Middle Earth to take me out of the movie. Especially Minas Tirth being so close to Mordor (even though it is that close on the map). But also I remembered the size of the orc army to be way bigger in my mind as a kid. It is small potatoes on the wideshots.

Curious of your take on the extended version. Oddly enough I had never seen or known about it until this year when I watched the death of Saruman and the Mouth of Sauron on youtube. Blown away that they cut them out, but i get it

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I think the extended version is the one to watch. There’s some fluff but those scenes are crucial. And in some cases awesome.


I’m a little late here, but I was trying to (finally) finish reading LOTR so I could catch your 13 hours of content on the Bookening and SATM :nerd_face:

I was really enjoying your praise of “Jay” until you went straight into ripping Panda Express. Then I found myself hoping I wasn’t the aforementioned Jay. I mean, even the best tight end in football knows where to find good, cheap, “Chinese” food.

(probably a different) Jay, the Patron Saint of Panda Express


This conversation inspired me to go back to Panda Express not too long ago.



For a long time, my kids thought Panda Express sold meals made from panda meat.

I just went on letting then think it.