For nearly half a century, fans around the world have waited for The Lord of the Rings trilogy to be turned into movies. They had to wait until the next century for them to arrive, but the event is here, and it is spectacular. It is well worth the wait.
The Fellowship of the Ring marks the first of the three movies directed by Peter Jackson (The Frighteners), where Frodo leaves his home to destroy the Ring at Mt. Doom, aided by a fellowship of two men, an elf, a dwarf, a wizard and three hobbits. Evil is at their heels every step of the way, and it grows stronger as time goes on. This marks the beginning of what can be considered the only rival to the Star Wars dynasty.
It has been a couple years since I read the first book, and honestly, I found it sort of boring and confusing. The movie is anything but. Ranging in at three hours, not much is left out of the book. From beginning to end, The Fellowship of the Ring races along speedily, barely ever lessening the suspense, and never ever losing the audience's attention. I can't remember the last time I sat through a three-hour movie and didn't feel bored at least a couple times; maybe this is the first one. Either way, The Fellowship of the Ring is creepy, suspenseful, exciting, dramatic, funny, and everything else you want from a movie.
The acting is terrific, to say the least. The cast is lead by Elijah Wood, who fits Frodo pretty well. Some may think he is too tall to be a hobbit, but you may be surprised, and he turns in his best performance ever. He costars with many other worthy actors, such as Ian McKellan as the wizard Gandolf, Sean Bean, Viggo Mortensen, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Cate Blanchett, Liv Tyler, and many more. Everyone is brilliant, especially Viggo Mortensen, who continues time and time again to prove what a great actor he is.
But what would the movie be without great visuals and directing? J.R.R. Tolkien had a very explicit world laid out for director Peter Jackson to feast on, but to bring it all to life can be difficult. Obviously, Jackson had to be a little conscious of the fact that not everything is possible, but you don't even tell, because the world that he is created is beautiful and wonderful in its own right. His visual flare is impressive, treating this movie not as a fantasy film for fantasy nerds but as a dramatic masterpiece for all to behold. The computer graphics will surely give Fellowship an Oscar nomination, for they blend seamlessly with the environment around them, making the world seem even more real.
The Fellowship of the Ring is one of the best movies to come out this year. Sure, it is based on a fantasy book, but it is based on a classic fantasy book, and the movie is unbelievably great. I was amazed by how immersed I became in the movie. Of course, the final minute of the film is a little lackluster and inconclusive, but that is because two more films are to follow. Hopefully they will be as good as this one, but it will be hard.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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