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Lord of the Rings:The Fellowship of the Ring

I was seated by an older woman of dignified appearance. “Oh no,” she whispered when the troll threatened Frodo, “Oh, shit!” A mess of orcs can ruin anyone’s dignity.

In Fellowship of the Ring, Peter Jackson takes the unfilmable and realizes it beautifully. I predict New Zealand will become overrun with tourists by next month. In summary:

What was right:

  • Characters are filmed so lovingly you cannot help but ache for them.
  • Vistas keep the overall scope of the film epic in nature, and slightly alien.
  • Special effects are virtually seamless and serve only the plot. For the most part, you will not notice them because they are so firmly part of the movie, and do not scream: “Look at me! I’m a SPECIAL EFFECT!”
  • Performances were flawless. Elijah Wood stole my heart.
  • I’ve heard complaints about character development, but I have none. Some were left behind as a necessity, but central characters were fleshed out enough to satisfy me.

There was of course more right with the movie than this, but these are the best bits. Alas, it was not flawless, and I cannot tell a lie.

What was wrong:

  • There were moments of cinematic incohesiveness. Two scenes were filmed in a dreamlike fashion, when they should not have been. The result was disorienting.
  • Editing was far from perfect. There were at least two blatantly bad cuts, and several spots where pacing failed.
  • Emotional ties between characters seemed artificial. It’s been many years since the books were read to me, yet I remember this flaw in them as well, and it carries over to the movie.

All that said, in balance this was a remarkable movie. If you miss it, you are missing what will become a cultural landmark. If you can bear it, enjoy it with a crowd–it makes all the difference.

3 Responses to Lord of the Rings:The Fellowship of the Ring

  1. futurist21 says:

    I agree, it is an excellent movie and everyone should see it at least once.

    You mention two bad cuts. The one bad cut that bothered me was when Aragron left them to look around on Weathertop and then it quickly cuts to Frodo waking up and seeing Sam, Pippin and Merry cooking around a campfire.

    Which cuts are you referring to?

    Perri

  2. Cat says:

    DINGDINGDINGDING! Perri–that was the 100th comment on my new system! You should get a prize or something.

    The cut you mention was my least favorite. Because there were more than a few bad cuts it’s hard to remember them specifically at this point. There were some nasties just before Gandalf gets it.

  3. jr says:

    The only editing flaw to my eyes that was blatant was when Frodo is preparing himself to get aboard the boat, and there’s a voice over. There’s a cross fade to Gandalf, and when it cross fades back, there’s an abnormality in Frodo’s right eye – it looked like they accidentally cut it back on two shots instead of one. Weird error.

    But, to my mind, it is the flaw that makes the Persian rug all the more perfect. Wonderful, amazing film. Took my breath away.