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Lord of the Rings: The
Fellowship of the Ring,
Reviewed by Gash
you go to the cinema, there are usually a few people who eat, talk, and
generally make noise? When I went to The Lord of the Rings, not one person
spoke at all throughout the entire 3 and a quarter hours it was shown
for. All eyes were on what was happening on the screen.
of the Ring works in every aspect, and every aspect is intertwined with
the others to create a brilliant movie. I'm not going to recite the plot
word for word, but this is one of the best parts of The Lord of the Rings
- it doesn't butcher the film to be completely accurate to the text, but
it does stick close enough to it to be a fitting tribute, but the hardcore
Tolkien addict will be picking holes all the way through it, and that
is a shame, because the film works on its own level too. You are literally
flung into the action headfirst.
of The Lord of the Rings couldn't be better.
Wood is very comfortable in his role as Frodo, and his preference
to portray the ring bearer as the humble hobbit out of his depth
rather than the all singing all dancing superhero he well could
have been is a wise move. Frodo also shares a great deal of dialogue
with Samwise, played by Sean Austin, who also takes to his role
quite superbly, and these themes of loyalty between the two are
given a great deal of priority by Peter Jackson, which isn't a bad
call in any sense.
Forget anything else you have seen him in, because the role of Gandalf
seems to have been picked specifically for him. He acts the part to perfection,
even on some of the minor scenes, such as Bilbo's (thankfully short) birthday
party, and he can change the role in an instant (his anger at Peregrin
in Moria is the evidence here). His opposite, Christopher Lee, I felt
wasn't given enough to do, but what scenes he is in he is convincing,
and not too forced at all. The only gripe is the battle he has with Gandalf
- a few more Dungeons and Dragons style effects would have been nice there,
rather than just falling and spinning that we actually see.
as Boromir is surprisingly given a lot of screen time, probably because
he won't be appearing in the next two films. His role could've been approached
in several ways, but Bean does it best -- he uses all of them. His final
moments at the end of the film with Aragorn are magnificent, tear jerking
stuff. Aragorn himself is not as comfortable as he could be, although
his character makes probably one of the best entrances of any character
in any movie to date - he is sat in the Prancing Pony inn, cowled and
hooded, and we see his eyes in the glow of his pipe (a detail Peter Jackson
thankfully decided to include, despite all the PC pressures). Although
Viggo Mortensen does a good job, he doesn't make Aragorn quite "dark"
enough, especially when Arwen appears so soon after Aragorn's own entrance.
herself has been criticized by many of the Tolkien die-hards. In
the film, it is Arwen who crosses Ford of Bruinen, not Glorfindel,
but given just how little Arwen is in the film, it isn't exactly
a desperately bad move on the part of Peter Jackson. Purists, will
however gripe, and that is sad. Liv Tyler unfortunately is the weak
link on the cast, but given that the character itself can never
be fully explored in any real depth, she does a good job. The same
goes for the other big female, Galadriel. She seems a lot more of
a darker character than in the fairytale books, indeed the whole
film is more gritty than Tolkien's work, but she almost turns to
total evil, when she is tempted by the ring, and she pulls off this
scene brilliantly. Her character would have been a whole lot less
Davies and Orlando Bloom are rarely apart, and their role is a bit too
in the vein of sidekick for my liking, although if you look in the text
it is not too far from the truth. John Rhys Davies does have some good
dialogue in Moria however, and he is certainly better than Dungeons and
Dragons feeble attempt at portraying a dwarf. Orlando Bloom as Legolas
could've been explored further, but he is the keystone for the fight scenes.
ring is handled excellently, and it is almost a living thing in itself,
the way each of the characters is tempted by it at some point in the film,
and Bilbo's obsession with it is handled to perfection, as is Boromir's
are a great interpretation of Middle-Earth, and also an excellent trailer
for New Zealand. A large pat on the back has to go to the special effects
team as well, as they did a brilliant job from the animation of the Cave
Troll and Balrog to the statues on the river and the amazing rendition
of Mount Doom. Not only does this add to the feel of the film, but the
make-up department has done a brilliant job as well, and at moments you
forget that people don't naturally grow pointy ears. The hairy hobbit's
feet feel very natural, and the orcs and goblins move seamlessly, although
they do look more at home in Night of the Living Dead than Middle-Earth.
is a little weak in places (a bit too Titanic-esque) but the film wouldn't
be the same without it really, and where there is dialogue, the music
doesn't interfere at all.
scenes are spectacular, and hats off to whoever choreographed them. Not
since the days of Errol Flynn has a sword fight been produced as well
as this, and Gimli with his axe and Legolas with his bow prove an excellent
mix. Not only that, but the full scale battle at the start is similar
in vein to Henry V. Sauron immediately springs to mind, when he swings
his mace soldiers are sent flying into the air.
it certainly surpasses anything of this year. Those of you who would cry
about Arwen and the other inaccuracies need to really get some kind of
life - the film is a masterpiece and should be given respect as such.
Any omissions are there for a reason. Just think, what would be the point
in going to see an exact interpretation of the book? Peter Jackson excels
at what he has done with The Lord of the Rings - he has succeeded in taking
the greatest literary piece of the 20th century and turning it into a
great film, which does not carry any of the Hollywood PC-ness or glamour
it may well could have done.
Place rating: 5/5