2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 December 2014
16/24 of Tim Bradley's Amazon Advent Calendar 2014
This review is for my friend Hannah who is a LOTR fan like me.
"One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them!"
I love `The Lord of the Rings' movie trilogy! It's one of my favourite fantasy trilogies in the history of cinema and it's well adapted and well-directed by Peter Jackson and his team of filmmakers. I've been immersed in the world of Middle-Earth and still love these three classic and majestic films.
I didn't like `The Lord of the Rings' at first. My family and I were lent a DVD copy of `The Fellowship of the Ring' from some neighbours in late 2002. I wasn't keen on this movie and didn't get what was going on. But a year later during Easter in 2003, I decided to give this movie another go and bought the original `Fellowship' DVD. Now I've seen the whole trilogy and love watching these epic films.
'The Lord of The Rings' is based on the book trilogy by Middle-Earth creator and author J. R. R. Tolkien. Tolkien spent fifteen years writing this book trilogy following his success of 'The Hobbit'. Tolkien created and developed the world of Middle-Earth writing `LOTR' as he invented the languages, places and peoples of Middle-Earth. It was deemed impossible for the trilogy to be turned into a live-action movie. But film director Peter Jackson took on the challenge with his team in New Zealand to adapt and turning Tolkien's LOTR books into three films.
The story of `The Lord of the Rings' is about a hobbit called Frodo Baggins who lives a simple life in the Shire. He inherits a ring from his uncle Bilbo, before discovering from Gandalf that it is `the One Ring' forged by the Dark Lord Sauron. Accompanied by his friends, Frodo sets out on a quest to destroy the ring. But it will mean having to go to the land of Mordor where Sauron dwells and throw the ring into the fires of Mount Doom, the fiery volcano where the ring was forged.
I bought the original 2-disc DVD edition of `Fellowship' containing the cinema version of the movie, before buying the four-disc Special Extended DVD Edition. The film is about 3 hours long, containing 30 minutes extra footage. It contains an information booklet outlining the four discs which I found extremely helpful. I really love the DVD menus and how they open with the book on the table open for us. The film is divided into two parts with Part 1 on Disc 1 and Part 2 on Disc 2. The Scene Index inside the booklet identifies which scene is new and extended with the following legend:
Disc 3 and Disc 4 contain `The Appendices' which are `making-of' documentaries and extra material from the making of the film.
Onto the story itself then!
DISC 1 + DISC 2 - SPECIAL EXTENDED EDITION OF THE FILM
The movie begins with a `Prologue', narrated by Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) who gives us a history of Middle-Earth and the Rings of Power. We meet the free peoples of Middle-Earth - Elves, Dwarves and Men - and learn how they deceived by Sauron who created the One Ring of Power. An epic battle takes place as `the last alliance of Men and Elves' fight against the armies of Mordor for the freedom of Middle-Earth. Sauron is eventually defeated when Isildur, son of Elendil of the kings of Men cuts the One Ring from his hand. But Isildur took the ring for himself and got killed before the ring passed out of knowledge and legend; came to the creature Gollum and came to Bilbo Baggins of the Shire as depicted in 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'.
60 years later, we meet the Hobbits of the Shire. In the extended version, there are more scenes `concerning hobbits', especially when Bilbo writes about them in his book.
We get to meet Bilbo Baggins played by Ian Holm, who lives in his hobbit-hole Bag-End. Ian's interpretation of Bilbo is brilliant, as he was once a simple hobbit before whisked off into an adventure. Bilbo brought a pretty ring back with him and on his 111th birthday he uses it to disappear in front of his hobbit friends. He soon gives up the ring and leaves Bag-End and the Shire behind him, never to return.
The main star of `LOTR' is Frodo Baggins, played by Elijah Wood. Frodo is Bilbo's nephew. He's a peace-loving hobbit who isn't intent on having adventures. When he finding Bilbo has left him a ring, he discovers from Gandalf that it is dangerous. Frodo is determined to save his people and the Shire, even if it means leaving and heading out into the wild, unfamiliar territory and making for Mordor to destroy the ring with friends to accompany him.
We also meet Gandalf the Grey, played by Sir Ian McKellen. Gandalf is an old wizard who involves himself in the affairs of Middle-Earth. He's an old friend of Bilbo and shows great concern for his nephew Frodo when the ring comes into his possession. He helps Frodo on his mission to destroy the ring, by revealing its history and set out for Bree and Rivendell and leave the Shire behind him.
Frodo's hobbit friends are Samwise Gamgee (Sam), played by Sean Astin; Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry), played by Dominic Monaghan and Peregin Took (Pippin), played by Billy Boyd. Sam is Frodo's gardener and loyal servant on his journey to Mordor and is chosen by Gandalf to go with Mr Frodo after eavesdropping. Merry and Pippin are the comic relief of LOTR as they accidentally set off one of Gandalf's fireworks during Bilbo's party and join Frodo on his quest to Mordor. I found it funny when Pippin's sits on Frodo and goes, "Frodo! Merry, it's Frodo Baggins!"
Gandalf goes to Saruman the White at the tower of Orthanc in Isengard for help. Saruman is played by Christopher Lee, well-known for Dracula and Bond villain Scaramanga. Turns out, Chris Lee is a huge Tolkien fan and is very knowledgeable about the world of Middle-Earth. Saruman turns out to be a bad wizard and there's a wizard-fight between Gandalf and Saruman in the film. Gandalf manages to escape from Isengard riding on an eagl, whilst Saruman cuts down the trees in the forest around Orthanc and creates his own army of orcs with goblin-men.
Frodo and his friend are hunted down by nine Black Riders called the Nazgul (Ringwraiths). They are pretty scary and were once great kings of men. They serve Sauron, hunting down Frodo to recover the ring of power no matter what. I found that scene scary when Frodo and his friends hide under a log away from the Black Riders.
Eventually, Frodo and his friends arrive at the town of Bree, which is a pretty Dickensian type of town that's grimy and dirty. The four hobbits stay at the Prancing Pony, an inn run by Barliman Butterbur, whilst waiting for Gandalf. Whilst at Bree, Frodo and his friends are watched by a man in a dark hood smoking a pipe called Strider (also known as Aragorn), one of the rangers of the North, played brilliantly by Viggo Mortenson. Frodo gets himself into trouble when the ring slips on his finger and he vanishes, alerting the Ringwraiths to him. Strider takes Frodo aside once this happens. To look at him, you think he was a bad guy. But he turns out to be a friend of Gandalf who helps the four Hobbits on their quest and avoid the Black Riders.
Strider/Aragorn takes Frodo and the hobbits to Weathertop, a weather-beaten hill that used to be the watchtower of Amon Sul. They rest for the night, although the four hobbits are left behind with swords to protect them whilst Aragorn looks around. During the night, the hobbits are attacked by the Ringwraiths who come to Weathertop. The hobbits fight back rather weakly to protect Frodo. Frodo makes the mistake of putting the ring on and gets stabbed in the chest by a `morgul blade'. Strider/Aragorn turns up and manages to scare off the Ringwraiths with fire. Frodo is impaled and Aragorn and the hobbits have to get him to Rivendell quick in order to be cured.
They soon meet up with Arwen, daughter of Elrond, played by the beautiful Liv Tyler. Arwen is an Elven princess from Rivendell who comes to find Aragorn and help the hobbits. She gets Frodo to Rivendell to be cured by her father. Arwen takes Frodo on her white horse, and an an exciting chase sequence ensues between Arwen and the Ringwraiths. Arwen manages to get rid of the Ringwraiths by summoning a surge of water in the form of horses at the Fords of Bruinen. Arwen is in love with Aragorn, and the two shared a doomed romance with each other.
Frodo is delivered safely to Rivendell and is cured by Elrond who removes the poison of the `morgul blade' from him, though the wound won't fully heal. This is where we come to the world of Elves in Rivendell, home of Elrond. Rivendell is a beautiful Elven place and I really like the set design of it. Frodo reunited after so many years with Bilbo who's retired at Rivendell and gets to see his completed book `There And Back Again, A Hobbit's Tale' by Bilbo Baggins. Rivendell feels very heavenly, safe and out of danger from the dark forces surrounding it. Rivendell won't be safe for long though if Sauron manages to win his dominion of darkness in Middle-Earth.
Elrond is played by `Matrix' actor Hugo Weaving. Hugo delivers a very rich and elegant performance as Elrond, who's the high-ranking Elf living in Rivendell. He cures Frodo of his pain from the Ringwraiths and confides in Gandalf about the seriousness of the matter concerning the ring. Elrond was there during the battle in the Second Age (from the `Prologue' sequence) and witnessed Isildur's corruption and taking the ring of power for himself when it should have been destroyed in Mount Doom. Elrond summons a council in Rivendell consisting of elves, dwarves and men in order to discuss the situation about what to do with the ring.
The Council of Elrond consists of Elrond, Frodo, Gandalf and Aragorn. But there also new characters who attend the council meeting. There's Boromir, son of Gondor, played by Sean Bean (well-known for `Sharpe'); Legolas, an Elf from the realm of Mirkwood, played by Orlando Bloom; and Gimili, a red-bearded dwarf, played by Welsh actor John Rhys-Davies (whom I've met).
In `The Council of Elrond' sequence, Frodo decides and agrees to take the ring to Mordor to be destroyed. But Frodo doesn't know the way. He is soon joined by a company of friends who agree to help him on this quest. A company of nine companions is formed including Frodo; Gandalf; Aragorn; Legolas; Gimil; Boromir; Sam; Merry and Pippin. Elrond names them `the Fellowship of the Ring' and that's where `The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - Extended Version' ends on Disc 1.
Disc 2 of the movie begins with a new scene not featured in the original version of `Fellowship' where Aragorn visits his mother's memorial in Rivendell and Elrond speaks to him about being the king. We then move onto Bilbo giving his gifts to Frodo including his old Elf sword Sting and his Dwarf mithiril coat. Then we have another new scene where Elronds and elves of Rivendell wish the Fellowship farewell as they set off for their quest to Mount Doom. I found it funny when Frodo asks Gandalf, "Mordor; Gandalf? Is it left or right?" "Left" Gandalf replies.
The Ring goes south, as the Fellowship journey upwards into the Misty Mountains. There's a memorable shot of the Fellowship walking up the mountain one by one with Gandalf leading followed by Legolas; then Gimli; then Frodo; then Merry; then Pippin; then Sam; then Boromir before Aragorn takes up the rear. The Fellowship take a rest on the Misty Mountains before hiding as a flock of crows sent from Saruman hunt for them.
The Fellowship journeys up the snowy mountains of `cruel' Caradhras. The snowy mountains look spectacular on the screen. There's a tense moment where Boromir picks up the ring and is easily tempted by it before giving it back to Frodo.
The Fellowship journey higher up the mountain where snowy storms occur and Saruman puts a spell on the mountain. The Fellowship get caught up in an avalanche that almost buries them up in snow. Finding they can't go on any further up the mountain; the Fellowship decide to take another route. Instead of going over it, they make to go under it. They head for the mines of Moria.
This is where we enter the world of the dwarves going down to the bottom of the mountain. The Fellowship arrives at the ancient Dwarf kingdom of Moria - also known as Khazad-dûm. This is a kingdom underground the Misty Mountains where the dwarves `delve too greedily and too deep' for treasures of the earth. It used to be a great kingdom, now it has become dark and foreboding. The Fellowship attempt to get into Moria as Gandalf speaks the password to open the doors. After a number of attempts, Frodo figures it out and the Fellowship get into the mines.
There are number of monsters that the Fellowship encounter when making their journey into the mines of Moria. Outside the gates of Moria, Frodo gets snatched by a creature of many tentacles. This is the Watcher in the water creature that dwells in the waters outside the Moria gates. It attacks and snatches Frodo from the Fellowship in an attempt to try and get the ring. It looks like an octopus at first glance. But there's something more to it than that, as it have sharp razor-like fangs like a kraken. Frodo manages to get saved by his friends before going inside the mines. The vile creature closes the doors on them as it caves in the entrance before the Fellowship, and they have to trudge on through the dark of Moria.
In the journey through the dark, the Fellowship treads carefully seeing all the gloomy wonders that Moria has to offer. Frodo discovers that they're being secretly followed by Gollum, the creature who once possessed the ring for a long time. They come to the city of the Dwarrowdelf before coming across a hidden chamber containing the tomb of Balin, Gimli's cousin. Soon, after a `foolish' accident from Pippin, the Fellowship gets attacked by Orcs. These are Moria Orcs, like cockroaches. There's a dynamic exciting fight where the Fellowship fight the Orcs, including the Hobbits who use their swords to kills the Orcs attacking them.
Another monster punches his way in on the fight in Balin's tomb chamber. This is the Cave Troll, who's not happy when being provoked to fight the Fellowship. I like Peter Jackson's behind-the-scenes story on the Cave Troll in the DVD extras, making him a sympathetic character. The Cave Troll smashes his way in on the fight and smashes everything with his hammer and chain on characters like Gimli, Legolas and especially the hobbits. Frodo gets hunted down by the Cave Troll and gets stabbed with a spear from it. But the Cave Troll gets killed by Legolas and Frodo lives due to his mithril shirt protecting him during the attack.
The third monster of the Moria expedition is the Balrog. When the Fellowship escapes Moria, they're being pursued by a fiery bull-like creature with horns called the Balrog; that is the curse of the Dwarf's kingdom. There's an exciting runaway scene with the Fellowship going down the stairs of Khazad-dûm and jumping over the gap to get across. It gets pretty tense when the stairs fall apart and Frodo and Aragorn are in peril of falling in trying to get across.
The Fellowship make across the bridge of Khazad-dûm before Gandalf confronts the Balrog in mortal combat, declaring the immortal lines, "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!" In the end, Gandalf gets taken down into the abyss with the Balrog. It looks like Gandalf is dead. Frodo is very upset when this happens. I found it very upsetting when I saw it first time.
With Gandalf gone, the remaining Fellowship members make for the Elf kingdom of Lothlórien. There's a lot more scenes set in Lothlórien in the extended version compared to the theatrical release. There's trouble getting past through the Elf kingdom due to Frodo's possessing the ring. But eventually they are led by Haldir of the Elves to the city of Caras Galadhon where they meet the home dwellers of Lothlórien, Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel.
The Lady Galadriel is played by Cate Blanchett in the movie. Galadriel is the lady of light in the land of Lórien. She is the most beautiful of elves ever seen in Middle-Earth. Frodo is even transfixed by her beauty and wisdom. But there is something sad about Galadriel in her eyes. There's also something dangerous about her too. Cate delivers a wonderful and elegant performance as Galadriel. Frodo gets to look into `the mirror of Galadriel' which shows images of the past, present and future. Frodo gets to see what happens if he should fail in his quest for the ring and is persuaded by Galadriel to carry on his quest alone without the Fellowship to help him. There's a pretty scary moment when Galadriel reveals a deadly form when tempted to have the ring by Frodo.
In the extended version of `Fellowship', Galadriel gives gifts to the Fellowship as they depart Lórien, and there's a really nice scene between Galadriel and Gimli the dwarf as Gimli secretly falls in love with her.
The Fellowship departs from Lórien in Elf boats on the great river Anduin. Seeing the Fellowship travelling in boats is pretty exciting with Frodo and Sam in Aragorn's boat; Merry and Pippin in Boromir's boat and Gimli in Legolas's boat. They come across the Argonath, a monument of pillars carved into the shapes of kings of men including Isildur. It's a pretty iconic moment and you wouldn't believe that those Argnoath statues are miniatures (or `big-atures). The Fellowship eventually arrive on the shores of Amon Hen and rest before continuing their journey
But soon Frodo is missing as well as Boromir. During a tense scene between Frodo and Boromir, Boromir succumbs to the power of the ring and attempts to take it from Frodo. Frodo manages to escape, before deciding to go on his own with the quest.
Soon the Fellowship are attacked by an army of bloodthirsty Uruk-Hai. These are orc-goblin men bred by Saruman at Isengard and they are led by Lurtz, who is pretty scary-looking. The Uruk-Hai are like gorilla orcs built for fighting and there's a moment when Aragorn fights them off single-handed. They attempt to find Frodo and the ring. Will Frodo manage to escape and will it mean the death and loss of many friends in the breaking of the Fellowship?
TO BE CONTINUED...
The special features on this four-disc DVD of `The Fellowship of the Ring' are as follows on the following discs.
On both discs of the film, there are four full-length commentaries by various contributors in the making of the movie. The four commentaries are `The Director and Writers'; `The Design Team'; `The Production/Post Production Team' and `The Cast'.
`The Director and Writers' commentary is with director Peter Jackson with writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. `The Design Team' commentary includes many people from the design department of Middle-Earth and Weta Workshop including Richard Taylor (Weta Workshop); Alan Lee and John Howe (artists); Grant Major (production designer); Dan Hennah (art director), etc. `The Production/Post Production Team' commentary includes people from the production of the story including producer Barrie Osborne; executive producer Mark Ordesky; co-producer Rick Porras; music composer Howard Shore; visual effects supervisor Jim Rygiel, etc. My favourite commentary is `The Cast' commentary featuring many of the cast of the movie including Elijah Wood; Ian McKellen; Liv Tyler; Sean Astin; Dominic Monaghan; Billy Boyd; Sean Bean, etc.
I've just recently discovered on Disc 2 that there's an `Easter Egg' to look out which you can find in the `Select a Scene' menu of the disc.
DISC 3 - THE APPENDICES PART ONE - FROM BOOK TO VISION
The third and fourth discs of this four-disc DVD set are `The Appendices' which covers the making of `The Fellowship of the Ring' in detail from book to screen, containing many documentaries; video material and picture galleries.
The first disc of `The Appendices' covers the beginnings of `The Lord of the Rings' books by Tolkien to how Peter Jackson and his team interpreted the book into the script and design phase.
There's an `Introduction' by director Peter Jackson who explains what happens on this disc. There's a `PLAY ALL' option that allows you as a viewer to watch all the documentaries on this disc lasting for 2½ hours. Please note, there are some video material and photo and pictures galleries to enjoy on this DVD. There's also an `Index' option on the bottom left-hand corner of the main menu to help you navigate through this DVD easily.
The sections on this DVD include the following.
There's `J. R. R. Tolkien - Creator of Middle-Earth' which is a documentary looking into the history of Tolkien and how he created the story of `The Lord of the Rings' and the world of Middle-Earth.
There's `From Book to Script', a documentary looking into how the writing team adapted Tolkien's book into a screenplay for the movie.
There's `Visualising The Story' which contains the documentary `Storyboards and Pre-Viz'; Early Storyboard sequences including the `Prologue'; Pre-Viz Animatics including `The Road to Isengard' and `The Stairs of Khazad-dum' sequences; Animatic to Film Comparison sequences including `The Nazgul at Bree' and `The Bridge of Khazad-dum'; and there's a Bag-End Set Test featuring Peter Jackson playing Bilbo.
There's `Designing and Building Middle-Earth' which contains three documentaries including `Designing Middle-Earth'; `Weta Workshop' and `Costume Design'. There are also Design Galleries containing many pictures and photographs of the People and Realms of Middle-Earth. There's a `Middle-Earth Atlas' that is an interactive map looking into the journeys of the Fellowship; and there's `New Zealand as Middle-Earth' which is an interactive map containing small featurettes on how the locations of NZ were used for the places in LOTR.
DISC 4 - THE APPENDICES PART TWO - FROM VISION TO REALITY
The second disc of `The Appendices' covers how the cast got involved; to the filming; to the post-production process and the release of the movie at cinemas.
There's an `Introduction' by Elijah Wood (Frodo) who explains what happens on this disc. On this DVD there are 3½ hours of documentary material which can be played in full using the `PLAY ALL' option. Like with the first disc there is additional video material; photo and picture galleries and the `Index' feature to navigate your way on this DVD disc.
The sections on this DVD include `Filming "The Fellowship of the Ring"' which contains three documentaries including `The Fellowship of the Cast'; `A Day In The Life Of The Hobbit' and `Cameras in Middle-Earth' which I enjoyed watching. There's also Production Photos to view in a gallery in this section.
There's a `Visual Effects' section containing three documentaries. There's `Scales' looking at how the effects of hobbits were done. There's a `Big-atures' sub-section containing the documentary `Miniatures' and design galleries of the miniatures as well. And there's `Weta Digital', looking at the CGI effects of `Fellowship'.
There's `Post-Production: Putting It All Together' which contains the documentary `Editorial: Assembling an Epic' and an Editorial Demonstration of `The Council of Elrond'.
There's `Digital Grading' which is a documentary looking into how they mastered the look of the movie making it feel like Middle-Earth and less grainy with the film footage and the lighting of the piece.
There's `Sound and Music' that contains two documentaries including `The Soundscapes of Middle-Earth' and `Music for Middle-Earth'.
And finally there's `The Road Goes Ever On...', a brief documentary looking into the film's release at premieres and cinemas and how the story carries on ending the Appendices of `The Fellowship of the Ring' on a fitting high.
TO BE CONTINUED...
On the original 2-Disc DVD of `Fellowship' it contains the original theatrical version of the movie on Disc 1. On Disc 2, there are some promotional special features including documentaries, featurettes and trailers. There are three documentaries on the second disc. The first one is called `Welcome to Middle-Earth', which is a 16-minute behind-the-scenes look of transferring Tolkien's book into the movie by Houghton Mifflin and features a memorable interview with Tolkien's original publisher Rayner Unwin. The second documentary is called `Quest for the Ring' is a 20-minute behind-the-scenes look of `Fellowship' by Fox TV with interviews from cast and crew. The third documentary is called `A Passage to Middle-Earth' from Sci-Fi Channel looking into more detail about the making of `Fellowship' with various members of cast and crew. There are 15 short `lordoftherings.net' featurettes looking at behind-the-scenes pieces of `Fellowship' including the `music for Middle-Earth' and certain cast members including Elijah Wood; Ian McKellen; Liv Tyler and Viggo Mortenson.
There are three exciting trailers of `Fellowship' show in the cinemas including two teaser trailers and the theatrical trailer for the movie. There are six TV commercial spots of `Fellowship included on this disc, as well as a music video of the song `May It Be!' performed by Enya which was included in the end credits of the movie. There's a preview for `The Fellowship of the Ring: Special Extended DVD Edition' as well as a tasty behind-the-scenes preview for the next film `The Two Towers' looking at Gollum and Helm's Deep. Finishing off this disc is a behind-the-scenes preview of `The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers' video game from EA games - `challenge everything!'.
`The Fellowship of the Ring' is an epic beginning to `The Lord of the Rings' story. I enjoyed watching this movie again and again as I got immersed into the world of Middle-Earth more. It's a great movie to start of the trilogy and does make you want to find out what happens next in the next instalment. I suggest you watch all three films in one go by saving a full day on indulgent and undulated viewing of `LOTR'. Best to do it on when you go on holiday I think. I enjoyed watching the characters and found how good a story this was from the mind of Tolkien and well-adapted and directed by Peter Jackson. I couldn't wait what happens to Frodo next and the other members of the Fellowship in the following instalment of this story.
The story of `The Lord of the Rings' continues in 'The Two Towers'.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 April 2013
The LotR trilogy is a fine piece of work, full of heart, surprise and wonder. This has been made even more plain since the release of The Hobbit, which is a muddy, cynical, over-long mess, lacking any of the magic on display here (in my opinion). We all know that all three LotR movies are magnificent, with scale and scope (both intimate and epic) and pitch-perfect casting, all tacked on to a marvellous story incredibly well-told. Here's where it all began. No one thought Peter Jackson could pull it off, but he did - in unparalleled style. Fellowship is a near-perfect introduction to Middle Earth, and the characters and themes we will come to enjoy over the course of the trilogy. Personally, I think Jackson is at his weakest when tackling comedy, and some of his more heavy-handed, cringingly unfunny moments can be found at the start of Fellowship of the Ring. Hobbits (like the dwarves in Jackson's latest return to Middle Earth) are a little cheesy as a concept. Simple country-folk, prone to pratfalls and slapstick - it all feels a bit cloyingly cosy. And no one can decide if they're from the West Country, or Wales, or Scotland, so they all seem to opt for a bit of everything. Putting that aside, as soon as we leave the Shire, FotR improves dramatically, whipping along and throwing in new characters and plotlines apace. It's a remarkable achievement.
As for the blu-ray, some of the effects and green-screen work look a bit dated, and this is made that little bit more obvious thanks to the clarity. That said, the transfer is only 'good'. Picture quality is not as crisp as some more exemplary blu-ray releases and for me, this wouldn't be a movie I'd fall back on as an example of just how good this medium can look. But it's not particularly about that - this is (currently) the best way to see and hear this beloved trilogy, and I for one have been sold (all over again).
So why only four stars? Because the only extras you'll get are the commentaries that run alongside the movie. I bought the three extended editions separately, because they worked out a few pounds cheaper than the extended blu-ray boxset (with all of its additional DVD content, crammed with documentaries and behind-the-scenes stuff and outtakes, etc, etc). You won't be getting any of the exhaustive extras here. I suppose I should've checked beforehand. I bought these as a replacement for the extended DVDs I have, but I guess I'll have to hold on to them if I want all of the additional stuff that I would've got with the blu-ray boxset. It might've been worth the few extra quid to have bought that rather than the individual films.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
In 2001, one of the most anticipated movies ever came into theatres: "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy novel.
Since it was created by a talented but weird director (who specialized in cult horror) and based on a book that had never been successfully adapted even in part, no one was entirely sure whether it would bomb or succeed. Fortunately, "Fellowship" turned out to be smashing cinematic success -- both financially and artistically.
When hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) leaves the Shire, the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) convinces him to leave his treasured magical Ring to his young cousin Frodo (Elijah Wood). Gandalf soon confirms that the Ring is the evil One Ring of the Dark Lord Sauron, and tells the frightened Frodo to leave the Shire as soon as possible -- especially since nine dark riders are searching for someone by the name of Baggins.
Frodo, his faithful gardener Sam (Sean Astin) and his two mischievous cousins (Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd) quickly travel to meet with a strange ranger, and stumble into more dangers as they make for the Elven haven of Rivendell. But Frodo's journey is not over yet -- when he and a band of hobbits, Men, Elves, Dwarves and a wizard all volunteer to take the Ring to the only place where it can be destroyed.
For a long time, a convincing "Lord of the Rings" movie could not be made -- not just because of special effects and money, but because it is so difficult to translate Tolkien's work into something watchable. Goofy scripting, bad special effects, mutilated characters -- there was just so much that could go wrong.
So it's even more of a credit to Jackson and Co. that they outdid themselves. They translated Tolkien's erudite prose into solid, poetic dialogue, with lots of humor and horror, romance and taut action. And it all takes place in the New Zealand landscapes, with lots of misty forests, towering mountains and charming rural villages. And Jackson takes full advantage of these, with his trademarked swooping shots, and wild camerawork for fight scenes.
But the setting alone doesn't make a good movie, which is where Jackson's WETA Workshops came in. Sets range from the sturdy English hobbit towns to the airy elven tree-houses; and the special effects are almost shockingly realistic, including a rampaging cave troll, and a glimpse of the gruesome Gollum. He's the first fully convincing CGI character, and you can forget he is made digitally.
Elijah Wood is outstanding as Frodo Baggins. He runs the emotional gamut: fear, pain, horror, happiness, resignation, love and loneliness. Sean Astin is equally good as the steadfast Sam, who is amazed by the world outside the Shire. And some comic relief comes with Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd, as Frodo's loyal, chipper cousins.
But as lovable as the hobbits are, they do not dominate all of the screen: Ian McKellen is perfect as the grandfatherly wizard Gandalf. There are also some meaty roles for mysterious Viggo Mortensen, elfin newcomer Orlando Bloom, ominous movie veteran Christopher Lee, as well as Hugo Weaving, Liv Tyler, John Rhys-Davies, and especially Sean Bean as the tormented Boromir.
While the theatrical version has nostalgia value, the extended is undoubtedly the best. The scenes cause the movie to cleave more closely to the original novel, such as Galadriel giving priceless gifts to everyone in the Fellowship. And even when they deviate -- Frodo and Sam watching Elves walking to the Grey Havens -- they add to the flow of the movie.
And there's two discs of extras, which are loaded wall-to-wall. There's intricate step-by-step demonstrations of how they did the special effects and CGI, the costuming and forced perspective, the construction of the elaborate sets (including a whole hobbit town!) and the actual acting.
"The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" is a true modern classic, with exceptional acting and amazing direction from Jackson and his friends. Absolutely stunning in every way.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 13 January 2003
This is a wonderful film about friendship, honor, loyalty and sacrifice set against director Peter Jackson's visually stunning recreation of Tolken's world of Middle Earth. Elves, Hobbits, Dwarfs and Men are all brought together in the Fellowship to help young Hobbit Frodo (Elijah Wood) take the "One Ring" to Mordor where it was forged and destroy it. The stakes are high as the Dark Riders (Ring Wraiths) hear the call of the ring and pursue Frodo and his young friend Sam (Sean Astin) from the start as they are sent forward by Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellon), who knows the power of the ring and it's temptations. The fate of all Middle Earth depends on their success.
There are wonderful performances in this beautifully filmed beginning of Frodo's journey. There is a scene early on in this film where Sam, who has made a promise to Gandolf to stay with Frodo, stops and tells Frodo solemly as they leave their beloved home in the Shire "If I take one more step it will be the furthest I have ever been from home." This sets the mood for the entire film. There is much danger ahead for them. Viggo Mortensen gives the grittiest performance as the Ranger Stryder, who comes to protect them from the Ring Wraiths, and the battle sequences rival anything in Braveheart or Gladiator. We learn later on as the fellowship is formed that Stryder is actually Aragorn, a rightful king of men reluctant to lead his people because of his family's long history with the "One Ring," and the weakness he feels may be in him as well.
Liv Tyler gives a fine performance as Arwenevenstar, an Elf Princess who saves Frodo from certain death and makes an even greater sacrifice for the love of Aragorn. Cate Blanchett also has a wonderful turn as Galadriel, Queen of the Elven world. Everything in this film is perfect. Peter Jackson balances the visual beauty of the film with the dazzling special effects and yet never forgets that this is a terrific story.
This is a film that inspires loyalty for all who have seen it. It is an epic that has everything and actually has something to say. It is how we choose to live that is important. At 178 minutes we are sorry to see the closing credits, even if we are treated to the beautiful Enya theme "May It Be". This is a truly great film that deserves the loyalty it inspires and is something really special. "The Two Towers" and "The Return of the King" are being filmed at the same time in New Zealand for continuity and you will find it hard to wait until December every year to continue our journey.
Perhaps because it is an epic of the heart, and not an epic of t-shirts and toys, is the reason it made such a "quiet" blockbuster. A film of this scope which remains true to its moral center of honor and friendship, sacrifice and loyalty, is quite an achievement. Filming all three stories at once takes a lot of love and dedication for those themes from both the director and the actors. It shows up on the screen and is the reason "Lord of the Rings" will always stand head and shoulders above the other so called "Blockbusters." This is a must own DVD!
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2006
The 3 stars rating is for this edition rather than the movie.
For what concerns the movie.. It's GREAT! Worths 10 stars in its extended version, and I would reccomend this to anyone who still haven't seen it.
This new edition is not adding much to the previous ones. The ONLY difference is this documentary (that you can find elsewhere without the movie) which in my opinion is quite boring and way too long.
Honestly, I am a fan of LOTR but this goes beyond and shows you the people involved in the project more than the project itself.. So, if you're interested, walk on, but I wouldn't reccomend it, unless you still don't have the movie in any of the previuos editions.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 12 April 2007
When I went to see this film in the cinema a few years back, I had no idea what Lord of the Rings was. I have never been so angry walking out of a cinema, not even after seeing 2 Fast 2 Furious, which was horrendous by the way.
The reason for this however, wasn't because the film was bad ... It was because it was the best film I'd ever seen and I didn't know I had to wait for a year to see what happned next!
The story is as you may or may not know from the novel by JRR Tolkien and it follows a hobbit named Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) who inherits his uncles magical ring which was the power to turn it's wearer invisble - quite handy one would assume.
However, things darken, as Gandalf the wizard (Ian McKellen) discovers that this ring is in fact "The One Ring" created by the dark lord Sauron. This part is quite difficult to explain.
The ring doesn't just make the wearer invisble, but it corrupts you. Wearing the ring would make you do evil things, and nothing good can ever come of wearing it. Also, Sauron has released nine pretty nasty wraiths after the ring, and when you wear it, they are attracted to it.
Also, it is very tempting to use the ring. Using the ring gave Sauron complete power over everything, and people would obviously think that this is great, but it's far from great.
So anyway, Frodo finds out that these wraiths have found out where he lives, so he has to leave the peacful village of Hobbiton, and in fact leave The Shire, and take the ring to the elves in Rivendell.
He's not alone though, joining him on his way are his friends Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) Merry Brandybuck (Dominic Mohnagan) and Pippn Took (Billy Boyd). Gandalf however, has other business to intend to...
When they eventually reach Rivendell, a council is held by elf-lord Elrond (Hugo Weaving) and it is decided that the ring must be taken into the dark land Mordor and be thrown into Mount Doom, because there is no other way to destroy it. This is no easy task, as the place is full of orcs and other beasts gaurding it, and the great eye of Sauron is (literally) always watching...
So you would think this is no task for someone like Frodo Baggins, a simple hobbit from The Shire? Elrond seems to think otherwise, as everyone is argueing about who will take this burden, Frodo pipes up in what is in my opinion one of the most memorable lines in cinema history:
"I will take the ring ... Though I do not know the way"
Again, he's not alone though, joining him this time are of course his hobbit friends, and Gandalf, alongside Legolas (Orlando Bloom) for the elves, Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) for the dwarves, and for the men, Boromir (Sean Bean) and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen).
So they set off in what is an amazing journey, along the way they meet many dificulties, and they must overcome evil.
The performances from each and every actor is outstanding. I can't even pick out any particular actor or actress because every single person is absolutly brilliant. It would seem that director Peter Jackson could really bring out the best in people.
The story is everything. What I mean by that is there are heart-warming scenes, heart-breaking scenes, terrifying scenes, ilarious scenes, and scenes which will always stay with us.
Another thing that must be said about this film is that it has a superb soundtrack, courtesy of composer Howard Shore. The music is what guides you emotions and it just fits in so well here, I've even found myself humming or whistling tunes from the film.
The special effects are certianly the best I've ever seen too. The trolls look like they are actually real, and things like the flying dragon firework at the start are simply amazing, Weta Workshop are truely insperational for film-makers out there.
In the extended version, every deleted scene is there ... Only they have been put back INTO the film! This is absolutly brilliant because the film-makers actually went to the effort of mastering the film, writing a new score and adding this in, and treating the whole thing like they were making the film again, just so they could produce this DVD.
The film itself with the scenes put back in lasts for over two discs, and there is commintaties for the whole way through the film from a choice between differant sections of the film-makers (including Peter Jackson) and the cast. Yes, the whole cast.
On the other two discs are just as long documentaries, which show everything about how the film was made, from getting the actors, to special effects, to what everyone did in their spare time. The documentary was filmed between 1998 - 2001 so it is really amazing stuff to watch.
You should buy this DVD for so many differant reasons, but here are the three main ones:
1. It's the first part of the greatest story ever written.
2. The acting is the best you'll ever see.
3. There is no better value for money than this, including the huge documentary and all those deleted scenes cut back into the film.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2004
The extended version of The Fellowship of the Ring adds a lot to the two disc version of the same film. By this, I do not just mean the film itself but also the extras, which are so numerous I still haven't managed to watch them all yet, and that is after 2 months of owning the DVD.
The film is extended by about half an hour, adding many scenes from the book that had to be cut out of the film. In particular, the gift giving of Galadriel is great to see. If viewers didn't know about this part from reading the book, then it could potentially confuse them when the characters use their gifts later on in the second and third films.
However, it is in the extras where this DVD really shines. The cast commentary is a joy to listen to, with the four hobbits alone giving value for money. Their anecdotes about what they got up to on the shoot are hiarious at times (especially where Billy Boyd and Dominic Monoghan describe the firework explosion in the party scene at the start of the film), and it is great to hear experienced actors such as Christopher Lee, Ian McKellen and John Rhys-Davies talking in depth about their craft. The documentaries are amazing for their depth into the pre- and post-production of the film. Watching them takes longer than watching the film! What's more, everybody who speaks is interesting and brings across their enthusiasm for what they have done. They all realise that they have been part of a landmark in film making. When watching them you marvel at what lengths the crew and cast went to to make Middle Earth a real place.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 March 2004
The Fellowship of the Ring is a brilliant piece of cinematography. Peter Jackson has surpassed belief with this movie. Upon first seeing it, i was literally blown away by the intensity and involvment it provided the viewer.
For starters, the storyline is just awesome. Admittedly, Jackson had the storyline already written down for him, but he has generated Tolkein's work onto the screen magnificently. The plot is excellent, with many thrills and enjoyable sequences.
The characters perform beyond expectations, with special mentions going to Elijah Wood, Sean Austin, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Bean and Christopher Lee. They bring the beautiful and intriguing storyline to life superbly.
The scenery is brethtaking, with all the filming having been done in New Zealand, which provided a varying and dramatic landscape for each scene.
The soundtrack is also exquisite, especially the solo by a choirboy after the fall of Gandalf. All credit to Howard Shore.
The best parts of the film are when the Black Riders are chasing the hobbits, as they are very scary and make for 'edge of sofa' watching. Also, the events at Amon Hen must be mentioned.
Effects - 10/10
Storyline - 10/10
Soundtrack - 10/10
Characters - 10/10
Rewatchability - 10/10
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 August 2002
For anyone who has ever been inspired by the books of tolkien ,this has got to be the best theatrical realisation of the story of the fellowship ever produced.
The sets and the makeup ,really make the characters come to life, from golum scurrying in the caves to Gandalf the grey ,the casting and acting is exatly how you would imagine them durring the nights you laid awake reading the exploits of Frodo and the Fellowship.
The elveish women especially Gladriel are very much how Tolkien described them and the landscapes and sets are amazing just wait till the Inn of the Prancing Pony or Rivendale, and as for the hobbit houses in the Shire ,All I can say is i would love one of those houses.
So sit down suspend your belief and just enjoy ,forget the running time, because just as you get into the story it seems to be over all too soon.
All in all a great release and i cant wait for the 4 disk set and of course the next two episodes of the series.
What next ???? how about the Silmarian that would make a great movie but only if Peter Jackson makes it ... at last a director with true vision.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 2 December 2002
The original theatrical version left me a little cold, and frustrated at the sheer amount of storyline missing, rushed or changed for seemingly no good reason. Upon seeing this new extended edition my opinion couldn't of changed more. The new cut of this film makes all the difference. Small things, alternate takes, new music and the new scenes are all perfect and give the movie a more fluid feel. More breathing space. Slicker. Far more true to the book than I thought would of been possible. I can see the film would now make more sense to people who do not know the story at all and will please those like me, know and love the books. I would call the original film no more than a rough cut compared to this. Absolutely brilliant! I am now looking forward to The Two Towers, and before I was not. I think the only critism I have, is the new extended version is on two discs, and feel Peter Jackson missed an opportunity to end the 1st disc where the 1st book ended at the river.
The extra's are massive and in depth. You'll be worn out if you watch them all in one go. Hehe. I do recommend this new version greatly if you felt let down by the first version or indeed loved it, because this is much better.