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Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

November 10, 2011

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Director: Peter Jackson
Actors: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen

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Synopsis: An all-powerful ring is taken by little hobbit, Frodo, and his chums – ‘the Fellowship’ – on the long journey to Mordor. They are chased by legions of orcs under the power of the evil Lord Sauron.

Review: The epic Lord of the Rings trilogy has acquired a huge critical and commercial groundswell since its first instalment – The Fellowship of the Ring – was released ten years ago. While in awe at the sheer industrial scope of the trilogy, I was one of those sceptics who found it difficult to get past the über-solemnity and reverence of the series, from the excessive, hushed RP tones every actor assumed for their roles, to the ultra-seriousness of the drama itself. The use of epic slo-mo for moments of high emotion (when Frodo yells at Gandalf being taken away by the dragon, and Frodo later saves Sam from drowning) are rife for satire, and I know a suspension of disbelief is clearly required for the series, but if Lord Sauron crafted the initial all-powerful ring that everyone is squabbling after, why not just create another one, rather than chase Frodo for the old one?!

Cynicism aside, I suppose there is a relentless consistency and concentricity of tone about the whole affair. Everyone is on board – from the actors, to the fanboy detail of the production design, the sweeping scenery and cinematography, and of course, the epic running-time. Incidentally, I actually find The Fellowship of the Ring to be the most appealing of the LOTR trilogy. Perhaps it’s because it’s the most expansive and episodic piece – not constrained so much by having to progress or complete the narrative – Jackson is happy to sketch out his Middle Earth universe (and by logic his CGI skills and the wonders of New Zealand), and to let the characters sink in to the nuts and bolts of the narrative, before the latter two films take them on their seemingly never-ending mythic journey. (November 2011)

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