Spoiler-Free Movie Review:
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Rating: 9.7 out of 10 stars
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is an old favorite of mine. I had the privilege of watching it recently with one of my sisters who had never seen it before.
Getting to watch the movie was a bit of an adventure. My dad, who I sometimes call “Tech Support,” tried to get our Xbox One to play the DVD, but the Xbox gave up on life and showed the black screen of death instead. We then tried to find it on Netflix and to see if it was included for free on Amazon Prime, to no avail. Finally, we hooked up the PS3, which we never use, and used it to play the DVD.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was released in 2001. It stars Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins), Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn), Orlando Bloom (Legolas), John Rhys-Davies (Gimli), Sean Bean (Boromir), Billy Boyd (Pippin Took) and Dominic Monaghen (Merry Brandybuck).
It was directed by Peter Jackson. The film falls into the genres of Fantasy and Adventure.
The entire plot of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is based around a ring. Nine rings were once forged and given to various rulers of the dominant kingdoms. Then an evil being named Sauron made a single ring that was more powerful than any of the others.
After a pivotal battle, the ring was lost and claimed by a human, and then was lost again. It was found by Gollum and then stolen by Bilbo, a hobbit, who would pass it on to Frodo.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring follows Frodo’s journey and that of others who seek to undermine Sauron’s power by destroying the ring.
- Begins with low storytelling voice that encourages close listening
- Gorgeous landscapes
- Ornate architecture fitting the culture of each town
- Phenomenal musical scores
- Strong message of hope, courage, and purpose
- Attractive and fitting costume design
- Fascinating, insightful dialogue
- Innovative CGI
- Realistic orcs with prosthetics and make-up
- Tolkien’s spoken elfin language is convincingly like a natural language
- The written language on the ring is foreign and unique
- Does not veer much from the book
- Frodo, Boromir, and Aragorn have strong character development
- Camera angles and movement increases immersion into the story
- One scene with Galadriel is over-dramatic and looks fake
- A lot of characters, but not much character development for most of them
The beginning of the movie starts with a low female voice telling the story of how the rings were created and the one ring came into existence. The voice is soft enough that I was tempted to listen closely, on the edge of my seat. It was a storyteller’s voice–one that promised a powerful, gripping, simple yet complex tale.
The landscapes of New Zealand where the movie was filmed were beautiful. Every landscape they traversed was stunning, like something out of a travel brochure. All the scenes of travel that made the movie longer were worth it because of the charming, idyllic land.
The makers of the film paid great attention to detail, especially for architecture. This made settings like Rivendell not only attractive but also unique to the culture they represent.
The music was composed by Howard Shore. In my opinion, the best song out of the lot is “Concerning Hobbits.” The music of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is both iconic and epic.
If you want to learn why the music of The Lord of the Rings has the power to captivate listeners, listen for yourself.
The message is one of hope, courage, and purpose. This movie shows how there can be hope even in the darkest times and that courage can prevail against the powers of darkness. The story follows ordinary people who show tremendous bravery in the face of adversity.
Gandalf affirms that the ring that was found by Bilbo and passed on to Frodo did not fall into their hands by accident. All things happen for a reason, he insists. This gives the heroes a sense of purpose.
The costumes are well-made and fit the character. For the hobbits, capes and clothes perfect for work and relaxation–peasant clothes. For Gandalf, an old man who does not care much about appearance, a simple cloak and a hat that has much character. For others, clothes befitting their status and positions are used. The clothes do not look tacky.
The dialogue of the movie is rich and includes many quotable moments. For instance, when the value of a character’s life is questioned, Gandalf says:
–Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them?”Gandalf
The CGI, especially for the Balrog and Gollum, was innovative for its time and has stood the test of time. True, it’s only 19 years old, but there are plenty of films from around that time that would look contrived and poorly done by today’s standards.
The elfin language used in the movie sounds natural and flowing. It is not like the made-up languages in many movies and books that are usually based on English or Latin. It is unique.
The written languages also appear to be authentic and realistic.
Likeness to the Book
Most changes from the book were made to save time, such as removing the whole Tom Bombadil scene that was in in the book. The movie was very faithful to the book.
Frodo is a character who seems nondescript but is capable of great bravery when the situation requires it. He feels a responsibility for what happens in the world, even though he wants nothing more than to go back to the Shire.
Boromir is a character who desires the power of the ring but nonetheless is an honorable character. Throughout the course of the story, he makes mistakes and changes as a result.
Aragorn’s initial reluctance to take his rightful place on Gondor’s throne affects who he is as a character. He is noble, and his actions show that he is worthy of being a king even when he doubts himself. His romance with Arwen is also a testament to his worth as a character–she is willing to give up immortality for him.
Most of the other characters are not well-developed, however. The movie suffers slightly from having too many characters.
The crew for this movie used various tricks with the camera. For instance, they used fast camera motions to make the battle scenes seem more frenzied. They also made horse riding scenes seem quick through other camera movements. The angle of the camera made it seem like sometimes we were seeing from the character’s point of view, and sometimes we were seeing the action from a perspective outside of any character.
This scene looked contrived and overly flashy, looking more like it belonged in a film depiction of a campfire horror story than a Lord of the Rings movie. A minor con, but worth noting.
I must say, the trouble it took to set up was well worth it. The movie is very nearly three hours, clocking in at 178 minutes, but it is a movie in which every second counts and adds to the whole. If you haven’t watched it, you’re missing out!
If you are interested in how I rate movies, check out my rating system.