The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) (PG-13)

The road wasn't easy for Peter Jackson to turn Tolkien's classic novel series The Lord of the Rings into movies. To condense the words into visuals, to omit characters, to run the risk of being rejected—it must have been thrilling to start shooting. But everything came together in a magnificent way and when "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" was first released there was the same genuine reaction all around—jaw on the floor.
Barreling into fantasy (a genre that it usually steered away from with hesitancy, lest movies be thought of as lesser or mindless crowd pleasers) with a vigor that no one could have expected "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy begins with an unprecedented and unequaled prologue accompanied by Cate Blanchett's airy voice.
It began with the forging of the rings...
We are dropped in on Middle Earth, a place inhabited with wizards, hobbits, wraiths, sorcerers, elves, goblins, orcs, and dwarves. In an effort to bind all the races and species together in horrid servitude, the dark lord Sauron crafted a ring and poured his hatred and his pure evil into it. The ring became so powerful that it commanded the creatures of Middle Earth to its will; but there were some that resisted the change. A few lonely survivors tried to fight the power of the ring and soon a man crippled Sauron's power by taking this ring. But this ring should never be viewed as any ordinary trinket. It has a mind of its own, a will that is tied to its master's soul.
Because the ring has the unbreakable connection with Sauron, part of him lives on and decades later...he is assembling an army.
"The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" begins as thus, letting the viewer see the impeding doom and showing them the power of the ring.
The ring found its way to a hobbit's hole—Bilbo Baggins has the ring. It has given him an unnaturally long life and erased all signs of longevity from his face. But the evil and sick power infested within the jewelry is far more for a simple hobbit to hold on to...slowly, surely, it is corrupting Bilbo.
So as he sets out for a last leg of an adventure before his inevitable death, he leaves the ring—after much persuading from a wizard named Gandalf—to his nephew Frodo.
After some time in an ancient library, Gandalf confirms that the ring is indeed the ring of has to be destroyed. Sauron's now lives as a single eyeball, hanging from a tower, great and fiery—his influence lives on as well.
Frodo and companions Sam, Pippin, and Merry set out to meet with Gandalf at the borders of the Shire to form a plan..but the agents of evil are already on their trail.
They must form a fellowship of nine to trek deep into the boundaries of evil to throw the ring into the volcano where it was forged and forever destroy its evil power.
The critics of "The Lord of the Rings" franchise bring up an interesting point: there are too many characters and too many similar names. Indeed, this is true. But Peter Jackson assumes that the viewer will have some knowledge of Middle Earth before entering into it...perhaps this is erroneous; but it works remarkably well.
There is much to say about "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" and not enough space to say it all.
The film gathers an incredible ensemble cast: the credits go far beyond extraordinary. The effects, which now start to seem jaded, were revolutionary. But I think the most incredible thing to come from the franchise is Elijah Wood...let me elaborate. His role as Frodo is too underrated. When all three movies are finished, the one thing that carries them is Wood's performance. If it had been anyone else, or any different, the films would have collapsed.
"The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" is about a loss of innocence. The gates of adolescence being shut behind...becoming an adult in a world that wants to kill you. The film is also a quest and at this, it ranks with the biggest epics ever made.
A huge budgeted film, whose influence spread way too far to even be measured. From "my precious" to the re-introduction to the genre, to launching careers into stardom..."The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" is truly a great movie and it begins one of the most powerful trilogies ever made.

Score: 4 out of 4 stars

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