Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring — My Review

Posted: July 6, 2011 in AFI 100, Movies

  Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Dir. Peter Jackson

Starring Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortenson and Christopher Lee

Ranked #50 on AFI’s Top 100 Films of All Time

 

Today, I take a very long walk into the realm of Middle Earth for my 100 movies in 100 days.  Today I stand along elves, hobbits and man in Peter Jackson’s epic film Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Sauron was a dark lord, using a ring to gain power to defeat all of the races on Middle Earth.  In a battle on Mt. Doom, Prince Isildur defeats him and the ring is separated from Sauron’s hand.  Because Sauron’s life force is imbedded in the ring, it must be destroyed in Mt. Doom.  Islidur does not, possessed by the evil power in the ring and it goes missing for several thousand years.  Eventually it goes into the possession of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit.  It is found by Gandalf, a wizard who knows it must be destroyed because Sauron is looking for it.  Eventually, it is entrusted into the hands of Frodo, Samwise, Pippin and Merian.  They are tasked with taking the ring to Mordor and Mt. Doom to destroy it once and for all.  They take Aragorn and Boromir, both who are race of man, Gimli the Dwarf and Legolas the Elf.  Along the way, an Orc army who detains them from furthering in their adventure confronts them.

When I first saw this movie, I was excited.  I read those books and those books were my first big reads when I was a child.  There is no way one could go into this movie and not come out going “wow!”

However, taking the time needed to swallow it all in and having watched it again today, I have a lot of issues with this film.  Not nitpicking problems that I’m sure many Tolkien nerd have had issues with in temrs of being faithful to the original material.  The problems I had are as a filmmaker and as a student of film.

The biggest one is that this movie is far, and I mean far too long.  The pacing, which is incredible seeing that Peter Jackson as the director had so much to put into it, is bad.  There is a large amount of action and battles, but not enough to keep this thing moving at a brisk pace so that you go “wow, that was three hours?”  Sadly it feels far longer than that.

How would you shorten it?  I’m not entirely sure how to make it shorter and what’s even more depressing is that there is an extended cut of this film adding an additional 35 minutes to it.  Why oh Why Peter Jackson?  Why would we need more slowly paced additional material for a film that feels far more than adequate in the material department?

My other larger gripe exists in the action scenes.  While some are amazing and epic in scale and special effect looks, some are just disappointing.  The scene with the battle with the troll in the mines is awesome and the creature, completely digital is still by far the best computer generated monster I have ever seen.  The action and choreography are above awesome and at times, I felt myself getting lost in that battle.

Then of course there are action scenes that don’t work.  The large battle at the end of the movie is scattershot and discombobulated.  It’s seems like it was choreographed by a 12 year old with action figures in his bedroom all alone.

Want another example of action not working?  The battle with Gandalf and the Balrog is awesome.  The effects are there and look as real as a flaming monster gets.  Then we get to the scene with Gandalf and Saruman fighting.  You have two of the most powerful wizards standing toe to toe preparing for an epic fight and all you have is a lot of staff pointing and old men flying through the air and into walls.  I would seriously doubt and have trouble believing that this is all Peter Jackson could handle.

I’m sure that a many of the Rings fans will give me crap for this review, but from my viewpoint, this movie was good but not amazing.  In fact, all three movies were fun to have seen, but in no certain terms would I ever list them as epic.  There are fatal flaws in these films both on the source material translation and some of the overly hyped special effects.  Overall, I enjoy and like the movies but like I said, they are in no way epic and in no way belong on a list like this.

3.5/5

James

Comments
  1. lisa says:

    BOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! lol. (I watched all 3 for the umpteenth time this past weekend.)

    I disagree with your comments regarding length/pacing. I think this was made for true fans- and as a true fan, I could spend a week watching this. I don’t care how long it is- I want more. The additional scenes were completely worth it (especially those containing Aragorn… wink wink.)

    Return of the King is my favorite movie of all time- it is magnificent and beautiful, but also rewarding.

    I completely agree with you about the scene with Gandalf and Saruman- a little lame in comparison I suppose.

  2. ianthecool says:

    I like the pacing of Fellowship. It needs a slightly slower place to give it room to breathe.

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