The Cinematography and Camera Work in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

The movie Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is the final installation of Peter Jackson’s trilogy based on books written by J.R.R Tolkien. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King shows the final battle between the two armies, Aragorn’s army was the good side and Sauron’s army was bad side, fighting for control over the future over Middle-earth. The two hobbits (essentially really small people) Frodo and Sam reach Mordor in their quest to destroy the one ring while Aragorn leads the forces of good against Sauron’s evil army at the stone city of Minas Tirith. The Battle Gate scene is an effective climax with the use of camera angles and dialogue to create heightened pathos and ethos. At the beginning of the scene, Aragorn has an authentic, moving speech where he motivates his troops right before they fight Sauron’s army. He says, “Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends, and break all bonds of fellowship; but it is not this day! An hour of wolves, and shattered shields, when the Age of Men comes crashing down; but it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you, you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!’

Aragorn first uses pathos to build credibility amongst his audience. He let them remember that he shares similar values by referring to them as his “brothers”. He then uses Pathos by reminding them of the things that they hold most dear to them. Aragorn thalso appeals to their sense of rightness and justice but most importantly to their desire to defend Middle Earth’s greatness against Mordor’s evilness. He also addresses the audience’s fear that they will fail by describing the day when the Age of Men will finally fail as ‘a day of wolves and shattered shields when the Age of Men comes crashing down.’ He uses this fear to spur his brothers to fight: ‘It is not this day. This day, we fight.’ Aragorn thus successfully uses both ethos and pathos in his short speech to encourage his men to fight for their freedom. There is more pathos shown right after Aragorn’s speech between Gimli and Legolas (one dwarf and the other elf, two species that naturally hate each other). Where Gimli says “ Never thought I would die side by side with an elf” to which Legolas responds with “ What about side by side with a friend” and Gimli says “ I…I could do that”. Showing that even though naturally they should hate each this war brought two very unsuspecting friends together and really shows their character progression as friends throughout the entire trilogy. This scene also builds pathos as it builds credibility towards the two friends in that if a situation were to arise you would trust that they would have each other’s backs.

Another scene where pathos is shown is when the eagles (good birds) fly into battle to fight the Nazgul’s (bad birds). Some backstory on The Great Eagles is they were the messengers and spies of the King of Arda, and possessed the ability to see through all physical matter except for the blackness of Morgoth’s evil pits. They are essentially very neutral throughout the history of Middle-Earth. They once helped Gandalf on the Misty Mountains. The music and the camera work also helps build the pathos of this part of the battle because when the Nazgul’s come in you think the battle is close to being over for Aragorn’s army because of how powerful they are. So it is very odd to see them pick a side to help, so seeing them helping Aragorn’s army is pretty emotional knowing they rarely choose sides to help. More depiction of pathos is when Aragorn is fighting a big ogre who is at least three times bigger than him and he fights it for a little bit and eventually falls to him when the ogre knocks his sword out of his hands and knocks him over. The ogre then puts his humongous foot on him and is ready to swing his sword onto Aragorn and Legolas sees him about to basically die and the camera work really shows how much of a bond everyone has built with each other because when you see Legolas’ face you see how much he cares for Aragorn.

Then Frodo and Samwise were heading to Mount Doom ( which is essentially a huge volcano) and they were heading there to destroy the “one ring” which then would destroy the eye of sauron would cause the tower to collapse and thus they would essentially win the battle. So towards the battle when it seems as if Aragorn’s army is going to lose. It cuts to a scene of Frodo and Samwise of running away from Mount Doom. It shows a quick scene of the ring being melted. Then cuts back to them running away from the volcano while it is being blown up lava is slowly coming towards them. And this scene is another good display of pathos because you have been following these two hobbit’s journey for three movies and to think they might die is definitely really emotional to think about. This scene pertains to the battle at Black Gate because the ring being destroyed directly helped them win the battle. The Black Gate scene is an effective climax with the use of camera angles and dialogue to create heightened pathos and ethos. The interactions between the characters in this short scene builds an exceptional amount of pathos and ethos. This building of ethos and pathos really helps the audience to feel more connected to the characters. The pathos reels them in with interesting and emotional dialogue. The emotion this scene creates really helps intrigue the audience. Then ethos helps seals the deal with the credibility of the friendships that are on the battlefield. Overall a very good climax to the series as a whole.

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