This is one of my top three movies of all time.
are many reasons, but what simplifies it most
is how nearly every scene, every moment, every
musical cue, line of dialogue, or the anticipation
of each coming scene warms me on every viewing
without fail. It’s gone beyond being just a
movie, and I’ve seen it at least twenty five
times since last November so I’d know, right?
what movies are supposed to be, something that
transports you away when the only times you’re
thinking about the craft is wondering how on
Earth all these pieces just about fell into
perfect place in a business where tinkering
can literally mean the difference between a
potentially classic piece of art and… Supernova.
The younger members of the Academy
show off the rings they got from melting down
Pete Jackson’s deserved best director Oscar®.
there’s a super special edition on the way but
this is the rare situation where a double dip
bothers me about as much as a fire ant across
the street trapped under a glass filled with
The Ring of Power, powerless
only to The Ring of Benji Sequels, The
Ring of Misbegotten Billy Drago Fans, and
whatever ring Ric Ocasik wears around pretty
reviewed this film before its initial release
and instead of following that review, I figured
I’d focus on the impact and peripheral aspects
of the film almost a year after its initial
release. This will just be a meandering free
form bit of adulation heaped on a deserving
books are good, but not even my favorite fantasy
novels (those would be the first two Shannara
books), let alone favorite works of literature.
I never had some huge undying NEED to see these
stories rendered to film. In fact, I’m not a
die-hard Tolkien fan at all.
still, my expectations for this film were immense.
As big as a Star Wars, Evil
Dead, or comic book film, so were my
expectations for The Fellowship of the
for once my expectations were feeble in comparison
to what Peter Jackson accomplished.
"I’m afraid I can’t help
you. You have a terminal case of 80’s hair."
few years ago there were few things less appealing
to me than hairy toed hobbits as a main protagonist,
and after reading about their every waking moment
of food, drink, and song I was afraid that the
resulting film would be something only die-hard
Tolkien fans could enjoy. To find the heart
of their story and craft something widely accessible
and cinematic would have been a near impossible
Peter Jackson’s film has bridged the gap between
the layperson and the fans of the novel by discarding
a lot of the chaff (though some of it pretty
important to some readers), smoothing a few
aspects together, and by discarding some of
the songs and dialogue that wouldn’t translate
as seamlessly to a modern ear.
literary and cinematic world has grown different
over the many decades since Tolkien’s words
first hit the page. A lot, and I mean A LOT
of stories in several genres have carried its
influence. As a result, when The Fellowship
of the Ring finally reached screens
(not counting Ralph Bakshi’s flawed but fun
Lord of the Rings animated works),
a lot of people felt like they’d been there
and done that.
is the burden of being the inspiration to so
The first production still from
the long awaited drama Flesh & Fire:
The Ronnie James Dio Story.
Regardless, The Fellowship of the Ring
is a truly epic tale in the way that so few
have been able to be since the days of David
Lean. Even a film like Gladiator
didn’t juggle this many characters, settings,
and layers. It’s just too risky, especially
in a business focus grouped out the ass.
could just imagine the notes coming back:
can’t you make this Gollum character cute and
Gandalf show up in the end battle and save the
like the story, except that stuff having to
do with magic."
they have to be only four feet tall, the Hobbits?"
good and all, but doesn’t Creed have any songs
somehow New Line persevered where others had
not and we’re given a tale of wizards and elves,
men and hobbits, demons and orcs unlike anything
ever burned to film before.
Jeffrey Wells prepares another
a gift, it really is.
the amazingly rich work by McKellan as Gandalf
(which may be one of the most immersive and
perfect performances of all time) to the decidedly
human tragic nature of Sean Bean’s Boromir to
the brooding but heroic delivery of Viggo Mortensen’s
Aragorn… it’s all so RIGHT.
to that a surprisingly able turn by Elijah Wood,
great supporting work from his Hobbit companions,
and the undeniable coolness of Hugo Weaving’s
Elrond, Christopher Lee’s Saruman and Orlando
Bloom’s Legolas and the deal is sealed.
this when thinking or LOTR as
an epic. Some of the pivotal main characters
don’t even enter the film until an hour and
a half into the movie yet all of the characters
are given plenty to do and it never feels too
long, unlike certain films about a sinking ocean
liner or a famed attack in Hawaii.
"Oh, you wanted Balrog from
Super Street Fighter II? My bad."
performances are all super, even the critically
maligned but appropriately dark and spooky one
by Cate Blanchett. There’s no slumming here
or tongue in cheek "paycheck" type
performances. Everyone realizes the weight of
the material and gives it their all. This film
could have easily crumbled under that weight,
resulting in a overbearing and earnest bit of
cheese that’d make it a big, bright target for
the same folks who lined up to fire shots at
the respect for the material goes all the way
up the line to the top.
Photographic evidence indicating
why Christopher Lee’s Indian name is "He
Who Seeks Information From Balls".
Jackson and his crew invested 200% into just
about every frame of the film. There are shots
that are just as you’d picture them from the
books, paintings come to life. The steps taken
to build a world we’ve never seen are phenomenal.
Every little detail has been thought out and
realized so that for three hours the viewer
is IN the Middle Earth. The painstaking work,
often rendered in real practical sets and equipment…
is the kind of things, as generic a saying as
this is… just isn’t done like this anymore.
a perfect blend of old school and today’s technology.
Never before could the Balrog have been created
and people not have spotted the craft that made
the creature instead of experiencing it for
what it was. Claymation, stop-motion, and poorly
rendered CGI often take you out of the movie
and thankfully Jackson and his WETA FX team
never unleashed a bluescreen or effect that
takes his audience out of the film.
"Eric Roberts wants his
nose back? Tell him to come take it from me!"
are naysayers, and I feel for them because I
wish everyone could get the amazing rush of
warmth I get from watching this sucker. Each
time those musical cues, the way Gandalf treats
his friends, the building of the fellowship,
and just about every other aspect of this film.
It all works like, well… magic.
near perfect movie and just think, the 2nd two
books are better than the first. Scary, but
out of 10
"You think Shannon Doherty’s
the only person whose eyes exist on different
than a shrink-wrapped whistle and sweeter than
mom’s apple pie.
with a bigger, ballsier, and sexier super special
edition with a cherry on top right around the
corner, this is hardly a visual pushover. Presented
in the expected 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
(God hates fullscreen, so should you), this
is exactly what people who buy fancy home theater
about perfect. Just about.
"Christ, that’s all I
need… first Martha leaves the iron on at
home and now I get a friggin’ arrow in the
out of 10
Boromir is smiling, but nowhere
near as much as the Hollow Man is.
I’m surprised there’s no DTS track here, the
included 5.1EX track will know your socks
off as well as the feet inside them.
the love of all that is holy, there are few
discs that are much a joy to crank up as this
pounding of Ringwraith hoofbeats. Howard Shore’s
award winning score. Doors slamming at Saruman’s
behest. Ian McKellan’s booming voice as he warns
Bilbo about the ring. AMAZING STUFF, balanced
ever so perfectly without being overbearing.
one thing that grated in the theaters… the
Ringwraiths’ shrieks, they’re not so grating
you, New Line.
out of 10
…and Aragorn’s chronic muscle
spasms claim yet another companion.
is where the disc is kind of a mixed bag.
has TONS of features, don’t get me wrong. Also,
they were kind enough not to duplicate any of
the special materials from the upcoming 4 disc
it’s still a mixed bag.
meat of the deal is the 10 minute segment of
stuff teasing us for The Two Towers, and while
it doesn’t show us much of anything we didn’t
see at the end of the first film (those of us
who went to see "Fellowship" late
in its run to catch the new stuff).
there’s a teaser for the upcoming DVD and it
rest of the stuff is culled from EPK or is a
mini featurette (one cresting the 40 minute
mark) and is all good but most of us are craving
new stuff by now (those of us who saw most of
this on the website leading up to the film).
obvious that the best stuff is waiting on us
in the upcoming DVD but this does a serviceable
job of whetting the appetite.
out of 10
you have to do a group photo you could do a
whole lot worse.
have preferred a painting (they somehow look
better over time), but this is a pretty classy
image and one of the several theatrical posters
so it’s not a bastardization.
perfect, but solid.
out of 10
THE LOOK: 9.5
THE NOISE: 9.7
THE GOODIES: 7.0
THE ARTWORK: 7.5