Skip to comments."The Fellowship Of The Ring": review by Darth Sidious
Posted on 12/19/2001 1:22:18 AM PST by Darth Sidious
Well, as of this moment it's now been an hour since we (the Lovely Lisa and yours truly) left the theater, after the 12:01 am first showing of The Fellowship Of The Ring. To say that a fun time was had by all would be an understatement: the place was packed! One knot of fans came in costume as Aragorn, elves etc. I brought a sign saying "Gandalf 3:16" I waved around before the movie. Lots of "Lord Of The Rings" discussion, including the ubiquitous "do Balrogs have wings" going on. I'd say the crowd ranged in age from 16 to 75 easily, with probably 20-35 being the most in attendance.
Oh yeah, and the movie... the movie...
At this point I want to say something - a three word phrase - but I'm trying awfully hard not to take the Lord's name in vain. It's commonly used, however, to indicate that one is completely and utterly overwhelmed by an event. And gosh-darnnit, I want to say those three words, over and over and over again... until it becomes absolutely clear to you, Dear Reader, that this writer has indeed become completely and utterly overwhelmed by this particular event.
Lisa had never done a midnight showing of a movie before. I'd been telling her the past few days that this would be "fun". 'Course, this comes from a guy who camped out overnight for tickets to Star Wars: Episode I a few years ago too, so my own senses may be kind of inured to this sort of nonsense. But to someone blessedly belonging to the realm of normal mortals, the idea of seeing a movie at midnight - unless it's Rocky Horror Picture Show - is still a bit peculiar. Still, the Episode I first showing was loads of fun, and Lisa trusted me enough to give this a whirl.
I'm thankful she went along for the ride. Years from now when we've a houseful of children, the little tykes are going to be in awe that Mommy and Daddy were among the very first to watch The Fellowship Of The Ring. As much as someone would be in awe of their parents being the first to see The Wizard Of Oz or Gone With The Wind.
Okay, the temptation is too great, but fill in the blank: oh my ___.
Oh my ___ oh my ___ oh my ___.
This is easily the best movie I've seen since The Patriot, and maybe the best I've seen ever. That'll have to wait 'til later this morning, when the full experience has "soaked in". Peter Jackson has raised the bar higher than any film has since the original Star Wars in '77. Indeed, The Fellowship Of The Ring may be the finest marrying of story and special-effects in film history: a wonderful fruit of the seed that was planted from George Lucas's endeavours. And if Star Wars is ever supplanted as the predominant saga of cinema, there is no more suitable an heir in sight than there is The Fellowship Of The Ring.
So if you're wondering how the first chapter of cinema's The Lord Of The Rings gets rolling without making a film of "The Hobbit" first, you're in for a treat. The first eight minutes sets the stage for both newcomers to the saga and die-hard Tolkienites, introducing the Rings of Power and who they were meant for, and how the One Ring wound up in the hands of Bilbo Baggins (Sir Ian Holm). I *loved* this part, because from the getgo it's laying down a history for what's to come. And probably the spookiest is when it shows the nine of the race of Men, who are given nine rings: I've always wondered who these nine guys were, what they looked like before they turned into the Ringwraiths, and somehow Jackson's interpretation was exactly what I imagined. If only the same could be said for Sauron...
Ahhhh, Sauron... the Lord of the Ring. We see him forge the One Ring to ensnare the others, and then in action during the most BRUTAL battle you could imagine. After you see Sauron, Darth Vader is a wuss. Darth Maul is a wuss. Darth I'm-A-Drunken-Soccer-Hooligan-And-You're-Shite-I'm-Gonna-Break-Your-Skull is a wuss even.
Okay, anyhoo... the story goes from a beautifully orchestrated intro to Frodo (Elijah Wood) meeting Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) en route to the Shire for Bilbo's 111th birthday party, and...
Ahhh, okay, look, it doesn't matter who's playing who in this film. I know who McKellen is, I know he played Magneto in X-Men and he's openly homosexual, and if anyone else has a problem with that, fine. I know a few Christians who have vocally said this is reason enough to boycott the film. Well, as a fellow believer I'll go on record as saying this film hits the mark closer than any other interpretation of Tolkien's overwhelmingly Christian-inspired work. That's NOT McKellen on the screen, that is Gandalf. Hugo Weaving isn't in this movie: Peter Jackson convinced Elrond to come back East across the Sea to play himself: the real Weaving is busy filming The Matrix Reloaded, so that can't be him.
I'm going to cut to the chase about The Fellowship Of The Ring, about how to watch it and get the most from it. It doesn't have Tom Bombadil and Goldberry in it. The barrow-downs scene is nowhere. The Council of Elrond is greatly abbreviated from how it's depicted in the original text. Arwen has a far greater presence than she has in the novel. A dozen differences and more will be enough to rankle some die-hard Rings fans... but don't worry about those. Go into The Fellowship Of The Ring with the mindset that this is a historical film... and as faithful to its historical matter as is Apollo 13 or Gettysburg. Tell yourself that this is a cinematic translation of the War of the Ring. That it doesn't matter if some of those things did or didn't happen inside the Apollo 13 capsule: they made it home and that's all that's really important. So too is it with this movie: tell yourself that this is one translation of a real historical event, just like Tolkien didn't invent the story, he merely translated it from the Red Book of Westmarch (collecting dust somewhere in some forgotten corner of the Oxford library). That this is a depiction of events as they happened 9,000 years ago. It doesn't matter that no one will ever find the ruins of Barad-Dur or Rivendell on this earth, because they aren't to be found.
But the metaphors and analogies in this movie are all quite true. This is a story centered on a metaphor for absolute power, symbolized in an innocent-looking gold band. It's a warning against seeking power for power's sake. It's about resisting the temptation of power, of refusing to yield to the lust for glory. And it's about the strength that is found, not in the gods of this world or the might of fortresses, but in accepting with the most abject humility that one must do what one can to stand against evil - however meek or mean the effort - in the time God has given us. As I have come to discover those aspects of life, so too do I believe that The Fellowship Of The Ring is a very true and real story... if only as analogy to our struggle against our own ring's temptings.
We're going to see it again later today. For a movie that clocks in at just under three hours, that's gotta mean it's pretty good.
Newborn Lurtz BUMP!
Damn, I'm a geek!
Thanks! (and glad to oblige :-)
Newborn Lurtz BUMP!
Won't spoil anything, but something happens to Lurtz towards the end that I couldn't help but say out loud "just a flesh wound" :-)
Thanks for the very nice review, and I tend to agree with your comment above. And this movie will make a KILLING on 2nd and 3rd showings. I see probably 3 movies a year on average, but I FULLY intend to see this movie 3 times just by itself. Peter Jackson, you da MAN!
This is the very rare movie you could take your church's youth group to - or the whole church for that matter - and no one would feel ashamed or insulted or anything else like that. People are tired of that... and this movie (and to some extent, "Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone") delivers an innocent alternative. Lord knows we need good medicine like this after a season of grief.
Somehow I don't think they'll put this on any LOTR movie ads. Ouch. ^^
Thanks for the review!
PS: Had this movie been reviewed as containing any liberal propoganda then, regardless of all else, we would have skipped it entirely.
Maybe you meant that you hadn't seen a movie at all since the Patriot, in which case I retract my sneering look :)