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The Fellowship of the Ring

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

 

Title - The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
My Admission - $8.00
One Line Review - All Hail The Lord of the Ring.

 

Review - J.R.R. Tolkein's epic journey has finally made a fitting transition to the silver screen.  Peter Jackson (The Frighteners) has created as lively a film, in the Fellowship of the Ring, as one could ask for.  The two remaining books, The Two Towers and The Return of the King will appear in theaters during the next two holiday seasons, 2002 and 2003 respectively.  Sorry no time (or money) for The Hobbit (the Lord of the Rings prequel) and this film shares less than little of Bilbo's story with the moviegoer.

I should like to begin by saying that the film is a faithful adaptation of Tolkein's book.  Leaving out very little but thankfully, a piece or two (including Tom Bombadil) that I never cared for in the text.  At times, feeling both forced and rushed, the film takes on a juvenile feel.  However the films more dramatic, action, and interpersonal levels compensate for this pseudo-feeling.

What Jackson does adapt comes across at varying degrees of intensity and clarity.  Most notably, I had difficulty connecting with the elves, Arwen (Liv Tyler) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchet) specifically; and Elrond (Hugo Weaving) feels as stiff as Agent Smith (The Matrix).  It is my sincerest hope that this slight is bettered throughout the remaining two films.

Don't fret too much over the names.  They come swiftly and unless you're familiar with histories of Middle-Earth you may miss more than you'll catch.  Don't let that ruin the film for you, as there is so much to bear witness too.  Bilbo's Birthday and the Breaking of the Fellowship are two of the best segments of the film although in my opinion, the Mines of Moria take the cake; it's fantastic.

Howard Shore's score is wonderful.  With only mild throwbacks to James Horner's Titanic or Braveheart scores, The Fellowship manages to carry the calm and intensity of the film on its shoulders alone. This, in my opinion, is the most Oscar worthy attribute of the film.  It scored 1 of the four Golden Globe nominations already. (the remaining three go to: Best Film, Best Adapted Screenplay, & Best Song: "May It Be" by Enya.)

The cast is almost impeccable.  I couldn't have dreamed up a better cast for this film.  Viggo Mortensen (Strider) and Sean Bean (Boromir) were two of my favorites.  The Ian's, McCellan (Gandalf) & Holm (Blibo Baggins) deliver the best performances of the film, bar none.  Orlando Bloom (Legolas) & John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) will make a great pair.  While Elijah Wood makes a perfect choice for Frodo. It should be noted that the remaining hobbits, Sean Astin (Samwise), Billy Boyd (Pippin), and Dominic Monaghan (Merry) deliver more than endearing portrayals.  You're gonna love these guys.

The best thing I can say is that the film isn't any better than the book, nor is the book really any better than the film.  They're really rather identical in tone, drama, and visuals (although diehard fans may argue that point).  If that makes you think the film is the perfect epic drama for a 14 or 15year old, you may be right but it's far and above any of the fodder we, as moviegoers have been fed this year.  I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed Clash Of The Titans or Dragonslayer when I was a kid.

So if it fancies you, take the first step of an amazing journey, and if you do enjoy what you see, I urge you to read the books.  Begin the adventure yourself.  Pick up The Hobbit.  Visit the Shire and meet an interesting little man, Bilbo Baggins.  For the seed of this larger tale begins with him.  He will teach you what you need to know of adventure and of what it means to travel, "there and back again".

-m-



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Turn Down The Lights, Turn Up The Sound.

Matthew Gilbert © 1999-2015 All Rights Reserved

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