Quick Take:

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

December 19, 2001

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The Lord of the Rings is one of the classic fantasy novels (by J.R.R. Tolkien) that has been attempted for the screen several times, but somehow just was never “right”...Until now.

The first of 3 films, The Fellowship of the Ring focuses on the discovery of The One Ring to Rule Them All and the quest to destroy it. In a time before history, in a place called Middle-earth, Sauron, a dark and powerful lord, has brought together the forces of evil to destroy its cultures and enslave all life caught in his path. Sauron’s time has come and he needs only one small object — The One Ring that has been lost for centuries — to snuff out the light of civilization and cover the world in darkness.

Though Sauron has put all of his power into the search for it, fate has put The Ring in the hands of a young hobbit named Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), who inherits the Ring and steps into a great adventure. With the help of a loyal fellowship comprised of hobbits Sam (Sean Astin), Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd); Gimli the dwarf (John Rhys-Davies); and humans Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) and Boromir (Sean Bean); and with the guidance of the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), and elves Arwen (Liv Tyler), Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) and Elrond (Hugo Weaving), Frodo must journey to the Mount of Doom to destroy the Ring. If he doesn’t find a way, no one will survive Sauron’s reign of terror.

It’s been a long time since a fantasy movie focused on characters, storyline, and in creating a believeable, fully realized fantasy world as LOTR does rather than just special effects. Director Peter Jackson, a long-time fan of the novels, has created a rich world that is a feast for the eyes and requires more than one viewing to fully absorb the detail he has packed into the film. The cast is superb bringing full, engaging characters to life. Screenwriters Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Jackson allow us time to get to know most of the characters fairly well (Gimli & Arwen probably have the least development in this installment) - no small feat in bringing such a huge work to life.

I have heard a few (mosly minor) complaints that the film deviates from the book at times, though never having read the entire book, I can’t say. Most fans realize that not every detail of the book can make it into the film. In order to create an enjoyable movie, pacing and details of a novel just cannot be followed so exactly and I think Jackson has done an excellent job with the meat of the novel and in creating a world we want to visit and characters we care about.

The only complaints I can find for LOTR is that some of the action scenes (especially fights) jump so fast that the action is very hard to follow (a problem in Gladiator as well - though even more so here)...And that we have to wait a full year for part 2!

The Fellowship of the Ring is a truly excellent film that will set the mark for fantasy for years to come. I highly recommend seeing it at least twice.

Out of a possible 5 stars, I give it:

Viewer Opinions:

“I think this film is so good is because unlike most films you can feel the magic.” -- Mitchel Cunningham

“I saw the movie a few weeks ago, then read the book. Jackson got the essense of the book about right. The book is really about Tolkien showing us this really cool world he invented called Middle-Earth. The adventures of Frodo and his friends are just a way of showing us that world. This is not meant as a put-down of either the film or the book. The best writers create worlds for their readers to play in long after those readers have finished their books. Tolkien did just that and created (or recreated depending on how you look at it) the gendre of fantasy in the process. Both the movie and the book deserve the title of "classic" “ -- Chris

“I fell in love with the movie and books after seeing it once and soon found myself seeing it for the 13th and last time in theaters with tears in my eyes knowing that it was the last day that it would be playing in any theater near me. Now I am reading the 1008 page classic for the third time since Febuary. I spend all of my time on the internet reading and staring at pictures that have to do with Lord of the Rings, and cannot wait til it comes out on video on Aug. 6th, and for the 2nd one (The Two Towers) to come out in theaters on Dec. 18th!” -- Jennifer

“I love da film i sooooo love actor Orlando Bloom (plays Legolas) he is soooooo gorgeous!” -- Jess

“I loved the Lord of the Rings. I've got it on video and i watch it over and over again. I've got the three books I've finished and I can't put them down.” -- Chloe Powell

“A great film with good actors.” -- Consu Grunne

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