UK Release date: 19th December 2001
Watched on DVD Saturday 25th August 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
Although I have seen all of the Lord of the Rings films before, I had never read the books, and so recently I decided to read them. I then thought it might be fun to watch each film as I complete each part of the story. And so, having finished ‘The Fellowship’… and read the first hundred pages or so of ‘The Two Towers’ we come to the fist of Peter Jackson’s films. For the record I have to say that I watched the extended version, available on DVD and Blu Ray.
Frodo Baggins, nephew of Bilbo, has been left all of Bilbo’s possessions after Bilbo decided it was time for another adventure. For those that haven’t read ‘The Hobbit’ well I guess that won’t make much sense… fret not, they’re making a film (or three) of that as well. But I digress, amongst the things left to Frodo was a ring, a very powerful ring, in fact so powerful that the wizard Gandalf will not even touch it. This ring, it transpires, is the embodiment of evil; the remnants of the long-gone evil king, Sauron. With its finding comes trouble, for it has a will of its own and it wants to be reunited with its maker. Finding himself and all his people in danger, Frodo leaves The Shire with his friends Samwise ‘Sam’ Gamgee, Peregrin ‘Pippin’ Took and Meriadoc ‘Merry’ Brandybuck. After many adventures they make it to the Elves at Rivendell. Here it is decided that the ring must be destroyed; cast into the fires of Mount Doom in Mordor, a very dangerous task. Frodo volunteers to take the ring, along with Sam, Merry and Pippin representing the Hobbits. Gandalf also volunteers, along with Aragorn and Boromir for mankind, Gimli, son of Gloin (another ‘Hobbit’ reference there) for the Dwarves and Legolas Greenleaf for the Elves. These nine form the Fellowship of the Ring… and this is not even half the story.
The word ‘Epic’ seems insufficient to describe the scope of this production; it is truly mind-blowing. I also have to mention the original music by Howard Shore; a truly magical score that I will seek out just to listen to (it’s really that good). As far as performances go, well everybody did a great job but those that stood out (for me) were; Elijah Wood as Frodo, Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Sean Astin as Samwise ‘Sam’ Gamgee, Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn and Sean Bean as Boromir. Also worthy of note were; Billy Boyd as Pippin, Dominic Monaghan as Merry, Orlando Bloom as Legolas, John Rhys-Davies as Gimli, Liv Tyler as Arwen, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Christopher Lee as Saruman, Ian Holm as Bilbo and not forgetting Andy Serkis as Gollum (more from him in the next two instalments).
This is the second time I have seen this cut of the movie and, although it is very long, I must say I have seldom enjoyed a film as much. I will not try to compare the book with the film; I’m sure there are many out there that could do a far more eloquent job than me. Needless to say, there are differences, and I can see the reasons for them. Just daring to bring such an epic tale to the screen would be enough for many, but to also do it justice is beyond imagining. Hats off to Mr. Jackson and all those involved; you did a tremendous job! I know it’s not to everyone’s taste and I really feel sorry for those that can’t appreciate the imagination and effort that goes into an undertaking like this. All this praise and I only give it a 9.4? Well, let’s say I’ve seen the other two films and I’m leaving a little room for improvement.
My score: 9.4/10
SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
IMDb Score: 8.8/10 (based on 592,380 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 92/100: (Based on 34 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 92/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 1,219,515 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Aragorn: Are you frightened?
Aragorn: Not nearly frightened enough. I know what hunts you.
Aragorn: If by my life or death I can protect you, I will. You have my sword...
Legolas: And you have my bow.
Gimli: And *my* axe.
Boromir: You carry the fate of us all, little one. If this is indeed the will of the Council, then Gondor will see it done.
Gimli: Nobody tosses a dwarf.
Gandalf: You cannot pass! I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor. The dark fire will not avail you, Flame of Udun! Go back to the shadow. You shall not pass!
Boromir: [holding the ring after Frodo has lost it] It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. Such a little thing.
Sam: I made a promise, Mr Frodo. A promise. "Don't you leave him Samwise Gamgee." And I don't mean to. I don't mean to.
…and there are so many more!
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.lordoftherings.net/