Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

Tolkien Delivered

Main Cast: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Cate Blanchett

Director: Peter Jackson

One of the most anticipated movies in a very long time (certainly for 2001), The Fellowship of the Ring delivers on all fronts. Action, drama, some comedy, brisk pacing and developed characters, Mr. Jackson has succeeded in translating this rich world full of beautiful scenes and unique persons to the silver screen. In fact, the movie trims a few places where the novel treads on and on, cuts out a few scenes that aren’t required for the main plot, and generally tightens the story in order to make it leaner and clearer.

As a summary, we are first introduced to the Hobbits of Middle Earth, simple folk who wish to be left out of “adventures” and enjoy food, folks, and fun. But Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) is different, as he’s had adventures in the past and holds a magical ring that is very much more than it appears. Told in the prologue, this is the “one ring”, lusted after by the evil lord Sauron, and required by him to once again rule the world. When Bilbo decides to go away for good he leaves the ring to his nephew Frodo (Wood), who at first doesn’t understand the power of the ring, but is told by Gandolf (McKellen), a powerful wizard and old friend of the family. Sauron sends Black Riders after Frodo and the chase is on. Can Frodo, with the help of the Fellowship, find a way to stop Sauron and deal with the ring’s power?

The above is a bare-bones summary. The movie paints out the world in rich colors, and each character is perfectly cast. We sympathize with Frodo and wish him well, and hope the motley group of humans, elves, hobbits, and dwarves can assist him in his noble and dangerous quest. There is plenty of action, with exciting swordfights and harrowing escapes, but the plot slows down long enough for each character to have time to develop and banter among themselves. I think this is a good mix, and faithful to the book.

I definitely recommend this one to lovers of sci-fi and fantasy, and also to newcomers to the world of Tolkien. It satisfies on all levels.

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