Thursday, Dec. 18, 2003

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

This is as much a life achievement award — and an expression of gratitude for Peter Jackson's seven - year act of exemplary devotion to his quest — as a declaration that no one made a better movie this year. The New York Film Critics Circle suggested as much when it gave LOTR: ROTK the Best Film prize and no others — not direction or screenplay or cinematography or acting. Perhaps the reviewers were baffled about categories. Gollum, for example: Did Andy Serkis, who enacted the creature's movements, create that brilliant portrait of humanity enslimed by greed? Or was he merely the model for the computer wizards who painted over it? The glory of these three Rings is that they can't be compartmentalized into crafts, or even individual films. They are one grand, serious, mature epic — the finest 9 hour, 18 minute movie ever made — that towers over the competition like Gandalf over the Hobbits.