I avoided Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film series as a child because I saw it as competition to Harry Potter – which made complete sense to me back then. As I got older, this sense of competition left me, but I still never got around to seeing any of the films until my first year at college. With the first of these films, The Fellowship of the Ring, I was instantly swept into Tolkien’s Middle-Earth.
Perhaps the strongest part of this film is that it perfectly captures the scope of the mission at hand, through both the extravagance of the locations and the beauty of the film’s score, composed by Howard Shore. The cinematography is staggering and does a splendid job of presenting the world to us; the Fellowship travels a great distance in this film, a distance that Jackson manages to convey through the display of beautiful, vast landscapes. We travel the distance right alongside the Fellowship, and we feel the weight of Sauron’s evil along with Frodo.
In addition to all of this, the characters created are fun, lovable, and cast wonderfully. There are too many to list, but they were cast and played in a way that made me care about their fate. Three that stand out to me are Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey, Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee, and Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn; though I can’t imagine any of the characters in the film as being played by other actors, these three in particular do a fantastic job of superbly embodying Tolkien’s original characters from the books. As far as creatures in the film go, the orcs are disgusting in both appearance and action, making them perfect to hate, and the looks of the elves, hobbits, and dwarves (as per Tolkien’s own spelling of the plural of “dwarf”) are very detailed in conveying specific traits found in each culture. In fact, that’s something that could also be said about this film, as well as the two that follow it: their specificity and attention to detail is astoundingly well-done.
Really, there’s not too much else to say. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring may not be a perfect film, but it’s a fantastic fantasy film and, for that matter, a fantastic film overall. It is one of the more perfect book-to-film adaptations I’ve ever seen, and it sets up the following two films wonderfully. There really isn’t anything negative for me to say. I can’t believe I held off watching this film for nearly 10 years!
Rating: 5 (out of 5)
MPAA: PG-13 – for epic battle sequences and some scary images