The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Reviewed on 2013 January 1
Rather than spend our New Year’s Eve at an overpriced, overcrowded nightclub and then dodging the drunks on the way home, the spouse and I came up with a plan. I’d make a batch of steak fajitas and we’d watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy. We chose wisely.
The film opens with a brief, powerful exposition on the rings of power and how the One Ring, The Ring of All Rings, came into the possession of a hobbit who wanted nothing more than to enjoy a long life, then sneak out of his beloved Shire before his pushier relatives, wanting his choice house for themselves, drive him insane. Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) has a plan to leave, but not without a birthday party that would make any mortal celebration look weak.
With the help of Gandalf the Wizard (Ian McKellen), he leaves behind his old life and the ring, which is starting to work on his psyche as well. There is a war pending, and if The Shire and the race of men (and pretty much any other kind beings) are to be saved, the ring needs to be kept from the evil Sauron, the dark being who would use it to reign from Mordor (a.k.a. Hell). The task of keeping the ring out of Sauron’s claws falls to Frodo (Elijah Wood), Bilbo’s nephew and another hobbit whose idea of adventure is not sleeping in a comfy bed. Like his uncle, he’s neither thrilled about this new responsibility, but neither is he going to chicken out. He gets three of his hobbit buddies with him and they set out to get rid of the thing once and for all. When it becomes evident it’s too big a job for any hobbits, no matter how shrewd or fearless, they’re joined by other races of Middle Earth who vow to fight Sauron and his Orcs.
This is one of those things that sounds silly in a nutshell description, but the movies (and Tolkein’s novels) are wonderful. The special effects are the usual awesomeness you can expect from Peter Jackson, and to me neither the theatrical release nor the extended version drag. The acting and casting are great too.
Four chocolate morsels. Can you believe this all started with Tolkein scribbling “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit” on a kid’s paper?