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The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring


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The Lord of the Rings

Peter Jackson I 2001 I USA / New Zealand

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When English writer J.R.R. Tolkien wrote his enchanting spell decades ago for his epic trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, he certainly never envisioned millions of movie-goers spellbound in darkness. Yet that's the enchantment director Peter Jackson and his superb cast and crew have created in The Fellowship of the Ring, the first movie instalment of Tolkien's immensely popular masterwork.

First of all, when I heard that they were going to make a movie out of this, I must admit that I was slightly sceptical. Since when had a movie adaptation been superior to the book it was based on? Very rarely, to be honest. I kept wondering and wondering if Peter Jackson would be able to pull it off, whether he could bring Tolkien's vision to life or not. However, when I finally saw the film, I was amazed,utterly  stunned. My expectations had been surpassed by a mile.   

This is one of those movies that gets better and better as it progresses. It's everything you might want it to be - and more. Its nearly flawless. The director and his crew have put all their love and passion on this magnificent piece of work. The Fellowship of the Ring has the size, the excitement and the grandeur of such unforgettable films like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Braveheart. This film has it all. Here's a brief overview of what the film is about:

After a brilliantly done opening sequence which manages to tell the story of The One Ring, the film then continues in Bilbo's bucolic home, the Shire. During his 111th birthday party, attended by his wizard friend, Gandalf the Grey (Sir Ian Mckellen), Bilbo bequeaths the Ring to his young cousin, Frodo (Elijah Wood.) Gandalf determines that this is the One Ring, forged by the evil lord, Sauron, thousands of years ago. The only way to destroy the Ring and its malevolent power is to take it to the obscure land of Mordor and cast it into the flames of Mount Doom where it was made. To help him on his perilous quest, a fellowship is formed, consisting of Frodo and Gandalf; Frodo's loyal Hobbit friend and servant, Sam (Sean Astin) and the mischievous Hobbit pair, Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd); the mysterious and brooding ranger known as Strider (Viggo Mortensen); the strong-armed warrior, Boromir (Sean Bean); the elfin archer, Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and the brute dwarf, Gimli (John Rhys-Davies).

Opposing them are fierce Orcs, cave trolls, Ringwraiths (also known as the Nāzgul) the monstrous mutant army named Uruk-Hai and the barely glimpsed Gollum, a slimy creature who was once the possessor of The One Ring. Also in the mix is Saruman the White, a powerful and diabolically insane wizard who wants to unite The Dark Lord.

To tell you the truth, few people could have made this movie like Peter Jackson. His exuberance is clearly present in every frame and his brilliance is never-ending. From the very beginning, we quickly realise that what he has created is a pure masterpiece. Without a doubt, the film has been wrought with pure passion and love for the material it was based on. Not only does the film manage to do justice to the book, (even though it skips some parts and adds others), but what it does is does is exceed all expectations. What has been accomplished is almost like a miracle; the film is ambitious, powerful and incredibly enthralling.

Despite its length, The Fellowship of the Ring never bores; once it's trapped you it's impossible to ever let go, and that alone can be considered as a remarkable achievement because seldom have long films been able to do that. It's stunning, engaging and thoroughly marvellous; it left me speechless. 

The performances are very solid all round. Ian McKellen, in an Academy Award nominated role, is excellent as the benevolent wizard perfectly as is the rest of the cast, who do a really fine job. It was a surprising pleasure to find out that the acting was excellent in a fantasy movie, because  surely this one was an exception. It isn't often that we get a film like this.
Secondly, the special effects are visually impressive and they somehow manage to create the Middle-Earth we all had pictured in our minds. Be it a gigantic troll chasing our heroes in the Mines of Moria or the haunting landscapes of Lothlorien, the visual magnificence of the film is uncommonly spellbinding. And that's a fact, is it not/

Andrew Lesnie's Oscar-winning cinematography for the film is merely majestic. Managing to capture scenes of beautiful New Zealand landscapes apart from using subjective camera movements and extreme close-ups of the actors, his work on the film has been a noteworthy one. And as for Howard Shore's score, what can I say? It's rich, bewitching and powerful. Simply amazing.

At the end of the day, The Fellowship of the Ring manages to prove many things, out of which two are very important: 1.Miracles do happen and 2.Peter Jackson is a genius.

There is a permanent sense of wonder in the film that never ceases to overpower us, and thats what makes it so exciting and endlessly watchable. Be it an action scene or a quiet conversation, we are always left in sheer awe and marvel. The Fellowship of the Ring is a majestic, grandly conceived and extraordinary epic in the truest adventure sense. It's a sweeping masterpiece that despite being a fantasy film is also able to portray the character's emotions brilliantly, which again, is saying something. Definitely one of the last 40 years most triumphant cinematic achievements.
All I can say is this: rejoice. Why? Because of the simple fact that The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is the Gone with the Wind of the 21st century.

Reviewed by Pablo Hernandez, 2003