The Fellowship of the Ring

by Alan Rapp on December 11, 2012

in Home Video

  • Title: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • IMDB: link

“One does not simply walk into Mordor.”

lotr-fellowship-of-the-ring-posterThe first film in Peter Jackson‘s trilogy adapting J. R. R. Tolkien‘s The Lord of the Rings is most viewers’ favorite of the series (although not mine). Despite being made more than a decade ago The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring holds up pretty well beginning by introducing the various races of Middle Earth as well as our main cast of characters who will volunteer for the suicidal mission of marching to Mount Doom.

Jackson slowly builds the story which begins by introducing us to the Hobbits of the Shire, particularly Bilbo (Ian Holm) and Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood). The occasion of the wizard Gandalf’s (Ian McKellen) journey to the Shire for Bilbo’s 111th birthday and the discovery of the true power of the ring Bilbo found on his previous adventure leads young Frodo and his best friend Sam (Sean Astin) on an adventure with Peregrin Took (Billy Boyd) and Merry Brandybuck (Dominic Monaghan) which will cause the Hobbits leave the warmth and safety of the Shire for adventure and to prevent the return to power of the dark wizard Sauron.

From there our small heroes meet the enigmatic ranger named Strider (Viggo Mortensen), who they later discover is the rightful King of Gondor, the bickering warriors Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) the dwarf and Legolas (Orlando Bloom) the elf, and the all-too-human Boromir (Sean Bean). Together the Fellowship agrees to march into the heart of the enemy’s land of Mordor, fighting off orcs, gobins, and all manner of demons, in order to destroy the One Ring – the source of Sauron’s power.

Their journey will take them to the elvish kingdoms of Rivendell and Lothlórien, on hilltops stalked by Nazgûl (kings of men who serve the dark lord even in death), and into the Goblin-infested depths of the once great dwarf kingdom of Moria. We also get subplots involving Aragorn’s love for the elvish princess Arwen (Liv Tyler) and the betrayal of the white wizard Saruman (Christopher Lee) who chooses to join Sauron rather than oppose him.

The Fellowship of the Ring

The film climaxes in the group’s descent into, and narrow escape from, Moira. Without their wizard the travelers regroup in Lothlórien before setting out once again on their journey, this time blessed by the elf queen Galadriel. Despite continuing on for another half-hour or so, the film peters out with the betrayal and death of one member of the party and the eventual breaking of the fellowship.

Even if it takes a little too long for our characters’ journey to begin and the film runs out of steam towards the end, not to mention the beginning of the many, many series of montages featuring our characters walking here and there, The Fellowship of the Ring works very well as an introduction to Middle Earth and a first chapter in the trilogy. Given the amount of ground covered it’s an amazing piece of filmmaking, even if some of the effects (such as re-sizing and inserting of the Hobbits) haven’t all aged well.

The extended version of the film, available both on DVD and Blu-ray, includes a longer opening sequence and more time spent in Lothlórien where Galadriel’s gifts to the Fellowship are better explained. Also included are several behind-the-scenes featurettes, documentaries on the making of the film, multiple commentary tracks, and the movie’s trailer.

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