Blockbuster Movie Month: "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" Review

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The first film of director/co-writer Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy that redefined fantasy film making. Assisted by a Fellowship of heroes, Frodo Baggins plunges into a perilous trek to take the mystical One Ring to Mount Doom so that it and its magical powers can be destroyed and never possessed by evil Lord Sauron. Based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy epic, The Fellowship of the Ring stars
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Rating: PG-13
Length: 178 minutes
Release Date: December 19, 2001
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Genre: Action / Adventure / Fantasy

Thanks to an epic plot, incredible storytelling and realistic CGI, "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" has forever changed the face of Hollywood movies within the fantasy genre. The film is the first in a trilogy based on the "Lord of the Rings" books by J.R.R. Tolkien, telling the story of a hobbit who is tasked with casting a cursed ring into a fiery mountain. Upon its release, the movie received widespread critical acclaim, and it became an instant classic that has captured the hearts of moviegoers everywhere.

A prologue narrated by the elf Galadriel shows how the different races of Middle-earth are given Rings of Power, and the Dark Lord Sauron creates one ring that is powerful enough to rule all of Middle-earth. Elves and men battle Sauron and his dark forces, and Isildur, heir to the throne of Gondor, takes the Ring from the presumed-dead Sauron. The Ring seems to have a mind of its own, however, as Isildur is killed and the Ring eventually lands in the hands of a hobbit that is transformed into a terrifying creature known as Gollum. Many years later, a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins takes the Ring from Gollum and returns to his home in the Shire.

Sixty years have passed, and the slowly aging Bilbo is about to celebrate his 111th birthday. The wizard Gandalf arrives for the party, but when a well-intentioned gag using the Ring renders Bilbo invisible, Gandalf learns that he possesses the cursed object. After conversing with the wizard, Bilbo reluctantly gives the Ring to his nephew Frodo, and Gandalf tells the younger hobbit to keep it hidden. Knowing of the Ring's evil, the elderly wizard seeks help from Saruman, who is head of his order. It is then that Gandalf discovers that former allies have turned to Sauron, and ring wraiths had been sent to seek out the Ring and kill whoever possessed it.

Meanwhile, Frodo and his friend Sam set out to meet Gandalf at an inn in a nearby town. They are joined by two other hobbits, Pippin and Merry, and are nearly killed by a ring wraith on the way. However, Gandalf is not there as he has been delayed. A mysterious man known only as Strider meets them at the inn, and he helps them make it to their ultimate destination of Rivendell. When there, Frodo volunteers to cast the Ring into the fiery pits of Mount Doom, and he is accompanied by a host of companions who become known as the Fellowship of the Ring. The start of their journey is perilous, taking the group through a number of treacherous passages, but it is only the beginning.

"The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" uses the perfect combination of great source material and well-paced storytelling to bring Tolkien's epic novel to life in a way that pleases both dedicated fans and new audiences. The film incorporates all of the major characters, scenes and elements detailed in the book without ever feeling rushed or over-stuffed. Most fans agree that this film has done the book justice, creating an epic adventure that will linger in the minds of moviegoers long after they have watched all three films.

It is clear to the keen viewer that great care went into casting this film, and the result speaks for itself. Elijah Wood gives a spot-on performance as Frodo, perfectly portraying every fear and emotion of this complex character. Ian McKellen captures the hearts of viewers with his passionate portrayal of Gandalf, and Cate Blanchett is mysterious and enchanting as Galadriel. These and many other talented actors bring the characters from the pages of Tolkien's novels to life in a beautiful way.

Another element of "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" that has made it so enthralling is the work that went into making the fantastical world. The costumes and makeup used to create the various inhabitants of Middle-earth are so intricately detailed that even the most outlandish orcs seem like they might be real. CGI is used sparingly in the film, integrating seamlessly with the real-life props and actors. Director Peter Jackson continues to make a believable fantasy world with complex, realistic sets built across the scenic landscapes of New Zealand. The result is a beautifully detailed world that will surely come to life for viewers in decades to come.

"The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" is a movie that will surely be remembered as one of the best of its generation, and the other two films in the trilogy are just as highly praised. Featuring an enthralling story and a mesmerizing world of fantastical creatures, this film is a great pick for anyone who likes a good adventure.