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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Six years ago....

weaver
Half-elven

Dec 14 2007, 4:12pm


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Six years ago.... Can't Post

Bucky's answer in the QTNA post below about the films being the best Tolkien Christmas gifts ever got me thinking, so I headed over to Rotten Tomatoes for reviews of FOTR when it first came out in 2001 (has it really been six years?)

Anyway, here's a really great review that I thought I'd share:

FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING – A MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR

In my experience, very few films leave you with the
immediate impression, after the very first viewing,
that you have witnessed one of the great films,
something timeless and classic in every sense of those
overused terms. “Fellowship of the Ring,” however—the
first segment in the beloved J.R.R. Tolkien
fantasy/adventure Lord of the Rings trilogy—did just
that to me. I have no qualms about calling it one of
the best films of the year, and I highly suspect it is
much, much more than that.

This is the spectacular thrill ride so many of us had
hoped for, but were just too darn afraid to expect.
After such 2001 disasters as “Pearl Harbor,” “Planet
of the Apes,” “Ocean’s Eleven,” and—to a lesser
extent—“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” I
suspect many people were becoming rather accustomed to
mediocrity or, even worse, inferiority. Indeed, the
label “event movie” has been something of a curse in
recent years, insofar as quality cinema goes, sort of
like getting your picture on the cover of Sports
Illustrated.

But “Fellowship of the Ring,” from New Line Cinema
and director Peter Jackson, breaks the curse, reaching
new heights in entertainment for the eyes, ears, mind,
and soul. The sets are spectacular. The special
effects are dazzling, magical, and fun (without being
excessive). The music is moving and appropriate. The
dialogue is a well-balanced mixture of that
overly-dramatic Tolkien-speak, some informative
exposition, tableside chit-chat, and well-timed
zingers. Add to this a highly-cinematic story, told
at the right pace, and you have something truly
significant.

“Fellowship of the Ring” is also plump with heartfelt
emotion. We experience joy, laughter, palpable fear,
and true sorrow during the course of the film’s
three-hour run. And when it’s all over, we
immediately wish we could do it all over again... at
least I did.

It seems almost silly to explain so familiar a story.
Suffice it to say that Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), a
Hobbit (i.e., a hairy-footed creature who is smaller
than a man, but large than dwarf, sort of like Woody
Allen), is given a mysterious ring by his uncle Bilbo
(played charmingly by Ian Holm). The ring is
powerful and evil and is being sought out by the evil
Lord Sauron, a being similar in evil designs to such
other villains as the Emperor in “Stars Wars,” the
Wicked Witch in “The Wizard of Oz,” and Voldemort in
the Harry Potter series. Sauron and his evil cohorts
are thus pursuing poor Frodo and his rag-tag group of
friends, who collectively hope to find some way to
destroy the ring before it falls into the wrong hands.


I wish I could articulate what it is that makes
“Fellowship of the Ring” a vastly superior film to
Harry Potter’s first installment. Such things cannot,
however, be so easily explained, for there is a
certain magical mystery in any great film. But part
of the reason, I believe, is that Fellowship tells
most its back-story in the first five minutes of the
film, while Harry Potter took about two hours to do
the same. With Fellowship, you know soon after the
film begins that Frodo is running for his life. With
Harry Potter, it is likely you never fully understood
what the Sorcerer’s Stone was all about.

Additionally, “Fellowship of the Ring,” a novel that
I enjoyed less than the first Harry Potter book, is,
in my opinion, a more visual tale, one that is
particularly cinematic. It transfers well to the
screen. And, whether you agree with me or not on
which is the better book, a good argument can be made
that lesser novels make better films, for the director
and writer are given more space for interpretation.

Of course all films live or die by their directors.
I was not particularly pleased to discover director
Peter Jackson is a kind of Tolkien junkie. I pictured
him at one of those Trekkie-like gatherings,
Tolkien-style of course, complete with hair glued to
his feet. I wondered if Jackson was too close to the
material and whether he might go on and on about
Middle-Earth, Hobbit ancestry, the history of the
Shire, or other things 99% of the world does not care
about.

But those fears were unfounded. Jackson does a
wonderful job of showing us Tolkien’s fantasy world,
not simply telling us about how it. His knowledge has
been transferred into images, and his vision is an
impressive one. He has taken some risks here, the
kind of risks that were avoided in the Harry Potter
film. Some characters and scenes were omitted.
Others were combined or enhanced. (Liv Tyler’s Arwen,
for instance.) One particularly important scene
sequence, involving a chase scene to surging river,
will raise the ire of Tolkien fanatics, I’m sure, for
this is one of the key events in the first novel.
Here, it has been altered.

The spirit of the novel has been effectively captured,
however, and the film stands on it own, apart from the
written word. In so doing, it will, I think, be more
able to stand the test of time. The book will live,
and so will the film.

As for performances, they were all good. Like Harry
Potter, this is an extremely well-cast film. However,
I will mention three performances that moved me. Ian
McKellan, as the wizard Gandalf, is the foundation
upon which all the other performances build. He is
magnificent, every bit as magical in his performance
as his character is in deed. Elijah Wood proves he
was the worthy choice for Frodo. He was an
instrumental part in all of the most moving scenes,
and their emotional effect on me is the best testimony
to Wood’s efforts. Lastly, Sean Astin was great as
Sam Gangee, the friend each of us needs by our side.

At this point, I have no negative criticism to offer.
I am speechless.

This film is rated PG-13 for epic battle sequences and
some scary images. It is not, I assure, suitable for
the faint of heart.

RATING A + © 2001. Jim Chastain II

It's fun to read through the reviews and get a bit of the "magic" back for those of us who like and celebrate the films. Here's the link to the review page for FOTR if you want to read more:

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/...lowship_of_the_ring/

Weaver


Subject User Time
Six years ago.... weaver Send a private message to weaver Dec 14 2007, 4:12pm
    Hmm... DunedainRonin Send a private message to DunedainRonin Dec 14 2007, 4:44pm
        Oh, yes, definitely entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Dec 14 2007, 5:29pm
    Loved the Woody Allen reference ... Elven Send a private message to Elven Dec 14 2007, 5:08pm
    It's been six years?!?! Lily Fairbairn Send a private message to Lily Fairbairn Dec 14 2007, 6:29pm
        It kind of makes me think about... Patty Send a private message to Patty Dec 14 2007, 6:34pm
            Ebert said that the film of FotR was less than the book. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 14 2007, 6:43pm
                I was referring to his comment here... Patty Send a private message to Patty Dec 14 2007, 6:51pm
                    Critics....*sigh* stormcrow20 Send a private message to stormcrow20 Dec 15 2007, 5:37am
                        Hee hee Loresilme Send a private message to Loresilme Dec 17 2007, 3:06am
                            Thanks, glad it gave you a giggle! :-D // stormcrow20 Send a private message to stormcrow20 Dec 18 2007, 8:11am
                Yes, but... Silverlode Send a private message to Silverlode Dec 15 2007, 9:51am
                    "the battles seemed to surprise him" N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 16 2007, 2:53am
                        No. Silverlode Send a private message to Silverlode Dec 16 2007, 7:15am
                            "a well-crafted and sometimes stirring adventure" N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 16 2007, 7:42am
                                I've always suspected entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Dec 16 2007, 3:02pm
                                    I doubt it. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 16 2007, 4:50pm
                                        All that means entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Dec 16 2007, 5:13pm
                                            Transcript of Ebert/Roeper review, and link to video of their comments. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 16 2007, 10:30pm
                                                They made Silverlode Send a private message to Silverlode Dec 16 2007, 11:37pm
                                                    Three stars. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 17 2007, 12:07am
                                                I remembered much of that entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Dec 17 2007, 12:26am
                                                    "In The Hobbit, the hobbits are clearly the only heroes" N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 17 2007, 12:56am
                                                        I'm not sure why we're in this argument entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Dec 17 2007, 1:48am
                                                            "it *seemed* to him that he saw"... N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 17 2007, 1:52am
                                                                No, not uncomfortable, just bewildered entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Dec 17 2007, 2:04am
                                            wow vtboyarc Send a private message to vtboyarc Dec 17 2007, 12:15am
                            That's my problem, too, Silverlode... Patty Send a private message to Patty Dec 16 2007, 8:38pm
            Roeper changed his mind about FOTR frodolives Send a private message to frodolives Dec 17 2007, 12:58am
                "He can say 'Aragorn slew many orcs'. But you have to show that onscreen." N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 17 2007, 1:14am
                    True, but... frodolives Send a private message to frodolives Dec 17 2007, 1:46am
                        "More quiet and less action". N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 17 2007, 1:49am
                            The best that can be done frodolives Send a private message to frodolives Dec 17 2007, 1:55am
                            How would you have shown Helm's Deep, entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Dec 17 2007, 2:07am
                                Cut them entirely, in favor of... N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 17 2007, 2:36am
                                    I think it's a question of balance entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Dec 17 2007, 2:50am
                                    Danged if you do, danged if you don't. Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone Dec 17 2007, 9:54pm
                                        Nice to have you back. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 18 2007, 12:18am
                                            I doubt it. Silverlode Send a private message to Silverlode Dec 18 2007, 3:12am
                                                I understand. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 18 2007, 3:45am
                                                    Lotsa moments like that Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone Dec 18 2007, 4:17am
                                            Thanks! Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone Dec 18 2007, 3:49am
                                                ZZZ. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 18 2007, 3:57am
                                                    Cause it's in the book. Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone Dec 18 2007, 4:30am
                                                        I am in awe... N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 18 2007, 4:39am
                                                            Not to deny Darkstone's awesomeness FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Dec 18 2007, 7:55pm
                                        Darkstone, I love you. Patty Send a private message to Patty Dec 18 2007, 4:25am
                Roeper realized the train was leaving the station entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Dec 17 2007, 1:52am
                    Yes, I'd say that was a perfect description of what happened. Patty Send a private message to Patty Dec 17 2007, 2:48am
                        Remember how entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Dec 17 2007, 2:52am
                            I do distinctly remember Patty Send a private message to Patty Dec 17 2007, 3:19am
                                Do you love "Ben Hur"? N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 17 2007, 3:26am
                                    I did love Ben Hur, yes...until Patty Send a private message to Patty Dec 17 2007, 3:48am
                                        Have you ever seen/read "The Celluloid Closet"? N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 17 2007, 4:13am
                                    Where are you getting that from? frodolives Send a private message to frodolives Dec 17 2007, 4:06am
                                        "Anatomy of a Murder", "Fires on the Plain", "Floating Weeds", "The Four Hundred Blows"... N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 17 2007, 4:22am
                                            Er... aren't we discussing LOTR? frodolives Send a private message to frodolives Dec 17 2007, 4:25am
                                                Ha! Only sometimes. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 17 2007, 4:49am
                                                    Finding Nemo? Patty Send a private message to Patty Dec 17 2007, 4:56am
                                                        "Mine!" N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 17 2007, 5:07am
                                                            I love Finding Nemo too Owlyross Send a private message to Owlyross Dec 18 2007, 10:17am
                                    Of course! Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone Dec 17 2007, 10:44pm
                                *Yawn*. Sunflower Send a private message to Sunflower Dec 17 2007, 4:45am
                                    Sergei Bondarchuk's 1967 "War and Peace" just showed here. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 17 2007, 5:04am
                                        Dangit. Sunflower Send a private message to Sunflower Dec 17 2007, 6:34am
                        Tolkien was a critic. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 17 2007, 3:19am
    "Ocean's Eleven" wasn't a disaster. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 14 2007, 6:41pm
        Sauron vs. The Wicked Witch of the West squire Send a private message to squire Dec 15 2007, 2:32am
            I'm not so sure. Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Dec 15 2007, 7:58am
                You're probably right. He never once says "my pretty" in this scene: squire Send a private message to squire Dec 15 2007, 2:18pm
                    Jawohl, mein Herr! dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Dec 15 2007, 5:07pm
                    Ach, who needs alternate realities Ataahua Send a private message to Ataahua Dec 15 2007, 8:04pm
                "a vulgar and ignorant little cad" dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Dec 15 2007, 4:28pm
    thanks, weaver... Nuradar Send a private message to Nuradar Dec 14 2007, 6:58pm
    I remember Ataahua Send a private message to Ataahua Dec 14 2007, 7:24pm
    Sorry, weaver, we seem to have completely hijacked your thread entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Dec 17 2007, 3:00am
        I still haven't seen that flipping car. Ataahua Send a private message to Ataahua Dec 17 2007, 7:13am
            have you seen this web page? Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Dec 17 2007, 2:15pm
            Most of what you see entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Dec 17 2007, 2:52pm
        Not to worry... weaver Send a private message to weaver Dec 17 2007, 2:25pm
    Great thread, and now I'm curious to know about FIVE years ago... Loresilme Send a private message to Loresilme Dec 17 2007, 3:29am
        We had a preview in March. entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Dec 17 2007, 4:12am
            Indeed it was a spectacular ride... Patty Send a private message to Patty Dec 17 2007, 5:08am
                I remember that entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Dec 17 2007, 2:55pm
            I remember the fury on the discussion boards Ataahua Send a private message to Ataahua Dec 17 2007, 7:29am
                And as for me.... Sunflower Send a private message to Sunflower Dec 17 2007, 8:26am
                    Thanks. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Dec 18 2007, 3:12am
                Wasn't that ROTK entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Dec 17 2007, 2:57pm
                    Don't you just love internet scuttlebutt? Patty Send a private message to Patty Dec 17 2007, 4:31pm
        well... Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Dec 17 2007, 4:50am

 
 
 

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