Based on the first volume of a high-fantasy book series by English author J. R. R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is the first of three massively epic movies that covers the tale that would shape the fantasy genre to what it is today. It is directed by Peter Jackson, associated with films such as Heavenly Creatures, King Kong and The Lovely Bones. However, there's no denying that The Fellowship of the Ring was the film that put him on the map. Why is this so?
Peter Jackson: Deity of Book Adaptation
It is because the film truly captured the essence of Tolkien's masterpiece. Being the first, you'd think that The Fellowship of the Ring would be intended to test the waters and collect audience feedback for its sequels. Thankfully, that is neither the case nor Jackson's intention. Set on the gorgeous backdrop of New Zealand, the film achieves a balance of awe-inspiring landscapes and believable character development. From sweet Hobbiton to the mysteriously dark passages of Moria and the elegant forest realm of Lothlorien, home of the elves, you will feel as though you are transported to Middle-earth yourself and you will love every minute of it.
Watching The Fellowship of the Ring for the first time left us in awe. It is the way the characters interact with each other, how each location is alive and teeming with life and how the words spoken touched our hearts. It is a movie you will gladly watch again. You'll likely double all 165 minutes of the film's run time , ever tempted to witness Frodo's banter with Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) or to watch Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom) as their characters grow with the rest of the fellowship.
Growing into the Roles
Keep in mind that not everyone in the cast was already a big deal when the movie came out. What made their performance so believable was the labor of love that came with it. No one went to the set thinking they were the film's saving grace. The acting was top notch because everyone took their roles to heart. The moment they walk into the scene, you just know that they are these unique characters and that they relish that fact.
For instance, Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) is portrayed as a spry old wizard that you just know is a catalyst -- vital to the success of the companion's quest. Yet he never steals the show from Frodo, providing magical assistance and occasional words of encouragement only when truly necessary. Then there's Boromir (Sean Bean), a valiant soldier from Gondor who bears the weight of his heroic reputation. Bean plays this tortured warrior with so much angst and intensity, you can't help but sympathize with him the moment he redeems himself to his people. And of course, Legolas impresses with both his archery skills and dashing good looks. The icing on the cake would have to be Peter Jackson's technical prowess. For the most part, green screen is snubbed in favor of a few camera tricks and yet, it gets to that point where we can't look at Wood and Astin like they're regular sized people. Even the towering John Rhys-Davies who plays Gimli ends up a convincing dwarf.
A Sword, an Axe, a Bow, and the Undying Fandom of Millions
Of course, there is no such thing as a perfect movie. Although The Fellowship of the Ring is very nearly flawless, there are a couple of aspects which could use improvement. For starters, Liv Tyler's Arwen is notably underdeveloped. As a result, her tragic love story with Aragorn is very easily overlooked in favor of other dilemmas.
Still, The Fellowship of the Ring is sure to please even nitpicky movie watchers as it stays true to the world Tolkien created. It's hard to imagine not being absorbed into the tale when it shows so much heart.