Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

After the bout between Amelie and The Dark Knight, the most anticipated fight of this round is without a doubt Spirited Away and Return of the King. Both have huge followings, both are critically acclaimed, and both are truly brilliant works of art. The experts are stumped as to what will be the magic bullet in choosing one film over the other, except the fanboy aspect that remains loyal to Middle Earth. However, there’s also a fanboy aspect that remains loyal to Miyazaki. Going in, it’s anyone’s game.

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Wow. What a ride. After a full week of heated competition, we’ve been deposited here at the threshold of Round Three. The teams that survive what promises to be a brutal round of competition will be the final four standing, and will be only one more victory away from standing strong in the Championship Round. Many great films have fallen, and what remains includes a meddling French girl, a haunted hero in a cape and cowl, a man who spies on others, an ex-porn star, a young girl working for a witch, a man who would be king, impoverished youths in Brazil, and a girl caught between the horrors of WWII Spain and a giant faun.

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Italy grew to be a powerhouse in the 1960s and 1970s when Italian cinema became a rite of passage, but the powerhouse has lost a step since then. Luckily, it is represented by a fantastic film in Il Divo. Unfortunately, it had the luck of drawing against Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – a heavily favored film in this competition. The New Zealand representative easily defeated historical drama Bathory, and the Italian politician beat the Cannes selection Paraguayan Hammock in Round One. We may be saying “Ciao” to Italy unless they can pull off a stunning upset.

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Completely contrary to their standings in the real World Cup, and despite a surprise draw between the two teams today, Slovakia finds itself in a true David versus Goliath situation against the heaviest favorite in the entire competition. New Zealand’s Lord of the Rings: Return of the King faces off against the beautiful story of a murderess in Slovakia’s Bathory. Both films are fantastic in their own right, but only one can win, and the bets are all going against the handily-woven tale of Countess Elizabeth Bathory.

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