Ultimate 2000s Blogathon: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) By Plain, Simple Tom Reviews

Welcome to week 2 of the Ultimate 2000s Blogathon! Kicking off this week is Tom from Plain, Simple Tom Reviews. Do you like movies? Do you like television series? Then you’ll like Tom’s blog! He reviews a variety of movies and series on his site. Go give it a look if you are not familiar with it. He comes to the blogathon with a review of the first film in arguably the biggest franchise of the 2000s: Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Let’s not waste any more time and check out what Tom has to say about it!


The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring movie poster

So another blogathon is upon us – as always, hosted by Drew and Kim – and this time, we’re crossing over into a different decade and celebrating the very best of the noughties! Some of my favourite films of this decade include the amazingly powerful Million Dollar Baby, the infinitely rewatchable Sideways, the endlessly quotable Hot Fuzz, the hypnotic and intriguing Donnie Darko, the literally breathtaking Spirited Away and two thirds of Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy but above all of those, one film holds special significance for me and perfectly captures the feeling of noughties cinema, propelling me back to a time when going to the movies could be a truly exhilarating event.

I remember when I first went to see this at the age of eleven: as a way to get us out of the house while my mother wrapped our Christmas presents, my father, my sister and I went along to the cinema to see the film and for me, this was an “out of the blue decision” as I had no idea what the film was – I hadn’t even heard of it! (Especially apparent at the end of the film when I was left confused as to why the main story was left unresolved – my father helpfully explained later on that this was a TRILOGY!)

So sitting down to watch, from the amazing opening shots of Mount Doom erupting to the closing shot of Frodo and Sam walking off to the next part of their adventure, it became INSTANTLY clear that this was unlike anything I had ever seen before and by the end, I was so enthralled, captivated and thoroughly entertained that I went to see it again a few days later with my mother.

This holiday pilgrimage continued the following year in exactly the same way (going with my father and sister the first time and then going to see it again later with my mother) but when it came to The Return of the King, all four of us went to see it just the one time. The last time that we all saw a film at the cinema together as a family, in fact.

After that, The Lord of the Rings became a most pleasant addiction, something for my teenage self to get excited about, and I distinctly remember my LOTR calendar with all the wonderful characters on it, I had a video copy (yep, it was a bygone age!) of the film as a birthday present when I was in the south of France and later on, the game version of The Two Towers became my very first PS2 game – I had the game and the console for Christmas and getting myself immersed in the videogame version of the films formed a huge part of my childhood.

So yeah, it was an important, game changing film for me.

At this point in time, when the brilliance of Peter Jackson’s memorable trilogy has been much talked about and praised, there’s really nothing further that can be said about it, no areas of praise that you aren’t already aware of, but as a pre-teen watching this film for the first time, I thought that the opening installment in this trilogy created an expansive, lived-in world that succeeded spectacularly in transporting cinemagoers to an exciting realm of fantasy, I thought that the fascinating characters were so full of life and humour (Gimli was my favourite) and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the fellowship get together and interact with each other. I always think of Fellowship as my favourite LOTR film because it’s the one where all nine members were together in their amazing adventure.

The film boasts so many spectacular set pieces, starting off perfectly with the epic battle set in Mordor and carrying on to entertain with the groundbreaking sequences in Moria, the glory of Lothlorien, the journey along the river, and the final battle at Amon Hen – all of it accompanied beautifully by Howard Shore’s epic score, which continues to inspire to this day, roughly 17 years on, and is fully capable of making grown men weep with its beauty and majesty. And It also helps that the story is excellently written and it’s full of humour, drama and also a touch of sadness here and there.

So what else can be said? The Lord of the Rings trilogy is still regarded as one of cinema’s highest quality trilogies by many and The Fellowship of the Ring kicked it all off sensationally. It’s an amazing adventure full of colourful characters and when I saw it in 2001, my world was forever changed. The noughties gifted us with many excellent films but this particular one was a defining feature of the cinematic decade for me.

I mean, which other film could I have possibly picked?


If you’ve missed any of the blogathon entries, you can find a list of them all here.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Review

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring movie posterSynopsis
The hobbit Frodo (Elijah Woods) is tasked with heading to Mordor to destroy the One Ring, a powerful relic, so it cannot be used by the evil Sauron to conquer Middle Earth.

Review
I can still picture the looks on people’s faces when I told them I hadn’t seen The Lord of the Rings films. I feel like it was the same look I gave people when they said they hadn’t seen Star Wars. But with the insistence of my buddy, I finally sat down and watched The Lord of the Rings series, and no longer have to worry about receiving those looks again. We of course started with The Fellowship of the Ring.

Right off the bat the film put a smile on my face. The opening was so much fun! Knowing that the characters are going to have a long journey ahead of them, Gandalf and the hobbits are introduced in a large celebration. This made it clear that although the scale of these films are grand, there is going to be some fun along the way. I especially liked Pippin and Merry’s introduction as mischievous hobbits when they took some of Gandalf’s magic fireworks.

Many of the core characters were well cast. Ian McKellen was particularly perfect as the wizard Gandalf. His experience added a lot of weight to the film, and you know that Peter Jackson wants to do the source material right. I liked Orlando Bloom as the elf Legolas. I’m not familiar with Viggo Mortensen but he was good as Aragorn. However, the most surprising to me was John Rhys-Davies as the dwarf Gimli. He was funnier than I was expecting and was great as the comedic relief.

There is only one way to describe the score composed by Howard Shore: epic. I’m not very familiar with his works but I loved his score for The Fellowship of the Ring. Shore’s score is so dynamic and moving. This is up there with John William’s Star Wars score or Jurassic Park score in terms of building emotion.

It seems more and more today that movies opt for CGI for their sets and characters instead of make-up or physical sets. When a film minimizes its use of CGI and goes with more practical effects, it is such a breath of fresh air. All the sets, from the Shire to Mordor, were absolutely beautiful. Each facet of the set design was breathtaking. Even more impressive were the costumes and make-up. The details given to the orcs especially was wonderful. It is tough to find that much attention to detail in costume design.

Now with all that praise I just gave the film, there were still several things I didn’t like about it. For one, there is a lot of set up for the over-arching narrative of the series. A great deal of time is spent bringing all the members of the fellowship together, as well as setting up the supporting characters that will be seen throughout the trilogy. These characters spent a lot of time giving the audience the information they need through exposition. They also spent time traveling between meeting each major character. Things didn’t really get exciting until towards the end.

It is easy to tell this is part of a larger series. Like I said above, there is a lot of character set up. Also, despite feeling like an epic story, the scale was also kind of small. Normally I don’t like when films aren’t very self contained, even if they are part of a series. However, since it is an adaptation of such a beloved series, I’m willing to loosen up a bit.

I thought The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was OK :-|. Much of the movie is spent getting to know the characters, which is good because a lot is learned about them. But this means that the movie only picks up near the end. Hopefully this means that the next film will hit the ground running.

Also check out my reviews for the rest of The Lord of the Rings trilogy: The Two Towers and The Return of the King.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Peter Jackson – Director / Screenplay
Fran Walsh – Screenplay
Philippa Boyens – Screenplay
Howard Shore – Composer

Elijah Wood – Frodo
Sean Astin – Sam
Viggo Mortensen – Aragorn
Orlando Bloom – Legolas
Ian McKellen – Gandalf
John Rhys-Davies – Gimli
Billy Boyd – Pippin
Dominic Monaghan – Merry
Sean Bean – Boromir
Christopher Lee – Saruman
Andy Serkis – Gollum (voice)
Hugo Weaving – Elrond
Liv Tyler – Arwem
Marron Csokas – Celeborn
Cate Blanchett – Galandrie
Ian Holm – Bilbo
Sala baker – Sauron
Alan Howard – Voice of the Ring (voice)
Brent McIntyre – Witch-king
Mark Ferguson – Gil-galad
Lawrence Makoare – Lurtz
Peter McKenzie – Elendil