Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Retro Review: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
This 'Ring' Fits The Finger Just Right
Up until I finally saw this film in its entirety, the only fantasy fare that I have become acquainted with was Harry Potter. Even though that series was a part of my childhood, I feel that now that I have grown into adulthood, even though I still cherish Harry Potter, I have now found a new wondrous fantasy series to latch on to. That one is the subject of this review: The Lord of the Rings.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring follows the tale of a hobbit named Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) who finds himself caught up in a quest involving a very powerful ring once it ends up in his hands. Along with the help of his fellowship; which includes the wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), his fellow hobbit comrades, a ranger named Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), an archer named Legolas (Orlando Bloom), a dwarf named Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), and Boromir (Sean Bean), he must go on this treacherous quest to destroy the One Ring to rule them all.
One thing that I really liked about the film was the scenery. I loved how they filmed it on actual landscapes and not on a sound stage or anything like that. To me, it makes the film seem grounded in reality even though it is a fantasy fable. I also loved the designs of the different creatures, like the Orcs. They used actual makeup effects and I loved that because as I have said before, I prefer practical effects over CGI. CG is alright with me as long as it has to be used and they seem to have used it at the right moments, including the scene where the Fellowship fights the big Troll.
Another thing I really liked was the direction by Peter Jackson. I thought it was very cool how he was able to take the actors playing the hobbits look like actual hobbits. For that, he just used camera tricks and I might have to watch a little "Making Of" video just to see how he was able to pull it off with hardly any computer effects. But one scene that I thought was very well-directed that he did was the scene where the different characters form a council at Rivendell to decide what to do with the Ring and as some of the characters glance at the Ring, they have different reactions.
I even thought the acting was very good. Ian McKellen stole the film as Gandalf, the wise mentor to Frodo, and gives Professor Dumbledore a run for his money when it comes to badassery in my opinion. Dumbledore is cool, but Gandalf happens to have that "You shall not pass!" scene. One of my favorite scenes in the film has to be the one where Gandalf locks staffs with Saruman, played by Christopher Lee, and they start having a magical rumble. It was just a treat seeing those two acting titans going at it. Cate Blanchett also has a role as the elven queen Galadriel and even she excels at pulling off her character's quiet strength. The actors playing the hobbits all have great chemistry and bring quite a humorous touch to this somewhat serious film, which brings me to my next point. I feel that the film is not only fantasy, but adds elements to other genres. It has got a bit of humor, has a few chilling moments thanks to Lee's performance as the villainous Saruman as well as the Orcs, quite a bit of action, and is just an adventure that takes you on its epic ride thanks to its colorful characters.
Overall, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is an epic multi-layered adventure that is a feast for the eyes of the imagination. It has got action, humor, drama, horror, and of course adventure. If you love fantasy, put this at number 1 or 2 on your watch list because these films are like poster children for the fantasy genre. However, if you don't like fantasy, or can't stand it, it'll probably make you want to do what my dad did when he saw it and go shopping for groceries. In other words, steer clear. But if have no opinion on fantasy fare, I would say give this one a watch. You might be in for a pleasant surprise.