If you are one of those people who is afraid that
you will be disappointed because this film will
be so hyped, I have two things to say. First,
don’t worry. I mean that, you really, really
don’t need to worry. Second, if you are still
afraid of the hype, do not read the following
review.

Premise

A ring which may be used as the instrument of
ultimate evil is found
in the possession of a hobbit. It isn’t long
before a group of
hobbits, a wizard, and other band together to
prevent the ring from
falling into the hands of the evil Sauran.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey
Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins
Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn
Sean Astin as Sam Gamgee
Liv Tyler as Arwen Undomiel
Cate Blanchett as Galadriel
John Rhys-Davies as Gimli, son of Gloin
Billy Boyd as Pippin
Dominic Monaghan as Merry
Orlando Bloom as Legolas
Hugo Weaving as Elrond
Sean Bean as Boromir
Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins
Christopher Lee as Saruman

Directed by Peter Jackson
Adapted to the screen by Fran Walsh, Philippa
Boyens, and Peter
Jackson
Musical Score by Howard Shore
Original Songs by Enya
Cinematography by Andrew Lesnie
Numerous other that should be mentioned.

The complete cast and crew list is on the IMDB
and can be found here.

High Point

The amazingly prophetic first line. This was not
an easy choice to
make, so I’ve chosen the one that refers to the
events in the movie,
as well as the movie itself.

Low Point

The cave troll looked like it was CGI at moments.
There were many
other moments when it didn’t, or when the other
CGI characters looked
real, so I won’t ride them too much for it.
You may notice that this is a comment complaint I
have, but this
is only a mild case of this problem.

You may also notice that the low point in this
movie is one element of
a single scene which, and that element is still
above average.

The Review

I’m still amazed this movie got made. This is
Tolkien’s first two
books in the series, accurately translated to the
big screen. It is
accessible by those who have and haven’t read the
book.

It’s hard to say any more without either
providing spoilers or using
adjectives that have grown meaningless after
being used in every other
review of this movie. Instead, I’ll just tell
you this: I worked in a
theater for three years. One of my
responsibilities was to open the
doors in the back of the theater when the movie
was over. It was a
rare event when anyone applauded after watching a
movie, and in all
that time, I’d
never seen applause from more than four or five
people.

That changed last night.

The sold-out theater had a capacity of
approximately 500 people. I’d
estimate that approximately three quarters of the
audience applauded
when the credits came up. This wasn’t just good
entertainment, this
was a film that grabbed the audience and held on.
It was three hours
long, and I only saw four people leave the
theater, all of whom were
back within five minutes. (I was sitting in the
back row, and I’ve
been trained to pay attention to when people get
out of their seats.)
There were no conversations among the patrons.
There was nobody
rushing to leave the theater the moment it was
over. There were just
500 people who sat there, eyes on the screen,
until the end of the film.

Had the box office been open when the movie
ended, I’d have purchased
a ticket for the next available showing. Forget
Harry
Potter
; go see this one instead.

The Scores

The originality is the only aspect of
this movie that isn’t
spectacular. It is based on a book which went on
to lay the
groundwork for every other piece of fantasy
that’s been made since.
However, the movie doesn’t look like the
combination of all those
copycats. It feels like something that hasn’t
been done before. It
has its own unique heart, and unique feel to it.
I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects were amazing. There were
moments when CGI
characters looked like CGI, and there were
moments when human actors
placed on other backgrounds looked like human
actors placed on other
backgrounds. Neither of these problems occur
often, and are greatly
outweighed by the events of the flashback
sequences. 5 out of 6.

The story here has all the plotting and
interweaving of the
Tolkien novel, but none of the hindrances that
occasionally slow it
down. Arwen’s expanded role feels right. Tom
Bombadil is nowhere to
be seen, which is appropriate to the film. (It’s
three hours long;
they had to cut something.) Gandalf’s narrative,
told after-the-fact
in the book, is integrated into the film. The
writers did a fantastic
job adapting a very well read, and very well
loved piece of
literature. I give it 6 out of 6.

The acting in this movie was rare from
such a wide and
ensemble cast. There is not a single actor in
this movie who seems
like he/she is acting. Even Liv Tyler, who has
never impressed me in
the past, was perfect for the role at hand.
There were several times
in this movie that I felt there should be an
Academy Award for casting
agents, because this team (Victoria Burrows, John
Hubbard, Amy
MacLean, Liz Mullane, and Ann Robinson) deserves
one. Some actors
North American audiences have never heard of will
be seen from a lot
in coming years. (Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, and
Dominic Monaghan,
for example.) I can’t wait to see Brad Dourif
surface in his role
next year. 6 out of 6.

I have to rate the movie’s ability to incur an
emotional
response
now. What can I say? It was
incredible. I was hooked
from start to finish. I felt for the characters,
and more
importantly, I felt with the characters. Many
patrons were crying
when the filmmakers wanted them to cry. It’s
very hard not to get
swept up in this movie. 6 out of 6.

Now it’s time to rate all aspects of
production in a single
category. That means that a single problem with
the direction, the
editing, the score, the cinematography, the sound
mixing, the art
direction, the costume design, the set
decoration, the stunt work, or
any other of a number of categories can reduce
the score for everyone
in this category. I give this movie 6 out of 6
for production. I did
not notice a single flaw. They might as well
engrave Andrew Lesnie’s
name on that cinematography Oscar right now,
because he’ll be the one
who walks away with it. The art, costume, and
set designers will be
nominated, and are likely to win. In fact, I
wouldn’t be surprised in
the least to see this film walk away with every
technical Oscar that
is offered next year. (I also expect it to pick
up a few of the
mainstream statues as well.)

Overall, this is the most incredible
cinematic experience
I’ve ever seen. They nailed it. They absolutely
nailed every aspect
of this movie. This one is a guaranteed repeat
view for me. I not
only give this movie 6 out of 6, but I’m tempted
to go over all of my
old movie reviews and start lowering the scores.
I still can’t
believe this movie even got made. See this movie
now. Buy tickets
for The Two Towers the day they go on
sale, or you’re not
going to get them.

In total, Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of
the Ring
scored 40
out of 42.