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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
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Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Elijah Wood
Ian McKellen
Miranda Otto
Phillippa Boyens
Sean Astin
Viggo Mortensen.
Directors
Peter Jackson.
Screenwriters
Fran Walsh
Peter Jackson.
Running Time
178 minutes

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Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring
Engaging first instalment of the adaption of Tolkien's epic fantasy trilogy.


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Plot
Passed to him by his uncle Bilbo, young Hobbit Frodo Baggins becomes the unlikely and unwilling bearer of The One Ring of power, an instrument of unparalleled evil. And so Frodo, along with his three Hobbit chums, the wizard Gandalf and a swordsman named Strider, set out on an epic quest.


Review
Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring
Brooking no argument, history should quickly regard Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship Of The Ring as the first instalment of the best fantasy epic in motion picture history. This statement is worthy of investigation for several reasons.

Fellowship is indeed merely an opening salvo, and even after three hours in the dark you will likely exit the cinema ravenous with anticipation for the further two parts of the trilogy. Fellowship is also unabashedly rooted in the fantasy genre. Not to be confused with the techno-cool of good science fiction, nor even the cutesy charm of family fare like Harry Potter, the territory of Tolkien is clearly marked by goo and goblins and gobbledegook. Persons with an aversion to lines such as, “To the bridge of Khazad-dûm!” are as well to stay within the Shire-like comforts of home (their loss).

With those caveats in place, it bears repeating: fantasy does not come finer. There are electrifying moments — notably the computer-assisted swooping camera through Isengard as it transforms into a factory for evil — when Jackson’s flight of fancy approaches the sublime as the romantic poets would understand it: inspiring awe.

Leaving aside the thorny issue of Tolkien die-hards and their inevitable gripes — “What no Tom Bombadil?” — Jackson’s screenplay (written in collaboration with Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens) is both bolder and more judicious than Steven Kloves’ surprisingly timid retread of Harry Potter. In particular, rescuing the romance of Arwen and Aragorn from the footnotes and the elevation of Saruman to all-action bad guy actually has a corrective influence on Tolkien’s often oblique and female-sparse source material.

There are problems, though. The three-hour running time is high on incident and low on discernible form. After successive detours to Elf habitats Rivendell (the watery home of Elrond) and Lothlórien (the forest home of the Lady Galadriel), the uninitiated might well ask why these crazy Elf kids can’t just live together and spare us all this attenuated dramatic structure.

More importantly, the action clearly climaxes in the desperate flight from the Mines Of Moria, where the largely seamless SFX is showcased in the best possible light — total darkness — but the narrative demands a different, downbeat ending. Indeed, but for some fine emotional playing from Bean, Mortensen, Astin and Wood, the final fight might feel like a particularly brutal game of paintball in Bluebell Wood. But then, the real battles are yet to come...


Verdict
Putting formula blockbusters to shame, Fellowship is impeccably cast and constructed with both care and passion: this is a labour of love that never feels laboured. Emotional range and character depth ultimately take us beyond genre limitations, and it deserves to play as wide as a certain Mr. Potter.


Reviewed by Colin Kennedy


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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring
Empire Star Rating

"One ring to rule them all."

How can anyone say that this is crap, it just so happens to be not only the greatest and most wonderful of all fables, but also one of the most amazing achievements ever shot on film. An undeniable masterwork, and without a doubt Peter Jackson's very best. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jericho117 at 09:28, 21 October 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Definitely one of the gems of cinema, why all the hostility?

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) I grew up on a few big franchises through the 80's, 'Star Wars', 'Indy', 'Star Trek' and 'Lord of the Rings'. Of course LOTR was never much of a franchise as the only thing available to us (other than the actual book) was the Bakshi animated version, but I loved it. Grown out of it slightly now admittedly but still...lets soldier on. I can't compare the animated film fairly to be honest but I must admit there was always elements... More

Posted by Phubbs at 04:03, 03 December 2012 | Report This Post


Definitely one of the gems of cinema, why all the hostility?

The Lord of the Rings 1 is definitely the best of all three. It was just a major achievement and influence on Peter Jacksons life. It also revived and started careers of various actors. The rewatch factor is too damn high in this movie and even if you dislike it, you must respect how good it is. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by robmarathon at 09:01, 25 July 2012 | Report This Post


This is in my opinion one of the best movies ever made, the cast is oustanding, Ian Mckellen, Sean Astin and Sean Bean in particular, Outstanding direction by Peter Jackson, brilliant soundtrack. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Gears of Kong at 03:53, 10 June 2012 | Report This Post


Empire 5 Stars/

Sorry I forgot to say this- but how can you give a film where violence is OTT Stars along with a ropey CGI and sense of storytelling ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by stp123192 at 18:11, 10 February 2012 | Report This Post


Sorry

I should have said mash up . Still maintain what I said though! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by stp123192 at 17:23, 10 February 2012 | Report This Post


This is Terribe

This film is just an action madh up . Jackson makes a weak effort hear. It lacks plot . King kong is far superior ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by stp123192 at 17:20, 10 February 2012 | Report This Post


Fantastic

Lord of the Rings is the most definitive of fantasy stories, if arguebly the best film trillogy of all time. The Fellowship of the Ring is indeed passionately adaptated, beatifully designed, perfectedly casted and acted, has exciting action sequences and grabs you from the start to its fantastic tragic and clifhanger ending. If it doesnt encourage you to watch the next installment then you havent appreciated how brilliant this is. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by trainedasninja at 11:39, 30 July 2011 | Report This Post


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

Well if you gotta nitpick, Gollum doesn't resemble the creature from the latter two movies... ... More

Posted by Jasper_29 at 12:48, 10 August 2010 | Report This Post


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

Whether your a fantasy-fan or not, the LOTR is an incredible piece of film-making.   The FOTR is by far the best of the three and in my opinion, it's arguably the best film ever made - simply flawless. ... More

Posted by Stryder at 15:39, 09 August 2010 | Report This Post


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