Monday, August 2, 2010

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring -- 2001

The Lord of the Rings:
The Fellowship of the Ring

Rated PG-13 for frightening images and battle sequences
My Rating: 5 Stars

Elijah Wood
Ian McKellen
Sean Astin
Billy Boyd
Dominic Monaghan
Viggo Mortensen
Liv Tyler
Orlando Bloom
John Rhys-Davies
Sean Bean
Cate Blanchett
Craig Parker

“I wish The Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.”
“So do all who live in such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

I had wondered how to write reviews for LotR and finally decided there was only one way to do it: each film separately.

When LotR first came out, everyone was talking about them. I saw a clip or two of the Fellowship and didn't understand all the fuss! Little did I know that years later, this story would become something I greatly admire and use as a guide-stone in my writing. Of all films I have ever seen and the books I have read, none come even close to The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is timeless. Elves, wicked rulers, hobbits, wraiths, fierce battles, true friendship, men, adventures, parties, love... It is a story of many values but told in such a way that you feel you have never heard them before. There is good and evil; good and bad characters, valiant and brave and those who surprise us in the end.

There is quite a controversy about whether the books or movies of LotR are better. I hold with neither group. I love each for their qualities and how they can stand alone or work together. I was glad I watched the films before reading the books. If I hadn't known the story, I don't think I would have been able to read them so easily.

As far as the films go, Peter Jackson and his crew put the story together very well. It runs smoothly. They picked all of the right actors for the characters they play. They went to endless effort to get each scene just right. I believe it has paid off.

Long ago in a place called Middle Earth, a hobbit of the Shire named Bilbo Baggins celebrated his 111th birthday. He didn't look a day older than he had at the age of 50, as healthy and hearty as he always had been and the Shire rejoiced with a reason to celebrate. After a glorious party with fireworks, a sumptuous dinner, dancing, music, beer and an immense cake with 111 candles gracing it's top, Bilbo makes a speech. And a strange speech it is: “...this is the end.” With those words, he disappeared into thin air.

The old rascally hobbit had a secret. It had kept him well and young... and made him wealthy. But the gift that had blessed him for 60 years was becoming a burden of late. He felt spent and spread thin. He meant to leave the Shire and go visit the elves he had once known. But no one knew that he meant to not come back. He was leaving his possessions to his nephew Frodo: his inn and everything in it... including his ring.

Gandalf the Grey was an old friend of Bilbo's. He had arrived in time for the party and saw Bilbo's mysterious disappearance, deduced where he would go and met him at his hobbit hole. He suspected a magic ring but he didn't know what ring it was. It was only after he saw the power it held over his friend did he begin to wonder. And after carefully instructing Frodo to keep it hidden, he rode hard to the city of Gondor to read about it's secrets.

Horrified with his discoveries, he went back to The Shire and put the ring to a final test: fire.

“One ring to rule them all... One ring to find them... One ring to bring them all... and in the darkness bind them.”

There was not a doubt: Frodo had inherited the Ring of power. The One Ring that Sauron, evil spirit lord of Mordor, forged the Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. The One Ring that Isildur King of Gondor had taken from the hand of Sauron and refused to destroy. The One Ring that had shaped the lives of so many and could change the course of the world.

For 2000 years it had lain quiet and almost forgotten. But no more. Evil has been stirring in Mordor. Frodo, Gandalf and any others whose lives are touched by The Ring are about to be changed forever. If Sauron is allowed to possess The Ring again, Middle Earth is doomed.

The Ring is taken to Rivendell and there it is decided that The Ring must be destroyed once and for all. But who will carry it? While the others raise their voices at each other, Frodo stands quiet, then speaks, “I will take it. I will take the ring to Mordor. Though... I do not know the way.” He had already nearly given his life for being a Ring-bearer and a wound he had received would never properly heal. This is why Gandalf's eyes were strangely wet when he turned to small hobbit and said, “I will help you bear this burden Frodo Baggins...”

Added to these two was the Ranger, Strider. “If by my life or death I will. You have my sword.”

Legolas, fair elf, “And my bow.”

The bearded outspoken dwarf, “And my ax”

Representative of Gondor, Boromir, son of the Steward. “You carry the fate of us all, little one. If this is indeed the will of the council, then Gondor will see it done.”

Ever faithful Samwise Gamgee, “Mr. Frodo's not going anywhere without me.”

And lastly added were the other two companions of Frodo and Sam: Merry and Pippin. Impulsive, thoughtless but true friends indeed. “And anyway, you need people of intelligence on this sort of... mission. Quest. Thing.”
“Well that rules you out, Pip.”

I loved the entire movie but here are some of my favorite things:
1: Merry, after falling down the hill by Farmer Maggot's crops, “I think I broke something.” ::pulls out a carrot with the end snapped::
2: Pippin is probably my favorite character. I love Frodo but Pippin never fails to make me smile. ;-)
3: The gorgeous scenery.
4: The costumes.
5: Rivendell and the elves.
6: The battles in the mines of Moria. There is a lot of action but they somehow manage to make each move one in itself. You get carried away but not quite. :-)
7: Arwen. She is selfless and full of courage and love for Aragorn. And, of course, Liv Tyler is loveliness.
8: I appreciate the struggles Boromir went through and even though I had to resign myself to his death, it was good that he was able to regain his honor.
9: Lothlorien... and the dwelling of the King and Queen of the elves. It is so beautiful.
10: I'm not sure why, but Haldir's character really resonates with me.
11: The humor. They used it very effectively. There isn't a lot but the way they do use it, makes it very funny and keeps the viewer's spirits uplifted when there is a lot of tension in the air.
12: The score... very lovely
13: The scary scenes are really scary. The first time I watched this, I was watching for wraiths around every corner. Lol!

Things To Know:
1: There is magic.
2: The movie is very dark in some scenes.
3: It's rated PG-13 for a reason.

The only thing I didn't like:
The books are rich with detail about the elves, their dwellings, their food, their clothing, their dialect, etc, etc. I know that they did well in the film because I am left wanting a few more details but I wish... :-)

I highly recommend this film from all aspects. If you like adventure, it's all there. If you like elves and hobbits and things of a fairy tale nature, you'll have your fill. If you like sword fights and horse chases, get ready for some action! And if you like how righteousness and justice wins in the end, even if the odds are four to one, this is the movie for you. But if you like none of these things, you can watch it for excellence in production, acting, special effects...

Many people I talk to about LotR tell me they don't like how dark the films are. I can understand that but before you discount this story completely, try watching or reading it. You might be surprised. And even if you don't like the movies or books, I will still be your friend. :-) :-)

On a lighter note:
Apparently many girls think that Legolas (Orlando Bloom) is handsome enough to faint over. In my opinion, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Boromir (Sean Bean) and Haldir (Craig Parker) were all better looking. ;-)

1 comment:

InvisibleBunny said...

I agree with you! The lord of the rings films are just incredible. They're perfectly balanced, not too much humor, not too much darkness, not too much action, not too much romance - they're all exactly just right. My favorite character is also Pippin. I laughed a lot at the part when Merry breaks the carrot, too. Good review! It has all the points I like about Lord of the Rings. Good job!