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The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 27-09-2010

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Based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is an epic adventure of good against evil, the power of friendship and individual courage. The saga centers around an unassuming Hobbit named Frodo Baggins who inherits a Ring that would give a dark and powerful lord the power to enslave the world. With a loyal fellowship of elves, dwarves, men and a wizard, Frodo embarks on a heroic quest to destroy the One Ring and pave the way for th… More >>

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

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Comments (5)

A cinematic version of Tolkien’s THE LORD OF THE RINGS ranks up with the hope that Lucas will indeed make another Star Wars Trilogy, and, I think I can safely say, this is one of the most anticipated films in the movie industry’s long and checkered history. You would think it’s movie paradise, considering Lucas has been in the midst of another Star Wars trilogy and LORD OF THE RINGS has finally got a cinema deal (live action!), but PHANTOM MENACE proved something of a disappointment (Mesa Jar Jar Binks!), and I think quite a few people will enter into the theatre with a certain amount of trepidation.

There’s a reason for that. Three animated Tolkien films have been released with very problematic results. The 1978 Bakshi release is just embarrassing; the film is both incoherent and confusing.

Rankin & Bass’s two movies are fine for little kids; those two films are Tolkien for Saturday Morning cartoons. They proved my introduction to Tolkien and for that I am thankful, but the movies still fail to capture the grandeur of Tolkien’s imagination.

There are two things to consider here about a work of literature. Although all good literature has a polarization effect on its readers, this work has a gigantic legion of followers which are extremely dedicated to Tolkien’s vision (I count myself a member of this camp). The other camp cannot figure out what the big fuss is about and why they should care about the novel.

Now, there’s a reason why all this is relevant to the film: had Peter Jackson gone to far either way the film would have fallen apart. Appeal to much to the fan-base and you loose the general movie-goer. Appeal to much to the movie-goer, and you’ll lose the fan-base.

So when the fan base learned of Peter Jackson’s decision to film all three films at once, an unprecedented move in movie history, most of us really wanted it to be good but were just simply afraid. We’ve already been burnt. Would it be so bad that it would alienate both fan base and those who are just looking for a good movie?

Not only does Peter Jackson’s film work, it’s glorious, beautiful, has all the myth and grandeur of the book. Jackson, a Tolkien fanatic, could have gotten so involved with bringing out the extremely detailed world Tolkien gave us that the pacing would suffer or we’d lose patience with all these obscure details which would alienate the regular movie goer. Not only does he not alienate the general movie goer, but he entices the fan base so much they can’t help but fall in love with his vision of Tolkien’s world.

The only real flaw is how rushed first section of the movie is. Although I can understand cutting the Old Forest and Tom Bombadil, the way they handled getting the hobbits out of the Shire was unacceptable. There is not that sense of camaraderie between the Hobbits that there is in the book, there is no “conspiracy,” and Merry and Pippin just join without any questioning from Sam and Frodo. While Jackson does a good job at building the Hobbits’ characters and establishing their personalities, I couldn’t come up with a good reason why Frodo and Sam would just let Merry and Pippin join them.

The Prancing Pony is worst. There is no questioning from the Hobbits about Aragorn proving himself, there is no scene about him asking them to trust him, and the whole sequence feels much too rushed. Sam only questions Aragorn while they’re actually out of the inn and traveling.

Thankfully, however, that is the only real flaw. The rest of the things the script changed (tightening Elrond’s council, the expansion of Arwen, cutting Sam from the Galadriel mirror sequence, tempting Aragorn with the ring, etc) I can see why they did it for dramatic tension. I also liked the way they handled Elrond’s council, because that could have ruined the movie like it did with Bakshi’s. They had established and covered much of the material in that chapter elsewhere by means of voice-over prologue and actually showing the viewer what is happening (especially with the Isengard sequences), and as a result lessened the screentime of that scene and helping with the dramatics of it.

As for the controversial expansion of Arwen, I tend to agree with the film makers in their decision to enlarge her role. By making her part of the Ford sequence it introduces the character and establishes her in the viewer’s mind, and the relationship between Arwen and Aragorn is more fully explored. As for their romantic interlude in Rivendell, not only do I agree with that but think it should have been done in the book. Tolkien did not know who Strider was when he was first writing FELLOWSHIP, and did not go back and change the scenes to further explain the romance between Arwen and Aragorn, and by not including a scene in Rivendell to establish their love for one another lessens by far the impact of their union in Part III, and (for once) this romantic scene is actually an improvement on the book. As for her role in the Flight at the Ford, for the movie they made the right choice though the book is still preferable.

In achieving the balance between fan base and the more causal fan, this film is a spectacular success. Making a movie out of a book the size of Fellowship, the fact is you will have to condense, tighten, rearrange, and make changes for dramatic tensions. The mediums are different, and you cannot have a direct translation from a book to a film. Despite of what they cut, the movie still clocks in at three hours, which is very generous. The real problem with this film, as others noted, is it’s going to be a full two years before we finally get to watch THE RETURN OF THE KING.

In the end, we get a movie that stays true to the SPIRIT of the book. This is what we Tolkien fans have long been waiting for. Thank you so much Peter Jackson and your cast and crew.
Rating: 5 / 5

Given the major competition that is out there for “The Lord of the Rings,” I think it is helpful to point out those who have not read the Trilogy will fare much better watching “The Fellowship of the Ring” than those who are uninitiated watching “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” In fact, this may well be one of those movies where the novices will enjoy it more than those soaked in hobbit lore and the history of the Rings.

Elijah Wood is a credible Frodo, although there are almost as many shots of him looking worried about what is happening as there are close ups of the ring (I might be able to recognize the skin patterns on Wood’s hand in my sleep). Ian McKellen, as would be expected, makes the most of playing Gandalf the Grey, bringing a most human dimension to the role while avoiding chewing the scenery except for those moments when the wizard unleashes the full force of his power. Cate Blanchett is a rather cold Galadriel, missing the spark that should take our breath away just looking at her. But ultimately the performances are almost incidental to the rest of what is happening in this film.

While much is to be said for the stunning set designs, of which the mines of Moria stand out even above the Elven havens of Rivendell and Lothlorien, equal measure must be given to the enchanted New Zealand landscapes. The visual spectacles hinted at in the trailers are revealed in all their glory throughout the entire film. The fight sequences hold up well against the current contemporary standard, albeit without any wire work. Surprisingly with all the swordplay involved it is Legolas with his bow and arrows that stands out during every single battle. The orcs are suitable horrendous (and numerous) and the balrog certainly exceeded my expectations. But what really makes this film work is that the hobbits seem hobbit size and after the first time you see Frodo and Gandalf together you never give it a second thought.

In terms of the controversies that exist, I think omitting Tom Bombadil was a wise editing move (the film is almost three hours long as it stands and there are plenty of other characters in the tale who refuse to take up the ring and the burden from Frodo), and buffing up Arwen’s role does not bother me a bit. Tolkien’s world is clearly male dominated, the Lady Galadriel and Eowyn being relatively minor figures in the tale despite their respective powers, and I can appreciate the idea that Arwen should be more than the elf babe who shows up and marries the King at the end. Now she will be a worthy consort who offers the hero encouragement and support along his journey. I have more second thoughts about Merry and Pippin being more so the comic relief than Sam than I would either of those. Overall, the movie is extremely faithful to Tolkien’s vision: the door to Moria is just as it appears in the book, down to the proportions. The maps, the elvish runes, the lettering on the letter, are all precisely and perfectly rendered. Even more importantly, the key lines are all preserved from “I will take the Ring, though I do not know the way” to “Fly, you fool!”
Rating: 5 / 5

I was lucky enough to see the media release on Dec 6, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the film.

I am a huge fan of Tolkien, and refused to see the animated LOTR all those years ago because I thought a cartoon could not do the film justice. So it was with mixed feelings that I went along to see the film of the book that I have to say changed my life when I read it at the age of 11.

Was it good? Yes.
Was it as good as the book? No.
Would I see it again? Absolutely.

Positive comments: The cinematography is excellent, the locations are excellent, the special effects are incredible (especially the fight scene on the bridge in Moria). It is obvious Peter Jackson is a big fan.

Negative comments: There are a few corny Americanized comments from the characters; Gimli’s last words in the film should be edited out! Obviously done to keep the interest of those (few) who have not read the book.

Arwen is a little too heroic, but not as bad as I feared.

The film is too short! I felt hurried as I watched the epic, there were whole sections from Lothlorien missed out, and the storyline has been changed in places to fit into a 2.45 hour format.

My biggest regret: more of the original dialogue from the book should have been included. Too many times the characters spout sentences that were not written by Tolkien, and JRRT’s wonderful descriptions of the woods and vales are sadly missing. Still, the director has made a magnificent attempt to bring the majesty and wonder of the book to the screen. It is impossible to fully include everything from the book, and I think he has done well.

I would definately recommend the film; I took my wife who has not read any of Tolkien and is not a fantasy fan, and she enjoyed it. I myself got goosebumps watching the film as all the memories came flooding back.

Brent
Rating: 4 / 5

I figured this movie would be fun, well-done, and a great companion to the book. I hoped it would be able to stand alone; I hoped it wouldn’t require the book to be enjoyable; I hoped above all that PJ would stay true to the feel of the books, and not succomb Hollywood (shades of Harry Potter). It blew me away. It was EASILY the best fantasy/sci fi movie I have ever seen. It was probably the best movie (that’s such a hard thing for me to decide, though…whenever I say “My all-time favourite movie is…” I end up with three or four!).

Let me just say first: Ian McKellen is God. (Viggo and Orlando are minor deities–despite being a long-time member of the Aragorn Fan Club, I have to say that Legolas is giving him a run for his money!) The reviewer who said, “Ian McKellen doesn’t appear in this movie. Gandalf does” got it dead on. If he doesn’t get an Oscar, I’ll never watch the Oscars again.

To me, there were two things that made this a great movie as opposed to a good one. First, I don’t remember the last time I was so into a movie that I shrieked in fright. But I did at one particulary frightening point in this movie (and I wasn’t the only one!). Second, and more important, there were SEVERAL times (and for extended periods) when I was completely, totally immersed in the MOVIE. I was not watching the book translated onto the screen; I was watching the MOVIE. I don’t think I can give Peter Jackson and company much higher praise than that.

Now, I don’t think the movie was perfect. It took me a few minutes to get used to the hobbit-size thing, right at the beginning. I don’t think it was badly done, though: I think it was just hard to get used to seeing miniature people! I wanted to smack Liv Tyler. She’s a decent enough actress, but I thought she really paled in comparison with the other acting. Also, I have to admit, I said a year and a half ago that I was afraid I would see her riding in the movie, and only be able to think, “She’s riding a barrel,” and I was right. Now, I’m sure I’ve seen plenty of other movies where the character wasn’t really riding, and liked ’em, but I just couldn’t do it here.

Most of the CGI was great, but there were a few exceptions. The thing about CGI is that it is SO EASY to point out when it’s bad…but most good CGI you never notice because you don’t KNOW it’s CGI! How much of the lighting in that movie was CGI? How many of the mountains? How many miniscule details? We’ll never know–and THAT’S the good part. Now, obviously, I knew that Moria was computer generated. But it certainly looked like they had carved it out of a cave in New Zealand somewhere. (The fire in Moria was the BEST CGI fire I’ve ever seen–in fact, I think that maybe they DID set a cave on fire! :D) I think I’m going to go to NZ and look for the Pillars of the Argonath, as I’m fairly sure that they really did carve those out of a mountain beside a river somewhere.

Everything else…was AWESOME. I was dreading some of the compaction, but I thought it turned out fine. Peter Jackson captured one last thing in this movie that is too often lacking in today’s movies: FEELING. I was happy, I was sad, I was angry, I was scared.

The score was a bonus here. Shore captured the feelings of the moments PERFECTLY (he’d better get an Oscar, too). The music was old and new at the same time–amazing, and just what was needed. He didn’t SHOVE emotion at the viewers/listeners, he merely echoed and enhanced it.

The Black Riders…whoa. Talk about the stuff nightmares are made of. Their screams were GREAT. Their screams were AWFUL. I wanted to run out of the theatre and hide and never hear that again. They terrified me, even though I knew what was going to happen.

Saruman’s orcs running through the woods…I considered crawling under my chair (movies do not usually do that to me!–at least not for prolonged periods of time). I desperately wanted things to go completely differently than the book, just so the orcs would go away!

THAT is what makes this a great movie. It’s NOT the book, but it has the SPIRIT of the book and it ENGAGED me–even though I can recite the book from memory. It truly did exceed my expectations.

Am I saying that the movie is better than the book? Of COURSE not. To me, though, it is absolutely, 100% AS GOOD AS the book. It is different, to be sure, but that does not make it a bad movie. It’s written for fans and newcomers, and both can enjoy it and relish their 3 hour trip to Middle Earth.

Bottom line: It’s not perfect (what is?), but I LOVE THIS MOVIE!!!!!!!!!
Rating: 5 / 5

Considered both as fantasy adventure and as an adaptation of a beloved literary classic, Peter Jackson’s film of “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” sets new standards for cinematic excellence. Everything about this film feels exactly right, from the casting to the screenplay to the special effects. The last are amazing, putting to shame anything George Lucas has come up with, and yet they always serve to advance the story; unlike Lucas, there’s never any hint that Jackson is merely playing with his toys. Jackson shows great respect for Tolkien’s text, but not slavish devotion. Certain characters–such as the lovable Tom Bombadil and Frodo’s poisonous Aunt Lobelia–are missing, and Tolkien would be chagrined to find that the little poems and songs he loved to write are nowhere quoted. But if Jackson gives short shrift to Tolkien’s whimsy, he more than makes up for that by giving us Tolkien’s intensity, pathos and moral vision absolutely undiluted. Above all, Jackson never forgets that Tolkien’s chief emphasis was always on the characters he created. Jackson casts wonderful actors to play those characters and–again unlike Lucas–he actually allows them to give performances. How wonderful to find the great Sir Ian McKellen, a uniquely commanding and charismatic actor, as Gandalf, or the charming and touching Elijah Wood as Frodo. You can go straight down the list–Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn, Sean Astin as Sam, Ian Holm as Bilbo, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel–and find nothing but perfection. This is one of the very few big-budget blockbusters that unqualifiedly deserves its success, and all we can do now is look forward with excitement to the release of “The Two Towers” in 2002 and “The Return of the King” in 2003. Like the books they came from, these three fillms will be cherished by future generations.
Rating: 5 / 5

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