The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Director: Peter Jackson
A young Hobbit (that’s a short dude with pointy ears and hairy feet) named Frodo (Wood) unwillingly becomes the keeper of an ancient ring that has the power to unleash a powerful evil force upon the world. He embarks on a journey with a couple of “homies” to reach the only place where it could be destroyed.
Let me put this out there before I go any further. I have never read the LOTR books (I read Hustler magazine), I’ve never been into “Dungeons and Dragons” (I dig getting laid more) and I’m not a big fan of movies with freakin' elves in them (reminds me of Christmas…I hate Christmas). So I went in to see this film with zero expectations. I actually wasn’t looking forward to it much.
Having said that, I can safely say that I genuinely enjoyed LOTR and was really surprised at how much I got into it. This is basically an old fashioned Good versus Evil tale (loved the whole “ring” concept) but with a huge budget and incredible production value. I was flabbergasted by this film’s impressive landscapes...be it the wide plains, the creepy forests, the snow filled mountains, the peaceful river or the spooky cave. My eyes were riveted to the screen. You will believe the world of this film. Walking through it with the main characters, I felt like a damn kid again. It was nice to re-capture that sense of wonder movies used to give me.
Action-wise, the flick also delivers. For a three hour movie it didn’t lag as much as I thought it would. The film is long but it never bored me. Once the premise is firmly established, the film’s beat is fairly simple. The gang talk and walk, then they fight or get into a dangerous situation. The flick keeps that flow the whole way till the end. The fight sequences themselves are extremely engaging and are filled with tension. Seeing Aragon (Mortensen) kick all kinds of bootie with his sword brought a huge smile to my face. I also dug seeing that archer dude (Bloom) doing all kinds of neat stuff with his bow and arrow. FUN TIMES!
The film’s special effects are astounding 98 percent of the time. Be it the “stunt” pieces (like the avalanche on the mountain), the creature effects (lots of kool monsters here) or the eerie “ring” dimension…this white boy was convinced. The biggest kicker however (for me) was seeing Frodo (Wood) look so small compared to Gandalf (McKellen). That was a kind of cute. I think everybody should own a Hobbit. They would make great pets.
I will admit to being disappointed with the bald monster in the cave though. It looked too CGI for my liking, especially when the live characters would jump on it. It took me "out of the action" a bit. But overall, the visual effects are solid.
I do have some qualms with the flick though. First off, not having read the books there was a lot of stuff that the characters would talk about that went over my head. There are so many weird words and big names in this flick! My simple-minded arse didn’t always get it. Another negative is the block with Cate Blanchett. What was the point of that scene again? Actually what was the point of her character? The scene is too long for the amount of substance it gives us and it also makes way for the only “corny” sequence in the film. Without giving it away I will say that it involves a “morphing” effect that had me laughing when it was supposed to scare me. My last complaint would have to be the anti-climatic ending. It just ends and that’s it. Now I know this is the first part of a trilogy but how about ending it with a cliffhanger or a more memorable event? The ending let me down. I have to wait a whole year to know what happens next? Come on!
In conclusion, LOTR is an exciting, gorgeous and at times, somewhat scary ride. It brings up themes that I appreciate like friendship, bravery, honor, ass-whooping and it’s all wrapped up in Jackson’s sumptuous visual panache. George Lucas should watch this flick and take notes. One last thing: Is it me or was there some gay vibes between Frodo and Sam? My “gaydar” picked up something there. Another reason to see LOTR! YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!
We get lots of kool creature effects; a couple of cut off limbs and the Hobbits’ atrocious looking hairy feet.
Elijah Wood (Frodo) does well and didn’t get on my nerves like I thought he would. I was dreading that “Do they, Gandalf?” line I kept hearing in the trailer but it went down smoothly. Ian McKellen (Gandalf) is perfect casting as the wizard. He reminded me of the “Alphagetti” cereal wizard. I like “Alphagetti” and I liked him too. Viggo Mortensen (Aragon) was my anchor to the film. I love the guy! Thank God that we had a real man to relate to in here. He sure knows how to whoop that ass and has charisma to boot. Sean Astin (Sam) does fine as Frodo’s close friend/maybe lover. I would’ve preferred an unknown to Liv Tyler (Arwen) for the elf part though. When she popped up, all I saw was Liv Tyler with pointy ears. I’m not a big fan.
Cate Blanchett (Galadriel) is hot; not much of a part. Orlando Bloom (Legolas) rocked as the archer. He gives a strong and subtle performance. Christopher Lee (Saruman) does his bad guy thang again. He’s good at it. Sean Bean (Boromir) stretches and plays a character that’s not fully evil. Good for him! John Rhys Davies (Gimli) didn’t do shite for me. His character bored me. Hugo Weaving (Elrond) stuck out like a sore thumb. He looks like a drag queen and I expected him to say “Mr. Anderson” at any time. Ian Holm (Bilbo) is adorable as a Hobbit. He’s just so small. His moments of sudden evil scared the crap out of me though. Billy Boyd (Pipin) does ok as the semi-comic relief.
T & A
Again the Hobbits’ atrocious looking hairy feet. Are you excited yet?
Peter Jackson nails it. I appreciated his display of wild shots (the arrow bit…nice!), loved the slow motion (all about those wraith horsemen), the swooping camera shots and the powerful moments of silence. Tension is also present and I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat more than once (the bridge sequence…wow!). He also slaps in a few good “goose bump” moments. My favorite being the scene where Aragon (Mortensen) slowly turns (in slow-motion) to face an army of baddies alone. I felt that one. Great job, dude!
We get a very powerful score that supports the images perfectly. It knows when to boom out and it knows when to be quiet to reinforce the power of specific scenes.
Like I said earlier: I’m not into the whole “fantasy” genre. Elves don’t crank my dial and wizards neither. You should all keep that in mind while reading my review. If you dig that vibe than I’m sure you’ll love this flick more than I did. I was in the dark walking into this film and I still really liked it. It had enough action set pieces and imagination to satisfy me and you bet I’m there for the two other entries. I’m sure that part 2 will be even better since part 1 is mostly a setup for the sequel. I can’t wait to see the payoffs! I also wonder if Frodo and Sam will get it on in Part 2? Aaahhh...the suspense of it all!
All three films were shot in New Zealand.