Thursday, February 28, 2013

Movie: Fellowship of the Ring

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 10

Genre: Adventure, fantasy

Series or set: Lord of the Rings

Number in series: 1st

Primary actors: Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Ian McKellen, Christopher Lee, Cate Blanchett, Liv Tyler

Length: About three hours

Based on: Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien

Time period: Fantasy

Year it came out: 2001

My overall opinion: Well, I’ve reviewed this before, way back in early 2011 when I first watched this trilogy, and when I had just started Austenitis. Back then, I reviewed much differently than I do now. I was still learning so much…still am, but I know more now than then! So, having now seen the movies four or five times, I figured it was time for a complete review – of a length that only true devotees would actually read the entire thing. This time, as I watched, I kept notes…and each movie took a full notebook page, with ROTK taking 1 and 2/3. Really. That review will be exceptionally long. Well, so is this one...over 2000 words (with this addition). But for now…here we go! I’m doing everything mostly chronologically here, in order of my notes.

WARNING: There is no attempt to avoid spoilers. None whatsoever. So...if you haven't seen it and you want some things to stay mysterious, don't read this. But if you have seen it...HERE WE GO!

Hobbiton: I love the cheerful hobbit scenes that are filling the beginning of this first movie. They are so light and happy and easy-going…the scenes and the hobbits (perhaps not so much the light part ;). I am a girl who loves happy things, so these scenes are a refresher to me, since I know how dark the rest of the movies get. It’s especially nice to see Frodo still healthy and cheerful and clean and smiling. He changes a lot over the movies.

Gandalf: Oh I love that guy! Sir Ian McKellen makes the perfect Gandalf! I love his hat. He is awesome and stunning as ever.

Bilbo: Well, now that Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is out, this is the wrong Bilbo, of course. But still…he does well enough.

Soundtrack: This soundtrack is so stunning! I’m listening to it as I write…inspiration, you know. Howard Shore did an unbelievable job with it, giving places and characters their own themes, but not so many that you can’t keep them apart. I’ve listened to this soundtrack dozens of times, and there are songs that (played loudly enough) still give me goose-bumps. :)

Pippin and Merry: Everyone loves these two! I confess, I’ve never been able to tell them apart…or rather, remember which is which. I know all the classic ways of keeping them apart…I just can’t remember them. HOWEVER, I think I’m getting better with each viewing. :D They are so hilarious with the firecrackers in the beginning scenes! I do love their friendship, and they’re pretty cute little guys.

Ring: It’s so menacing, even at the beginning! However, I must admit to being very glad that they included its history like they did. Of course, it’s sprinkled throughout the three movies (especially in the opening of the third…disgusting, but that is for another review). But seeing the history is so much clearer than reading it…I’m really glad Peter Jackson included that.

Quotes: These movies are unbelievably quotable. Probably a couple of quotes will crop up yet in this review…but I’m going to try not to use too many, and perhaps later do a post on them. For now, I just have to throw in one… “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” – Galadriel

Black Riders and Saruman: They are both so frightfully creepy! The Black Riders are menacing, same as the Ring…hidden faces, ragged clothes…you know they’re bad. Even the bugs know…remember the scene where one of them hunches over the edge of a little dell where Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry are hiding, and all these creatures (creepy crawlies!) come oozing out? Yeah. It’s gross. And Saruman…how anyone could trust him is beyond me, but dislike of him is well-ingrained in me, so I don’t suppose I can judge. Christopher Lee does amazing as Saruman – truly creepy. Oh, one thing that just occurred to me…at least in the normal length editions, you never see what happens to him, do you? I don’t think so. That’s a problem.

Special effects: There are some amazing ones! I’m not sure what scene we were on when I wrote that note, but there are so many throughout all three of the films that I’m sure you won’t have any trouble remembering some. These movies are stunning with those!

Peter Jackson: FINALLY! I spotted him in Bree! He looked quite like himself too, and I’m surprised I haven’t seen him before. I think I maybe also saw him in the third movie (we’ll see once I get to that review) but not in the second. But it made my day to spot him! Here, a picture.

Aragorn: All I wrote here was “ARAGORN! LOVE.” Yeah…that pretty much sums it up. He’s so handsome, so awesome, so great with a sword, so amazing, so brave, and he says “If by my life or death I can protect you, I will.” Simply lovely! And yes…I do love his relationship with Arwen as well. He’s simply great, definitely a favorite part of the movies for me. Which makes me sound totally fan-girl…I just might be. Viggo Mortensen rocks here!

Weathertop: It’s such an interesting place, perched on top of a hill like it is. All fallen buildings and dark crevasses. And then getting encircled by the fearsome Black Riders! Oh, it’s a stirring scene. Frodo and the hobbits attacked by the Black Riders! And my favorite part? Aragorn rides in and does a fiery rescue. Ha, those Black Riders set on fire! Ah, it’s a wonderful thing.

Trolls: I spotted them! Success! And they looked just like the ones from HAUJ. Score, Peter Jackson!

Rivendell: It’s so lovely in Rivendell – these scenes always feel peaceful. Of course, here we have
Elrond’s Council – great music. And I love seeing all the races of people gathered – men, dwarves, elves. And of course, it’s at Rivendell that we really meet Elrond and Boromir and Gimli and Legolas and somewhat Arwen, though technically she’s just before Rivendell (to be met, in a part inaccurate to the book). And I love the scene at the council where Sam runs in to accompany Frodo and then Merry and Pippin pop out too. So funny! Oh, and we see Bilbo again. And he has a freaky Gollum moment…ugh.

Legolas and Gimli: Yes, I had to give these (super cool) guys their own section. Because they’re such a wonderful part of all three movies! Of course, I’ll mention them more later. But for now…suffice to say that Legolas is simply smashing. And so is Gimli. Both so stalwart and strong and, well, handsome. Love them both!'s not just me thinking Legolas' eyes switch color, is it? Cause I'm convinced that in at least one scene they were definitely brown or at least a very dark color. And in other scenes, distinctly blue! Your thoughts?

Boromir: Oh Boromir. This was actually my first time to watch and not cry over the end of this film. It took some intense concentration. He’s got the right things at heart, the well-being of Minas Tirith, but pursues them in the wrong way. You know you should absolutely hate him, and there are definitely some times when you dislike him, but when he dies, his death is so noble…you (usually) can’t help but cry. Poor Boromir. Kind of a villain you can’t quite hate, like Javert in Les Mis. And after all, he’s the one who says “One does not simply walk into Mordor.”

Passage of Caradhras: And so the Fellowship travels on, finally coming the mountains. Oh, the Passage of Caradhras…yikes! It’s one scary cold scene. So much deep snow and so much wind. I was indescribably glad I wasn’t with them right there. Truly miserable. And Saruman controlling the weather…that’s just freaky.

Watcher in the Water: What is it anyway, some sort of overgrown prehistoric octopus? Definitely something I would like to encounter. It’s…huge and slimy and so many legs. But in the book, if I remember right, it’s an intelligent creature (or perhaps…no, I don’t think so, but maybe Saruman controls it?) and goes straight for Frodo. It obviously has enormous strength as well, because it absolutely walls them into…

Mines of Moria: You may think me strange. But? This is my favorite scene sequence in any of the three movies, with the possible exception of the entire 30 minutes or so at the end of ROTK (beginning with A’s crowning). Mines are amazing, and these are certainly no exception. Gigantic, dark, echoic, scary, monumental, impressive. I’ve oohed and aahed my way through these scenes time after time. So excuse me if I’m a little exuberant. Oh, and we get our very first glimpse of Gollum here too! (Incidentally, there is a severe lack of Moria pictures on the web, which is where I get all my pictures....just video game pix, which don't work, so excuse a lack of Moria photos).

Cave troll scene: You remember the cave troll, of course. Have you ever noticed that Aragorn uses a bow and arrows there? My question…where did he get them? He is very proficient and good with them…but he uses that instead of his sword. Random observation. And of course, the whole fight is quite fascinating. Such a slow troll, very dim witted obviously, but very heavy and strong. Dangerous. I do love it when Pippin and Merry rescue Frodo! YAY! They’re so awesome together. :D

Moria in general: There’s a ton of gray…really makes the fiery reds and oranges stand out when they reach those immense stairs. Of course, some of this whole scene isn’t accurate to the book…but I’m used to it and like it just as well. :) Their whole race along those perilous steps is unbelievable. In an amazing way. So dangerous and fast! I did wonder this last time through tho…what in the world is burning down there? Is it like a volcano or something way down deep? I don’t know. And the whole collapsing steps -- *heart-pounding scenes.* But remember…”Nobody tosses a dwarf.” Until the next movie, at least. ;)

Balrog: And then, despite that fast and dangerous race…they encounter the balrog on the bridge. Ah, the balrog is indeed a fearful creature…can you imagine fighting several, like back in the earlier Ages? Nearly invincible. But they all make it across the bridge and then Gandalf stands there… “You shall not pass!” And then! Oh great joy, the balrog falls and all is well…until the whip snakes back up and down goes Gandalf. After harshly whispering “Fly, you fools!” Oh, that scene is a tear-jerker for sure if you don’t know the books/movies...and maybe even if you do. (And yes, that picture isn't straight from the movie...close enough though.)

Lothlorien: On to Lothlorien. Such an amazing structure! I can’t imagine the work it took to build these sets, though no doubt much of it is in miniature. And here we meet Galadriel, and less importantly, Celeborn. And Haldir too, right? That bowl that Galadriel has Frodo look in is freaky…but then Galadriel resists the temptation to take the Ring! That too is a freaky scene. And here it is that Galadriel says “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”

Boromir’s betrayal and death: I’ve already covered this a bit up in the Boromir paragraph. Poor Boromir. He’s so awful and fully despicable and despisable (and yes, I’m making that a word). And then he turns around and dies defending two hobbits. *sob* I’m going to cry just thinking about it. SO sad and SO good. He is so brave and noble there at the end. Oh my.

Aragorn’s stand: As Frodo runs away, Aragorn fights off how many orcs? I don’t know, but it’s a lot. And maybe they’re Uruk Hai. Either way, it’s a lot of nasty beasts all against him…and he triumphs! And then Pippin and Merry also fighting and trying so hard to distract them from Frodo…which they do, only to have Boromir come rescue them. They’re such stupid brave little hobbits – did I mention I love them?

Sam: Sam has never been a favorite LOTR character for me, and neither has Frodo. But Sam chasing Frodo there at the end is great. He’s going along and there’s no stopping him. It’s a good thing too! But I love how he chases after, and then Frodo saves him from drowning. It’s good. Yup. Good.
Aragorn take 3: “Let’s hunt some orc.”

THERE! Did you read it all? If so, fist-bump! Very few people will actually read the entire thing, but even if you didn’t…hope you enjoyed what you did read. Now comment and tell me…

Do you agree with my takes on characters?

What scenes are your favorites?

Did I point out anything you hadn’t noticed before?

P.S. Go to my Spotlights page (click here) to find spotlights on several of my favorite LOTR characters!


Hamlette said...

You left Sean Bean out of your list of primary actors!!!

I just have to point that out because he is the main reason I let my friends talk me into going to see this in the theater when it first came out. I promptly fell in love with Middle Earth, and Boromir in particular, but without Sean Bean's presence, I might have missed out on so much!

Okay, scolding aside, I used to have a dreadful time telling Merry and Pippin apart too! Only after I started watching Lost and got much more familiar with Dom was I able to really keep them straight.

Rivendell is my favorite place in Middle Earth, really. Even above the Shire or Rohan. It's so graceful and restful. When we were first married, the building our apartment was in stood next to a gorge with a river at the bottom, so we named our apartment Rivendell.

Boromir being my favorite character, I disagree with your characterization of him as a villain. I cry so deeply over his death every time I see this (or read it), because he does come back to himself, and knows what he's done, and... it's so sad. I never like Aragorn so much as I do when he kisses Boromir's brow there. But anyway, I don't find Boromir despicable, just too weak to withstand the power of the ring. His falling under its spell serves to highlight how special Frodo and Aragorn are, that they can withstand its temptation. Boromir isn't bad, he's just a normal man.

And I love Sam -- he's my favorite after Boromir. Tolkien said that Sam is the true hero of the books, and I fully subscribe to that idea. Sam carries the ring and freely gives it up, and in the end, Frodo couldn't do that. Without Sam, where would Frodo be? Okay, I won't Frodo-bash, but yeah, I love Sam. He's stalwart and wonderful.

Anyway, I read the whole review! I think it was too short. I dearly love this movie (and the others, but this most of all), and could natter on about it for ages. But I've already written a bunch, so I won't make this longer by tossing in my favorite lines or anything. Another time, perhaps!

Hamlette said...

One random thing more -- did you ever notice that after they set Boromir's body adrift, Aragorn puts on Boromir's arm guard thingies (gauntlets?) to remember him by? I love that little touch.

Hannah said...

GREAT REVIEW! You gotta LOVE Lord of the Rings. And wow. What a very full review!!! :D I love it. Haha. I can't wait to read everything on Two Towers.

XX, Inky

Brittany Britta said...

Great reveiw! Man, I love these movies. I've seen them 3 or 4 times each within a year, and I already can't wait to see them again. Have you seen all three of them in extended edition? They are so much better than the theatrical!

Kiri Liz said...

LOTR! Must read and make certain that you love it as much as I do! Huzzah!! :D

I would comment against all of your points, but each one would be the same: "Love it. Amazing. Epic." etc. so I shall force myself to say as little as possible, lest blogger force me to cut this comment into two parts. :)

Actually, I'm not certain I agree with you on Ian Holm being the wrong Bilbo. Personally, I loved him as Bilbo, and I was ecstatic to discover they included him a little in HAUJ (I have yet to see it). He was just what I wanted Bilbo to be after reading the books, and Martin Freeman, I think, was marvelous and seemed to draw together both Bilbos so that they appeared as the same person, and not just two different actors.

I couldn't tell Merry and Pippin apart the first time I watched LOTR. However, I found that after you watch it three or seven (or ten) times that you can even tell which one is which in the long shots. They're such great characters.

Quotes are awesome. My family absolutely quotes LOTR way too much! :)

Peter Jackson makes a cameo appearance in all three LOTR movies. In FOTR, he's the carrot-eating guy in Bree; I forget where he pops up in TTT, but I think it might be somewhere in Helm's Deep... I could be wrong, I'll have to look that up again; and in ROTK, he's only in the extended edition, as the man that Legolas shoots on the black ships after the three hunters exit the Mountain of the Dead.

Legolas and Gimli are probably my favorite characters in the entire series (with the exception of Sam, Pippin, Eowyn, Faramir, etc.), because they have such a great friendship. Elves and dwarves never really got along, and yet these two were able to overcome their differences and trust each other. I love the dialogue between them in ROTK: "I never thought I'd die fighting side by side with an elf." "What about side by side with a friend?"

Ahh! Yes, his eyes do change color! Apparently, Orlando Bloom has brown eyes, so he wore contacts to change them to blue. The contacts irritated his eyes so that they eventually didn't use them, but digitally altered his eye color later. There are a bunch of scenes they shot without the contacts, but forgot to go back later to digitally alter the color to blue. Funny, eh? :D

Anyway, can't wait to read your reviews of TTT and ROTK!!

God bless!
Kiri Liz

Analiese said...

Wow, what a fun post!! Very filled out, too. :D Looking forward to reading your thoughts on Two Towers and Return of the King!

Charity U said...

FINALLY! I'm here, and ready to reply. :) Keep your eyes peeled for a Two Towers review, hopefully coming this week! :)

HAMLETTE, yes, I'm afraid Sean wasn't in that list...I really could have included a great many more. ;) Boromir...I've never loved him, but he's not bad. :) *note to self: watch Lost.* ;) Rivendell is so lovely! A great many people dearly love it. Well, Boromir isn't quite a villain...but he's not quite good either. A normal man, but a bit weaker than normal too -- after all, later in the movies Faramir withstands, as do several other men! And you love Sam! We have many differences I'm afraid, Hamlette. Sam is a hero I suppose...and you are quite right. Where WOULD Frodo be without him? Great job reading the whole thing! I too could go on for ages about it...I did limit myself just a tad. :) And no, I don't think I have noticed that about the gauntlets...I'll watch for it next time!

HANNAH, thank you! And yup...who could help but love these? :) Next review coming soon. :)

BRITTANY, thanks! Definitely a see-again. I've seen all of 1 and 3 in extended, half of 2...hoping to remedy that (and see them all again) sometime soon. :)

KIRI LIZ, oh, I do adore the books! So much that I read them aloud to myself (with different voices for each guy...a challenge for a soprano female like me! ;) Oh, no, I didn't mean Ian Holm was the WRONG Bilbo...just that he wasn't the Hobbit Bilbo, if that makes sense. For perfect continuity...yup, it's just me who thinks these things. ;) See, I've seen it...four times? Five? Still have trouble with M&P. BUT! I think I'm improving. ;) Is PJ only in the extended ROTK? I thought I saw him...if so, I wrote it down and it'll come up in my review. :) L&G are so awesome! Their friendship is super your quote there. Such a joy to watch! FINALLY! Someone enlightens me about Orlando's eyes! It's puzzled me from the very beginning. Fascinating. Thanks for the info! And thanks for commenting.

ANALIESE, yup, some posts just get really filled out in the end. :) More thoughts coming soon!

Thank you all for reading and commenting! And cheers for all those of you who actually read the entire thing!!

Hamlette said...

Differences aren't bad ;-)

As for Lost... it's an intriguing show. And addictive. If you ever get into it, just be aware that Sawyer is ALL MINE! Though you probably would like Jack better :-) In fact, I kind of wind up loving the unlikable characters most in a lot of things. But anyway, Dom is really sweet on it.

If you lived in Middle Earth, where would you want to live? I'd love to live in Rohan because I love horses and being outdoors.

Charity U said...

Hamlette, this is true. :) Where would I live? Rivendell is lovely, of course, but I'm afraid that I might most enjoy it just for a visit. I think I'd probably most enjoy Minas Tirith -- it's beautiful and besides, Aragorn lives there. ;) No, but really, I like that city a lot.

Kiri Liz said...

Ah! The Bilbo issue has been cleared. I am satisfied. :D

I think PJ may only be in the extended RotK, but I could be wrong. He tends to pop up where you least expect him. Oh, and I was right-- he's at Helm's Deep: Rohan spear-throwing solider.

Charity U said...

Kiri Liz, yay! We resolved it! :) As I'm typing up my review of ROTK, I'm thinking I noticed PJ's kids, but not him? At least, I haven't come across a mention of seeing him in my notes yet, so. Missed him at Helm's Deep. :(