The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
I never read the Lord of the Rings books as a kid. I suppose I was more of a sci-fi loyalist. The bits and pieces of the Tolkein mythos I picked up here and there just made the whole thing just seem too big, too epic, and too inaccessible. At some point I remember catching a few minutes of what I now know to be the Rankin/Bass version of Return of the King and thinking that it was simultaneously confusing, silly, and kind of scary. But, for the most part I forgot about such things as the years passed by. I do, however, remember the day that I first heard that the books were being made into a movie series. I was in college and my friend Chris called a bunch of people over to his dorm room, almost beside himself with excitement. The trailer for The Fellowship of the Ring had just been released to the internet, and Chris wanted everyone to see it. My memory of watching that trailer is vivid, considering that this had to be twelve years ago.
Given this background, it may be a little odd that I can’t remember the first time I actually saw The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the theater, I’m pretty sure that it was opening weekend, it might even have been a midnight showing, While I don’t remember when I watched it, I do remember what I thought about it. As I’d always expected it was big, and epic, but it was also fantastic. I suppose part of the reason this may be because this was one of the few movies that I saw more than once in theaters. In the intervening years, I’ve seen it probably a dozen times, but today was the first time I’ve had the task of having to write down what I think about it.
This is proving to be somewhat of a task. As it was with Star Wars I don’t suppose it would be of much value for me to try to describe the plot or who’s in the film. If you haven’t seen this movie, just go ahead and do it, I recommend taking the time to watch the extended cut.
One of the many things I admire about what Peter Jackson did with these movies, is the way he completely justified the massive length of the film. It’s not that its packed with nothing action, but it does make the most of the time to tell a complete story. The first half of Fellowship is a lot of world-building and character-building, but it doesn’t feel laborious or dull. Credit here is probably largely due to the fantastic acting performances across the board, and to the fascinating source material provided by J.R.R. Tolkien. However, its still a remarkable achievement to pace everything so perfectly, with just the right blend of action and dialogue to keep the viewer entertained throughout what is, after all, just an extended first act of a much larger story. It is, without a doubt, a must see.