I first saw this film in cinemas way back in 2001 when it was originally out. Since then I have seen it many times both the Extended Version, and the Original Version, in Standard Definition, and High Definition, and always enjoy it. Recently I saw the fist part adaptation of The Hobbit, a semi-prequel to Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and have been J. R. R. Tolkien daft since then, reading both the Hobbit book, and currently reading The Children of Húrin, and re-watching The Lord of the Rings Trilogy on Blu-Ray. This time I decided to just watch the Original Cinema Version, and my review will reflect that.
This film sees Frodo Baggins begin a journey to destroy The One Ring, that he received from his uncle Bilbo Baggins, and destroy it in the fires of Mount Doom, and destroy Sauron once and for all. He is joined by The Fellowship of the Ring, which consists of his Hobbit friends, Samwise Gamgee, Peregrin Took, and Meriadoc Brandybuck, as well as the Wizard Gandalf, who originally set him on this journey, Aragorn true King of Gondor, and Boromir, son of the Stewart of Gondor, from the race of Men, the Elf Prince of Mirkwood, Legolas, and the Dwarf Gimli, son of Gloin (who featured in The Hobbit).
This was a brilliant film, and I have a lot to thank it for, as it was this film that got me into Tolkien's work, and all things related to Lord of the Rings. I've always been a fan of things that are unusual, and have loved fantasy films, and books all my life, so this film was a natural choice for me. The way this film starts so light heartened, and how the characters become even more desperate, and distressed, just in the events of this film is enough to know that you're in for some brilliant story telling.
The cast in this film was brilliant, and think that it helped that most of the main cast were relatively unknown actors. I have more recently learned that more well known actors like Daniel Day-Lewis, Bruce Willis, Nicholas Cage, Russell Crowe, Vin Diesel, and Liam Neeson had all been asked to play a role in the film, or asked to be in the film, and although they are brilliant actors in their own right, it would put more pressure on the film to succeed. The cast that was chosen: Elijah Woods as Frodo, Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn, Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Orlando Bloom as Legolas, John Rhys-Davies as Gimli, Sean Bean as Boromir, Sean Astin as Sam, Billy Boyd as Pippin, and Dominic Monaghan as Merry, were all brilliant and suited their respective roles brilliantly, with Ian McKellen, and Viggo Mortensen being the ones that stood out the most to me.
The Fellowship itself is one of the big things throughout all three films, and not just this one, although it has more effect in this one, and it's the only film where the entire Fellowship is together. When you have a character like a Hobbit, which is innocent, and very vulnerable as the main character you need many people around them, and what better way than to have a group of 9 people (including Frodo) that has all different ally races in it. This is in my opinion what really brought Tolkien's mythological world together, as you have all these different races that usually barely coexist, if at all working together. The way Legolas, and Gimli's friendship grows over this film even is probably the most interesting out of all, as Elves and Dwarves usually hate each other. The characteristics in all the characters was also shown very well, and the way they reacted to certain events throughout was brilliant, and made the film more dramatic.
|Sauron Forging the One Ring|
The main antagonist throughout this film series is Sauron. Although he's the main villain he doesn't really have much of a physical presence throughout the film, and none during the main story. It's interesting that someone can live due to an object they created, and this kind of reminds me of Voldemort from the Harry Potter books/films, although Sauron did this first, literature wise. I actually found the great eye of Sauron more intimidating that his physical form in the flash backs, as it gives a more sinister feel, as well as the knowledge that he will know where Frodo is if he wears the ring.
|Saruman with an Uruk-hai|
Although Sauron was the main antagonist, Saruman was the villain that did most of the work, and was of valuable help to Sauron. The casting of Saruman couldn't be any better, as who else but Dracula himself, Christopher Lee could do a better job. I've always enjoyed anything that Christopher Lee's been in and especially when he's a bad guy, and his presence always makes a film even better whether it's already a brilliant film like this was or something that wouldn't be as good without him. I also liked how Gandalf didn't see this coming, as it shows that no matter how wise someone is they can't see all that lies ahead.
|Frodo Wears the One Ring|
The One Ring itself is probably the most interesting thing, and although it doesn't get as much screen time as the battles it's still hanging over the story, showing that it's evil, and that there is a lot at stake. Since watching the first part of The Hobbit adaptation, and reading The Hobbit book, I feel that I can appreciate these films even more than I used to, as there are lots of things that happened in The Hobbit that are either re-told in this film, or have an impact on this film. I could also appreciate The Ring itself more, as well as the Mithril armour, or Sting (Frodo's sword, originally Bilbo's).
I also loved the Nazgûl in this film, as they embody everything evil about the One Ring, and how greed can corrupt people. We get back story about Sauron creating other Rings of Power, 7 for Dwarves, which Sauron couldn't control properly, 3 for Elves, who never used them so couldn't get controlled, and 9 for Men who are greedy. It's nice to see how this has effected the world around, and how that effects this story. Although you don't see much off them unless Frodo's wearing the One Ring, they are still very menacing looking, and add more dread, and desperation to Frodo's quest, especially in the earlier part.
|Strider (Aragorn) in the Shadows|
Aragorn's development throughout this film, and the later films is probably the most interesting, or at least in my opinion, as he starts of as simple Ranger who is tasked by Gandalf to watch over Frodo (this is mentioned in the Appendix of the Lord of the Rings novels), and how he is destined to become the King of Gondor. The lighting in the earlier scenes to feature Aragorn was very well done, as he's in the shadow a lot of the time, which adds mystery to the character. I also liked that Aragorn even early on shows that he has a good heart, as even though he abruptly removes Frodo from the tavern he still shows kindness.
This was a very good film, and a brilliant start to a tremendous film trilogy. It has given me great joy over the years and since reading the book I can also say that it's a good adaptation, and fairly honest to the book. I would highly recommend this film, as you are bound to love it.