The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King at the Royal Albert Hall - SciFiNow

The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King at the Royal Albert Hall

SciFiNow editor Rachael Harper takes an epic (and nostalgic) journey through Middle Earth with the Royal Albert Hall for their Films In Concert series of events.

It’s been over 20 years since The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King captivated cinemagoers for the epic conclusion of Peter Jackson’s now iconic trilogy of movies based on the books by JRR Tolkien.

Those of us old enough and lucky enough to have seen the movies on the big screen for the first time back then will probably remember the seminal time it was. A huge fantasy extravaganza, the likes of which hadn’t been seen before. Long before big-budget Marvel movies and shiny streaming series.

Wanting to feel those heart-pumping battle sequences, witness Frodo and Sam’s conclusion to their long journey, laugh at a few Gimley-isms (“that only counts as one”) and, well, see Legolas take down that oliphaunt, the Royal Albert Hall recently gave me the chance to do so with their showing of The Lord Of The Rings: Return of The King in one of the best venues in all of London.

Not only that but I got to hear it accompanied by Howard Shore’s now legendary, ethereal score performed by none other than the philharmonic concert orchestra. In a venue that is built for this type of noise. Oh yeah.

Settling down with my popcorn, I can’t help but get a thrill looking at the now almost mythical Lord Of The Rings title card projected on to the massive screen in the middle of the oval venue. A genuine chill as you spot the many MANY chairs that will hold the live choir primed and ready to take you back to Middle Earth, and hear the familiar orchestral notes as they tune up for the big performance.

But then I have a sudden jolt of nerves. I’ve seen this movie many times. I’ve had trilogy binge sessions. I’ve seen those oh-so-brilliant extended cuts. I’ve read the many accompanying books. Discovered those behind-the-scene fables that are now popular memes (yes I do know Viggo Mortensen broke his toe when kicking a helmet in ‘The Two Towers’). I know it’s three hours long. Will I get fatigued? Dare I say, even a little bored?

No need for that. As soon as I hear those first few familiar notes and remember how this movie starts (with Smeagol and Déagol fighting for the ring – all this way before Andy Serkis helped bring performance capture technology to the fore), all doubts on my 100% investment were gone. 

I have been to a few performances at the Royal Albert Hall, including Jurassic Park (you can’t beat hearing John Williams’ score live) and The Addams Family (such a joy, remember the Mamushka scene?!) and this has joined them in my rankings of being some of the best moments enjoyed at the cinema.

Nostalgia, mixed with a chest-pumping sound, with like-minded legends in the audience, certainly equals an evening that you won’t forget in a hurry.

Luckily the Royal Albert Hall has a tendency to pick movies for their Films In Concert events that are hard to resist. Like Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Art, Ghostbusters and Avatar (another movie I’m desperate to see on the big screen again) all scheduled to be played this year. No matter how much you pay for your sound system and crank up the volume loud enough to get a strongly-worded note from the neighbours the following day, you can’t beat seeing those iconic movies on the big screen and hearing those now all-too-familiar notes played live by one of the best orchestras in the world. 

While I wait for those other movies, I might have to crack out those Lord Of The Rings extended cuts again. Sorry neighbours. 

Find out more about the Royal Albert Hall’s Films In Concert events here.