My good friend Garrett has sent us a non-spoiler and spoiler filled reviews of LOTR:FOTR! Enjoy!
Well I have just returned from seeing “Fellowship of the Ring” at the NY Press Screening and will do my best to give you all the non-spoiler and spoiler details of a film that honestly surprised me. Don’t get me wrong I had the highest of expectations, but I think you will be surprised too. I will write this review without any spoilers or plot give-aways (not that we don’t know them) so any one who wants to just see the film can enjoy it. For fanatical readers of theonering.net like me, I will be sending in a second review full of spoilers and points to watch for and a few of my favorite parts. Sound fair? Good.
I will tell you what I know of elves, men, and dwarves. Of Hobbits and wizards and the one ring to rule them all. First of all the film begins with the history of the ring as we all know it. Galadriel tells the tale as we are taken to Middle Earth. The opening battle sequences are amazing, giving true epic proportions to fantasy battles. Magic, armor, hordes of orcs all come to life. Then we see Bilbo and Gollum in the dark caves of the Misty Mountains, just seeing it makes you catch your breath.
Switch to Hobbiton, we are introduced to Gandalf and Frodo right away. I must say that Ian McKellen has done something remarkable with Gandalf. We all have our images of the old wizard, but no embodiment of our visions. Thank you Sir Ian for giving us a Gandalf who shows strength, caring, and humor in the best of ways. Elijah Wood plays Frodo with innocence and uncertainty. His development throughout the film is wonderful. I must mention as no other reviews I read have, that Ian Holm is a FANTASTIC Bilbo. He is truly great. Watch for some surprises from him as well later on in Rivendell. Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghen are wonderfully troublesome as Merry and Pippin. Pippin gets into all sorts of mishaps and adds some funny lines at times when the Fellowship are in peril. The landscape behind the Shire is fantastic, in reading the books you have the comfortable countryside images and Peter Jackson serves them up on a beautiful canvas.
Don’t make any mistake about it, this film keeps you on the edge of your seat. The dark riders are an awesome force of fear and an excellent depiction of evil early on in the film.
Adding to the collective villains is Christopher Lee. He is Saruman to the core. Adding such a voice to treachery and destruction (I can’t wait to watch the Ents rip through Isengard..you will know why when you see the film). This whole sequence gives a powerful image of Tolkein’s classic theme of machine vs. nature. Lee is wonderful, encompassing all the destructive force that misused knowledge can bring with it.
Viggo Mortensen and Sean Bean carry the film at many points. Please note that all the casting is EXCELLENT. Some of the moments between these two are great, the competition, the weakness that mankind suffer from are played out perfectly. Especially by Bean who really comes to life at the end of the film.
I know many fans of the book are uncertain of Arwen and Liv Tyler. Well frankly, I understand Peter’s choice and think that it is done wonderfully. She is great, offering healing and romance to Viggo as Strider. The moment on the bridge is great as they speak elvish to each other.
Speaking of elves…Hugo Weaving does a great job with Elrond. A powerful elf lord who shows his timeless knowledge and caring for his friends as well as all races of Middle Earth.
Gimli and Legolas…everyone has their favorite. Well I have two, Orlando Bloom and John Rhys-Davies are wonderful. Gimli is great at the Council of Elrond, and Legolas lays waste to orcs with his bow.
Cate Blanchett remains one of my favorite actresses ever since “Elizabeth”, there is no change here. Galadriel and the Lothlorien are amazing. The whole sequences has to be rewatched a dozen times to pick up all the elvish glamor. She is wonderful, powerful and yet an enigma. Galadriel is an in-depth character no doubt, and Cate is perfect as the elf sorceress-queen.
Ok, so have I mentioned everyone, Oh ya…that Director guy. Well Mr. Jackson what can I say, I’ve been following the making of this film for 3 and a half years on this very Web site. So I will say to you Thanks. Thanks for taking all of our hopes as fans of Tolkein and fantasy and putting them on the screen in a truly powerful film. Thanks for using John Howe’s art as an inspiration. It looked great, paced well, and left me realizing why I have been a fan of fantasy my whole life.
I can say that this film has something at its core which forces us to all look inside ourselves. People read fantasy to get away from the dull everyday things in life and quest for what is best in themselves. Tolkein created a world of powerful evil, and proved that with some trust in yourself and a little friendship any foe can be beaten. This film is better than just going to see a larger than life movie. It shows, as “Lord of the Rings” did, the humanity within us all. Please fell free to check out the next review full of spoilers!!!!
Scoll down for spoilers…
SPOILER FILLED REVIEW!
Here we go, I’m just going to run down the list of spoilers I think you will all enjoy:
1. Though it’s not in the books the part when Merry and Pippin steal Gandalf’s fireworks is hysterical.
2. Sauron in the battle against men and elves at the beginning is great to watch. It shows the true destructive power of the ring.
3. Isildur and Elrond take the ring to Mt. Doom to destroy it but their attempt fails when Isildur gives into the ring. (This happens as a flashback during the Rivendell sequence).
4. Gwahir (spelling?) is awesome. I thought it was very cool that Gandalf whispers to a moth who then sends the great eagle.
5. The wizard duel is short, and not silly at all. Other reviews found it lame, I thought it was a good addition to confirm Saruman’s treachery.
6. Lothlorien, Moria, Hobbiton, and Rivendell are AMAZING!!!
7. Strider does not give his speech in the Prancing Pony as I’d have liked to have seen, but gives it to Frodo at the Council of Elrond.
8. Boromir does use the horn.
9. Gimli tries to smash the ring during the Council and breaks his axe to pieces. I know this was not in the book, but it was very dwarven.
10. When Frodo shuts up the arguing Council by saying “I’ll take the ring” you want to stand up and cheer, it’s great.
11. The fights are great!!! Loads of slashing and smashing and shooting, I loved when Legolas shoots at the orcs in Moria when they are on the steps. Also, when Gimli and Gandalf attack the cave troll its great!
12. The whole Mithril shirt and Sting combo is great, especially when it saves Frodo’s life. The troll stabs him instead of an orc captain, but the effect is maintained.
13. We do see Aragorn’s broken sword in Rivendell in a short scene between Boromir and Aragorn.
14. Gandalf’s look to Frodo when he is all dressed and ready to leave is wonderful.
15. Gandalf’s opening line is hysterical. “Precisely on time”
16. The Balrog!!! Holy Gandalf standing in the face of that demon…just great images.
17. Saruman ordering the orcs to destroy the gardens and trees at Isengard. Great imagery, Bring on the ENTS!!! It will justify that sequence so well in the next film.
18. Boromir’s two speeches to Aragorn are great. Once when he explains Gondor and of course when he dies. You really got the sense of their hope to improve mankind from the greedy, corrupt race that the elves and dwarves see them for.
19. The white hand on the Urak Hai was silly to some, but I love orcs and thought it was great, the yelling and running, as Saruman calls them the perfect warriors.
20. After the Fellowship leaves Lothlorien, look at their cloak clasps. Oh, look at Boromir’s vanbraces as well.
21. Mordor is great, in the beginning, when the riders come forth. The black riders in general are scary, slimey, dark and really make you jump.
22. Bilbo’s grab at the ring in Rivendell….the whole audience JUMPED!!!
23. Sam jumping after Frodo at the end is great.
24. Legolas, takes down three orcs with three shots in in like two seconds…just enjoy watching Legolas and Gimli do there stuff can wait for the competition.
25. The Watcher in the water is awesome. I like how it traps them inside Moria. Add the whole gate sequence and Frodo helping Gandalf and its really fun to watch.
Ok guys, it’s 2 a.m. I have to work at 7 a.m. But its worth it. I hope you all see the film and enjoy it as much as I did. I hope my hints and thoughts gave you reason to be more excited. I have to say a quick thanks to Xoanon, Carl, Sir Manfred and all the Von Halsterns, Marianne (a true elf), Shawnda (a true Tolkein fan), my cousin Kevin, and of course to Padma who always will be eternal to me. Please feel free to write me any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’ll do my best to answer. Oh, did I mention Peter Jackson’s cameo on the streets of Bree…hahaha Thanks again guys, see you all on Dec. 19th!!!!!