Tolkien’s adventure/fantasy LOOKS and SOUNDS fabulous, but is not without flaws.
RELEASED 2001 and directed by Peter Jackson, “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” adapts the first part of JRR Tolkien’s popular fantasy trilogy about adventures on Middle-Earth. The story starts in the homeland of the Hobbits (innocent, diminutive humanoids) where Frodo (Elijah Wood) is instructed by the noble wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to quickly leave the Shire with the powerful One Ring in his possession. Gandalf and Frodo are later accompanied by seven others, the titular ‘Fellowship of the Ring,’ to take the ring to the only place it can be destroyed, the fires of Mount Doom in Mordor.
The rest of the main cast include Sean Astin (Sam), Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn), Sean Bean (Boromir), Christopher Lee (Saruman), Orlando Bloom (Legolas), John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) and Hugo Weaving (Elrond).
This three-hour fantasy features a diverse cast of colorful characters, quaint beings and settings, moments of genuine wonder, dark ee-vil creatures, high adventure, thrilling brutal action, a superb score, magnificent locations (forests, mountains, rivers, etc.), and wondrous CGI sets. The film LOOKS and SOUNDS so great that it’d be sinful to give it a lower rating.
There are problems, however, at least for those who aren’t uber-fans of Tolkien. For one, the opening is hindered by prologue that is overlong and convoluted, not to mention unnecessary. The bulk of it could’ve been conveyed later via flashback, which they do a little bit anyway. Secondly, the story takes forever to build any drive. Thirdly, except for maybe Frodo and Gandalf, the characters are shallow and I didn’t care much what happened to them. Fourthly, main protagonists getting seriously wounded and everyone else expressing their melodramatic concern gets redundant.
Fifthly, there are only two females in the main cast (Liv Tyler as Arwen, a half-Elf princess, and Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, a royal Elf); unfortunately, their parts aren’t much more than glorified cameos. “Mythica: A Quest for Heroes” (2014) cost LESS THAN $100,000 to make, which is a mere fraction of the $93 million it cost to make this blockbuster and the filmmakers knew enough to include a couple of prominent babes as key protagonists in the story.
Despite these negatives, “The Fellowship of the Ring” is the best of the trilogy and is a must for fantasy/adventure aficionados, especially Tolkien fans.
THE MOVIE RUNS 2 hours 58 minutes and was shot in New Zealand.
GRADE: B/B- (6.5/10)