Worth A Look: 11.1%
Pretty Bad: 2.63%
Total Crap: 4.92%
23 reviews, 736 user ratings
|Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The
The movie event that has been spoken of as the most anticipated ever is finally here, available for everyone to see in all its glory.The eagerness to be part of it has taken hold of fans and novices alike, and is sure to propel this to become a part of cinema history no doubt. And, in respect to that, there is no doubt that anyoneís review regarding this movie could possibly change this.
"This is heaps better than Harry Potter!"
LOTR is truly an awe-inspiring experience if nothing else. There is simply so much to this movie that it takes a lot to comprehend everything that it has to offer. Well, itís best to start at the beginning and get into the story.
For those who donít know, LOTR is based on the best selling books from JRR Tolkien, and this movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, is the first. There is another book before this called The Hobbit, which tells of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins (Holm). There is no movie for this, but his adventures are talked of at the beginning of Fellowship rather than creating a whole new movie. Having never read The Hobbit, it would seem that the important parts of the book are transferred to the screen to create the flow needed to begin telling the story of the Fellowship.
It should be clarified before I go on that Hobbits, for those who donít know, are smallish human like creatures Tolkien created, along with many other mystical creatures, that all live together in various parts of the world, which is called Middle Earth.
After a bit of scene setting, which is basically what is described above, the movie swings into action and begins the story where we meet young Hobbit Frodo (Wood) who lives with his fellow Hobbits in The Shire, a colourful and sprawling part of Middle Earth in which they inhabit.
His cousin Bilbo (Holm) is planning to leave the land to travel like he used to, which refers to the book The Hobbit. He decides to leave his possessions to Frodo, and sets off. But one specific item Bilbo owned becomes the story to which this movie is all about, a small ring. But this ring is no ordinary ring, it is the ring that the dark lord Sauron created to give him absolute power over everything in Middle Earth. For centuries since Sauronís fall from power, the ring has lay dormant, waiting for the day it can once again return to its master. That day is where the film picks up from; the day Frodo Baggins obtains it. The ring has been awoken and its master wants it back.
With the help from Gandelf (McKellen), a mystical old friend, Frodo begins what seems like a miniscule adventure, but becomes an epic quest where the fate of all of Middle Earth lays in his hands.
After trying to escape the Ringwraiths, Sauronís minions whoís only objectives are to find the Ring at all costs, Frodo and his buddies Sam, Pippin and Merry, are joined by 5 other people to become The Fellowship of the Ring.
They must all help Frodo on the journey to the Mordor, Sauronís land of darkness and dread. At the centre of this evil land is the place where the ring was created, Mount Doom, and the ring must be cast back in for it to be destroyed. Big huh?
Epic doesnít even begin to describe the size of this story. Fellowship of the Ring is so big in itself, that even beginning to comprehend the scale to which itís sequels are going to measure up to is inconceivable.
So, where to continue on after the story? Well, the most appropriate place would be how well the movie is brought to the screen. Having never read the books, it is a little difficult to realise any difference, omissions or alterations director Peter Jackson has made to the story. But word has it from loyalist that Jackson has remained as faithful as possible to the book, and that in itself is a plus. But to what degree, and opinions vary between fans, is unknown, so it is best to look at this as separate from the books as much as possible.
In its own right, Fellowship is huge. The magnitude of the film is beyond any one persons ability to capture it all in a single viewing. Fellowship of the Ring brings to life the story of Middle Earth the way it should be - special effects, live action, fight scenes, magic and sorcery in one chock-a-block to the top cinematic bonanza. Even this is an understatement of unimaginable proportions. Fellowship immerses the viewer into a world that has captured, created and constructed the lives of millions of people around the world. The sales of the books have been unbridled since its first publication, and will of course only continue to increase now. Jacksonís work of art gives people the chance to see the world in living colour, full of emotion and brilliant landscapes that could only be seen in movies. And now that time is here.
Of course, it could be said that the interpretation of The Lord of the Rings was, and will be; in the way Jackson perceived it. No doubt that if another director were to create this, while it would fundamentally be the same, would be entirely different at the same time.
Jacksonís visual style is quite prominent here, as they were in his previous directorial achievements if you wish to call them that. The lands of Mordor drenched in a constant bath of evil darkness and dejection is then superseded with the intense bright and cheery places of incomparable beauty that the Fellowship travels through to get there. At every turn, you can expect dazzling transitions from good to bad, represented very simply by the technique every single scene is shot in.
The huge ensemble cast that has been pulled together for the movie is huge, but would have to be one of the first movies ever where it doesnít need the support from them to pull in the crowds. Yet, Jackson and co hasnít done the greatest job ever at giving them life. While itís certainly not a horrible effort, and is quite good in most cases, there are some scenes that are a little badly executed, and let down the realism that we put in characters, but not enough to make the movie bad in anyway.
The story being told is told with as much empathy as any other epic of this nature, and draws the audience in equally as much.
The score usually gets a miss when reviewing movies, but Fellowships is undeniably something special. Orchestrated by The Cell and Silence of the Lambs composer Howard Shore, it appropriately sets the mood of the scenes where relevant. Bouncing off the visual side of the movie, creating depth and emotion is every scene.
But, with the movie so huge, there are mistakes that become relevant as things progress. The Fellowship is created from the five different races that inhabit Middle Earth, yet there is no background as to their roles or where they came from, the better written characters Arwen (Tyler) and Gladariel (Blanchette) have smaller roles than they deserve and some of the action scenes, while still very good and very rousing, are become too erratic.
Then, finally, there is the anti-climax. The build up towards the end, which then flows onto the next story, suitably creates the already growing anticipation of the next instalment. Well executed, but still seems strange in itself. Movies that spawn sequels after the success of an original (The Mummy) never have that same feeling. But knowing that there is more to come means that Jackson can make the ending the way it deserves, and is certainly a welcome feeling.
So, how does it all pan out once the credits begin to role? The build-up of excitement is enough to drive anyone to be overly ecstatic about the movie, and could cause people to judge it unfairly. However, while the movie has so much greatness, there is no denying the flaws that have escaped the attention of the filmmakers. It would be unfair to say the movie is perfect on these grounds. But, simply the fact that Jackson et al attempted such an unbelievable and ambitious project and made such small errors, it is impossible to downgrade the movie to anything lower than perfection. If nothing else, Jackson should be commended for endeavouring to create it, even if to some the end result was unsatisfactory. That much is undeniable.
Also worth keeping in mind is that this simple (well, hardly simple) review is based solely on The Fellowship of the Ring and that this reviewer has never read the books before. If this movie can have that sort of an effect on someone who is completely unbiased in terms of never opening the pages of the books, that must account for something.
While many would disagree, there are just as many that wouldnít. And in the end, it simply comes down to personal opinion, just like any other movie Ė pretty straightforward. You either loved the movie or didnít. But two things are for sure, wether or not you liked it or not, you will certainly never ever forget it. And this is heaps better than Harry Potter!Now all thatís left, to those who loved it, is the wait is now to the next installment.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=897&reviewer=290
originally posted: 01/05/02 18:08:30
|Trilogy Starters: For more in the Trilogy Starters series, click here.