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

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10/10
An absolutely incredible film!
NRGWasp2 May 2002
Simply incredible. Never before have I seen a 3 hour movie that didn't seem like 3 hours. I read the Lord of the Rings very recently and I was surprised at how similar Peter Jackson's vision was to my own.

Now about the omissions and alterations. I'm not a crazed fanatic who gets worked up over every little detail. I didn't mind Arwen's inflation and I'm actually glad Tom Bombadil was scrubbed (I felt Tom Bombadil was an unnecessary addition to the book). Despite these minor changes, the screenplay stays extremely close to the book and flows very very well (and the prologue was a nice touch).

The acting was flawless. As I've read many many times in other reviews, McKellen doesn't play Gandalf, he IS Gandalf. Wood, Mortensen, Holm, Astin, everyone was fantastic. My hat's off to Sean Bean who delivers an excellent performance as Boromir, a character who's intentions are good but wrestles with the corrupting power of the Ring. Bean portrays it VERY well. Oh, and Andy Serkis does a PERFECT Gollum voice. It's EXACTLY as I imagined it myself.

The special effects were incredible, the cave troll, the balrog, Gollum, and Sauron's Eye all looked amazing. I was also very impressed by the seamless shrinking of the vertically challenged characters.

What's wrong with this movie? I have no idea... I thought everything was perfect. MY biggest gripe is having to wait an entire year to see The Two Towers!
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Wow!
minionlost11 December 2001
Breathtaking. Unique. Captivating. Enchanting.

Within minutes of the start of this first chapter of an undeniably epic trilogy, the audience was left gasping at the intensity of the images on the screen. And we had nearly three hours to go.

The scope of Tolkien's masterpiece may have eluded film-makers for decades, but director Peter Jackson makes good on his promise: he has not only brought us the tale of Frodo and his bold companions, he has brought us Middle Earth. And believe me, it is BIG. Sweeping vistas and hang-onto-your-seat camera shots send us zooming through the towering cities and citadels of Tolkien's imagination.

But even more impressive than the stunning visuals and sound-effects-like-you've-never-heard-before are the actors who breathe life into the characters. Ian McKellen's portrayal of Gandalf is nothing short of awe-inspiring, and Elijah Wood's Frodo is one of the most unexpectedly captivating performances I've seen in a long time. The despair, terror, and determination of the Fellowship is all there, in spades. I left the theater aching...from tensing every muscle during the fight and flight sequences--the breathless and compelling kind we haven't seen since Spielberg gave us a desperate charge onto the D-Day beaches of Normandy.

Those unfamiliar with Tolkien's world may quickly find themselves lost in it, but happily so. The depth of his creation cannot be grasped in a few hours, and it doesn't need to be; the struggle of good against evil explodes on the screen, and leaves little room for complaint.

The movie ended with a stunned audience sitting on the edges of their seats, feeling somewhat bereft. We were exhausted, but no one wanted to wait a year for more.

Jackson's ambitious first chapter is truly unlike anything you've seen this year. George Lucas and Chris Columbus take note: this is how you deliver on a cinematic promise.

For everyone else: don't you dare miss it.
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Embrace the magic
Rinaear8 October 2002
It is with no surprise that Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring film has received such mixed critics. Many viewers refer to it as being childish, boring and uninteresting. Seems to me that it is bound to the same fate of Tolkien's books, destined to be a target for the same type of misunderstandings that keep attacking this literary masterpiece many decades after it's first publication.

Having read the books several years ago, I went to see this `impossible' film when it came out with many doubts on my mind. I really liked it, but left the theater with as many doubts as I had before. Was it perfect? Well, maybe not, but what an achievement. After watching it a few times on DVD, and thinking about it for some time now, I find myself loving this film more and more. Let me tell you why...

The Lord of the Rings is a fairy-tale of myth and fantasy. Peter Jackson directed a film that was considered, for a very long time, impossible to make, and not only for technical reasons. The narrative roots are incredibly long and detailed, and the storyline is deeply connected with the creation of a fantastic continent from a time unknown called `Middle Earth'. It's author, Tolkien, dedicated a considerable part of his life developing this continent's background, it's mythology and origins, it's different kinds of people, cultures and languages, and therefore it's geographic references are determinant to the unfolding of the story of the One Ring.

Peter Jackson went out to achieve the impossible and came out with a recreation of the original that is pure and true to the story in every detail. The first time the four hobbits meet a black rider on the road, for example, is absolutely faithful to the feeling of the book. The assault of the riders at Weathertop is another great example, and it captures that feeling of danger, density and atmosphere that are the main characteristics of the tale. Jackson also took some liberties with the story, and made some right choices along the way. If the so called `purists' may not approve the removal of Tom Bombadil altogether, it should be comprehensible that the travel from Hobbiton to Rivendel is a very long and detailed one and could easily make a movie on it's own. I felt more uneasy with how short the Council of Elrond was. In the book, the council is where the whole story of the rings is first explained, and many passages from the past ages of Middle Earth are unveiled. It is a fascinating moment of the story, that had to be shortened for obvious reasons. Still, after some consideration, I now agree with the options made by Peter Jackson, and think that the movie prologue narrated by Galadriel was the wisest choice. The magic is all there when Gandalf shuts his eyes the moment Frodo stands in the council and says `I will take the ring'. It is there at Moria's Gate, and at the fall of Boromir. It is a powerful film that doesn't fit the rhythm of the standard Hollywood action movie. It is a film that breeds, that takes time to unfold, it's tale branching in every direction.

I could go on and on, talking about all the different elements that bring this film close to perfection, but I'll end saying that deep down, this is not about action, beards and big monsters. The greatest thing about this film, to me, is that it brought me back to a time when I was in love with a different world where everything was possible. Reading The Lord of the Rings night after night, I came to understand what this thing of `mankind' really was all about. The corruption of absolute power, the importance and value of friendship, the inevitability of growing up, the strength of hope... That this film could capture that magic, and be a new bearer to it's message of humanism, is a statement to it's greatness. Gandalf's words, that even the smallest person may change the course of the world, and have a part to play in the destiny of all, are immortal.

In the end, this is a wonderful film, but that doesn't mean you are going to like it. I cannot tell you what it is like to see this film if you don't know or love the book. But I hope it may plant a seed on your heart to discover a great world of fantasy, beauty and humanity. I believe Tolkien would have liked that.
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10/10
Never before in my life were my cheeks more aching...
Nachtritter30 January 2002
...but oh was I thankful for it!!! All through the movie I kept on having this big large smile sculpted into my face. For the record, I'm 25 years old, and I've read "The Lord of the Rings" in three times for the first time when I was six or seven years old. Ever since then, I read it at least once or twice a year - therefore you can count me as a fan, for I follow the same cult fan procedure with "The Hobbit" and "The Silmarillion" as well. Now onto the movie... Gosh, I saw it more than one time, and I keep wanting more of it. It just never gets boring! I really enjoyed the little stuff that is found throughout the movie for fans of the books (the map on Bilbo's table in his house comes to mind, it is exactly as the one in "The Hobbit" book that I own), and I also incredibly enjoyed the intro sequence with the re-telling of the battle against Sauron from the Silmarillion, never has an ultimate evil being been so well depicted on the screen. It truly is Sauron.

Those who argue the movie cuts too many parts or that it changes the story too much are totally wrong. This movie could not have shown the whole first time in its entirety - keep in mind that the audiobook version of 'Fellowship of the Ring' lasts well over ten hours, making a movie this long would, well, make it way too long and besides, how would you financially sustain such a project? I've read a reviewer saying he'd make all three books with the time allowed for the first movie alone. I think it would be a very fast-forwarding experience of a movie with 'Alvin and the Chimpmunks' kind of voices, incredibly stupid to say the least.

Ok, so there are changes in the movie - well, this is Jackson's vision of it. All of us have our own visions of the books, which may or may not be compatible with that of Jackson's, but I can safely assume that nobody can say they have a hundred percent the same vision of the story as Tolkien; that's the thing with books: each reader has a different vision of it. As for me, I was blown away. Never before have I felt so much at home in a movie, it is as if I had taken a walk in the town where I grew up, the Shire, Rivendell, Moria, Lorien, everything felt so much like home, I was moved. I cannot tell of another movie that had me shed tears just by seeing a landscape on screen.

As for the changes, well, I found good reasons behind all of them, and let me tell you right away, I was happy that Arwen saved Frodo, yes, maybe coming from a fan it will look like absolute heresy, but I enjoyed the scene a lot. I did not enjoy it because it was supposedly politically-correct to do so, or that I find Liv Tyler to be absolutely attractive; it was just because I felt like even though it was a big change from the book, it was a very good one indeed, it makes you discover the power, determination, and courage of elves and the fact that even elven women, although great in their beauty and seemingly fragile in appearance do not have anything to envy to their male counterparts. And beside, as Arwen is to become a Queen later on, it was pretty good to see her have a great first appearance.

The actors were great, they were a lot into their characters, and for the first time, I saw elves as they were, quick, agile, terrifyingly effective in battle - just look at how Legolas dealed with the hordes of enemies without a single hint of fear in his eyes - these are elves as they should be. Gimli was great too, I know people seem to think many characters were not developed enough, but by the actions you can learn a lot. With Gimli a lot can be learned about the dwarves, their pride, deep sense of honor and family, their mistrust of elves, their love for strong beer and a good fight against anything bigger, and their sheer hatred for orcs and the likes. Aragorn was totally the ranger character, the ending scene as he walked toward the horde of Uruk-Hai warriors was great, his attitude, his clothes, everything about him just cried "ranger". Boromir was very well depicted, desperate to save the people of Gondor, by any mean necessary, robbed of all hope, yet in the end he redeems himself by showing his true valour, deep down, he's willing to die to defeat evil, and when he recognizes his king in Aragorn, on his last breath, I felt like watching a hero die, it was moving. The hobbits were all great, Frodo is deeply sad and fatalist, and Sam is just the 'best friend' everyone would like to have, just as it should be. Finally, we have Gandalf, quite frankly, he looks mighty, Ian IS Gandalf. The faceoff against the Balrog in the Moria is a memorable sequence, and just shows how strong he really is, to be able to vanquish such a foe. I can't wait for his return.

Quite frankly, I can't wait for the two other movies... In the meantime, I'll watch this one over and over again. This movie has everything that a good movie needs to have, and more. Plus, it just might bring more people to actually read books that have more pages than the average little 25¢ novel that has no value in it, which is great. Parents, maybe some scenes will frighten your kids, but this movie has almost NO blood (even though it has a good share of battle) and the foes are undeniably evil, plus it has good values in it - friendship, courage, responsiblity, sacrifice for a good cause, and the belief that anyone can help to change things. This is worthy of Tolkien, this is a movie that will go down in history as being one of the best ever, for sure.
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10/10
First, And Still The Best Of LOTR
ccthemovieman-17 March 2006
Here is one film that lived up to its hype, and by the time I saw it after it had arrived at the video stores, I had heard and read a ton of things about it, and seen all the awards it had received, and expected a lot. To my surprise, it did not disappoint.

Now, several years later after having watched all three of these "Rings" films twice each, I still think this first movie of the trilogy is the best. It is a truly spectacular adventure story all the way through, probably the best ever put to film...and the first three hours of it is extra special. The following two films were very good, to be sure, but this first had a better mixture of the story. The second and third movies were almost entirely Frodo and his allies' long journey, but the first half of this movie also gives a good bit of interesting introductory material including a number of scenes at the Shire, before the long adventure starts. If you watch all three of these films consecutively the action wears you down by midway through the final episode and it almost becomes just too much That never gets a chance to happen with the "Fellowship" film.

Anyway, "Fellowship," stunned me for the visuals alone. I can't recall any film that has so many jaw-dropping scenes, one after the other, for three straight hours. Some are beyond description, and I don't care if they are computer- generated. So what? The fact is they are awesome to view, both in beauty and in staggering action scenes that feature incredible-looking monsters and other mythical characters.

The story covers all kinds of terrain, too, from the lush Shire of the Hobbits, to the harsh neighboring landscapes. Each couple of minutes, as in the two movies that followed, scenes radically change from calmness to action, adventure to romance, sweet lovable characters to hideous monsters, on and on and on. It's an incredible movie experience.
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10/10
Greatest `Fantasy' Book become greatest `Fantasy' film
Yrneh22 December 2001
I think it is important to remember that Peter Jackson took up this film not in order just to make a film of `The Lord of the Rings' but because he wanted to make a 'fantasy just like the `The Lord of the Rings'" as he himself put it. After repeating that phrase on a number of occasions the question popped into his mind: "Well, why not the `The Lord of the Rings' itself?". In doing this he, of course, set himself an enormous challenge: he had to make a really good `fantasy' film, one which would stand on its own and be true to what he had originally wanted to do but he would also, and here the task he had set himself was enormous, be true to the original book and to make a film which the legions of people who have loved this book would feel happy with. In the latter task he was certainly not helped by the author or the book: Tolkein, it would seem, hated cinema. The book itself is `HUGE': this was not going to be the kind of task that the James Ivory team set themselves, or Scorsese nor the kind of task facing Branagh with Hamlet; nor was it going to be like the puny task that faced Columbus with `Harry Potter' who had the bigger budget ($130 million for one film as compared with Peter Jackson with $300m for three).

I have just seen the first `volume' and can say without hesitation that he has succeeded in both his goals. It is not the book but a reading of the book which is inventive and fascinating. It is the kind of experience that makes you want to go back and reread the whole thing in the light of the emphases that Jackson has brought to the story. He focuses on the corrupting influence of the ring and, through this focus, the character of the chief protagonists of the story are revealed. Clearly those most tempted by it are mortal men (Boromir and even, in one moment, Aragorn), those who already have power (Elrond - `The ring cannot stay here'; Galadriel; Gandalf and Saruman), and, of course, those who would not normally desire it but who by accident become ring bearers - Gollum, Bilbo, Frodo. I can see why, in this reading, Jackson decided to leave out the Bombadil episode. Bombadil, like the Balrog, is beyond the ring but the latter is important to the unfolding of the story of the fates of all the characters, Bombadil isn't.

It is a miracle of this reading of the first volume of the book that one can see where Jackson is going and one can get a feel of how the reading is going to unfold. In a sense, Jackson's real trial - as far as those who know the books are concerned - will come with the second film in the series. He has lived up to our expectation by creating even bigger ones: how can he handle the story of the chase andrescue of Merry and Pippin, the storming of Isengard etc - stories which don't really add much to the core theme that is emerging. Or is he now going to add the theme of the great contest of good versus evil to the unfolding reading?

All of this points to the fact that the film, even though it is a feast of special effects, focuses on character. And this also explains why Jackson chose the actors he did for their roles: they are not `big' names - no `Sean Connery', no `Alan Rickman', no `Brad Pitt', no `Sam Neill'etc. He didn't want them getting in the way of the story of character. Ian McKellan's talents, in particular, are used to tell a large proportion of the story: an enormous amount is conveyed simply through his facial expressions and even by the language of his body. The other miracle in all of this is Elijah Wood. Like many others, when I first heard of Jackson's choice, I groaned: but Wood has been extraordinary. He brings, as one friend said, a strange kind of androgyny to the role and this is just perfect. McKellan has already been knighted: give Wood the Oscar.

And then there is Middle Earth: this is, as someone put it, another character in the story and the New Zealand landscape, digitally enhanced on occasion, lives up to its role too.

Enough. See this film! Greatest film ever made? How can one make a claim like that! Silly really; as silly as claiming that `The Lord of the Rings' is the greatest book ever written. Can't one simply love a story, enjoy reading it a number of times amd lose oneself in it. One CAN claim that it is the greatest work in its genre as is the film.

10/10
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Middle Earth comes alive...in breathtaking detail.
Scarlet1317 February 2002
When I first saw the trailers for "The Fellowship of the Ring," I had never had any interest in reading the lengthy tome of a trilogy. But seeing the possibility of the movie, I immediately went out and read the whole thing, insisted on receiving it for Christmas, and enjoyed every minute of it. The feelings I had while reading the series were heightened seeing it come to life in the stunning movie. I thought it was a fabulous work of art.

I thought that having Galadriel tell what was basically the prologue of the book was a good idea, as it helped those who had never read the story. It also immediately involved me in the film; I felt I had an insider's advantage on the rest of the audience. Cate Blanchett has a wonderfully deep and emotional voice; the way she speaks Galadriel is almost as effective as her appearence as the Elven queen. Also, showing the last battle of Isildur and Sauron helped unfog a part of the novel that had me a trifle confused.

The entire movie is full of beautiful sets and landscapes. The Shire was almost exactly as I'd pictured it. Hobbiton is cute and very whimsical. Mordor was frighteningly well done, extremely real. Rivendell had a little bit of a European-tourist-trap look, but was beautiful all the same. The entire backdrop of the movie (the mountains, Moria, Isengard) was perfect; it's amazing that "Fellowship" was filmed in one country.

Now to the characters. All I can say is, "Wow." I was a little apprehensive about the casting at first; I'd created such real images of the characters in my imagination, I almost didn't want them spoiled for me. However, I was not disapointed in the least. Elijah Wood, though not one of my favorite actors, was believable. You could tell from the first glimpse that Frodo was special; Wood's pale, sharp features contrast sharply with the more ruddy, robust look of the rest of the hobbits. He also cries like a little girl. But his weaknesses and strengths make his Frodo an apt choice for the starring character. The rest of the Hobbiton gang was well-chosen, too. Sean Astin ("Rudy" forever to me) was loyal and a bit bumbling, just like the Gamgee of Tolkien's telling. Pippin and Merry were congenial, slow-witted lads, but very brave nonetheless. Viggo Mortensen is outstanding. He has the ability to make Aragorn both menacing and kind. He physically represents Strider to the nines with his strength and virility; the action sequences of his are very passionate and exciting. Some may have complained about Arwen's character being slightly expanded; I thought it a good change. In the books, you have to read the whole trilogy and then rifle through the appendix in "The Return of the King" to learn the history between Aragorn and Arwen. Liv Tyler is ethereal and breathtaking, but at the same time displays the courage and magic that make the Elves the beings they are. Speaking of Elves, I can't help but gush over the handsome and ever-so-talented Orlando Bloom as noble Legolas. Bloom captured the archer's very movements; he treads lightly and fights fearlessly. Legolas's bowmanship was amazing; he looked so natural loosing his arrows machine-gun style. He was my favorite character in the books, and his essence transcends the film. Gimli was pompous and brave, as well. He is well-represented in the movie. Boromir was hopelessly lost, but at the same time valiant and strong. Sean Bean gave an emotionally-charged performance as the tortured warrior. Hugo Weaving was very good as Elrond. He was noble and cold at the same time. And Gandalf. What more can be said of Ian McKellan's showcase portrayal of the wizard? He was magnificent. He could be Gandalf, the kind old conjurer who set off pyrotechnics for hobbit-children. Then he could turn around and stun the life out of you with Gandalf the powerful wizard, facing the balrog with defiance and an iron will. His Oscar nomination is well-deserved.

Peter Jackson is a brave soul to take on a project that could have backfired in so many places. Instead of bringing us uninspired kitsch, he serves up raw emotion, graphic battles of good and evil, chilling and wonderful characters, and enough special effects (realistic, mind you) to make John Cameron's mouth water. Knowing that "The Two Towers" was my favorite of the books, I eagerly anticipate the second helping of "The Lord of the Rings."
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10/10
Details!
BoordAppel25 July 2002
I think I can watch this film a billion times and not get bored. Today I saw LOTR for the third time and I noticed a few details.

  • When Frodo is stabbed with the blade from the dark rider and the hobbits and Aragorn are in the forrest u can see 3 huge stone trolls in the background. To understand who they are you have to read The hobbit. - When the fellowship is traveling over the mountains everyone is walking IN the snow, except for Legolas who is walking ON the snow. The is because Elves are so light.


Well when I saw these details I realised that Peter Jackson was even a greater director then I thought. And for the people who think that there are too much 'ring-shots' (sounds like a word from a porn movie) in the movie: THE MOVIE IS CALLED THE LORD OF THE RINGS GODDAMMIT, THE RING IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE ENTIRE MOVIE! Some say that the movie is too long. It may be long but I never ever get bored watching. This movie is just brilliant, mayB just as brilliant as the book.
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10/10
One of the greatest films of all time.
dgallegos25 November 2002
Star Wars has been dethroned. Although George Lucas' movies are good in their own right (except for the juvenile elements he puts in to sell toys to finance the franchise), his scripts (which borrow heavily from J.R.R.Tolkien, mythology & religion) can't compare with the brilliance of the literary trilogy `The Lord of the Rings'. Granted, Lucas took on a herculean task in writing & directing his story himself, but Tolkien's words, along with Peter Jackson's faithful adaptation & inspired vision, have created something no one man could equal.

Of course, it helps that Jackson insisted on at least a 2 picture deal, & New Line Cinema was brave enough to foot the bill up front for 3 movies. They spent $180 million to film all 3 simultaneously. With the New Zealand exchange rate, that equals $360 million ($90 million ea.), but since they used many of the same sets, and FX development costs were spread throughout, we're seeing $120-$150 million on the screen. This will ensure consistency in plot, casting, tone, etc.

In 3 hours, Jackson has crammed everything essential from the first novel & then some into the film, rewriting some scenes & dialogue with lesser characters for the leads, leaving out only what there wasn't enough time for. Basically, you have two 90 min. movies running back to back. There are no slow spots, just one climax after another. From the opening 10 min. backstory where the Dark Lord Sauron is shown on the battlefield wiping out men & elves 10 at a time with each swing of his mace, I was blown away. The romance between Aragorn, king in exile, and Arwen, daughter of the elf-lord, is played up for the "Titanic" quotient, but it's well done.

The story, sets, costumes & FX are so rich, you'll have to see the film several times to absorb everything. The unspoiled New Zealand locales are spectacular, providing a variety of environments to represent the different settings on the characters' journey. The location sets are imaginative, detailed & weathered, adding to their believability, while the studio sets match them in meticulousness. The costumes are at once familiar & strange, drawing on both the medievil & the fantastic, but more important, they're also functional & practical. The music by Howard Shore is appropriately sweeping, Celtic & folky in keeping with the novel, although it lacks the memorable themes of John Williams or Jerry Goldsmith, but neither would commit a year or more to a 3 picture project. The FX are as they should be, unobtrusive & unnoticed most of the time, there only to support the story not draw attention away from it as in most Hollywood movies which try to coverup illogical plots & bad acting.

I'm particularly gratified by the casting of Viggo Mortenson as Aragorn which was a last minute stroke of luck when the actor first chosen for the part backed out due to differences with the director. I've always thought Mortenson had an intensity & striking but not pretty-boy looks that could portray a flawed, dangerous hero instead of the villains Hollywood always picked him for.

A stellar cast giving some of their best performances, visuals that deliver beyond what I imagined, a perfect mix of humor, passion & tragedy, and a feeling of grandeur, scope & impending doom. Perhaps as an ensemble piece with so many characters & the inability to concentrate on any one, it can't be measured against some of the classic character study films, but even the casual moviegoer can grasp the ideas & not get lost As far as I'm concerned, it's one of the greatest films of all time.
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10/10
The Fellowship of the Ring: Not just a Movie, but the Door to another Dimension
bonnie9114 April 2006
The first part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Fellowship of the Rings opened the door to a whole new world for me. I'd never read any of Tolkien's books when I saw the film for the first time at the theatre and, now that I've read them, in retrospect I think being a neophyte to the mythology made my LOTR movie experience all the more miraculous.

I loved The Two Towers and Return of the King almost as much as FOTR, but not quite, because seeing Fellowship for the first time was like taking a journey to a fabulous new place and meeting incredible new friends that you don't want to leave. I've never felt anything quite like what this epic evoked in me. It was akin to being a child again, with that tireless sense of wonder and enjoyment of each and every moment, maybe because as a child you are discovering your surroundings, and whatever age you are, when you watch the Fellowship of the Ring you are rendered in awe upon being introduced to the purity and beauty of Middle Earth and darkly enthralled by the majesty of Eisengard, Saruman, Sauron and all of their mighty malice. One of the things that makes this movie so special (and there are so many!) is that you fall in love not only with the "good" characters, but also with the "evil" ones. For example, Christopher Lee was amazing as Saruman, and I can't imagine the movie without him.

Some films that might be comparable to the Lord of the Rings trilogy are: The Fifth Element, the Star Wars Trilogy parts IV, V and VI (forget the newer prequels), the Matrix trilogy (especially the first part), Interview with a Vampire, the Legend of Sleepy Hollow (with Johnny Depp), Logan's Run and The Island. They are all excellent movies and works of art that weave that movie magic that keeps you spellbound and entranced for the duration of their runtime.

But after seeing The Fellowship of the Ring, I knew I had found the movie by which I would judge all other movies. Based on J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved books, Peter Jackson has set a new standard in the industry of cinema, one that I honestly think has not and won't be surpassed, at least not in my lifetime, not even by PJ himself.

It is truly an instant classic that will stand the test of time and be loved by generations to come. God Bless Tolkien and Jackson and everyone involved in the conception and making of this film, for creating a world that is at my fingertips, only takes the touch of a button to go to whenever I want, and makes me forget everything else.

The LOTR Trilogy is undoubtedly MY precious, the non plus ultra of all movies!
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10/10
The Fantasy Motion Picture to Rule Them All...
fearfulofspiders26 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Barely ever hearing of The Lord of the Rings, I went in to see this film in theaters the consecutive Friday it was released, to not only be flabbergasted at its greatness, but wanting more! Since then, I devoted myself to seeing the following two films on the first day of release -- a promise I kept.

Peter Jackson's take on Tolkien's fantasy masterpiece not only carries a great deal of the text to full film fruition, but shows the power of film, and proving that nothing is impossible. Jackson's vision is continuous, and never seems to loose grasp of the story that is being told. Using the artistry of John Howe and Alan Lee, The Fellowship of the Ring gleams with a beautiful and dark atmosphere, a length of detail that makes it seem like everyone and everything has its own history, and full of wondrous images one could never imagine.

The acting is superb. With a complex script, each actor has transformed these characters into 3-D people with deep back-story, and people that we feel compassion for. This is one extraordinary ensemble cast. Each actor IS that character, making it seem impossible to imagine anyone else fill that person's shoe in their stead. Viggo Mortensen IS Aragorn. Sir Ian McKellen IS Gandalf the Grey. Elijah Wood IS Frodo Baggins. One could weep with our heroes should one fall, or feel inspired when they achieve victory. A fantasy with this much emotion just seems surreal, but it's completely believable.

Never losing pace, the writing and direction is flawless, making for one enthralling introduction into Middle-earth. The voice over prologue fills even the most uneducated audience member with all the necessary knowledge they need to know in order to understand our heroes' and villains' motives. Some things of course have been omitted for pacing reasons. While not present in the theatrical cut, we do see the passing of the Grey Elves, and get a brief tale of Beren and Luthien. The barrow-wights and their story is no where to be seen (as interesting as it is in the book, there really is no place for it in this film) and Tom Bombadil is absent as well, but thankfully to the ingeniousness of the writers, in the Extended Edition of The Two Towers a little homage is paid to the character. Omissions and changes are always part of adapting a book to film, and the ones made by Peter Jackson, Phillipa Boyens and Fran Walsh are justifiable in every way.

The action scenes are spaced out thoroughly enough for breathing room, plot advancement, and ever-continuing character development. Each action scene is its own, be it the flight to the Fjords of Bruinen, the Mines of Moria, or the showdown at Amon Hen near the end of the film. All are greatly choreographed, each stunt member and actor is full of energy and ambition as they wield deadly weapons at each others' heads and limbs. It really is a sight to behold.

The special effects are mesmerizing. The use of CGI, miniatures/bigatures, and even clever camera angles blend to make one ideal image after the other. The soaring images of Barad-dur or Orthanc seem real when in fact, they only stand so many feet high. The Argonath, two figures of enormous height standing before the Anduin River seem like 300 foot creations, when in fact they are about only several feet off the ground. Simply jaw-dropping imagery.

Howard Shore's score for The Fellowship of the Ring is a beautiful, epic, and complex piece of work that makes one feel like they have been entranced. Even when some of the text seems omitted from the screen, it can be heard through the powerful instrumentation conducted and created by this composer. The use of leitmotifs to symbolize a country, race, or character is stunning.

Overall, The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring is a visionary masterpiece, allowing the world to see what seems like actual history with fantastic elements, equaling the greatness of Hollywood's earlier classics. As the first of three, one who has not seen these films can await the next several hours of their lives to be changed for ever.
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10/10
An Amazing Achievement
Fayaz_zulfikar_meghani13 April 2003
'The Lord of the Rings' is one of my favorite books, I have read it several times, and remember thinking the last time, about 3 years ago that if I made a film I'd want to make it of this, but wouldn't it be almost impossible. You can then imagine how strong my expectations were when I went to see the eagerly awaited first installment.

This film impressed me hugely, more than anything else because of how true it was to my imagination, both in the characters as well as in the effects and setting- a sentiment I have heard consistently from other fans of the books. Elijah Wood brought across the character of Frodo with the kind of haunted, frail courage that Tolkien captures so well in the books. Nor could I find any fault at all with Ian McKellan's Gandalf, Viggo Mortensen's Aragorn, and Sean Bean's Boromir, all of whom I thought were portrayed excellently. I could pick out instances where I did think, 'no, that's not right', however their seldomness in number would only serve to illustrate the excellence of the overall portrayal. One thing that did stand out for me was Cate Blanchett's performance as Galadriel, the part itself became so perfunctory in the film that to me her alternation between benevolent seer, and figure of potential terror seemed little more than a slightly confusing detour with no real connection into the plot other than as a vehicle for a glimpse into the future. But that was it.

I thought that the points where Jackson did deviate from the text were completely the correct ones to do so. Shortening the opening Shire scenes and cutting out the whole Tom Bombadil bit was great since frankly they bored me slightly in the book anyway. Also, expanding the role of Arwen was a sensible decision.

However this film is by no means above criticism. The dialogue was in my opinion terrible and purely there to drive on the plot. Normally this would ruin a film for me (as in "The Matrix"), making it almost intolerable to view, however fortunately here it proves little more than a minor irritation. Also, the film seemed overall to be excessively plot-driven and at times a mad dash from one action scene to another, the characters, for all their truth to the book did seem flat and sometimes little more than stereotypical fantasy characters. This is perhaps my major quarrel with the film- I would have liked these characters to have come alive as people in a way that was made impossible by the sparseness of the script and the rollercoaster nature of the plot. In general the whole film lacked the depth of context that I think distinguishes Tolkien from other fantasy writers. However to have achieved this would have required a very different movie, and you can't fault an action film for being an action film.

This movie is undoubtedly not for everyone. A lot of people just don't get fantasy- other than Lord of the Rings, I don't particularly either. However in my opinion Jackson really has made an incredible achievement- his and Tolkien's vision carried through suberbly by a breathtaking setting and stunning special effects, as well as by a cast clearly as enthralled as he was. He has taken on a huge task, and is dealing with it with breathtaking success. Check for other user comments.
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10/10
Part One: With Help, Even the Impossible Can Be Achieved
mstomaso30 November 2007
Peter Jackson set out to make movies which the author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkien would have endorsed. All three were resounding successes, though because of the film medium they necessarily varied from Tolkien's story-line. Purists may have issues with Jackson's theatrical license, but as someone who has read Tolkien's books several times and seen the films 4-5 times each, I never felt that Jackson went too far or compromised Tolkien's story, the mythology he developed or the wonderful characters he brought to life. Many have said what Jackson did could not be done. He has not only proved the nay-sayers wrong, but lovingly crafted a set of films which will, for many decades to come, stand out as a great achievement.

This is the first of three reviews I am publishing on IMDb for these films. I am labeling them Parts 1, 2, and 3 just in case anybody wants to read them in order. The reviews will be self-contained, but will also be enhanced by a chronological reading. My reviews will focus on the extended edition DVDs, though my comments are also relevant to the theatrical releases.

The Fellowship of the Ring introduces the key characters and the broad story arc of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Wizard Gandalf the Grey travels to a small town for small people (Hobbits)to help celebrate Bilbo Baggins' birthday. The very elderly Baggins doesn't look a day over 45, and soon it becomes apparent why. Since the great adventure of his life, a quest he was sent on by Gandalf himself, he has possessed the most powerful object in all of Middle Earth – The One Ring.

This ring is evil incarnate, with an insatiable lust for power, it taints every creature who possesses it and tries to work its way back to its creator – Dark Lord Sauron. Bilbo uses the ring to disappear, as he intends to spend his senescence with his friends the Elves in Rivendell. But activating the ring, he draws the attention of Lord Sauron from thousands of miles away in the land of Mordor. Realizing what has occurred, Gandalf scrambles to determine a course of action and recruits Bilbo's nephew Frodo and his loyal gardener Samwise to bear the ring to the Council of Elrond in Rivendell. Thusly, the seeds of the fellowship are planted in the soil of the Shire.

At this point, we are about 1/6th of the way through The Fellowship. Fairly soon thereafter, it becomes clear who will compose the fellowship, and who and what these people are. Though the succeeding films are not entitled "Fellowship", they follow the adventures of the surviving central characters. Characterization is done just as Tolkien did it in the original novel – by example not discourse.

For example, we are given hints to the identity of Strider (Mortenson) earlier on in the movie than in the novel, but the actual significance of this remains ambiguous until about midway through. Strong characterization is key to the success of the entire trilogy. To summarize, Peter Jackson, his team and cast – NAIL the characterization.

The casting and acting is perfect. It is very difficult to resist the temptation to single out Mortenson and McKellen for carrying their difficult roles so well (Strider/Aragorn and Gandalf), but why risk diminishing the contributions of the rest of the cast? Nobody mis-steps, and it is clear from the beginning that the entire cast was thoroughly and completed engaged with the task before them.

Tolkien believed that no film would ever do his work justice, and until this trilogy, he was correct.Peter Jackson and his team have managed to do exactly what they set out to. As Jackson himself has said in reference to the film trilogy, they set out to 'make Tolkien's film.' Jackson successfully drew out elements of all three books, expanding and contracting, rearranging, and sometimes adding whole subplots which are hinted at in the books, but not well explained, in order to adopt the grand story to the film medium. Arwen (Liv Tyler), daughter of Elrond and Elven lover of Aragorn, for example, is introduced early in the films and plays a role in the films which is much more equal to her significance than it was in the books.

The Howard Shore score is lovely, and its simple themes are used to great effect throughout all three movies. The musical collaborations improvising on Shore's basic themes are great, and, though they feature some prominent performers – are never weighed down by star-power.

Jackson made all three movies simultaneously. This technique allowed for perfect continuity, and permitted much greater flexibility in editing and post-production work than would normally be allowed. Knowing that he would need to establish and support his own fellowship to make this production work, he also knew that success would make the production legendary. So, he documented the creation of the films beautifully. Two complete DVDs full of documentary pieces are included in all three Special Edition Packages in the trilogy. Many are likely to be bored by the details in these documentaries, but those interested in the creative process behind the films will be provided with a more comprehensive view than I can remember ever seeing in any similar DVD package.

The Fellowship of the Rings is as true a representation of Tolkien's novel as can be imagined. Although some aspects of the stories in the novel were adapted to the screen, the essentials, the characters, and the overall story are not just recognizable, but ENHANCED by the film. What results is a film that is not just entertaining, but an enormous fulfillment of an undying wish of millions of fans around the world.

Very highly recommended.
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10/10
A truly exceptional film
Mr_PCM28 February 2006
There is very little that can be said about The Lord of the Rings that hasn't been said already many times over. But what can be re-iterated is that The Fellowship of the Ring is an outstanding piece of film-making.

Where do you start when reviewing a film the size of Lord of the Rings? J.R.R. Tolkein's seminal masterwork, long considered unfilmable, has made it on to the screen thanks to visionary director Peter Jackson. The Fellowship of the Ring is the first of the three books of the trilogy. Everyone has their favourite of the three, and this one is probably mine. Unrivalled in its size and scale by virtually any other film, with new groundbreaking special and digital effects, a stunning musical score, universally superb acting and most importantly a superb story.

The Fellowship of the Ring is the first part of the epic trilogy that tells of the quest of a hobbit to destroy an evil ring of power. He is aided in his quest by his friends and other companions who accompany him and protect him on his journey. Many threats face him on his long journey, both from the world around him and from his companions, who could be tempted by the power of the ring he has set out to destroy. It is a tale of magic and fantasy, swords and sorcery, but it is not simply for teens who enjoy dungeons and dragons games. It is accessible to everyone. By turns exciting, frightening, funny and sad, it is a true masterpiece in terms of storytelling, encompassing the full spectrum of emotions.

The acting is superb from the entire cast, and it is unfathomable as to how the Academy overlooked the acting entirely for all three films when dishing out awards and nominations. However the performances from Ian McKellan, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Elijah Wood and Sean Bean are all so good it would have possibly been greatly unfair to single any one out for an award.

The film also contains some groundbreaking computer-generated special effects, and some positively genius scale work. Due to hobbits being only about 3 feet tall, some clever scale work was needed in order to ensure that John Rhys-Davies, a dwarf in the film but over 6 feet tall in real life, did in fact look the height of a dwarf. This was done through clever use of forced perspectives, scale doubles, giant sets and blue screen filming. However, the most impressive use of computer effects lies later in the trilogy, with the appearance of Gollum – cinema's first live-action character who is completely computer generated. The music is also beautiful, and Howard Shore has created possibly the most iconic and memorable score since John Williams' Star Wars.

Peter Jackson has, until Lord of the Rings, been seen as a director outside of the mainstream, but his superb, career-defining work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy has seen him well and truly propelled him to the forefront of Hollywood. He has re-defined the epic film with unparalleled success, and created films that will definitely stand the test of time, to one day be thought of with the same reverence as the Star Wars and Godfather trilogies.

A major milestone in cinema history, the trilogy would eventually gain seventeen Oscars between the three films. Lord of the Rings is a master class in storytelling, and essential viewing.
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10/10
Wow
RatBoy13237 August 2003
This film is a triumph in almost every aspect. I had never read the books upon seeing the film and was a little sceptical about what many people were claiming that it would change the way films were made. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring has become my favorite movie of all time. And I have seen a lot of freaking movies.

Every aspect of the film works. The cast works their respective roles to perfection with Ian McKellen(Gandalf), Elijah Wood(Frodo), Viggo Mortensen(Aragorn), Sean Bean(Boromir), and Sean Astin(Sam) being the standouts. From the epic prologue of the film you realize that there is a great, epic journey ahead of you. And along the way you meet and care for every single character in the film.

Director Peter Jackson has really crafted a beautiful piece of work that will be remembered for ages. It's a perfect balance of action and great character moments. Character development is not sacrificed for more action like so many other films of its like. There are many moments of the film that make you realize this is more than just your typical fantasy film, moments that transcend filmmaking and have a profound effect on you. The last 30 minutes are particularly powerful and moving.

Basically, this film is an epic, incredible experience. A film that will be looked at years down the road as a great piece of filmmaking. If you're a fan of good fantasy, or if you're just a fan of great movies, you'll love this film, plain and simple.
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An amazing achievement
'The Lord of the Rings' is one of my favorite books, I have read it several times, and remember thinking the last time, about 3 years ago that if I made a film I'd want to make it of this, but wouldn't it be almost impossible. You can then imagine how strong my expectations were when I went to see the eagerly awaited first installment.

This film impressed me hugely, more than anything else because of how true it was to my imagination, both in the characters as well as in the effects and setting- a sentiment I have heard consistently from other fans of the books. Elijah Wood brought across the character of Frodo with the kind of haunted, frail courage that Tolkien captures so well in the books. Nor could I find any fault at all with Ian McKellan's Gandalf, Viggo Mortensen's Aragorn, and Sean Bean's Boromir, all of whom I thought were portrayed excellently. I could pick out instances where I did think, 'no, that's not right', however their seldomness in number would only serve to illustrate the excellence of the overall portrayal. One thing that did stand out for me was Cate Blanchett's performance as Galadriel, the part itself became so perfunctory in the film that to me her alternation between benevolent seer, and figure of potential terror seemed little more than a slightly confusing detour with no real connection into the plot other than as a vehicle for a glimpse into the future. But that was it.

I thought that the points where Jackson did deviate from the text were completely the correct ones to do so. Shortening the opening Shire scenes and cutting out the whole Tom Bombadil bit was great since frankly they bored me slightly in the book anyway. Also, expanding the role of Arwen was a sensible decision.

However this film is by no means above criticism. The dialogue was in my opinion terrible and purely there to drive on the plot. Normally this would ruin a film for me (as in "The Matrix"), making it almost intolerable to view, however fortunately here it proves little more than a minor irritation. Also, the film seemed overall to be excessively plot-driven and at times a mad dash from one action scene to another, the characters, for all their truth to the book did seem flat and sometimes little more than stereotypical fantasy characters. This is perhaps my major quarrel with the film- I would have liked these characters to have come alive as people in a way that was made impossible by the sparseness of the script and the rollercoaster nature of the plot. In general the whole film lacked the depth of context that I think distinguishes Tolkien from other fantasy writers. However to have achieved this would have required a very different movie, and you can't fault an action film for being an action film.

This movie is undoubtedly not for everyone. A lot of people just don't get fantasy- other than Lord of the Rings, I don't particularly either. However in my opinion Jackson really has made an incredible achievement- his and Tolkien's vision carried through suberbly by a breathtaking setting and stunning special effects, as well as by a cast clearly as enthralled as he was. He has taken on a huge task, and is dealing with it with breathtaking success.
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10/10
Haven't felt this excited since I was a 12 year old kid
coldnakedman25 July 2002
Whether it was the opening action sequences or the finale, my heart rate was going a mile a minute watching this movie. FOTR did everything every other fantasy film should have done; it had fantastic creatures and beings that had previously only appeared in my dreams and my imagination. Jackson did a tremendous job making tangible what I previously had to visualize by reading the books. Without getting too specific and spoiling the ending, my only critique of the movie was that it was a little anti-climatic. Then again, the book was also anti-climatic because it was the first part of a trilogy.

I would also like to comment about how many people have compared Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to this film. My advice is to see them both, don't compare them, and enjoy the each as the great stories they are.

This is one of those movies that I will watch over and over again and never get tired of. It wasn't boring. It didn't lack action. It wasn't overhyped. The acting was good. And those that said it had too many "Scenery" shots should consider Doctor Zhivago...it was 4 hours of trains and snow, but still a classic! Give this movie a shot, and enjoy it for what it is; the visualization of a classic tale.
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9/10
A Glorious Vision of Middle Earth
dxia11 April 2004
The reason why this first part of Jackson's 'Lord of the Rings' is superior to his latter two parts is because of restraint. Jackson was restrained from over doing it with the CGI and "epic" battle sequences, which in my opinion does not make a story epic. Part of the reason was simply because Tolkien did not have very many battles in the first part of his book, which thankfully forced Jackson to focus on creating a believable world rather than a believable hack-n-slash action movie.

I don't find much entertainment in watching people mutilate each other, but I love it when a movie engages me in a world, and 'The Fellowship of the Ring' does just that. Certainly the most breathtaking scenes in the movie are the moments of patient observation, when the camera pans around and captures the beautiful settings of Middle Earth. I must give Jackson credit. He did hire some very extraordinary artists that have envisioned one of the grandest interpretations of Tolkien's world.

There are about five particular moments that stick out in my mind and gave me that tingle of goosebumps down my spine when I saw them for the first time. The first is the introduction to Hobbiton. After the somewhat awkward prologue, I was beginning to have my doubts to whether the movie would live up to the book. But the movie surprised me. Hobbiton is perfect. The houses have flower patches and old fences, the roads look worn and made through decades of travel, and the Old Mill spins with the laziness of a quiet town. Every color is vibrant and every moment looks as through it was taken out of a picture book. Although I still don't agree with the particular look of the Hobbits, I believe everything else in Hobbiton is worthy of Tolkien's words.

The second moment comes after Frodo's awakening in Rivendell, and the third, during the exploration of the Halls of Moria. In both moments, the camera pans away from the characters and outward into a static shot of their surroundings. The moments make us feel like we're turning our heads and gazing at the world around us just as the characters do. The golden waterfalls of the elven city mark an interesting contrast with the dark halls of the dwarfish mines, but each are inspiring in their own ways and add to feeling of being engaged in a living world.

My other favorite moments come during the exploration of Lothlorien and the passage down the Anduin. And while I won't go into detail about the scenes, since they really should be experienced without any prior expectations, they are monuments in imaginative cinema. 'The Fellowship of the Ring' is one of those rare movies that I always wish I could reexperience for the first time. Unfortunately, Jackson turned away from exploring Middle Earth in his next two movies, and instead, turned to fighting and warfare. He seems to take a lot of pride in the love story and battle sequences he created in 'The Two Towers' and 'The Return of the King,' but it is was in his first movie when he really got it right. In 'The Fellowship of the Ring,' it's okay if the characters are uninteresting and have silly dialogue. Middle Earth is the star, and the characters are the ones seeing it for the first time.
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10/10
A Masterpiece
Theo Robertson16 August 2002
I've never been a fan of the sword and sorcery genre . I'm surprised film companies decide to make rubbish like THE BEASTMASTER, HAWK THE SLAYER and RED SONJA but I am aware of the popularity of JRR Tolkien's massive novel LORD OF THE RINGS and of it's popularity , I remember in a survey carried out by a very well known British fantasy/SF magazine in 1987 Tolkien's book was voted the greatest fantasy novel of all time ( THE STAND by Stephen King was a long way second ) , but it's a novel that has always struck me as being read by anoraks who - like fans of STAR TREK and STAR WARS - insist on reading subtexts that are just not there . When the THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS shot to number one in the IMDb top 250 films I put the popularity down to obsessed anorakish fans who were going to vote the film a classic no matter what . Stranger still I found groups as diverse as neo Nazis to gays to enviromentalists proclaiming " This is our film " so when I finally sat down to watch TFOTR I was expecting only some average entertainment for a non sad person with no political axe to grind . After seeing the film I had to admit THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING is a masterpiece .

Much of the credit must go to the producers . I 've no idea of the politics about bringing the story to the silver screen but I can imagine the Hollywood bigwigs sitting around the commitee table saying " Give us Tom , give us Nicole , get Harrison , get Leonardo . No limeys . Limeys are slimy . No limey accents . We're Americans , this is our baby " to which the producers gave a firm and resounding " No " . Good for them because the Hollywood treatment would have ruined this film. The cast comprised of well known - but not megastar - actors and unknowns are uniformally excellent even the normally hammy Lee and Rhys Davis and the bland Tyler are good . Also great to see so many Brits playing good guys and having the American actors adopting non specific British accents .The cast do a good job

The other production values are outstanding . Pride of place goes to Andrew Lesnie's cinematography where the camera sweeps down from the sky into the Orcs underground lair and the camera also shows off the stunning New Zealand landscapes . I'd always believed Scotland had the greatest scenery on Earth but I'm willing to change my mind . The FX are good throughout though perhaps the matte backgrounds and CGI are less impressive in places but they're still a lot better than we've been used to recently . The Orc make up is wonderful and helps them become classic cinema monsters . The only bad point about the Orcs is - Like the stormtroopers in STAR WARS - they're too easy to kill .

There are some minor flaws to THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS but this is probably down to Tolkien's source novel rather than the film makers . A couple of times the heroes seem set to suffer a resounding defeat when something not obvious at first like flammable villains or a giant eagle saves the day . I guess this is cancelled out by the dangers and adversaries also appearing from nowhere and there's little female perspective in the story for the women in the audience to relate to but come on girls you've got Viggo Mortensen and Sean Bean acting all hunky and macho so you can't complain.

I see the IMDb reviewers have started a backlash against FOTR like they did with TITANIC and GLADIATOR . They're right about the gawd awful rubbish that is TITANIC but they're wrong about GLADIATOR which is a very good film and even further wrong about THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING which is a cinematic masterpiece. Ignore their criticisms . Any film that is praised by people as diverse as fans of the book , people who have never read the book , enviromentalists and cynics like myself is worth your time watching . I'm really looking forward to THE TWO TOWERS
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10/10
An Excellent Movie Choice!
spider_webster3 June 2005
I absolutely love this movie, partly because the acting is really good, but also for the CGI effects and the good storyline. I watched the extended version and realized that it isn't boring like some people think because some people I know think that FOTR is quite a lengthy movie because of all the talking, but in my opinion, if there's not talking, there's no story! If they just jumped to the fighting scenes without any of the introduction, then you won't know where the movie started from. I love the scenes where they get to fight, whether Orcs or Nazgul, the fighting scenes are still the climax of the movie.

Another good movie to see after FOTR is TTT, of course. It is the second part of this great trilogy and there are more climatic scenes. Most probably, you'll enjoy that more than FOTR but don't shun this movie just because it's a bit lengthy.

Overall, it's a great movie to see and it is really worth spending the money to buy/rent the extended/special DVD to watch too. Definitely a 10 out of 10 on my scale! Actually, in my opinion, 10/10 doesn't even come close!
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10/10
Truly one of the greatest films ever made and is one of the best movies of all time!
Movie Nuttball7 March 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Minor Spoilers

I finally got to see the Lord of the Rings a few days ago in the theatre and I must I was very thrilled see a huge movie of this stature. For months I wanted to see this because of several reasons but the biggest one of them was Christopher Lee! I knew he was going to be awesome in this movie which he was.This cast was great and it was a treat seeing Ian Holm in it aswell.I knew LOTR was going to be one of the greatest movies ever and I just love the scenery in this movie and the special effects were flawless and it has great music by Howard Shore. There was so much in the three hour movie that I can`t explain it all but I will say it has great battles and sword fights,and seeing the variety of character is neat like wizards,trolls,dwarfs,hobbits,elvs,and among other creatures and a awesome prolouge.This in MY opinion ranks up in the greatest of films and this is on MY favorites list now just not fantasy movies like Willow and Legend but other of MY favorites like other great films such The Mummy/The Mummy Returns,Planet of the Apes (2001),Jurassic Park trilogy,Star Wars (all four of them),Gladiator,Terminator 2,Predator,and others.I just can`t wait for the sequels to come.Be sure to get all of the LOTR action figures by Toy Biz and they look great! I was very happy to see this film and I hope everyone gets a chance to see this epic!
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10/10
Excusable flaws don't detract.
philcooper19 December 2001
There's a very obvious problem when transferring any book to the big screen, namely that some of us may already have seen it.

It's not that the story holds no surprises (save for the occasional controversies that surround the fate of characters like Hannibal Lecter), it's just that many of us have already read the book, and thus we've already directed our own version of the story. We've already seen it in our mind's eye.

And this is the problem that plagues The Fellowship of The Ring. You'll see a lot of reviews here proclaiming it as nothing short of the second coming of cinema, and a few that dare to knock its serious shortcomings. Let me clear this up right now.

The first issue that many may raise is that this is not a faithful adaptation of the book. Quite right, while taking pains to ensure that they stayed faithful to the novel, Jackson et al have not simply been able to lift their screenplay directly from its pages without a few necessary changes. There is a great deal of mindfulness in the film about the portion of the audience (and it will be large) who are unfamiliar with the novels.

Accordingly a great deal more emphasis has been placed upon pacing and storytelling more appropriate to a classic film narrative. Hence we need to see Gandalf's protracted bid to escape the clutches of Isenguard interspersed with the Hobbit's journey to Rivendell. It simply isn't appropriate to expect an audience to bear with the Hobbits' journey, no matter how good the actors are or how enthralling the story is, for upwards of an hour without constant reminders of the films other protagonists OR the threat of the evil they face. Having Gandalf just turn up at Rivendell and tell his story via CGI-filled flashbacks simply wouldn't have had the necessary effect.

Secondly, the omission and reworking of characters. Yes, it was sad that Bakshi felt his animation didn't need Tom Bombadill, and given that he features strongly in Tolkien's other works this has to be frowned upon by the die-hard fanatics, but introducing diverting, but ultimately pointless episodes into the list of the challenges the Hobbits face is hardly going to keep you riveted to your seat is it? I mean, a man who stops the Hobbits being eaten, very slowly, by a tree with his power of song is just quite frankly ludicrous in this day and age. The film is already stretching the audience's suspension of disbelief as far as it can go. Hence the chaff of Bombadill is cut. He isn't relevant to the rest of the story so he can be done without. It's sad for Tolkien fans for him not to be there but there's only so much celluloid available, even with a film this long.

And yes, Arwen Undomiel never saved Frodo from the Dark Riders, but please, remember your girlfriend needs to have something to sink her teeth into as well, not just midgets and men with beards looking mean or scared as they fight monsters. So, for gender representation and a bid to prevent half the potential market (please remember that like all film, this is a product to be packaged and sold) her character gets a drastic overhaul. Go sister!

There are numerous other issues relevant to the faithfulness of the adaptation from novel to screenplay but please, let's be content with what we've got here. It's a hard task to do all this well and Jackson, along with the rest of the boys and girls at Wingnut and WETA, should be commended for what they have achieved.

That said there are some definite flaws in the film, even those that can't be overlooked by justifying the needs to relate to the popcorn and nachos audience.

Firstly, we've got the Fellowship itself. Now, Merry and Pippin, while not really being established as Frodo's friends and thus not having the same kind of bond with him as they do in the novel are moderately well integrated. However, at the arrival of Boromir, Gimili and Legolas we just get left in the dark. None of these three characters, all representing important races, cultures and locations of the world of Middle Earth are given no more than token arrival-shots to introduce them, and little or no back-story as to how they came to be where they are or why they feel compelled to join Frodo's quest. Offering their various weapons is noble, and it sounds fantastic in the trailer, but when we finally get down to it we just don't know who they are or what they're about. Accordingly we don't ever really have time to care about any of these three, save for Legolas whose fighting proficiency alone makes him stand out. Sadly, Sean Bean is allowed little more than to switch from foreboding bad guy to friendly companion and back again (thus betraying his characters ultimate fate from the first time he opens his mouth) and John Rhys Davis is left with little more to do than scowl and look short. It doesn't help that both these characters seem to get a pretty raw deal for screen time, especially Gimli, who is barely in the film at all. We won't even begin to go into the seemingly superficial relationship we see between Sam and Frodo.

All of this is indeed a shame. The film's greatest strength after its story are its strong characters. However, whereas in the book they have the space to develop and flesh themselves out here they have little more to do than look in awe at Gandalf, perhaps not with a humble air so much as a wonder that he's being allowed to soak up all the screen time.

And yes, what you've heard is true; the fight sequences are shockingly bad. Well, perhaps that IS an overstatement. The fight sequences aren't exactly bad, they're riddled with good ideas and clever moves, but the camerawork and editing is so erratic that you'll have a hard time picking out anything to inspire awe or respect. The problem here is that the benchmarks for on screen fighting have all been established nowadays by The Matrix, Crouching Tiger and The Phantom Menace, and all of these films use lengthy shots to allow us to soak up the fight imaginative fight choreography, rather than have us crane our necks and dart about the screen with our eyeballs trying to glimpse it like a rare bird or nipple-flash at a premiere.

Now, these, yet again, are only a few of the problems. There's the geography of Middle Earth, some ropey special effects moments and the clumsy ending to deal with. But you can read the books and see the film for yourself; I've already typed enough about all that here.

BUT, now that I've just spent the main chunk of this review telling you about the shortcomings of The Fellowship of the Rings as both a movie and an adaptation let me tell you, it is good, exceptionally good.

There is no denying that the storyline itself, acting, effects, props, sets and so on and so forth are all spot on. Visually the film is a triumph and WETA has now, without question placed itself ahead of Industrial Light and Magic in terms of industry leading special effects. There are bags of style to proceedings, with some sequences displaying the sheer amount of vision of the whole team to bring somewhat vague sections of the novel to life.

All parts are played to perfection by the cast, and the casting is literally some of the best and most appropriate seen in years, none of this who-hot-and-who's-not Jerry Bruckheimer trash, it's a case of the best possible person for the part at every stage of the film. We'll give particular credit to Sir Ian Mckellan, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm and Elijah Wood again here. No doubt they've had scores of favourable and loving reviews already but these performances truly are worth mentioning just once again.

The film is a masterpiece from start to finish. Yes, it does take perseverance, no it's not entirely faithful to Tolkien's work and there are some serious flaws, but in a year that has been so barren of even five decent mainstream movies I think it's safe to say that no matter when this film had been released it would have outshone its competitors.
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10/10
"The crownless again shall be king..."
Prestige_Never_Pride23 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I confess to say that I did not see the first two LOTR films in theaters. The fact of the matter was that my sister was 6 years old and scared easily, so my father wouldn't take her. So, my father went on his own to see them. I did, however get to see Return of the King in theaters. I was entranced. I was 12 years old at the time, and I didn't understand the story. But I was captivated. When Pippin sang his song, I was in tears. At the very end, I was sobbing. The sense of beauty it had...I couldn't even describe it. So, I watched the first two movies respectively with my father. And now I was within Middle-Earth. I read the books the same month that I saw all three films. Simultaneously, in fact. That is my admiration story.

What can I say about this movie that won't fill a novel? Where do I start? I suppose with Peter Jackson. I was so struck to learn how these beautiful works of art, Tolkien's magnum opus, inspired him to want to take on such a daunting yet gratifying task. He saw more in those books than I had read from them, and I'm glad that a dedicated fan brought these jewels to screen. Thank you, Mr. Jackson! The cast? Absolutely beautiful. Their friendship is so apparent, so close, not faked as you see in many other movies. Not one actor in those three films were bad. Yes, you heard me. So those of you who said that the casting was terrible, let me say to you: "Not all those who wander are lost."

Elijah Wood, who is a very gifted and bright young man, has such an incredible beauty (inside and out) to portray such a conflicted and fatalistic character. His own striking idealism, innocence, and understanding was such that you fell in love with Frodo at first sight, but not to the point where he seemed weak. Elijah is Frodo incarnate, and anyone else would have ruined the role.

Sean Astin, another very bright young man, shows his warm wisdom as Samwise, as well as a courage the likes of which I have never seen before in any performance. He had such an aura of honesty and kindliness that it shone like a light on screen. His friendship with Frodo (Elijah respectively) is so obvious and true on-screen, and not a sappy, cheesy "Hollywood" special. Friendships that are too sappy (and fake) will kill a movie, but this one was so obviously real and strong that it touched we fans in such a deep way (for those who could appreciate it).

I can't say everything I would like to about these movies. The marriage of deep friendship, dedication, and beautiful, realistic special effects creates an entrancing epic that will be hard to rival by any movie. Those who negatively rated these movies, did you actually pay any attention to the screen as you watched the movie? For those who have never seen these movies, please, do. The deep bonds shared by these actors, all of them, are so beautifully shown, and the cast clearly underwent a lot of stress (For those who own the Extended Versions of these movies, you might hear some horror stories from Astin, Wood, Mortensen, Serkis, and more, if you listen to the documentaries/commentaries), but it is clear that they love their roles, and it shines through in their voices, their faces, and especially their acting.

I neglected to mention the efforts of the crew. Without them, over 5,000 people strong, these movies would not have been possible. They created Middle Earth in such way that it seemed possible to be a shadow of our past: a past world on Earth that faded away long before our time. Thanks be to them.

Yes, there are differences from the books. There always are, in any adaptation. I saw that some people commented about how weak a character they thought Frodo seemed compared to the book, because several moments in which he looks Evil in the face were shortened/changed in the film version. That isn't true. Not at all. True heroism means not only defending others, but accepting aid from others. True heroism means that one accepts that they can't do everything alone, and accepts the aid of those willing to give it. THAT is true heroism. Frodo shows that in every light, even if it isn't always obvious. You can see with much more than your eyes...

Overall, if these were the last movies I thought worthwhile enough to watch (I hope cinema doesn't become that bad), it would be fine by me. Thanks to all of the people who brought this to us, the LOTR fans. To my fellow fans, I say: "May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out."

10/10, and then some.
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10/10
Three Rings for the Elven Kings, Under The Sky........
Bob_Tanaka8 July 2002
I wish I could quote the whole poem. The Lord of the Rings is, far and away, the BEST MOVIE OF 2001!!! And #2 of all time!!! Right behind the Star Wars trilogy (which I count as one movie) and right above the Longest Day. The movie does it's best to follow the books (and cuts out several pointless parts) and is just as I pictured it. AMZING acting, UNBELEAVIBLE fx, AND ALL AROUND ONE OF THE MOST SPECTACULAR MOVIE OF ALL TIME!!! 10/10!!! and I only resurve that for the BEST the most FLAWLESS of movies!!! Nominated for 13 academy awards and should've won all of them!!! but the academy ALWAYS goes for the artsy movies!!!!
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10/10
A sight to behold
anpwxcat13 April 2002
Growing up, my dad would always tell me his favorite books were The Lord of the Rings volumes. But I was never interested in fantasies, so I didn't really care. Then I found out that Peter Jackman was making the movies so I told my dad. He became really excited. But still, I didn't care. Until one night in November, when they showed the LOTR special on TV. I was able to catch only the first ten, fifteen minutes and instantly, I wanted to see the movie. I had never read the books. My dad took me and my family to see the movie. I was a bit excited and curious to see how they would do it. Mind you, I knew next to nothing about this story.

I sat through the entire three hours in Middle Earth and fell in love with it. Through parts, I would clutch on my brother's arm, tense and hoping that everyone will make it through a lot of the sticky situations they were in. I fell in love with Legolas and his graceful Elf self. The minute the movie began, I was drawn in. The special effects were terrific. I felt like I was there. I wanted (and still do) to live in Rivendell among the Elves. The backdrops for the movies was fantastic. Sir Ian McKellan's quote about how New Zealand is Middle Earth is so true.

I was very impressed with the casting. I'm a huge movie buff so I have seen plenty of movies and I won't be lying when I say that LOTR has the best casting ever. Every person, the mains and the extras, WAS the character they played. The make-up was incredible. The orcs creeped me out. The Elves entranced me. The Hobbits brought a smile to my face. Elrond, Hugo Weaving, is the perfect Elf King, firm and commanding, yet with love for his people and respect for Frodo. I could go on and on, but I won't.

I loved the fact how PJ was able to make the Hobbits look small in every single scene. I would LOVE to know HOW in the world they did that. I love how the Elves are so graceful and look ethereal.

I know that the movie is three hours long and people balk at that. I took a friend of mine who hasn't seen the movie because it was three hours long. He loved it. He was engrossed and he had never read the book either. This movie is one of the, if not THE, finest piece of work I have seen. I eagerly await "The Two Towers" and "The Return of the King". I definitely recommend this movie for everyone to see at least once. I have seen it four times and will see it yet again soon. I can never get bored of this movie. Go. See it.

I leave you with a quote from Gandalf: "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that we are given"
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