An Incredible Fantasy Adaptation
When it comes to adapting great works of literature to the big screen, J.R.R. Tolkein’s fantasy epic Lord Of The Rings has to be up there with the best. Clocking in at a little under 3 hours, Fellowship Of The Ring is the first part of a trilogy of films perfectly capturing everything that made the books so good. With fully fleshed out characters, a faithfully recreated story and some truly remarkable visual effects, Fellowship Of The Ring is simple an incredible film and a crowning achievement for Director Peter Jackson.
Fellowship Of The Ring opens with a brief history of Middle Earth; a tense fight between the dark forces of Sauron and an alliance of elves and men results in the defeat of evil. All of this fighting stems from the forging of the One Ring, a powerful, mystical artefact that holds absolute power over all other races. From here, the story shows the history of this all-powerful ring before beginning our tale in the small town of Hobbiton, with a curious hobbit named Frodo (Elijah Wood).
It’s here where the story truly begins, introducing us to each of the key characters including fellow hobbits Sam (Sean Astin), Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) as well the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and outcast Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen). As the story progresses, they forge an unlikely alliance together with several other characters, tasked with travelling to the heart of Mordor to cast the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom and free the world of evil forever. It’s a simple story and one told with flair and confidence, breathing life into each of these key characters while managing to capture a fully realized fantasy world in the process.
With so many characters on-screen at once, it would have been so easy for Fellowship to feel over-encumbered, diluting the charismatic characters from the book and losing their initial charm. Thanks to some smart casting choices, great direction and authentic dialogue, Fellowship Of The Ring manages to nail almost every character to perfection. It would be difficult to single any one character out but Ian McKellen’s portrayal as the wise old wizard Gandalf is incredibly authentic and deserves recognition here.
Visually, Fellowship Of The Ring looks fantastic too. A mixture of CGI, painstakingly recreated costumes and practical effects combine to bring Middle Earth to life in the best possible way. The decision to film on-location in New Zealand is a smart one too, bringing some authenticity to a genre swamped in over-used green screens and computer effects. On the same note, the fight choreography, especially during a climactic battle during the final hour of the film, is impressively crafted and brings some much needed action to a film that tends to stick to a methodical pace for much of its run time.
It’s worth mentioning the music too which is by far one of the best elements of the film. Driven by the masterful orchestral sounds of Howard Shore, the sound perfectly encapsulates the grand scale and epic nature of Lord Of The Rings, highlighting just how important music is to the success of a film.
It’s hard to fault Fellowship Of The Ring and aside from the inevitable open ending and daunting run time, the film perfectly captures everything that makes the fantasy genre so appealing. The characters are well written, the story flows well despite a drop in pace midway through and almost every element of the film is so well crafted that it works harmoniously throughout. Fellowship Of The Ring deserves its critical acclaim and is worthy of its crown as one of the best fantasy films of all time.