The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant and peerless

Author: Marcus Eden-Ellis from United Kingdom
30 July 2005

If you are reading this review (or indeed any other) trying to assess whether or not you should watch this film then please read no further and just go and slip in the DVD (Extended Version) and let the sights and sounds of Middle Earth wash over you. Nothing I, or indeed anyone else, can say should help you to form an opinion prior to watching. I guess the audience for the three films fall into two distinct categories; those who have read the books and those who have not. Those who have not, in my experience, tend to be overwhelmed by the absolute majesty of the vision but a little non-plussed by the actual story - seeing it as just some rather dopey fantasy; a Star Wars trilogy set in past times for the modern audience if you like. Then there is the "yes, I have read the books" class who in general seem to have a kind of smug arrogance grounded in comments such as "they left out too much", "its not what I imagined" or "Of course its all an allegory for the rise of the third Reich".

Tolkein bemoaned the lack of an heroic mythology for the English people and he sought to create one in his Rings trilogy of books. My opinion is too humble to count - but if you want it, I believe he succeeded. The epic backdrop, the heroes and villains, the rich history, the races and the languages are all utterly plausible as a long cherished story handed down over many generations. Peter Jackson and his team must be congratulated not only for their wonderful realisation of Middle Eath and its inhabitants; but for crafting a series a movies that captured the very essence of what Tolkein was trying to achieve.

Well done also for leaving out Tom Bombadil.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Middle earth finally comes to life...

Author: karenlynn1 from United States
31 March 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I must say I was skeptical when I first heard my favorite novels were being made into films. I dreaded A-list tow headed actors and actresses over-dramatizing and/or faking their way through one of the greatest journeys ever. I feared they'd cast Tom Cruise as Aragorn, and Brad Pitt or some other overindulgent, overconfident "golden boy" as Legolas--a character I've loved since I first read the chapter about The Council of Elrond.

...but then I heard That Elijah Wood, a fine young child actor now grown up, was playing Frodo. I was intrigued. Sir Ian McKellen would be playing Gandalf--and I felt it would be refreshing to see him play such a good, likable character after watching him play Magnetto in X-Men (another performance of his I enjoyed.) The rest of the cast was either unknown to me at the time, or I hadn't heard that they had been cast in it yet. Needless to say I was DYING to see this movie. Unfortunately I didn't get to see the film when it first came out. In fact, I finally got to see it several months later. Definitely worth the wait. The cast, the script, the entire production was simply flawless.

Within the first scene the shire that I read about when I was a child, came to life... Middle earth where I longed to escape as a child had come to life, and was even more beautiful than I imagined. THe characters were almost exactly how I had pictured them, and the excitement, the drama, and everything else seemed very, very real.

My hat is off to Peter Jackson for his excellent job in bringing The Lord of the Rings to life, for those of us who grew up dreaming of Middle Earth. He did a wonderful job of (more or less) sticking to the original story, and bringing his vision of The Lord of The Rings to the big screen for all of us to enjoy.

Hat's off to the cast too, who not only looks exactly like I imagined them...they act and speak, even walk just how I pictured them.

Some long-time Tolkien readers may scoff at scenes that were cut out, or rearranged...or Arwen taking the place of Glorfindel in the Flight to the Ford... Well some scenes don't always translate well onto film,...I would have been bored watching Frodo wait a full ten years at Bagend waiting for Gandalf while the Sacksville Baggins' raided and pilfered what Bilbo had left behind... The Tom Bombadill scenes would have been rather bland, and taken away from the central story... And I didn't mind at all that Arwen was the one to save Frodo...that scene was so spectacular, F/X wise! I'm not going to nit pick about a female elf saving Frodo.

Regardless of such changes, the movie is spectacular! If you don't like it...well then maybe fantasy movies, or classic literature brought to life is just not your thing. To each his own.

But it's a must see for all Tolkien fans, all fantasy fans, and all who want to escape reality for approx 4 hours... and wander into Middle Earth.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A dynamic, epic, beautiful and sweeping work that knocks the socks of anything in the fantasy genre since Star Wars

Author: sdillon-1 from UK
25 July 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


JRR Tolkien's staggering trilogy The Lord of the Rings is my favourite novel of all time. To call it the literary equivalent of the (original) Star Wars trilogy if anything undersells it, as much of Star Wars is inspired by it. When I heard Peter Jackson was going to make films of my `precious' books I was nervous to say the least. How could he possibly succeed?

Then, in December 2001, I breathed an immense sigh of relief combined with an almighty gasp of delighted surprise. The first film in the trilogy not only lived up to expectations, it surpassed them. If anything, the film was better than the book. I say this simply because cinema is my preferred artistic medium. What Peter Jackson did was not merely film the book (as was the case with the first two Harry Potter films) but instead translated it into cinema. Jackson emphasised what was cinematically potent, reinvented a number of sequences and trimmed a few others with the apparent motto `show don't tell', which is of course what great cinema does.

The resultant adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring is an unmitigated masterpiece. A dynamic, epic, beautiful and sweeping work that knocks the socks of anything in the fantasy genre since Star Wars in 1977. It is nothing less than criminal that it didn't win the Oscar for best picture.

The deceptively simple plot can be summed up in one phrase: `evil ring must be destroyed'. For this to happen, representatives of all races in Middle Earth - Humans, Hobbits, Elves, Dwarfs etc - must unite against the forces of evil led by the Dark Lord Sauron who wants to regain the great Ring to rule and cover all the world in darkness.

The complicated backstory is brilliantly rendered in a splendid prologue outlining the history of the Ring and how it came to be in the hands of the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins. Bilbo's nephew, Frodo, takes up the quest to destroy the Ring with the help of wizard Gandalf and a fellowship representing the other races in Middle Earth.

The ensuing adventure is so full of excitement, adventure, humour, irony, melancholy, terror and tragedy that it really is impossible to describe the emotions of the story in a few words. Although the plot deals specifically with the timeless theme of good versus evil, it also encompasses complex issues such as immortality, temptation, and growing up. There have been several misguided attempts at pinning Tolkien's work down in allegorical terms, most recently to the post September 11th war against terrorism. To do this is to miss the point. Tolkien himself claimed his work was neither allegorical or topical. It was instead intended to be a `fake history' or mythology for England and Europe, rooted deeply in his Christian beliefs.

The casting in the film is impeccable. Sir Ian McKellen simply is Gandalf, Elijah Wood excels as Frodo, Viggo Mortensen is superbly rugged as hushed-up-King Aragorn, Ian Holm makes a tragic and moving Bilbo, Sean Bean is wonderful as Boromir - a man gradually seduced by the evil of the Ring, and Christopher Lee is great as turncoat wizard Saruman to name just a few.

The cinematography is staggeringly beautiful, making great use of breathtaking New Zealand locations. The special effects and production design are groundbreaking. Editing and sound are both first-rate.

Finally, Howard Shore's magnificent music score deserves a special mention, the best I've heard of its type this side of Star Wars. Not only does he manage to create a sweeping work similar to a full-blown opera, but he manages to incorporate Elvish poems and songs that were an frequent feature of the novel unable to be included elsewhere.

The extended edition of the film is an interesting alternative edit, with new bits and pieces which are all good (especially for fans of the book), but to be honest it doesn't matter which version you see. The film's staggering attention to detail, its unswerving conviction and its brisk pace (not a duff moment in its entire running time) make this quite simply one third of the greatest fantasy film ever made.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Big Surprise

Author: LorDom from BC, Canada
23 February 2003

Before this movie was made, I had barely even heard of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. When the movie came out, it got such rave reviews and looked so interesting that I was quite eager to see it. When I finally did see it, I was SO impressed. The story is absolutely enthralling, the special affects were amazing, and the acting was superb. This movie really got me more interested in all the actors playing the hobbits, and also Ian McKellen, actually to be honest, I REALLY enjoyed all the actors, especially, Viggo Mortensen(playing Aragorn). There is not one element, one scene in this movie, (in my opinion) that could use any improvement. I would strongly recommend this movie to any who enjoys the fantasy\science fiction, even if you have not read the books. This is the best movie I have ever seen, and I can't wait to see the rest of the trilogy.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:


Author: Jack Gibson from New London, Ohio
7 August 2002

Truly one of the best films ever made! It was robbed of the best picture Academy award. This movie does not disappoint. Even those who are not fans of the books, love this movie. Set back and hold on to something, you are going to love this from beginning to end. The only thing wrong with this movie, is the waiting for the next one.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant, my third favorite film ever.

Author: Vampire Hunter D from Madisonville, KY
29 July 2002

I have seen "LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring" twice in theatres. The first time I left I knew I had seen something great...but I needed to see it again. I went back about two weeks later and realized this film is brilliant. The story is extremely strong. A simple story told complex, and greatly. Although I have not read the books I plan on eventually doing so now that I have seen the film. The acting is also a very, very strong part of this film. Elijah Wood deserved the Oscar for his portrayal of Frodo. He does such a great job. Also, Ian McKellen did a great job of Gandalf. The rest of the acting is great too. The directing is the best thing about this film along with the story. It takes you from place to place so well and is amazing. Peter Jackson knew exactly what he wanted to when he walked into doing this film. He had an amazing vision. The music score is also another method of telling this story even stronger. It fits perfectly into any scene they are doing in the movie. If I have left anything out about this film I know why. There is so much I could tell you about this film and how much I love it but I will just point out those things. I cannot wait until "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers". It looks just as amazing as the first just from the previews. If you have not seen this, go see it NOW. In a theatre or when it arrives on DVD and VHS. 10.0/10.0 A classic

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Epic, sweeping film-making at it's very best

Author: pyrocitor from Ontario, Canada
3 April 2006

The Fellowship of the Ring

When one begins to write one's sentiments regarding a movie such as Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic Lord of the Rings trilogy, the main problem isn't having difficulty finding things to remark upon - the main problem is knowing where to begin. The Fellowship of the Ring essentially redefined the term "quality", in its extraordinary ability to vastly succeed the already unreasonably high expectations of audiences and die-hard fans of the novels everywhere.

It becomes difficult to avoid bias by painting the film with outlandish and likely unreasonable praises, but I must confess I could go on for literally pages pointing out how blown away I still am by virtually every aspect of this movie, the first, and in my opinion, strongest as a film of the trilogy. So I'll try to keep it concise - Jackson has truly brought the novels to life in a fashion one could never have imaged short of actually seeing it for themselves. The sets and appearance of Middle Earth are among the greatest ever created, an impeccable blend of CGI, constructed sets, and the already breathtaking landscapes of beautiful New Zealand. The beautiful cinematography brings this all to light again, in the best sense of the word - seldom does a movie look so, simply put, beautiful. The costumes and appearances of the various creatures and inhabitants of Middle Earth are once again, mind-blowing - some of the best and most convincing computer generated images are on display in these movies. This is all punctuated by Howard Shore's simply gorgeous and incredibly moving Oscar winning score.

Acting is also simply nothing less than astounding, with every cast member not only seeming torn straight out of the pages of the novels, born to play their role, but also turning out pretty much flawless performances around the board. There are standouts of course, especially Sir Ian McKellan's now career defining turn as the warm yet incredibly wise and powerful wizard Gandalf, Viggo Mortenson's wonderful flawed yet noble hero Aragorn, Sean Bean's excellent and truly touching portrayal of the quintessential flawed male character Boromir, Elijah Wood as the good hearted lead character, the innocent hobbit Frodo Baggins, and Sean Aston as his faithful and loyal companion Samwise, and Christopher Lee as the corrupted and now evil wizard Saruman the White. Cate Blanchett is a huge scene-stealer, as the regal (and briefly chilling) elf queen Galadriel, while John Rhys-Davies is perfectly gruff and hilarious as cantankerous dwarf Gimli, and Liv Tyler is breathtakingly elegant as Arwen (and thankfully given more to do than simply stand around pining, as in the next two films). Then there is of course the absurdly underrated Andy Serkis' mind blowing portrayal of the creature Gollum. Though mainly seen in the next two films, Serkis already manages to make a powerful first impression with his 2 minutes or less of screen time.

Again, it seems entirely fair to say the Lord of the Rings movies are among the greatest movies ever made, for their incredibly detailed attention to the details of Tolkien's novels, and their still surprising ability to exceed expectations in every possible way in film-making and storytelling terms. This is epic storytelling at its best - if you are among the very few who have yet to see these movies, strongly consider doing so - it will be well worth your while.


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21 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

Great spectacle, bad script

Author: David from California
22 December 2001

Tracking all the making of information leading up to the film, it seemed like Jackson was doing a great job. The scenery, props, casting, makeup, and effects all seemed beautifully authentic. And in action, they deliver. But the script (it's always a danger when you see three writers and one of them is the director) spoils the magic.

It's more than making Arwen's role more significant (and a completely different character) in a blatant attempt to beef up the roles for women. I didn't like that, but women's roles are admittedly sadly lacking in the original story. It's that Jackson puts his clumsy fingerprints all over Tolkien's themes and tells the story from the perspective of Men. Apparently, modern moviegoers need to identify with their race. (Side note: all the critics who say how the movie has preserved the magic of the books probably haven't read them since college.)

The relationship between the four hobbits isn't set up at all in the movie; aside from Frodo the other three hobbits seem thrown into the quest by chance. Rather than being a reluctant, conflicted hero, Frodo is praised by all the other characters but actually does little but squeal, get stabbed, and look on the elves in wonder. Saruman (a lesser character in the fiction who only appears the first book through Gandalf's recollection) takes up far too much time in the movie. And by the end we've seen Sauron's eye so much I wonder there's anything to reveal of the dark lord in the second and third movies. I expected changes, but I fail to see the rationale for many of Jackson's edits--they don't make the story better or the action flow more smoothly.

The Lord of the Rings is an elegiac tale of the passing of magic from the world and of the heroic struggles of those races passing from the world to preserve goodness. In Jackson's eyes, history is told from the perspective of the victors, the Men. Hobbits, who drive the action in the books, are along for the ride while Aragorn, Boromir, et al are the real protagonists in the movie.

I give Jackson full credit for taking on a task of this scale and achieving an epic feel. If only he'd started with a script as good as his scenery.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Frodo Row Your Boat Ashore

Author: wes-connors from Los Angeles
9 November 2009

"With the help of a courageous fellowship of friends and allies, Frodo embarks on a perilous mission to destroy the legendary 'One Ring'. Hunting Frodo are servants of the Dark Lord Sauron, the Ring's evil creator. If Sauron reclaims the Ring, Middle-earth is doomed," according to the DVD sleeve description, "Winner of four 'Academy Awards', this epic tale of good versus evil, friendship and sacrifice will transport you to a world beyond imagination."

Reading the original J.R.R. Tolkien novels was an intellectual rite of passage; whilst young, you read and enjoyed "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy willingly - prepping with "The Hobbit", of course. "It's a job that's never started that takes the longest to finish," someone said. Writer/director Peter Jackson's "The Fellowship of the Ring" is the first of an extremely well-produced trilogy. Understandably, it's made into a special effects extravaganza, without taking many breaths for thoughtfulness.

"The Bridge of Khazad-Dûm" (#30 on your DVD menu) sequence is a highlight; it climaxes with the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and the demonic Balrog (CGI) falling into an abyss, from which return seemed impossible This was one of my most memorable "Lord of the Rings" reading experiences - a future without Gandalf was unimaginable. Mr. Jackson and company recreate some emotional scenes extraordinarily well. At one time, it seemed impossible to think that such literature could be brought to cinematic form.

******** The Fellowship of the Ring (12/10/01) Peter Jackson ~ Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

"The crownless again shall be king..."

Author: Prestige_Never_Pride from The Grey Havens
23 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I confess to say that I did not see the first two LOTR films in theaters. The fact of the matter was that my sister was 6 years old and scared easily, so my father wouldn't take her. So, my father went on his own to see them. I did, however get to see Return of the King in theaters. I was entranced. I was 12 years old at the time, and I didn't understand the story. But I was captivated. When Pippin sang his song, I was in tears. At the very end, I was sobbing. The sense of beauty it had...I couldn't even describe it. So, I watched the first two movies respectively with my father. And now I was within Middle-Earth. I read the books the same month that I saw all three films. Simultaneously, in fact. That is my admiration story.

What can I say about this movie that won't fill a novel? Where do I start? I suppose with Peter Jackson. I was so struck to learn how these beautiful works of art, Tolkien's magnum opus, inspired him to want to take on such a daunting yet gratifying task. He saw more in those books than I had read from them, and I'm glad that a dedicated fan brought these jewels to screen. Thank you, Mr. Jackson! The cast? Absolutely beautiful. Their friendship is so apparent, so close, not faked as you see in many other movies. Not one actor in those three films were bad. Yes, you heard me. So those of you who said that the casting was terrible, let me say to you: "Not all those who wander are lost."

Elijah Wood, who is a very gifted and bright young man, has such an incredible beauty (inside and out) to portray such a conflicted and fatalistic character. His own striking idealism, innocence, and understanding was such that you fell in love with Frodo at first sight, but not to the point where he seemed weak. Elijah is Frodo incarnate, and anyone else would have ruined the role.

Sean Astin, another very bright young man, shows his warm wisdom as Samwise, as well as a courage the likes of which I have never seen before in any performance. He had such an aura of honesty and kindliness that it shone like a light on screen. His friendship with Frodo (Elijah respectively) is so obvious and true on-screen, and not a sappy, cheesy "Hollywood" special. Friendships that are too sappy (and fake) will kill a movie, but this one was so obviously real and strong that it touched we fans in such a deep way (for those who could appreciate it).

I can't say everything I would like to about these movies. The marriage of deep friendship, dedication, and beautiful, realistic special effects creates an entrancing epic that will be hard to rival by any movie. Those who negatively rated these movies, did you actually pay any attention to the screen as you watched the movie? For those who have never seen these movies, please, do. The deep bonds shared by these actors, all of them, are so beautifully shown, and the cast clearly underwent a lot of stress (For those who own the Extended Versions of these movies, you might hear some horror stories from Astin, Wood, Mortensen, Serkis, and more, if you listen to the documentaries/commentaries), but it is clear that they love their roles, and it shines through in their voices, their faces, and especially their acting.

I neglected to mention the efforts of the crew. Without them, over 5,000 people strong, these movies would not have been possible. They created Middle Earth in such way that it seemed possible to be a shadow of our past: a past world on Earth that faded away long before our time. Thanks be to them.

Yes, there are differences from the books. There always are, in any adaptation. I saw that some people commented about how weak a character they thought Frodo seemed compared to the book, because several moments in which he looks Evil in the face were shortened/changed in the film version. That isn't true. Not at all. True heroism means not only defending others, but accepting aid from others. True heroism means that one accepts that they can't do everything alone, and accepts the aid of those willing to give it. THAT is true heroism. Frodo shows that in every light, even if it isn't always obvious. You can see with much more than your eyes...

Overall, if these were the last movies I thought worthwhile enough to watch (I hope cinema doesn't become that bad), it would be fine by me. Thanks to all of the people who brought this to us, the LOTR fans. To my fellow fans, I say: "May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out."

10/10, and then some.

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