From: Sharon

Okay, I saw the film. I have to admit, by the time the credits started I had to run to the restroom – even though I had nothing to drink for hours before. So here’s a woman’s slant on the movie.

Enough people have given almost a frame by frame review, but after having read the books countless times (I stopped counting after the 20th time), I was ravenous for the visual edition. I was not disappointed. The first thing that was so unexpected was the downright evil of the Ringwraiths. We’ve seen the clips of them on their snorting black horses, but the true depth of their evil comes out at first in drips and drops – they ride down some poor hobbit in the lane. But more, much more was to come.

The scene at the Prancing Pony where Frodo accidentally dons the ring was incredible! We suddenly see the world as he does – as the wraiths do and the moment it’s on his finger, the Ringwratihs know it! When they burst through the gates of Bree and, in the process, knocked the gate on top of the gate-keeper and just kept riding over him, I sort of jumped in my chair. Coldly they stand over the beds of the hobbits, their long blades raise in unison, then wham, wham, wham. If the hobbits really had there, they’d be in pieces.

I had not expected to like Arwen much. I am a Glorfindel fan. I had heard she took his role of rescuer for the ride to the Ford of Bruinen and I wasn’t really thinking I’d like this new Arwen. I was totally wrong. She’s fantastic. The first thing we see of her is her blade, but I won’t tell you how this scene plays out. It’s just too good to spoil.

We get brief glimpses of Rivendell. I could have watched it for an hour. Being a long-time Elf-fan, I was thrilled to see the way the Elves are handled. And it’s very clear that Legolas has know Aragorn, and of his past, for he jumps to Aragorn’s defense when Boromir says something against him.

We’re rather hastily rushed out of Rivendell and we don’t get to see wargs attacking the Fellowship, but I could live without that. The movie is so compelling, the viewer is transported with the party on to Caradhras. It was so nice to see Legolas walking on top of the snow there. I knew they couldn’t capture the Elven light Tolkien describes, but this began to make up for it – and the speed, accuracy, and sheer brilliance of Legolas as an archer later in the film helped really give us a feel for his character: All business, not quite understanding how the other races see the world, his emotions barely fleeting across his features. He talks to Sam about the Elven Lament for Gandalf, refusing to translate because the pain is too deep. Very well done. The other races are allowed to show their emotions – especially the hobbits, but the Elves obviously emote differently, more subtlety.

Enough has been said about the brilliant scenes in Moria – but I have to say, the Balrog was incredible. Smoke. Shadow. Fire. All with intense hatred toward Gandalf. Wow.

After all the trailers and commercials, I was expecting a longer, more drawn out stay in Lorien. I guess we’ll get that in the Director’s Cut. I think Peter was going for the feeling of Galadriel’s power and magic. There’s a lot of voices in heads – especially between Frodo and Galadriel. We barely get to see Celeborn or Haldir. Before I was ready for it, the Fellowship were in boats and heading away. We never even got to see Galadriel in the swam boat. Heavy sigh.

What I haven’t heard much about is the battle at Amon Hen. It was incredible, and we finally get to see the power beneath the surface of Aragorn. He and Sean Bean are wonderful in their very poignant scene together. The cuts during the battle were so fast, it was hard to follow who was where – which is they way it can get in real life.

When the movie ended, the audience in the screening room I was in sat in stunned silence for a moment, before few people applauded. We’re left wondering how on Middle Earth Frodo and Sam can make it to Mordor (Gimli has given a list of obstacles), and how Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli could ever hope to rescue Merry and Pippin.

Speaking of Merry and Pippin – their comic relief was so well timed, so cute, so hobbit-like. The audience falls in love with them at once.