Went to see this movie again last night with some friends I haven’t seen for months, and once again it was great. Actually, beyond great to the point that there are no words. The whole LotR phenomena is truly something to behold, which inspired me for these next few entries. Since my first entry was a “list” of sorts, I thought I would do the same for the best trilogy of all time. It deserves it.  I’ll be breaking this down into segments over the next week or so. Today I’ll be focusing on the BEST CHARACTER category.
        This is probably one of the hardest categories since every actor was top-notch in all three films, with no sub-par acting to be found. After enough thought Ian McKellen’s Gandalf comes to mind as the best character, especially in the first movie. Gandalf seemed most powerful yet vulnerable at the same time…a powerhouse that seemed unstoppable but you KNEW he could be killed. And then it actually came true, and his character “died” while fighting Balrog, the fiery demon. He was also the only one who knew everything about the Ring. His knowledge, wisdom, and magic made him, arguably, the most likeable character. He was the guide and leader for the majority of the first film, but less so in the second. He spent a good deal being dead ;), and thus couldn’t play as huge a role. When he did return as Gandalf the White, he helped secure the victory at Helms Deep but had a noticeable absence. In the third movie his role increased a bit, as he did much more fighting than in the second (especially his brief solo when he saved Pippen and took out half a dozen orks). McKellen played his role exceptionally well throughout all three movies.
            Andy Serkis, while only appearing in the second and third film, played an incredible role as Gollum/Smeagol. Going from one personality to another is a difficult task, and both roles were tricky. He had to retain the voice effect and do all the movements/expressions that the CGI character would eventually perform. The role was the most difficult in my opinion, and to pull it off with flying colors…no, no…SOARING colors was exceptional. While I’d like to choose him as THE best character/actor in all three movies, he was in fact a minor character.
            Samwise Gamgee was a surprisingly strong character, especially in Return of the King. He started off inFellowship as Frodo’s protector, but seemed pretty harmless. But his devotion to Frodo was touching:
            Sam, I have to go alone.
            I know you do, Mister Frodo…and I’m coming with you!
He continued to protect Frodo from the greed of Gollum throughout Two Towersand Return on the King, with the latter being a particularly powerful role. His friendship with Frodo became questionable, he defeated Shelob single-handedly, AND managed to carry Frodo on the last stretch to Mount Doom.
              I can’t carry it [the Ring] for you, but I can carry you!
His character went from a simple hobbit gardener to a full-blown warrior with a heart. What more can you ask for in a “zero-to-hero” character?

BEST MAJOR CHARACTER: Gandalf (Ian McKellen)

BEST MINOR CHARACTER: Gollum/Smeagol (Andy Serkis)
OVERALL RUNNER-UP: Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin)


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