Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Movie Name: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Year of Release: 2001
Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Ian Holm, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, Liv Tyler, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Hugo Weaving, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Marton Csokas, Christopher Lee, Andy Serkis
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 9
Watch it on Amazon

Director Peter Jackson had an interesting career prior to the adaptation of the books by J.R.R. Tolkien. He first established himself as a cult name with films that ranged from the over the top trilogy of "Bad Taste"/"Meet the Feebles"/"Dead Alive", to the indie film that showed his more dramatic side, with "Heavenly Creatures", which simultaneously launched the careers of Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey. After his first Hollywood film went largely unnoticed ("The Frighteners" with Michael J. Fox), the director tackled what would become his biggest challenge and the forever staple in the adaptation of fantasy films. "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" premiered in December of 2001 to great accolades, being rewarded with Academy Awards and a huge commercial success. The film is a faithful adaptation of the novels from J.R.R. Tolkien, and follows the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, and his friends, as they come across a ring that can define the powers to be in the realms of Middle Earth. Alongside Bilbo are his hobbit friends Sam, Pippin and Merry, his human friends Aragorn and Boromir, an elf by the name of Legolas, a dwarf by the name of Gimli and the wizard Gandalf. This group sets out to destroy the ring of power, but are pursued by the hordes of Sauron, and the obstacles just become bigger and bigger as their odyssey begins. This is a journey that will test all their resilience.
Peter Jackson is an imaginative director, one with a thorough knowledge of film techniques, something that he put to good use with his initial films, that garnered him quite a lot of attention in film festivals. His adaptation of "The Lord of the Rings" was a herculean task, since he tackled the three films simultaneously, and was his first time handling a task of that scale. The results are quite strong, even if structurally the films end up having an uneven momentum. The first volume manages to be quite possibly the best, since it defines the universe of the story, presenting and defining the lead characters, giving everyone just enough dimension to make their characters compelling and noteworthy. It's a film that works exemplary on all the different production levels that are on display, from the cinematography of Andrew Lesnie, the score from Howard Shore, the production and costume design, to the fantastic visual effects on display. The cast is uniformly excellent, with Ian McKellen and Viggo Mortensen in particular creating indelible characters. A very good film from a unique storyteller in film.