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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Riffed by RiffTrax
Riffers Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett
Series The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Date Released June 22, 2010

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is the third film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Directed by Peter Jackson and based on J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Globally, the film is one of the highest grossing films in cinema history. The film won 11 awards at the 2004 Oscar ceremony including Best Picture, equalling the record shared by Ben-Hur and Titanic, and also was the first fantasy film to win Best Picture. The first two films were The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, although the film's story includes later events in the section of the book The Two Towers as well as most of The Return of the King.  RiffTrax released their riff in June 2010.

Synopsis and Preview


Lord of the Rings Return of the King Rifftrax sample

[Spoilers Begin]

In the opening scene, a flashback, two hobbits, Sméagol and his friend Déagol, are fishing near the Gladden Fields in the North of Middle Earth. Déagol is dragged into the river by a powerful catch and discovers the One Ring glinting in the river bed. Déagol was murdered by his friend Sméagol, who took the ring and driven into the wilderness where he eventually became the creature Gollum. The scene fast forwards to the present where Gollum is leading Frodo and Sam to an entrance near Minas Morgul.

King Théoden, Aragorn, Gandalf and the other heroes of Helm's Deep reunite with Merry and Pippin as Treebeard and the Ents have secured Isengard with Saruman a prisoner within his tower as his palantír is recovered. However, later that night, Pippin's curiosity for the palantír results with Sauron attacking the Hobbit's mind. But knowing Pippin would have a glimpse of Sauron’s plans, Gandalf deduces that he is planning to attack Minas Tirith, and rides there with Pippin. They find Denethor, the Steward of Gondor, full of grief for his lost son Boromir and paranoid over Aragorn’s claim to the throne. To compensate for Boromir's death defending him, Pippin swears service to Denethor. The armies of Mordor, led by the Witch-King of Angmar, Chief of the Ringwraiths, drive Faramir and his men from their final stronghold of Osgiliath. At Gandalf's instruction, Pippin secretly lights the distress beacon to signal Théoden to assemble the Rohirrim for battle.

On the way, Aragorn is informed by Elrond that Arwen did not go to the Undying Lands, and is now dying. He gives Aragorn the sword Andúril to acquire the service of the Army of the Dead, who owe allegiance to the heir of Isildur. Aragorn, with Legolas and Gimli, ventures into the Paths of the Dead and demands the loyalty of the King of the Dead. Théoden rides to war, unaware that Éowyn and Merry have secretly joined his forces.

After being sent by Denethor on a fruitless mission to reclaim the city, Faramir is mortally wounded as his horse drags his unconscious body back to Minas Tirith with Sauron's armies at its heels. Believing he has lost both sons, Denethor descends into madness with Gandalf forced to organize the city defenses. As the siege rages on, expelling Pippin from his service for attempting to stop him, Denethor sees no hope for Minas Tirith as he intends to burn himself and Faramir. As Pippin and Gandalf manage to save Faramir, but forced to watch Denethor burn, Théoden's army arrives and decimates the Orcs before being overwhelmed by Haradrim Oliphants while the Witch-king singles out and kills Théoden. Éowyn desperately stands before the Witch-King, overpowered by the Nazgul as he proclaims that no man can kill him. However, Merry stabs him from behind and Éowyn slays him, causing him to be undone not by a man, but a woman and Hobbit. Finally, Aragorn arrives with the Army of the Dead and routs Sauron's forces, ending the battle. Aragorn frees the Army of the Dead and their souls go to the afterlife.

As the events occur, on the way to Minas Morgul, Sam overhears Gollum's plans to murder them and take the Ring yet Frodo refuses to believe him. Hoping to remove Sam as an obstacle as they climb up the cliff to the secret way to Mordor, Gollum manipulates Frodo into driving Sam off before leaving him at the mercy of the giant spider Shelob. Though Frodo manages to dispose of Gollum, he is paralyzed as Sam arrives to drive Shelob off. Believing Frodo to be dead as he took Sting and the Ring, learns of his friend's condition as he follows an Orc patrol that takes Frodo’s body to the fortress at Cirith Ungol. Taking advantage of the Orcs warring amongst themselves, Sam sneaks in and rescues Frodo while returning the Ring to him. The two continue the journey to Mount Doom.

Meanwhile, Aragorn leads his remaining men to the Black Gate of Mordor to distract Sauron’s forces for Frodo to reach Mount Doom. As Sam carries the weakened Frodo up the volcano, Gollum reappears and attacks them. Though Frodo succumbs to the Ring's power as he reached the Crack of Doom, Gollum manages to bite the Hobbit's finger to reclaim the Ring. With resulting struggle having Gollum fall into the lava, Samwise saves Frodo as the Ring is melted. With Sauron's death causing much of Mordor to collapse as the surviving Orcs flee, Frodo and Sam are saved from the erupting volcano by Gandalf and the Eagles.

Soon after, Aragorn is crowned king and marries Arwen while the four Hobbits are honoured for their deeds. Four years after they return home to the Shire, Frodo departs Middle-Earth for the Undying Lands alongside Bilbo, Gandalf and the Elves, bringing an end to the Fellowship while giving Samwise There and Back Again and The Lord of the Rings book. [Spoilers End]

Cast and Crew

  • Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins
  • Liv Tyler as Arwen
  • Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn
  • Cate Blanchett as Galadriel
  • John Rhys-Davies as Gimli and Treebeard
  • Billy Boyd as Peregrin "Pippin" Took
  • Dominic Monaghan as Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck
  • Bernard Hill as King Theoden
  • Miranda Otto as Eowyn
  • David Wenham as Faramir
  • John Noble as Denethor



See Also

External Links