Below is my ranking of the three "LORD OF THE RINGS" movies from my favorite to my least favorite. Here they are:
FRANCHISE RANKING: The "LORD OF THE RINGS" Movies
1. "The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001) - This adaptation of J.R. Tolkien's novel is, without a doubt, my favorite in the trilogy. Hell, it is among my top ten favorite movies of this past decade. Although the saga is basically about a war in the fictional land of Middle Earth, this story sets the saga in motion with a journey for the main characters (who form a fellowship) to return the evil Lord Sauron's dreaded ring to the fires of Mount Doom. And if there is nothing I love more, it is a road picture. This particular film also featured some of my favorite battles in the entire trilogy, including the superb battle within the Mines of Moria. This chapter of the story ends with the deaths of two major characters and the parting of ways for the Fellowship. Pity that it failed to win the Best Picture Oscar for 2001.
2. "The Two Towers" (2002) - In this adaptation of Tolkien's second novel in the trilogy, the saga begins to fray at the edges. Mind you, there were a few plot inconsistencies in the first film, they pop up with more consistency in this second movie. And then there was Gollum. I am about to commit a sacriledge with "LORD OF THE RINGS" fans, but he was never a favorite of mine. I could barely stand his soliloquies, let alone the character itself. I understood his presence in the saga . . . but not a fan. The film was still enjoyable to watch . . . somewhat. But once some of the main characters reached Helm's Deep, it became something of a struggle to enjoy the rest of the film. Only the Ents' attack at Isengard save the movie's last hour for me.
3. "The Return of the King" (2003) - This is the one movie in the trilogy that snagged the Best Picture Oscar. And I wish to God it never had. I realize that Oscar was for all three movies . . . but I feel the Academy could have simply given director Peter Jackson a special award for his efforts, instead of naming this film as Best Picture. I do not hate this film. It had moments that I found entertaining and it featured the budding romance of two of my favorite characters - namely Faramir and Éowyn. And the Battle of the Pelennor Fields was enjoyable to watch. Unfortunately, the trilogy's list of plot inconsistencies began to really build in the movie's first hour. Watching Frodo and Sam's struggles to reach the fires of Mount Doom became an exercise in torture. And if I must be honest, I have to say the same about the "ending that would not end".