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Here is one film that lived up to its hype, and by the time I saw it
after it had arrived at the video stores, I had heard and read a ton of
things about it, and seen all the awards it had received, and expected
a lot. To my surprise, it did not disappoint.
Now, several years later after having watched all three of these "Rings" films twice each, I still think this first movie of the trilogy is the best. It is a truly spectacular adventure story all the way through, probably the best ever put to film...and the first three hours of it is extra special. The following two films were very good, to be sure, but this first had a better mixture of the story. The second and third movies were almost entirely Frodo and his allies' long journey, but the first half of this movie also gives a good bit of interesting introductory material including a number of scenes at the Shire, before the long adventure starts. If you watch all three of these films consecutively the action wears you down by midway through the final episode and it almost becomes just too much That never gets a chance to happen with the "Fellowship" film.
Anyway, "Fellowship," stunned me for the visuals alone. I can't recall any film that has so many jaw-dropping scenes, one after the other, for three straight hours. Some are beyond description, and I don't care if they are computer- generated. So what? The fact is they are awesome to view, both in beauty and in staggering action scenes that feature incredible-looking monsters and other mythical characters.
The story covers all kinds of terrain, too, from the lush Shire of the Hobbits, to the harsh neighboring landscapes. Each couple of minutes, as in the two movies that followed, scenes radically change from calmness to action, adventure to romance, sweet lovable characters to hideous monsters, on and on and on. It's an incredible movie experience.
I've never been a fan of the sword and sorcery genre . I'm surprised
film companies decide to make rubbish like THE BEASTMASTER, HAWK THE
SLAYER and RED SONJA but I am aware of the popularity of JRR Tolkien's
massive novel LORD OF THE RINGS and of it's popularity , I remember in
a survey carried out by a very well known British fantasy/SF magazine
in 1987 Tolkien's book was voted the greatest fantasy novel of all time
( THE STAND by Stephen King was a long way second ) , but it's a novel
that has always struck me as being read by anoraks who - like fans of
STAR TREK and STAR WARS - insist on reading subtexts that are just not
there . When the THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS shot to number one in the
IMDb top 250 films I put the popularity down to obsessed anorakish fans
who were going to vote the film a classic no matter what . Stranger
still I found groups as diverse as neo Nazis to gays to
enviromentalists proclaiming " This is our film " so when I finally sat
down to watch TFOTR I was expecting only some average entertainment for
a non sad person with no political axe to grind . After seeing the film
I had to admit THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING is a masterpiece .
Much of the credit must go to the producers . I 've no idea of the politics about bringing the story to the silver screen but I can imagine the Hollywood bigwigs sitting around the commitee table saying " Give us Tom , give us Nicole , get Harrison , get Leonardo . No limeys . Limeys are slimy . No limey accents . We're Americans , this is our baby " to which the producers gave a firm and resounding " No " . Good for them because the Hollywood treatment would have ruined this film. The cast comprised of well known - but not megastar - actors and unknowns are uniformally excellent even the normally hammy Lee and Rhys Davis and the bland Tyler are good . Also great to see so many Brits playing good guys and having the American actors adopting non specific British accents .The cast do a good job
The other production values are outstanding . Pride of place goes to Andrew Lesnie's cinematography where the camera sweeps down from the sky into the Orcs underground lair and the camera also shows off the stunning New Zealand landscapes . I'd always believed Scotland had the greatest scenery on Earth but I'm willing to change my mind . The FX are good throughout though perhaps the matte backgrounds and CGI are less impressive in places but they're still a lot better than we've been used to recently . The Orc make up is wonderful and helps them become classic cinema monsters . The only bad point about the Orcs is - Like the stormtroopers in STAR WARS - they're too easy to kill .
There are some minor flaws to THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS but this is probably down to Tolkien's source novel rather than the film makers . A couple of times the heroes seem set to suffer a resounding defeat when something not obvious at first like flammable villains or a giant eagle saves the day . I guess this is cancelled out by the dangers and adversaries also appearing from nowhere and there's little female perspective in the story for the women in the audience to relate to but come on girls you've got Viggo Mortensen and Sean Bean acting all hunky and macho so you can't complain.
I see the IMDb reviewers have started a backlash against FOTR like they did with TITANIC and GLADIATOR . They're right about the gawd awful rubbish that is TITANIC but they're wrong about GLADIATOR which is a very good film and even further wrong about THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING which is a cinematic masterpiece. Ignore their criticisms . Any film that is praised by people as diverse as fans of the book , people who have never read the book , enviromentalists and cynics like myself is worth your time watching . I'm really looking forward to THE TWO TOWERS
The first part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Fellowship of the
Rings opened the door to a whole new world for me. I'd never read any
of Tolkien's books when I saw the film for the first time at the
theatre and, now that I've read them, in retrospect I think being a
neophyte to the mythology made my LOTR movie experience all the more
I loved The Two Towers and Return of the King almost as much as FOTR, but not quite, because seeing Fellowship for the first time was like taking a journey to a fabulous new place and meeting incredible new friends that you don't want to leave. I've never felt anything quite like what this epic evoked in me. It was akin to being a child again, with that tireless sense of wonder and enjoyment of each and every moment, maybe because as a child you are discovering your surroundings, and whatever age you are, when you watch the Fellowship of the Ring you are rendered in awe upon being introduced to the purity and beauty of Middle Earth and darkly enthralled by the majesty of Eisengard, Saruman, Sauron and all of their mighty malice. One of the things that makes this movie so special (and there are so many!) is that you fall in love not only with the "good" characters, but also with the "evil" ones. For example, Christopher Lee was amazing as Saruman, and I can't imagine the movie without him.
Some films that might be comparable to the Lord of the Rings trilogy are: The Fifth Element, the Star Wars Trilogy parts IV, V and VI (forget the newer prequels), the Matrix trilogy (especially the first part), Interview with a Vampire, the Legend of Sleepy Hollow (with Johnny Depp), Logan's Run and The Island. They are all excellent movies and works of art that weave that movie magic that keeps you spellbound and entranced for the duration of their runtime.
But after seeing The Fellowship of the Ring, I knew I had found the movie by which I would judge all other movies. Based on J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved books, Peter Jackson has set a new standard in the industry of cinema, one that I honestly think has not and won't be surpassed, at least not in my lifetime, not even by PJ himself.
It is truly an instant classic that will stand the test of time and be loved by generations to come. God Bless Tolkien and Jackson and everyone involved in the conception and making of this film, for creating a world that is at my fingertips, only takes the touch of a button to go to whenever I want, and makes me forget everything else.
The LOTR Trilogy is undoubtedly MY precious, the non plus ultra of all movies!
Peter Jackson set out to make movies which the author of the Lord of
the Rings trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkien would have endorsed. All three were
resounding successes, though because of the film medium they
necessarily varied from Tolkien's story-line. Purists may have issues
with Jackson's theatrical license, but as someone who has read
Tolkien's books several times and seen the films 4-5 times each, I
never felt that Jackson went too far or compromised Tolkien's story,
the mythology he developed or the wonderful characters he brought to
life. Many have said what Jackson did could not be done. He has not
only proved the nay-sayers wrong, but lovingly crafted a set of films
which will, for many decades to come, stand out as a great achievement.
This is the first of three reviews I am publishing on IMDb for these films. I am labeling them Parts 1, 2, and 3 just in case anybody wants to read them in order. The reviews will be self-contained, but will also be enhanced by a chronological reading. My reviews will focus on the extended edition DVDs, though my comments are also relevant to the theatrical releases.
The Fellowship of the Ring introduces the key characters and the broad story arc of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Wizard Gandalf the Grey travels to a small town for small people (Hobbits)to help celebrate Bilbo Baggins' birthday. The very elderly Baggins doesn't look a day over 45, and soon it becomes apparent why. Since the great adventure of his life, a quest he was sent on by Gandalf himself, he has possessed the most powerful object in all of Middle Earth The One Ring.
This ring is evil incarnate, with an insatiable lust for power, it taints every creature who possesses it and tries to work its way back to its creator Dark Lord Sauron. Bilbo uses the ring to disappear, as he intends to spend his senescence with his friends the Elves in Rivendell. But activating the ring, he draws the attention of Lord Sauron from thousands of miles away in the land of Mordor. Realizing what has occurred, Gandalf scrambles to determine a course of action and recruits Bilbo's nephew Frodo and his loyal gardener Samwise to bear the ring to the Council of Elrond in Rivendell. Thusly, the seeds of the fellowship are planted in the soil of the Shire.
At this point, we are about 1/6th of the way through The Fellowship. Fairly soon thereafter, it becomes clear who will compose the fellowship, and who and what these people are. Though the succeeding films are not entitled "Fellowship", they follow the adventures of the surviving central characters. Characterization is done just as Tolkien did it in the original novel by example not discourse.
For example, we are given hints to the identity of Strider (Mortenson) earlier on in the movie than in the novel, but the actual significance of this remains ambiguous until about midway through. Strong characterization is key to the success of the entire trilogy. To summarize, Peter Jackson, his team and cast NAIL the characterization.
The casting and acting is perfect. It is very difficult to resist the temptation to single out Mortenson and McKellen for carrying their difficult roles so well (Strider/Aragorn and Gandalf), but why risk diminishing the contributions of the rest of the cast? Nobody mis-steps, and it is clear from the beginning that the entire cast was thoroughly and completed engaged with the task before them.
Tolkien believed that no film would ever do his work justice, and until this trilogy, he was correct.Peter Jackson and his team have managed to do exactly what they set out to. As Jackson himself has said in reference to the film trilogy, they set out to 'make Tolkien's film.' Jackson successfully drew out elements of all three books, expanding and contracting, rearranging, and sometimes adding whole subplots which are hinted at in the books, but not well explained, in order to adopt the grand story to the film medium. Arwen (Liv Tyler), daughter of Elrond and Elven lover of Aragorn, for example, is introduced early in the films and plays a role in the films which is much more equal to her significance than it was in the books.
The Howard Shore score is lovely, and its simple themes are used to great effect throughout all three movies. The musical collaborations improvising on Shore's basic themes are great, and, though they feature some prominent performers are never weighed down by star-power.
Jackson made all three movies simultaneously. This technique allowed for perfect continuity, and permitted much greater flexibility in editing and post-production work than would normally be allowed. Knowing that he would need to establish and support his own fellowship to make this production work, he also knew that success would make the production legendary. So, he documented the creation of the films beautifully. Two complete DVDs full of documentary pieces are included in all three Special Edition Packages in the trilogy. Many are likely to be bored by the details in these documentaries, but those interested in the creative process behind the films will be provided with a more comprehensive view than I can remember ever seeing in any similar DVD package.
The Fellowship of the Rings is as true a representation of Tolkien's novel as can be imagined. Although some aspects of the stories in the novel were adapted to the screen, the essentials, the characters, and the overall story are not just recognizable, but ENHANCED by the film. What results is a film that is not just entertaining, but an enormous fulfillment of an undying wish of millions of fans around the world.
Very highly recommended.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Barely ever hearing of The Lord of the Rings, I went in to see this
film in theaters the consecutive Friday it was released, to not only be
flabbergasted at its greatness, but wanting more! Since then, I devoted
myself to seeing the following two films on the first day of release --
a promise I kept.
Peter Jackson's take on Tolkien's fantasy masterpiece not only carries a great deal of the text to full film fruition, but shows the power of film, and proving that nothing is impossible. Jackson's vision is continuous, and never seems to loose grasp of the story that is being told. Using the artistry of John Howe and Alan Lee, The Fellowship of the Ring gleams with a beautiful and dark atmosphere, a length of detail that makes it seem like everyone and everything has its own history, and full of wondrous images one could never imagine.
The acting is superb. With a complex script, each actor has transformed these characters into 3-D people with deep back-story, and people that we feel compassion for. This is one extraordinary ensemble cast. Each actor IS that character, making it seem impossible to imagine anyone else fill that person's shoe in their stead. Viggo Mortensen IS Aragorn. Sir Ian McKellen IS Gandalf the Grey. Elijah Wood IS Frodo Baggins. One could weep with our heroes should one fall, or feel inspired when they achieve victory. A fantasy with this much emotion just seems surreal, but it's completely believable.
Never losing pace, the writing and direction is flawless, making for one enthralling introduction into Middle-earth. The voice over prologue fills even the most uneducated audience member with all the necessary knowledge they need to know in order to understand our heroes' and villains' motives. Some things of course have been omitted for pacing reasons. While not present in the theatrical cut, we do see the passing of the Grey Elves, and get a brief tale of Beren and Luthien. The barrow-wights and their story is no where to be seen (as interesting as it is in the book, there really is no place for it in this film) and Tom Bombadil is absent as well, but thankfully to the ingeniousness of the writers, in the Extended Edition of The Two Towers a little homage is paid to the character. Omissions and changes are always part of adapting a book to film, and the ones made by Peter Jackson, Phillipa Boyens and Fran Walsh are justifiable in every way.
The action scenes are spaced out thoroughly enough for breathing room, plot advancement, and ever-continuing character development. Each action scene is its own, be it the flight to the Fjords of Bruinen, the Mines of Moria, or the showdown at Amon Hen near the end of the film. All are greatly choreographed, each stunt member and actor is full of energy and ambition as they wield deadly weapons at each others' heads and limbs. It really is a sight to behold.
The special effects are mesmerizing. The use of CGI, miniatures/bigatures, and even clever camera angles blend to make one ideal image after the other. The soaring images of Barad-dur or Orthanc seem real when in fact, they only stand so many feet high. The Argonath, two figures of enormous height standing before the Anduin River seem like 300 foot creations, when in fact they are about only several feet off the ground. Simply jaw-dropping imagery.
Howard Shore's score for The Fellowship of the Ring is a beautiful, epic, and complex piece of work that makes one feel like they have been entranced. Even when some of the text seems omitted from the screen, it can be heard through the powerful instrumentation conducted and created by this composer. The use of leitmotifs to symbolize a country, race, or character is stunning.
Overall, The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring is a visionary masterpiece, allowing the world to see what seems like actual history with fantastic elements, equaling the greatness of Hollywood's earlier classics. As the first of three, one who has not seen these films can await the next several hours of their lives to be changed for ever.
Incredible adaptation of the first book of J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the
Rings" trilogy. I'm not going to summarize the story--there's way to much
going on. All I'll say is they took a verry difficult book with a intricate
plot and made it an exciting, totally accesible movie. The film moves
quickly (with a few slow spots--but that's to get in the plot) and there's a
lot to take in, but I was never confused. I should mention that I tried
twice to read the books but found them too hard.
The film looks magical--Middle Earth looks beautifully real. All the special effects are great (the Ring Wraiths are downright terrifying--as they should be) and the action sequences are among the best I've ever seen--fast, long and breathtaking. The film is long (2 hrs, 40 min) but the time flies by. The only problem is that there's so much plot and action going on that you're exhausted by the end--but in a good way.
With the exception of Viggo Mortensen (very wooden) all the actors are good--top honors go to Elijah Wood, Dominic Monaghan, Cate Blanchett, Liv Tyler and (especially) Ian McKellan.
But the film is VERY violent (despite the PG-13 rating). It deserves an R--this is NOT one for the kids. Still, it's the best film of 2001. SEE IT!!!!
There is very little that can be said about The Lord of the Rings that
hasn't been said already many times over. But what can be re-iterated
is that The Fellowship of the Ring is an outstanding piece of
Where do you start when reviewing a film the size of Lord of the Rings? J.R.R. Tolkein's seminal masterwork, long considered unfilmable, has made it on to the screen thanks to visionary director Peter Jackson. The Fellowship of the Ring is the first of the three books of the trilogy. Everyone has their favourite of the three, and this one is probably mine. Unrivalled in its size and scale by virtually any other film, with new groundbreaking special and digital effects, a stunning musical score, universally superb acting and most importantly a superb story.
The Fellowship of the Ring is the first part of the epic trilogy that tells of the quest of a hobbit to destroy an evil ring of power. He is aided in his quest by his friends and other companions who accompany him and protect him on his journey. Many threats face him on his long journey, both from the world around him and from his companions, who could be tempted by the power of the ring he has set out to destroy. It is a tale of magic and fantasy, swords and sorcery, but it is not simply for teens who enjoy dungeons and dragons games. It is accessible to everyone. By turns exciting, frightening, funny and sad, it is a true masterpiece in terms of storytelling, encompassing the full spectrum of emotions.
The acting is superb from the entire cast, and it is unfathomable as to how the Academy overlooked the acting entirely for all three films when dishing out awards and nominations. However the performances from Ian McKellan, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Elijah Wood and Sean Bean are all so good it would have possibly been greatly unfair to single any one out for an award.
The film also contains some groundbreaking computer-generated special effects, and some positively genius scale work. Due to hobbits being only about 3 feet tall, some clever scale work was needed in order to ensure that John Rhys-Davies, a dwarf in the film but over 6 feet tall in real life, did in fact look the height of a dwarf. This was done through clever use of forced perspectives, scale doubles, giant sets and blue screen filming. However, the most impressive use of computer effects lies later in the trilogy, with the appearance of Gollum cinema's first live-action character who is completely computer generated. The music is also beautiful, and Howard Shore has created possibly the most iconic and memorable score since John Williams' Star Wars.
Peter Jackson has, until Lord of the Rings, been seen as a director outside of the mainstream, but his superb, career-defining work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy has seen him well and truly propelled him to the forefront of Hollywood. He has re-defined the epic film with unparalleled success, and created films that will definitely stand the test of time, to one day be thought of with the same reverence as the Star Wars and Godfather trilogies.
A major milestone in cinema history, the trilogy would eventually gain seventeen Oscars between the three films. Lord of the Rings is a master class in storytelling, and essential viewing.
This film is a triumph in almost every aspect. I had never read the books
upon seeing the film and was a little sceptical about what many people
claiming that it would change the way films were made. Lord of the Rings:
The Fellowship of the Ring has become my favorite movie of all time. And
have seen a lot of freaking movies.
Every aspect of the film works. The cast works their respective roles to perfection with Ian McKellen(Gandalf), Elijah Wood(Frodo), Viggo Mortensen(Aragorn), Sean Bean(Boromir), and Sean Astin(Sam) being the standouts. From the epic prologue of the film you realize that there is a great, epic journey ahead of you. And along the way you meet and care for every single character in the film.
Director Peter Jackson has really crafted a beautiful piece of work that will be remembered for ages. It's a perfect balance of action and great character moments. Character development is not sacrificed for more action like so many other films of its like. There are many moments of the film that make you realize this is more than just your typical fantasy film, moments that transcend filmmaking and have a profound effect on you. The last 30 minutes are particularly powerful and moving.
Basically, this film is an epic, incredible experience. A film that will be looked at years down the road as a great piece of filmmaking. If you're a fan of good fantasy, or if you're just a fan of great movies, you'll love this film, plain and simple.
I think I can watch this film a billion times and not get bored. Today I
LOTR for the third time and I noticed a few details.
- When Frodo is stabbed with the blade from the dark rider and the hobbits and Aragorn are in the forrest u can see 3 huge stone trolls in the background. To understand who they are you have to read The hobbit. - When the fellowship is traveling over the mountains everyone is walking IN the snow, except for Legolas who is walking ON the snow. The is because Elves are so light.
Well when I saw these details I realised that Peter Jackson was even a greater director then I thought. And for the people who think that there are too much 'ring-shots' (sounds like a word from a porn movie) in the movie: THE MOVIE IS CALLED THE LORD OF THE RINGS GODDAMMIT, THE RING IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE ENTIRE MOVIE! Some say that the movie is too long. It may be long but I never ever get bored watching. This movie is just brilliant, mayB just as brilliant as the book.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you want to know how to do the impossible, watch Peter Jackson's
Fellowship of the Ring. When I was growing up, I thought no one could
translate such a sweeping book onto the screen successfully, and yet
the man who brought us Bad Taste has done it.
Just so you know in advance, the film takes plenty of liberties with the story; no Old Forest, Bombadil, Barrow Wights or Glorfindel. No Wargs in the wilderness - and you have to wait until the third film to see Narsil re-forged. In fact if the film has a serious fault it is that so much of the story is cut, it could leave the audience breathlessly hurtled from one action sequence to another - dazed, and maybe (if you haven't read the book) even a bit confused. But what the film does so successfully is recreated the atmosphere of the story - rather impressive considering the film is shorn of much of the textual richness found in the book. As someone who has read LoTR more times than a man of sound judgement ever should, I found myself more engrossed in the story than I had been for years.
The film gets its atmosphere from the scenery, the camera-work and some beautifully adept computer enhancement. In many cases the characterisation was also richer than the original - both Aragorn and Arwen are significantly more "human" than in the novel, as is Gandalf. Tolkien's heroes are often to perfect to be truly interesting - after all, in Mallory, it is no co-incidence that Galahad finds the Grail, but two thirds of the book is about Tristan and Lancelot. In Jackson's LoTR we see the human frailties of the characters; Aragorn's self doubt, Gandalf's fear, Elrond's unconcern (basically, "you deal with it Gandalf, I'm off on holiday with all the other elves").
This is not to say the film is without its flaws. Whoever decided that elves needed...tooo...speak ....sooo.....slowly clearly needs shooting - as does the guy who thought that a WWF-style wrestling match between Gandalf and Saruman was a good idea. Indeed there are a number of moments when a lighter directorial touch would have been better. Galadriel's demon-witch impression, for example, or Gandalf's power-vocalisation at the Bridge of Khazad-Dum. Merry and Pippin have a rather disconcerting resemblance to Ant and Dec (all three films show an astonishing heightism, more of which later).
Nevertheless, this film is an enormously impressive attempt do something I though next to impossible. At over three hours it was a long, but thoroughly enjoyable, action/fantasy film; it makes Star Wars looks like the kind of tenth-rate kiddie movie it is. And the best thing is, the special addition is even better. So not perfect, but 8/10 anyway
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