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'Rings' King Returns On DVD

Three years ago, "The Lord Of The Rings" trilogy was considered a risky, some say foolish, $300 million gamble in Hollywood.

Well, it's a gamble that's paid off more richly than anyone could have imagined. The final chapter "The Return Of The King," the biggest of the three, makes it's way to home video this week.

J.R.R Tolkien's world of Middle Earth was brought to life by writer, director, and producer Peter Jackson in this sweeping epic adventure. "The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King" has become the second biggest moneymaker of all time, taking in over $1 billion at the world-wide box office. The film also made Oscar history when it won eleven awards, becoming the first fantasy film to win best picture.

Jackson says, "It was important that we make them intelligent; it was important that we make them as emotional as possible. That's why everyone is talking about fantasy films and fantasy films never win Oscars. And I've been thinking that we are more than just a fantasy film. We just had this wonderful book that Tolkien wrote and his themes of courage and faith. These are themes that he gave us in the book and we tried to translate into film. Those are messages and themes that everyone can relate to today."

"The Return Of The King" chronicles the final leg of the Hobbit's journey to Mordor. It's there that Frodo, played by Elijah Wood, must destroy the all-powerful ring, much to the dismay of Gollum, the film's complex and emotional computer generated character. As Frodo's sidekick, Sam, Sean Astin received glowing reviews though he didn't get an Oscar nomination. Many still say he was robbed.

Also in the film Aragorn, the renegade nobleman, played by Viggo Mortensen, finally reclaims his throne.

While the definitive special edition of "The Return Of The King" won't be released until November, this two -VD set is loaded with behind-the-scenes special features.

And next Tuesday, "Monster" makes its way to home video. Charlize Theron made the transformation from Hollywood glamour girl to serious actress with her Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning performance in this first work by writer/director Patty Jenkins

Says Theron, "When Patty and I decided to go and make this film, we both new it was going to be a very personal journey and maybe it was just for us and nobody would tap into it the same way, but we were willing to go and bleed our hearts for that, and so everything that has happened for this film has been so incredible"

"Monster" is based on the true story of Aileen Wuornos, a prostitute who became America's first female serial killer. While the film tries to take the audience inside the mind of a murderer, it's also a love story between Wuornos and the woman she was devoted to, played by Christina Ricci.

Also being released next Tuesday is the documentary "Aileen: Life And Death of a Serial Killer," which includes the last interviews with Wournos who was executed in 2002.

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