The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
- Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins
- Ian McKellen as Gandalf
- Sean Astin as Samwise “Sam” Gamgee
- Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn
- Liv Tyler as Arwen
- Cate Blanchett as Galadriel
- John Rhys-Davies as Gimli
- Billy Boyd as Pippin
- Dominic Monaghan as Merry
- Christopher Lee as Saruman
- Orlando Bloom as Legolas
- Hugo Weaving as Elrond
- Sean Bean as Boromir
- Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins
The other day, I was rooting through my DVD collection when I came across The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. It has been an age since I last saw the films and so along with my brother I sat down and watched the films in one go. To say the experience was epic is an understatement. To start my reviews of the trilogy is The Fellowship of the Ring.
Many said it was unfilmable but Peter Jackson sure proved them wrong. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings is the absorbing, stunningly executed and all round epic first entry into the trilogy. Fantasy has rarely looked this amazing and majestic onscreen and I may just run out of adjectives to describe the sheer scope and beauty of the film. Anyway enough of my rambling, onto the review.
Set in the vast lands of Middle Earth, Fellowship follows the tale of Frodo Baggins, a young hobbit living peacefully in the Shire who is entrusted with a dangerous task. His uncle Bilbo is leaving the Shire to live with the elves of Rivendell. He leaves Frodo a ring, yet this is no ordinary ring. It is the ring of power, forged centuries ago by the dark lord Sauron. There were originally other rings forged given to the different races of Middle Earth. Bound in the ring is the power to dominate the other bearers of rings and succumb to the rings dark trappings. Sauron was believed dead but his presence has survived and is now intent on retrieving the ring. Upon hearing of the ring, Bilbo’s old friend, the wise wizard Gandalf instructs Frodo to flee the Shire as the forces of darkness will soon come looking for him. Aiding Frodo is his loyal best friend Sam and two others hobbits named Merry and Pippin. Later he is joined by a mysterious ranger Aragorn who has a claim to a throne, archer and elf Legolas, dwarf Gimli and warrior Boromir. The future of Middle Earth is at peril because of the ring and only by destroying it can the danger it brings be erased. And so Frodo sets off with the others, known as the Fellowship, on a perilous journey to destroy the evil ring before it falls into the wrong hands. Prepare for a handsomely mounted fantasy tale of bravery, kinship and a dangerous quest filled with uncertainty directed with dedication and visual splendour by Peter Jackson.
The first thing to praise in Fellowship is the New Zealand locations that make up the vast lands of Middle Earth. Mountains, woodlands and vast fields appear breathtaking and we as an audience are sucked into the arduous journey that Frodo must take. The intelligent screenplay gives us a thrilling fantasy adventure with characters we can root for and features some amazing fight scenes against the dark forces that terrorise Middle Earth. We become immersed in the various legends that abound and the various people who make up the lands. Also, we get see the friendships of the main characters, embodied by the loyal and sincere Sam who would do anything for his best friend Frodo.
Sonically, Fellowship is a marvel. From the high-pitched screech of the Nazgul, wraith like beings attempting to return the ring to the dark lord to the evocative and splendid score by Howard Shore, it really is amazing to say the least. Special effects are of the highest order, creating menacing beings such as the vicious orcs and a particularly memorable cave troll. The many fight scenes are executed to excellent standards, especially when the Fellowship face the orcs. Fellowship of the Ring is a film of many memorable moments it really is hard to choose just a few to mention. Highlights for me are the chase of Arwen, a beautiful she elf who risks her life to save Frodo from death, by the evil Nazgul through woodlands, the Fellowship battling orcs in a catacomb and the kissing of Frodo’s forehead for good luck by Galadriel, a wise elf of immense power and wisdom.
But the biggest impact on the film is made by the supremely talented cast assembled to flesh out the various beings of this fantasy tale. Heading this is the ideal casting of Elijah Wood as Frodo, the one who the task weighs heavily upon. Wood embodies the initially frightened realisation of his task and later his bravery that will lead him on his way. Ian McKellen is excellent as the wizard Gandalf, showing us the wise man with immense power who is an invaluable ally on the quest. As the loyal, stout-hearted Sam, Sean Astin is perfectly cast as he is one of the driving forces behind Frodo. Without Sam’s wisdom and pluck, Frodo’s journey would not have been as interesting. Viggo Mortensen is suitably heroic as the skilled ranger Aragorn, while Liv Tyler is earnest and beautiful as Arwen, the elf who he has fallen in love with. Their relationship is beautifully observed as we watch the conflicted desires of both as Arwen questions whether to give up her immortality for love, her line ” I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the Ages of this world alone” is haunting. Cate Blanchett is suitably ethereal and full of intelligence as Galadriel, the presence of her engaging voice in the prologue of the ring’s journey is a stroke of genius. John Rhys-Davies provides some comic relief as the belligerent dwarf Gimli, further adding to this humour is Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan as the mischievous Pippin and Merry. Christopher Lee is gleefully evil as the wizard who has turned to the dark side. Orlando Bloom makes for a skilled ally of Legolas, an elf with a talent for archery. Hugo Weaving exudes respectability as Elrond, lord of the elves while Sean Bean makes a deep impression as Boromir. In the small but pivotal role of Bilbo, the one who found the ring, Ian Holm shines.
Crafted with meticulous and faithful detail by Peter Jackson, Fellowship of the Ring is a fantasy film to treasure for its engaging storyline, glorious scenery and its ability to transport us into a world of magic, danger and hope.