Lord of the Rings

The Fellowship of the Ring

Seeing as I have been referencing the great and wonderful Wizard of Tolkien for most of the last two weeks during the mystical creatures series, I thought it prudent to watch and review the movie versions of his books for Film Friday for the next few weeks.  Who knows, I might even get a wild hair and go see the Hobbit in the theater and do it as well.  So, here is The Fellowship of the Ring reviewed.

Plot Synopsis (There Be Spoilers):

Bilbo, after celebrating his birthday has decided to retire from the game and go to live with the elves.  He leaves all that he owns including the One Ring to his nephew Frodo.  Frodo and Gandalf discover the true nature and history of the ring.  Frodo is charged with getting the ring out of the Shire.  On his trip, with the other hobbits, he meets Strider and is wounded.  Taken to the elves for healing, there is a council.  This council decides that the One Ring has to be destroyed.  Aragon, the hobbits, Gandalf, Gimli, Legolas and Boromir start off on this quest.  Along the way, Gandalf sacrifices himself to save the rest of the group and at the end Boromir (who was looking and acting a little shifty) also sacrifices himself in the final battle of the movie while Frodo and Sam ride off in a boat to Mount Doom, the other hobbits are kidnapped and the three remaining companions are left to find the missing hobbits, Mary & Pippin.

The Good

Ian McKellan – Gandalf – I have a feeling that Ian McKellan will pop up several times in the reviews of the next two movies as well.  He is the glue for the whole series.  You think that he is gone in this one and then he reappears as Gandalf the White in number two.  He is a wizard but he is also pretty keen with a sword as well.  Gandalf comes to life in the form of Ian McKellan.  He is spry, witty and wonderful.

Viggo Mortensen – Strider / Aragon – Wow!  I am a Viggo fan anyway but he nails this role.  Just the right parts ranger and future king.  Able to move between the world of the elves and the world of man, it is easy to spot him as the protagonist, as the hero.  There is a building of his role that starts in this movie and builds to the Return of the King.

The Effects – A great mix of optical and digital effects, Pete Jackson (of whom I am not a big fan) put together the perfect mix of talent.  The fact that the various heights of the people involved never seem to get confused really brings the magic to life.  Being able to see hobbits next to dwarves next to an elf next to a taller then life wizard is really very cool to think about in a book, not to mention in a movie.

The Weapons & Armor – They nailed this aspect of the movie as well.  Beautifully done!  Each race has their own style of weapons, each sword seems to carry its own history.  They are worn and they have the look of seeing action.  The fact that the creator of the weapons, the designer of all the heroes swords took the time to make sure they were light enough to have been used and not tire their owners adds that special touch.

The Final Battle – The final battle before the Fellowship divides up is intense.  From Boromir’s death to Legolas’s loose and freeing fighting style, it is awesome. This is certainly the part of the movie that pulled me in and got me ready to see the next two.

The Bad

Sean Bean – Boromir – I really do like Sean Bean as an actor.  I did however hate his character in the movie.  Obviously Boromir is supposed to be the bad side of man.  The easily corruptible side of human nature.  That being said, understanding what his point was in the movie, I was not impressed and his bipolar displays of wanting to help and not wanting to help didn’t sell me on his nature or his character.

The Extended Cut – I own and just watched the extended cut.  Yawn, at times.  Pete Jackson needs to learn that there really are pieces that need to stay on the cutting room floor.

The Ugly

The Pacing – It has been postulated in movies that these three movies are movies about people walking.  This one was not that, but the pacing was not great either. I am trying to remember it theatrically, what it was like int the theater.  I can’t remember the parts that didn’t make the cut and I don’t really have the inclination to look it up.  The pacing is off.  It is not so much action adventure as a… something undefinable and sloooow at times.

All in all a beautifully done and wonderful flick.  It is true that I don’t think Pete Jackson is that great of a director and that he got lucky with a great cast and a great effects team.  I am going into number two next week with a clean mind, ready to like it more then I did the first time.  We will see.