The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Review by Rosie
Director: Peter Jackson
Rating: Victory Star Destroyer
This is a very difficult movie to review. The LotR trilogy are my favorite books of all time. I have read them over and over since I was twelve years old. I had very specific pictures in my head of what the scenery and characters would look like. And when I heard that the book would be translated onto film, I wondered how such an enormous task could achieved. The truth is that the results were mixed. Visually, I was not disappointed at all. The scenery was lush and grand and magical and terrifying in turn. The visual effects were spectacular. And I felt that the actors chosen to portray these characters that I knew so well were a perfect match for their portraits inside my head.
The whole story in text was broken into six books published as three volumes of which The Fellowship of the Ring is the first. Each book in the trilogy is a cliffhanger drawing the reader forward. The transition between Book One and Book Two within Fellowship worked on film because there was a logical place for the story to go. The end of the film corresponds to the end of Book Two, which is fine in print, but visually after three hours the audience is left hanging "Huh? Wait a minute ... Is that it???"
That was the reaction of the people with whom I saw this film. They had not read the book (I found that incomprehensible ...) and they were completely lost. Therein lies the biggest problem with this film. The epic scope of the story (it covers 3000 years of the history of Middle Earth) made it difficult to translate onto the film medium. Tolkien himself wrote reams of notes of background material that made Middle Earth into a complete creation, but even he didn't include all of this information in the story. Peter Jackson had no choice but to leave out favorite characters and to compress the action just to move the story along. Those who were familiar with the books were able to fill in gaps, but people seeing the movie cold could not make sense out of the compressed history. Diehard fans of the books were likely outraged at some of the choices Jackson made, but he did the best possible job given the task.
This story is a quest, a journey through a mythic land filled with grandeur, magic, and terror. The high and mighty have opposed evil for centuries protecting the rest of Middle Earth, but the task of finally destroying the instrument of evil, the Ring, comes down to the Hobbits: one of the several peoples of Middle earth who until now were small, mostly unnoticed, and considered insignificant. Tolkien's message in the book, which becomes more apparent in the subsequent books, and in this film: Even the smallest creatures can make a difference.
Peter Jackson can be very proud of this film. I enjoyed it very much and I can't wait for the next two installments.