Since so many have done before me I think I will put in my two cents about the movie as well. I have been given the very cool chance to see the movie twice in two days and let me tell you, I really needed those two screenings in other to make up a good opinion!
Let me first say that this movie absolutely blew me away! It is a visually very strong movie, the landscapes, sets and locations are all truly beautiful and I hereby officially envy everyone who lives in New Zealand. From Hobbiton to Mordor, all the locations looked as if PJ and crew really did fly to Middle-earth to shoot this movie! All praise to the locations scouts who in my opinion did a great job.
Who also did an awesome job were the actors. If Sir Ian McKellen won’t get at least an Oscar-nomination for his role as Gandalf I will be hugely disappointed. His Gandalf had it all, the brushy eyebrows, the look in his eyes both dangerous and pityful and the voice… spot on! Viggo Mortensen was perfect! I can not imagine anyone else playing the part of Aragorn. From the first moment we see him in Bree untill the Breaking of the Fellowship he does a terrific job! Tookish mentioned them as well: Sean Bean, Sir Ian Holm and Elijah Wood also did a tremendous good job. And let’s not forget Christoper Lee. His Saruman really did fill me with fear, and his voice… I can;t wait for the second movie to see him arguing with Gandalf again after the Ents have destroyed Isengard. The Voice of Christopher Lee is really that of Saruman.
Of the other actors I would especially like to mention the ‘devastatingly handsome’ John Rhys-Davies. I don’t know if he has a fanclub, but if he has, where do I sign up? He is the prototype of a Dwarf and I can’t really see him play another part (well, except for maybe the voice of Treebeard, for which I think he’s perfect as well). Orlando Bloom did a great job, very Elvish. Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan are spot on as Pippin and Merry, they have some very good scenes! Who did I miss? Hugo Weaving was good as Elrond, though at times I had my thoughts about him. Galadriel… hmm.. all of her lines are straight from the book which is very cool, now I’ve heard people say she didn’t put her hart in the character but I wouldn’t go as far as saying that. In a way she did a great job on the part of Galadriel, she really does look like the unapproachable Elvenqueen she is playing, but it’s not entirly as I imagined her to be. Of course she really does look the part which makes up for a lot! Owh, and let us not forget Liv Tyler’s Arwen! Nevermind what other people say, she makes a terrific Arwen. Sure they enlarged her part a bit, but not to such an extent that fans can’t live with it. All the other actors, I won’t name ’em all, also did a great job. PJ himself might I add did an excellent job with his cameo!:)
The story itself was great! A lot has been written about how true it really is to the books and to be honest, yes, there are a lot of good parts which are in the books missing in the movies, but (and I know this sounds familiar) the story is still true to the books. Some of the greatest quotes and dialogues from the books are in the movie and there were they weren’t it was hard to notice the difference. (gosh it’s hard writing all this stuff without being able to support it with examples from the movie, but I did promise spoiler-free).
One thing that Peter Jackson in my opinion did very well was getting the story started. In the books it takes quite a while before we really see some action (and I have to admit that the first part of book one isn’t really my favorite part), but in the movies the story really gets moves on in a good pace, leaving plenty of time for some winks to people who have read the books (A Shortcut to Mushrooms?).
One thing that did struck me at the end was that it didn’t feel like I saw a movie which clocked in at nearly three hours. As I said there is plenty of time for everyhing, with maybe the exception of Lorien, but at the end it still feels like it all went so fast. Imagine if they were to show everything which was in the books, you’d probably get a six hour movie (personally I could live with that).
Well, back to the locations because they really did give the movie a Midlle-earth/Tolkien-ish look. The involvement of John Howe and Alan Lee was hard to miss. Most of the sets we have already seen so that won’t be much of a surprise to most of you. Hobbiton and the Shire brought a tear to my eye. Rivendell looked like it just walked out of a Ted Nasmith painting. But the biggest surprise to me were Isengard and Orthanc.. man did those look awesome! And the Dark Tower gave me shivers all over. Moria rocked my world and Lothlorien was beautiful as it should be!
The special effects in this movie were amazing. All praise to Richard Taylor and his WETA-team. Sometimes it was hard to believe that what you saw was actually made by a computer. And as far as the cgi-made creatures go, well we’ve all seen the Cave-Troll I assume, and I think the Cave-Troll was the one I liked least. The interaction of the actors with the cgi-creatures was exceptionally good!