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*** 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
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I finally got to see the Lord of the Rings a few days ago in the theatre and I must I was very thrilled see a huge movie of this stature. For months I wanted to see this because of several reasons but the biggest one of them was Christopher Lee! I knew he was going to be awesome in this movie which he was.This cast was great and it was a treat seeing Ian Holm in it aswell.I knew LOTR was going to be one of the greatest movies ever and I just love the scenery in this movie and the special effects were flawless and it has great music by Howard Shore. There was so much in the three hour movie that I can`t explain it all but I will say it has great battles and sword fights,and seeing the variety of character is neat like wizards,trolls,dwarfs,hobbits,elvs,and among other creatures and a awesome prolouge.This in MY opinion ranks up in the greatest of films and this is on MY favorites list now just not fantasy movies like Willow and Legend but other of MY favorites like other great films such The Mummy/The Mummy Returns,Planet of the Apes (2001),Jurassic Park trilogy,Star Wars (all four of them),Gladiator,Terminator 2,Predator,and others.I just can`t wait for the sequels to come.Be sure to get all of the LOTR action figures by Toy Biz and they look great! I was very happy to see this film and I hope everyone gets a chance to see this epic!
'The Lord of the Rings' is one of my favorite books, I have read it
times, and remember thinking the last time, about 3 years ago that if I
a film I'd want to make it of this, but wouldn't it be almost impossible.
You can then imagine how strong my expectations were when I went to see
eagerly awaited first installment.
This film impressed me hugely, more than anything else because of how true it was to my imagination, both in the characters as well as in the effects and setting- a sentiment I have heard consistently from other fans of the books. Elijah Wood brought across the character of Frodo with the kind of haunted, frail courage that Tolkien captures so well in the books. Nor could I find any fault at all with Ian McKellan's Gandalf, Viggo Mortensen's Aragorn, and Sean Bean's Boromir, all of whom I thought were portrayed excellently. I could pick out instances where I did think, 'no, that's not right', however their seldomness in number would only serve to illustrate the excellence of the overall portrayal. One thing that did stand out for me was Cate Blanchett's performance as Galadriel, the part itself became so perfunctory in the film that to me her alternation between benevolent seer, and figure of potential terror seemed little more than a slightly confusing detour with no real connection into the plot other than as a vehicle for a glimpse into the future. But that was it.
I thought that the points where Jackson did deviate from the text were completely the correct ones to do so. Shortening the opening Shire scenes and cutting out the whole Tom Bombadil bit was great since frankly they bored me slightly in the book anyway. Also, expanding the role of Arwen was a sensible decision.
However this film is by no means above criticism. The dialogue was in my opinion terrible and purely there to drive on the plot. Normally this would ruin a film for me (as in "The Matrix"), making it almost intolerable to view, however fortunately here it proves little more than a minor irritation. Also, the film seemed overall to be excessively plot-driven and at times a mad dash from one action scene to another, the characters, for all their truth to the book did seem flat and sometimes little more than stereotypical fantasy characters. This is perhaps my major quarrel with the film- I would have liked these characters to have come alive as people in a way that was made impossible by the sparseness of the script and the rollercoaster nature of the plot. In general the whole film lacked the depth of context that I think distinguishes Tolkien from other fantasy writers. However to have achieved this would have required a very different movie, and you can't fault an action film for being an action film.
This movie is undoubtedly not for everyone. A lot of people just don't get fantasy- other than Lord of the Rings, I don't particularly either. However in my opinion Jackson really has made an incredible achievement- his and Tolkien's vision carried through suberbly by a breathtaking setting and stunning special effects, as well as by a cast clearly as enthralled as he was. He has taken on a huge task, and is dealing with it with breathtaking success. Check for other user comments.
...I wasn't sure anyone would have ever guessed (except in a 2004
Fangoria magazine article written by Mexican visionary Guillermo del
Toro) that New Zealand native Peter Jackson, the director behind the
"goriest movie ever made" (1992's "Dead Alive"), would have been behind
the epic three-film installment of "The Lord of the Rings" saga, which
include "The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001), "The Two Towers" (2002),
and Best Picture Oscar-winner "The Return of the King" (2003).
***Note*** This comment applies to all three movies, as it will be posted at each individual web page.
Not since "Star Wars" has this much hype surrounded films of this magnitude. But I guess such hype exists because J.R.R. Tolkien's books have one of the largest devoted fanbases of any popular reading material. I've never read Tolkien's original books, though several readers as well as fans of the movies have told me such knowledge is not required when viewing "The Lord of the Rings" films. "The Lord of the Rings" is the biggest movie I've ever seen, and there's a whole lot of story, 12+ hours to be exact, and I've spent the last two days viewing the extended versions of all three movies and they are breathtaking. There are many dazzling special effects shots over the course of the trilogy and epic battle sequences to put you in awe (many of which, in my view, do push the limits of the "PG-13" rating), not because it's action but because of how precise Jackson's direction is, and how unflinching the camera becomes when it's time for battle. The rousing, epic score by Howard Shore helps the viewer get "into" Jackson's vision of Middle-earth, and into the characters and on-screen action. Jackson has also breathtakingly transformed his New Zealand homeland into Tolkien's Middle-earth and when you watch these movies, you feel like you're really there, with the rest of its inhabitants. It is also pretty frightening too, with many jump scenes including the frequent and violent battle sequences between our heroes and "The Enemy," who include the brutish Orcs, Moria Orcs, Ringwraiths, and the unreal entity Sauron. And lastly, the cast does much more than bring the action to life, but instead live ("live" is italicized) their parts. Of course, I'm talking about the young Hobbits Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin), who come into possession of the ancient One Ring and must journey to the hellish land Mordor to cast the talisman into a river of lava and bring its reign of evil to an end. Along the way, two other Hobbits Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd), necromancer Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen), warrior Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Boromir (Sean Bean), elf Legalos (Orlando Bloom), and dwarf Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) aid them in their quest - together as a "fellowship of the ring." There are also plenty of other fantastic supporting roles from Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith plays a good guy), and Andy Serkis as the voice of the ever-creepy Gollum. I think J.R.R. Tolkien would be proud of Peter Jackson's take on his material, despite comments I've heard his son has made in undermining the director's vision. Someone once called "The Lord of the Rings" the greatest fantasy epic ever made; they were right.
For those of you like myself who are fans of the books of the same
name,you will not be disappointed by this movie. Unlike the animated
versions that have previously been made where much of the story was
condensed either for budgetary constraints or time limits, the
Fellowship of the Ring while it does take a few shortcuts, there are
very few. It is very exciting getting to see places that up until now
have been purely figments of my imagination portrayed by someones elses
imagination on the silver screen. I felt myself holding my breath
waiting to see the various locations of middle earth and how others
have dreamed of them. The movie does a breathtaking job in transporting
the viewer to this other world and does so with magic good enough to be
from the hand of Gandalf himself. Yes, there are places where for
dramatic reasons or to prevent a lengthy historical context that
certain events from the book were either shortened, modified or
changed. These changes however do not change the storyline itself and
makes for a very entertaining movie. I do feel however that if you are
one of the uninitiated, it would serve you to either read the book
before going, or immediately after the film pick up a copy and read it
as it will provide more breadth to the story than what an almost three
hour film can portray. In addition, there are several scenes in the
book that while not central to the main story, add more to the lore of
middle earth and help to explain some of the history leading up to the
time of the story. The characterizations in the film were very well
done and the choices of the actors to play the hobbits were perfect.
While I was somewhat anxious to have Elijah Wood as Frodo and Sean
Astin as Samwise, after seeing how well they were portrayed on film
left me no doubt that these actors did a very admirable job bringing
the characters to life. The majority of the cast has some English
accent which was my main concern. Both the principle American actors
portrayed a passable English type accent themselves which helped
prevent them standing out on their own. How the filmmakers made several
average height men such as Wood and Astin, and probably more so John
Rhys Davies as Gimli appear much smaller than their Elvish or human
companions is spellbinding. Special effects in this movie while at
first don't really seem to be that obvious eventually take on a more
obvious tone as the fellowship moves further into the adventure. As one
would expect from a magical world, many things which we take for
granted from reading the books are very difficult to accurately portray
in a live action presentation. The filmmakers not only did a good job,
they surpassed by far my expectations and truly made the experience an
enjoyable and fulfilling one. As with any film where there will be
sequels coming out, the ending left me longing for December 2002 to
follow our adventurers further on their quest.
I will caution parents who are thinking of taking their children to see this movie that it is not a movie made or intended for children. Much Parental Guidance and forethought should be taken before taking children under 12 to this film. Aside from a film which lasts almost three hours in length where much of the dialogue while important to the story is not well suited to entertain small children. In addition, several of the creatures created for the film will probably terrify younger audiences. If you want to take your children to see this film, I might caution you to view it without them first and then decide to take them on your own judgement. Hey, if you do see it first without them, you can see it again right? I plan on seeing it more than once anyway. All in all, this is a well developed motion picture where a great deal of thought went into it's development and execution. I am thankful to the filmmakers for having the courage to tackle such a well known, well loved story with an audience that has a very well organized preconceived notion of how they view the world of Tolkien. The filmmakers did the book justice and that is the bottom line unlike Bakshi's version of 1978 which was a disappointment at best and unfinished as it's final release turned out to be.
I've always loved fantasy and science-fiction novels, and I'm very
grateful for that, since the movie adaptation of The Fellowship of the
Ring is one of the reasons I fell in love with movies (the other
reasons are Spider-Man, Casablanca, The Godfather and Pulp Fiction),
it's so incredibly excellent. Some people refer to the Lord of the
Rings trilogy as my generation's Star Wars (I was 12 when TFOTR was
released), but I actually think it's better than Star Wars, and
basically for one reason: the way director Peter Jackson has brought
Tolkien's beloved classic to the screen.
Jackson has perfectly understood CGI is nothing but a tool that enables the filmmaker to tell stories more easily: while in Star Wars we see dozens of different worlds, which are visually stunning but appear for only a couple of minutes (or seconds), in LOTR everything we see is there to make sure the story goes on. Oh, another important thing too: in this movie, plot and character come first, the visuals are added later. The director takes his time to introduce the various inhabitants of Middle Earth and the chain of events that will change their lives forever. The movie is almost three hours long, so what? It's a story we really care about, and the characters make us feel for them every single moment: we cheer with Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) when he learns he won't have to face his difficult task alone; we laugh with them when Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) make fools of themselves; we cry and worry with them when things start getting bad...
That's probably also the reason for which this movie is superior to its sequels (N.B. I'm talking about the so-called "theatrical versions"): in parts 2 and 3, important moments of character development are ditched in favor of long, breathtaking battles, and the audience knows something's missing. That's not the case of The Fellowship of the Ring: the extended version is better, that's true, but the first movie is the one with the least deleted minutes, and therefore the one that feels less incomplete than the others.
As I said before, Jackson values characters more than effects, and he uses the latter only to tell the story more successfully, so that the world where those people live will look more realistic on screen; now, since the characters are more important, the cast is a crucial element, and luckily the actors chosen for this movie are pure perfection: Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Dom Monaghan and Billy Boyd are career-best as the four hobbits, the most vulnerable members of the Fellowship, therefore the ones we care about the most; Viggo Mortensen is 100% convincing as the conflicted, layered Aragorn; Ian McKellen gives Gandalf the Grey the warmth and wisdom he deserves, and finally, Christopher Lee is just THE only actor who could flawlessly play the Darth Vader-like good-turned-bad Saruman, proving once again he's the N°1 choice when it comes to casting someone as the really bad guy. Like Dracula, he has gloriously resurrected to spread horror another time.
An amazing beginning for an even more amazing trilogy, perhaps the best I've ever had the pleasure to see. Should have won Best Picture of 2001 (as well as Director and Adapted Screenplay).
One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them... well, you know the rest!
Whether it was the opening action sequences or the finale, my heart rate
going a mile a minute watching this movie. FOTR did everything every
fantasy film should have done; it had fantastic creatures and beings that
had previously only appeared in my dreams and my imagination. Jackson did
tremendous job making tangible what I previously had to visualize by
Without getting too specific and spoiling the ending, my only critique of
the movie was that it was a little anti-climatic. Then again, the book
also anti-climatic because it was the first part of a trilogy.
I would also like to comment about how many people have compared Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to this film. My advice is to see them both, don't compare them, and enjoy the each as the great stories they are.
This is one of those movies that I will watch over and over again and never get tired of. It wasn't boring. It didn't lack action. It wasn't overhyped. The acting was good. And those that said it had too many "Scenery" shots should consider Doctor Zhivago...it was 4 hours of trains and snow, but still a classic! Give this movie a shot, and enjoy it for what it is; the visualization of a classic tale.
As a die-hard aficionado of the trilogy, I subconsciously geared myself for some disappointments on my way to see this film. Some reviewers evidently feel they're breaking new critical ground in saying that the film was compromised, here, there and everywhere, finally excusing and extolling the film on the ground that what's left is so good, the flaws don't really matter much. Well, I can't help but agree, and even at nearly three hours, Jackson and his crew couldn't help but nip and tuck, and so the fact that much was missing, in terms of plot, character development, etc., is not especially mystifying. No, what I wondered--while I stood in line and bought a ticket for three shows hence--was not, "Gee, did they cut something out?" but, "Hmmm. Almost three hours. I wonder how they managed, with so little time." And they managed just fine, offering concessions and reconciliations equally satisfying, for those who have read the works as well as those who haven't. I do agree that more attention should have been paid to narrative regarding the Council of Elrond--here the plot point reaches a real pitch that was much missed in the film. I don't agree, however, that modern audiences are too cynical to swallow Bombadil. (That's like saying that imagination always needs a reality check.) And I did enjoy the expanded role of Arwen--it fit like a glove, and Tyler's performance, in my opinion, was superb (I had heard rumors that there were some misgivings when she was cast). But in the long run, the source work is so good that there's a heck of lot of choose from. Not only was serious thought given to the adaptation of Tolkien's masterpiece, the team's keen eye was clearly focused on the sensibilities (and intelligence) of the audience. Thus this is among the best three hours in film thus far.
When I first read "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" Trilogy back
in the early 1970's, I recall saying to myself that the story would
make a wonderful movie. "Star Wars" still hadn't come out yet, and
realizing that the available technology could not do justice to the
fantastic world presented by J.R.R. Tolkien, it was simply best left to
Well, imagination has found life in "The Fellowship of the Ring", a truly profound epic that sets the standard for film fantasy, just as the books did for the written word. Upon first seeing it during it's initial release, I couldn't have been happier with the amount of detail it offered while remaining true to the original adventure. Everyone imagines what a story and characters look like in their own mind; it was as if Peter Jackson tapped a great cosmic consciousness to deliver a tale that captured the tone and pacing of the novel dead on.
I feel that readers of the trilogy have a leg up on the characters and locations of Middle Earth, as they are revealed in the film quickly and with nominal explanation. For example, when the Black Riders appear for the first time, it's difficult to grasp what they're all about, other than the fact that they're after the ring. Strider's explanation of the Nazgul is perfect - ring wraiths who were once men, neither alive nor dead, who always feel the power of the ring. Coming to the movie with that understanding ahead of time helps the viewer have a greater appreciation of the action taking place.
The real magic of the movie for me is the seamless manner in which the various races coexist and interact with each other. Though levels of unfamiliarity and distrust appear, can anyone coming out of the movie doubt that elves, dwarfs, hobbits and wizards actually exist. Even orcs and evil Uruk hai have a place in this world, for without the danger they pose there is no triumph.
If the movie captures your imagination and you haven't read the trilogy or it's prequel "The Hobbit", you'll be doing yourself a favor to do so. There in even more exquisite detail are nuances such as Elvish poetry and additional characters that provide more depth and color to the world of Middle Earth. It's a world easy to get lost in, and makes one appreciate a writer of legendary proportion who invented a land, people, and language all of his own that can now be shared with everyone.
It is incredibly difficult to really adapt most books into movies and still stay very true to the soul of the book. This movie does that in a very big way and really sets the mode for the following two movies. It is the hook and bait that is irresistible and even those that don't care for fantasy movies find themselves reeled into one of the greatest epic fantasy's ever told. Entering a world filled with new discoveries and incredible adventures is something that every child hopes for and thats exactly what sparked the creation of this epic. Watching this movie really brought me back to a time when life was magical and my imagination was all I needed to enjoy each day. Very few movies are able to immerse a person and make them feel very much apart of the story that is being told like this movie does.
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