So, I have finally finished the LotR trilogy, and with much pleasure I write my review of the book to movie adaptation.
This movie has quite a few changes from the source material. In this movie we start with a flashback of Smeagol and Deagol prior to Smeagol’s corruption by the One Ring. While this was originally only described by Gandalf in the first book, the shifting of it to the third movie works quite well. It gives more insight into the depravity and backstory of Smeagol well after we have met him, and as I’ve said before, uses the method of ‘show don’t tell’. There is also the matter of a variety of minor characters being removed from the movie version, as well as some of the other forces of man that came to Gondor’s aid, with the movie focusing specifically on Rohan and Minas Tirith forces. While this is not true to the book I can see reason in not introducing more named characters who have little importance in the story, especially in a movie which does not have the time to do such things. Another large difference is the death of Saruman, in the books Saruman died at Bag’s End after the scouring of the Shire. Due to the scouring of the Shire being removed from the movies Saruman was instead killed at his tower by Grima. In any case, Saruman dies and the story continues without him. While removing the Scouring is time efficient, it does remove some of the harm that Saruman inflicts on the world. However, I can see why they do this, preferring the happier ending over a battle in the shire. For the most part, outside of these major differences, most of the differences tended to be minor. As for these major changes, while they are quite large, outside of the Scouring being removed they do little to change the structure/flow of the story.
As for the actors, all were great again. My favorite was probably Andy Serkis as Smeagol. Andy Serkis did a wonderful job of portraying Smeagol’s schizophrenic personality all throughout the movies. As for newly introduced characters, the steward of Gondor and the Witch-King were extremely well done by their actors. The steward did a great job of making me hate his character, and the voice actor for the Witch-King was wonderful. I must say though, I will never understand Jackson’s obsession with having Legolas do ridiculous stunts.
So, I would say that Return of the King is one of the Good adaptations. However, I will say that the other movies were done a bit better in terms of big changes made to the story. That is not to say it was worse as a movie however, Return of the King was done extremely well, and like the rest of the trilogy was a great book to movie adaptation.