THE LORD OF THE RINGS – THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (2001)
Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellan, Ian Holm, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Bean, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd, John Rhys-Davies, Cate Blanchett, Dominic Monaghan, Hugo Weaving, Andy Serkis, Orlando Bloom, Liv Tyler and Christopher Lee.
Screenplay by Fran Walsh, Phillippa Boyens and Peter Jackson.
Directed by Peter Jackson.
Rated PG-13. 178 Minutes. Distributed by New Line Cinema.
It seems to be the law that anyone reviewing Peter Jackson’s film version of The Lord of the Rings tell what their relationship to J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy trilogy is. So, yes, I read the books (as well as The Hobbit) while in junior high school. I became a little obsessive, was fascinated and studied the books. But by the time I got to Tolkien’s final book, The Silmarillion, I barely even made it through. And, frankly, I’ve barely given the books a thought since. So I do have an interest in how the film would come out without it being a consuming passion.
While seeing the film probably won’t send me back to the books, it is a rousing piece of cinema. First of all, let me say that this is one of the most stunning looking films I have ever seen. The sets and mattes are of breathtaking beauty (or horror) and the effects are terrific. The acting in a film like this is somewhat superfluous, but it’s nice that like Harry Potter before it this film has placed a premium on finding distinguished actors to fill out the roles. Elijah Wood is fine as hobbit Frodo Baggins, but his character as created is somewhat passive. Far more impressive are Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Wizard, Viggo Mortensen as the human ranger Strider and Cate Blanchett as elf queen Galadiel.
The one slight problem with the movie is that the story sometimes feels a bit repetitive, the Fellowship goes into a mysterious place, is attacked by a horde of frightening monsters, fights them off with barely an injury and moves on to the next mysterious place to get attacked. Still these scenes are rarely less than interesting and often riveting. Also, and again this is a problem that come from the source material, not the film, but there is no real ending to the film. For that we have to wait two years until the other two films of the trilogy are released. (12/01)
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright © 2001 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: December 19, 2001.