Transcript: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

18 min readDec 20, 2021

Transcript of 70mm’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) Episode.

SLIM Hey, it’s your old pal Slim and this is 70mm, a podcast for film lovers. Every Monday I sit down to talk about recently watched movies with dear friend and artist Danny Haas.

DANNY [sings] I belieeeeve.

SLIM And our spiritual advisor, Protolexus.

PROTO So my first note is just the tension between Gandalf and Pippin. Has Gandalf ever hated someone more?

SLIM Later in this episode, we close out our Lord of the Rings journey with the Return of the King extended edition. Does it stick the landing? Were the Oscars warranted? Let’s find out… together.

[70mm theme song ramps up, plays alone, fades out]

SLIM Episode 98 right now. Next week is Matrix 4. Okay? So you have a few days notice to join the party and watch Matrix 4 to prep for that episode. So we’re gonna do something unprecedented right now. We’re gonna announce our 100th episode movie.

DANNY Oh, my gosh. Not many people have seen this film. [Slim laughs]

SLIM Proto, do you remember the last time he saw this movie?

PROTO I don’t remember the last time I saw it. I I’ve sent many times. Probably, maybe one of my most quoted movies ever. But yeah, I don’t know the last time I saw it. I’m looking forward to talking about it.

SLIM It’s going to look amazing on your 1080P laptop monitor as you prep for the biggest episode of our lives.

PROTO The best.

SLIM So we felt like we started the healing journey with Lord of the Rings in December. You know, I think it’s going pretty well, in my opinion. We recorded an episode a couple of weeks before that that shattered the emotional state of our Discord. So we thought we needed to complete the healing process. Once and for all.

[Jurassic Park theme song fades in]

DANNY It’s time. Unreal.

SLIM We will be journeying to Isla Nublar for Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park for our 100th episode. Danny, talk to us. How do you feel?

DANNY I have the chills listening to this music right now. This is a very special movie. A lot of people love it. It’s my favorite director. I literally just talked about it in My West Side Story review.

SLIM Yeah, you said in your West Side Story review, quote, “Spielberg hasn’t gone this hard since Jurassic Park.’’

DANNY Yeah. Yeah. I felt it and I felt it in West Side.

PROTO Welcome… to Jurassic Park! [Slim & Danny laugh]

SLIM Proto’s mouth just went sideways when he did that impression.

DANNY He almost touched his ear lobe.

SLIM So that’s our 100th episode. You have some time to prep. You have two weeks. It’s on HBO max right now. Is there a 4k available for Jurassic Park? Do I want to watch a 4k Jurassic Park?

DANNY There’s a rad box set I believe.

SLIM If you are here for Return of the King, it’s just around the corner. Normally we talk about what we’ve watched this week first. So feel free to use the chapters in your podcast app to skip around. We mentioned West Side Story, so Danny had a little date night this week to see that movie. Talk to us, please.

DANNY Yeah, we had a date night and saw West Side. And I had an amazing time watching it. I think it’s like I said, I think Spielberg was, I think when we talked about we were talking during our Temple of Doom ep, there is a behind the scenes portion where he’s directing and choreographing bits with Willie and the club will be one and he talks about how he wishes he could do a musical one day and so now he finally has he’s done West Side and you can tell that there’s just something special about what he was doing in this. It felt like he was reaching another gear. And just I don’t know, it didn’t feel like a normal Spielberg movie. It felt elevated somehow, like Spielberg really was wanting to create something special and visually I think he does. There are a couple scenes where, honestly, I kind of get like —

SLIM He flexed on you.

DANNY Yeah, there’s just a couple amazing shots in this that really felt great. The sets looked amazing, in my opinion. And I really just had a great time watching it.

SLIM Proto, when are you going to venture out to see West Side Story?

PROTO I’ve been reading these reviews, I just do not believe it. I refuse to believe that Steven Spielberg in the year 2021 released a five star remake of a musical that people are blowing their socks and pants right off in the theaters.

DANNY I just left my body.

PROTO I just don’t believe it. And frankly, I probably won’t watch it and just continue refusing to believe. [Slim laughs]

DANNY Now that I think a lot of the surprise was, for me, Rachel Ziegler and Ariana DeBose. They were absolutely killing it in this film. amazing performances out of the two of them. I mean, the guy that played Bernardo, David Alvarez, and even Mike Feist that played riff I mean, these guys were amazing. I really I really love them. I think I don’t give it five stars because I Ansel was a incredibly terrible choice for this film for Tony.

SLIM One of the worst casting decisions in film history. Zilch. Did you watch anything else this week? You talked about Rogue One, is that what you were about to say?

DANNY No, but we can. [Slim laughs] I mean, today as we record is the fifth anniversary of easily a top tier Star Wars movie, Rogue One. We’ve covered it, I think last year. It’s in my opinion, still the best movie that Disney has put out for Star Wars.

SLIM Scandalous comment.

DANNY I just absolutely love this film.

SLIM I listened back to our episode today because I remember there was a segment that made me chuckle. It was when Proto started talking about Darth Vader, and how he looked in that movie. And then I joined him to be honest.

DANNY Yeah, of course you did.

SLIM Great segment hearing Proto talk about Darth Vader.

PROTO I’ll never forget the look you gave me on camera. [Danny laughs] You knew where I was going and you just gave me like the smile and nod and I knew I had you on my team. [Danny & Slim laugh] Say it!

SLIM Also, maybe this will talk about this in the mailbag episode that we’re recording after this just for supporters. Those shows sound so different back then. I wonder if anyone in the Discord has gone back to like an episode that’s like a year old and how different — I definitely know I sound different. Like even the intros, I’m totally non obnoxious in how I intro the episode.

DANNY You’ve gotten more obnoxious, is that what you’re saying?

SLIM Yeah that’s what I think.

DANNY Oh interesting.

SLIM Proto, any thoughts on obnoxious levels on previous episodes?

PROTO You know, I went back to listen to something recently and yeah, I was shocked at how different it sounded. It wasn’t Rogue One. But I’m curious to see if I were to revisit Rogue One if it would stay in my top 10 Star Wars movies at this point. I think it’s in my top 10.

SLIM You mean is we go back and watch it again?

PROTO Yeah, or if I just go back and watch it. You know? Because people change, feelings towards movies changed. I’m just wondering. It has grown on me.

SLIM Can you imagine? We should say hello to some new patrons that joined us this week on 70 — [Slim laughs] — sorry, some of the photos in chat. That joined us on Also You get access to the VHS Village Discord, discounts on Danny’s beautiful prints and the 70mm Vault. Prisoner of Azkaban is going to be the next episode going in there, believe it or not. Daniel, Traydor, Aidan and I can’t remember if I said hello to Jess. But they all joined in the last week. So thanks for joining the ride. And then you don’t have to join the Patreon to get access to the 70mm vault, you can join and support us on Apple Podcast and Spotify. So just an FYI. Proto, what did you watch this week?

PROTO I was able to watch two movies on my laptop in my free time. One of which has been on my watch list for a long time now. And with the recent viewing of Fellowship and Two Towers, and seeing the incredible performance from Sean Bean, I was able to take the plunge on his movie Black Death which came out in 2010.

DANNY My goodness.

PROTO This movie stars him and what’s his face? Eddie Redmayne?

SLIM Oh yeah, from Fantastic Beasts.

PROTO You know, I had a sense that this movie was gonna suck. But you know, there’s usually a small chance that I’ll be wrong. So I kept it on my watchlist. Finally watched it. Unfortunately, it did suck. I give two stars. I mean, it has all the makings of a great story. You know, it’s set in medieval times. It’s during the Black Plague. And there’s rumors of a possible necromancer up to no good. You know, that sounds great. Unfortunately, it just didn’t really deliver Sean Bean is great though. I mean, it’s like watching Boromir so if you just want more Sean Bean, he’s like the same performance in this movie. It’s really great. I wish it was in more movies. I don’t know why he doesn’t get more action.

SLIM Goldeneye, ever heard of it?

DANNY Mission Impossible 3.

PROTO Oh, yeah. No, but I’m saying like recently.

SLIM I get the vibe that he’s in some maybe direct video action jams.

DANNY Game of Thrones.

SLIM He was in like three episodes of Game of Thrones, wasn’t he? I got swindled when I first started Game of Thrones, I was like hell yeah. Sean Bean’s in this. Dead. Spoilers. [Danny laughs] Season 1 spoilers. Sorry.

PROTO Great role, great performance though, right? I mean, he always dies, that’s his thing.

SLIM It’s contractual.

PROTO Yeah, he has to die. Yeah, so I watched that and then our dear producer, Dale. He watched the movie which has been talked about on the show before, Ninja III: The Domination.


SLIM Hell yeah! You talk about socks getting blown off.

PROTO This movie is a lot of fun. I had a great time watching this. I said it’s probably the best movie of this type that I’ve seen where it’s you know, it’s kind of like a it’s a B-movie. [Jurassic Park theme plays] [Slim & Danny laugh] It has great action. I mean, if you want to see if your jam is a ninja, you know, a woman who works on power lines getting possessed by the spirit of a villainous ninja, if that’s what you have been looking for well let me tell you, you can come home now. We have the movie for you. Ninja III: The Domination. I mean, this was in Slim’s top four for a period!

SLIM It was! I just spit up on myself. [Danny & Slim laugh] I had an experience watching this movie. 100%. I mean, what did you think of that scene where she’s outside of the gym? Getting about to be beat up by like five guys and there’s 30 people watching doing nothing, including a cop and she has to fight her way out.

PROTO Who are these men accosting these women? First one. Now another. As if there’s no consequences for these types of actions. Does no one have a camcorder on their person to record what’s happening here? Yeah, that was disturbing. But seeing it in a movie like this is hilarious.

SLIM The V8 scene.

PROTO Yeah, the V8 scene is, you can’t spoil it. You just gotta know the V8 scene, that’s all I knew about it. Oh, the V8 scene, and that’s really all you can say. If you want to know what’s going on, log into your Paramount Plus account. It’s streaming there now, you can find out what happens with some V8 juice.

SLIM Log into your parents’ Paramount Plus account. [Slim laughs] What a delight. Thanks for going on that journey. I know Dale loved it as well. Producer emeritus. There we go. We’re getting some Ninja II gifs photos in here. That’s what it’s all about.

DANNY Spoilers.

PROTO You don’t need the first Ninja movies either.

SLIM You can skip right through Ninja I and II and still enjoy it. Just reminder later in the show, right around the corner, Return of the King. We’re closing out the trilogy, Lord of the Rings month at 70mm. Also, we didn’t we didn’t talk about it last week, we teased a little bit but how about Danny’s beautiful piece of art that was shone brightly on Apple Podcasts this week? We were spotlighted, very appreciative of our friends at Apple. And I mean all those people seeing Danny’s beautiful Lord of the Rings art up there?

DANNY And then listening to us yap.

SLIM I mean, listen, I apologize again about the one tower comment to all the new listeners. It was an honest mistake. You’re watching a movie, you’re missing an eye tower, who knew that was a tower? Not me.

PROTO You could have found something that had slipped by everyone else, you know, for all these years.

SLIM Ian in chat I mean, you can hear the love quote from Ian former producer of the show, “We love Apple.” So thanks Ian for the love. Every week we give out a free year of Letterboxd Pro. You know, we’re on Letterboxd all the time logging our movies. Marcie posted a low rating in our opinion for Spider-Man: No Way Home. Really shocking rating. Only four and a half stars. And if you become a Pro member, you get rid of third party ads you get access to amazing stats for your own viewing habits. You can see where your favorite movies are streaming, which I should say Jurassic Park streaming on HBO Max if you have that. And this week’s winner, familiar name, RaptorRobb on Twitter just won a free year of Letterboxd Pro. He shared Apple Podcasts tweet. “Name one podcast with better art. I’ll wait.”

DANNY Thank you, Rob. Goodness.

SLIM Appreciate you.

SLIM Do I want to talk about a movie before we get to Return of the King? I’ll look at my diary real quick. I watched — here’s kind of a random one. So I was listening to a podcast that Joe Dante co-hosts, director of the Gremlins.

DANNY Excuse me.

SLIM And The ‘Burbs, Gremlins 2, host of other films. And spoilers, he’s going to be a guest along with Josh Olson on The Letterboxd Show. So he in a previous episode, Jason Reitman asked him what was like a movie project that you did that you didn’t think got enough love or didn’t get promoted enough, no one talks about? And he said this movie called The Second Civil War.

DANNY Oh I saw that review of yours come through.

SLIM And I was like, this is a old school war movie that Joe Dante did? And he said it was an HBO Max, or not HBO Max, HBO movie, direct to TV movie. And it came out, let me see the year of this movie. It’s on YouTube right now, if you want to watch it. 1997. So it follows this news company. It’s like a CNN ripoff called the NN. And it’s insane how it ties to modern day, it’s about how there are immigrants coming into the country. And the governor for that state doesn’t want them to come in. It’s like a dark comedy. It’s a satire. And how the news net television company is trying to talk about how this is happening and how the government wants them to take the refugees. And Phil Hartman plays the president.


SLIM Yeah, so that gives you an idea as to the tone of the movie. So I watched the whole thing I loved it and it’s like eerily similar to modern day. So if you have some free time on watch Joe Dante dark satire comedy on YouTube, by all means, check out The Second Civil War. [music from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King plays] Alright, Return of the King. The final part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. This is the extended cut that we watched, we’re watching all the extended cuts. So all of our ratings are for that version of the film. Okay, we’re putting that out there. This was four and a half hours long, the Return of the King, this is the final part. Proto, are you prepared to start the conversation? Lay the stage for this film for the audience?

PROTO Layin’ the stage. The Second Age of Middle Earth ended when the last lines of elves and men marched on Mordor, where they seized Sarens fortress of Berra door for seven years. It still door cut the ring from Sarens hand winning victory for the Alliance. But at the cost of losing the kings of both elves and men. This signaled the end of the Second Age. Row Han has called the orcs of isand guard at Helm’s Deep. But this was just the beginning of the Dark Lords assault on Middle Earth. Seeking to crush resistance, Soren unleashes his army first on a skilled Earth. And then ministereth Aragorn wielding the flame of the West as King enlists the army of the dead to defeat Sarens forces. Then the last armies of men march on Mordor to distract Sauron and give Frodo and Sam a chance at completing their task. Having reached their goal the One Ring of Sauron is cast into the fires of Mount Doom, destroying both Sauron, his Dark Tower and his legions of orcs. Thus ends the Third Age with the remaining elves of Middle Earth leaving for the undying lands of the West and the dominion of men, beginning with Aragorn as the new king.

[music ramps up, plays alone]

SLIM I said last week about how people were saying The Two Towers is their favorite but let me tell you something, those reviews coming in, piping hot for Return of the King on Letterboxd.

DANNY Throbbing.

SLIM Everyone was throbbing in finishing this movie. Your thoughts on the throb, Danny?

DANNY I mean, it’s justified. This final film is insane. I can’t get over how good this last chapter of the story is.

SLIM Are you ready to give your rating right now for Return of the King extended edition?

DANNY It’s five stars. It’s five stars.


DANNY You know it. You know this. You know it is. [Slim laughs] There’s no hiding it, how much I love this film.

SLIM Never hide your ratings. If you’re out there, you’re afraid to give your ratings, never fear, never hide your true self.

DANNY Unless it’s less than five stars for this movie.

PROTO Yeah, if you gave it less than five stars, you’re an idiot.

DANNY Quote.

SLIM That was that was a quote in Discord this week from Danny. When was the last time you watch Return of the King, Proto, before this week? You remember?

PROTO I don’t know. It’s been a long time. Like I said earlier and the other episodes, this is my least watched of the trilogy. I usually don’t make it this far. So I want to say at least 10 years.

DANNY Oh, wow.

SLIM Holy cow. Yeah. I don’t remember anything about this movie, except for maybe a few scenes with Pippin wearing his little outfit. He’s like a little soldier guy, as the guard. That was like one of the main things that I remember in the spider that I mentioned last week, disturbing scene. So I don’t think we need to rehash maybe my history with Return to the King. But I remember hitting play on this movie. And I was like, God, dang. Four and a half hours. Thank god, Amanda was gone for the night. So I was like, I gotta start this soon for she comes home. She’s not gonna walk in on this Lord of the Rings business, that’s for sure.

PROTO What hour are you in? Hour five?

SLIM This thing’s still on? Another Lord of the Ring? My first note for Return of the King. How gross is Smeagol in human form? He’s still repulsive to me, starting out this movie. He’s sickly! He’s gotta get a tan in the Shire or something. Proto, what do you think?

PROTO There was something wrong with him long before the ring came into his life.

SLIM I think I remembered Smeagol’s like origin story to start this movie. But is this in the theatrical? I feel like I asked this a lot last week, and nobody ever really answered. So I wonder if I’d bother asking this.

DANNY Keep asking.

SLIM Is this in the theatrical? The Smeagol stuff?

DANNY I have no idea!

PROTO I’m pretty sure it is.

DANNY I feel like it has to. I don’t watch the theatrical. So I don’t know.

PROTO I remember seeing this in theater and being kind of shocked by it. Because when you think of the openings of the three movies, this one is so strange, I think and actually very bizarre, just in general. Because I mean, you know, of course, Golem is an important character in this story. But it almost feels out of place to having a flashback for him at the start of this movie. It just, it just feels very strange to me. I don’t know if you guys feel that way.

SLIM I have a feeling Danny will disagree with you. So I’ll just go first. It wasn’t so much the Smeagol stuff, because I remember like we talked about the intros the previous movies and how it’s like yeah, hell yeah, let’s get going. The Smeagol intro was like, okay, get this gross loser on my screen. But even the Saudi mon segment I felt was a little bit long, too. And I started to wonder I was like, man, could they have put this in the end of the last movie? Because like, I made fun of that segment of him just kind of like meandering around the top of the tower doing nothing, but I wonder if him getting like killed would have been a better part at the at the back end of Two Towers. What do you think, Danny?

DANNY No, I think you’re wrong. But I actually don’t like, I don’t enjoy the intro to this at all. I don’t like that this Smeagol backstory starts this film. It really does bug me. It’s like a weird wet blanket to start this film.

SLIM Yeah, yeah.

PROTO Yeah, I would have preferred like another, I don’t know, like flashback to like the way the first movie starts. Like give us more of that. Give us something that kind of sets up the ending you know, you know give us more history of like Sauron and hips like building Mordor because this is really like the end of you know his reign and the end of Mordor completely if they did something like that, that’d be really cool instead just seeing Smeagol get the ring and choking a dude out.

DANNY Excuse me?

SLIM Yeah, Ian, former producer of the show, it shows you what could happen to Frodo and Sam, though.

PROTO Yeah, but I feel like they do that in other parts of the movie. Like you get that already with the Frodo stuff. IMO.

DANNY I think they had started telling that story in Two Towers.

SLIM What’s on your list for this feeling of returning the king Danny?

DANNY Well, my first note was the Gollum backstory. But we’ve gone through that. Theoden’s speech at the bottom of the tower, gets me so hyped for this movie. That’s when I get super excited for Return of the King, when he has the “We shall have peace” speech, yelling at Saruman. I love that scene. I actually, I don’t love everything about that scenes a little bit, just standing around but man when Theoden leans in.

[clip of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King plays]

DANNY And just talking about all the things that had happened and when they will actually have pieces when he hangs from a givet for the sport of your own crows. I just love that line. It just gets me every time. I get so excited.

PROTO So my first note is just the tension between Gandalf and Pippin.

SLIM Oh my god.

PROTO Palpable. Has Gandalf ever hated someone more?

DANNY Has he ever wanted to beat a child more?

SLIM I mean, he really despises Pippin. I mean, the last two films, you get the idea that he just wants to like walk near the edge of a cliff and just kind of nudge him over. [Danny laughs] And that’ll be that. I actually couldn’t remember also why he was getting agitated. That’s how little I remember this movie. You know, he’s looking at this orb. And then even then, he’s like giving him the side eye. Like you piece of s, you stay away from that orb. [Danny & Proto laughs]

PROTO I mean, he knew right?

SLIM There was a lot of Pippin in this movie. He I felt like he had four different plot threads circulating, in the extended one anyway. Because I remember like the halfway point where he’s he becomes the soldier you know, he like gives his life over to the steward of Gondor. That’s what it’s called. And then I remember that the end of the movie you know, they’re they’re like in in battle or whatever. And I was like, man, how long ago was the plot about him being the soldier? It there’s a lot going on in this movie. Like I said, it’s four and a half hours but it’s four and a half hours. There’s a lot happening at various points.

DANNY It’s nonstop, yeah. It’s insane how much gets told how much content is in this four and a half hours there’s feels like there’s no dead spots besides the Smeagol opening. Yeah.

PROTO This is Pippin and Merry’s time to shine, these two hobbits. They’ve been playing George and Ringo for too long.

DANNY I don’t know what that means.




A podcast for film lovers, inspired by Letterboxd.