The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is an ecranization of a namesake book by J. R. R. Tolkien. It was directed by Peter Jackson and released in 2001. By 2012, the film has taken over $US 880 million at the box office, still emerging in the world list of top grossing films. The writing credits, apart from Tolkien and Jackson, are given to Fran Walsh (Jackson’s wife) and Philippa Boyens , who participated in writing a screenplay. Jackson’s film sparkled a new powerful wave of interest in Tolkien’s books (The Lord of the Rings Official Website).
One of the major themes of The Lord of the Rings is that of how the smallest folk are capable of doing the greatest deeds. Quotin a powerful wizard Gendalf the Grey, “Hobbits really are amazing creatures. You can learn all that there is to know about them in a month, and yet after a hundred years, they can still surprise you.” He says this referring to a humble young hobbit Frodo Baggins, whose miniature figure stands at the very heart of Tolkien’s epic. Frodo Baggins, escorted by his eight fellow companions, leaves his comfortable home and starts a strenuous and trying journey to grim land of Mordor, aiming to defeat the dark lord Sauron and destroy his One Ring of Power. The message of uncommon courage, bravery and virtue of a meek hobbit, who should not be underestimated or taken for granted, is very well communicated through the film. In fact, it was Jackson’s purposeful decision to make the character development of Frodo Baggins one of the central preoccupations of the film. This sweet-natured furry-footed creature suddenly unites two great and proud human warriors Aragorn and Boromir, the graceful archer elf Legolas, and the earnest and brave dwarf Gimli around his little self. He is also accompanied by his three fellow hobbits, Sam, Pippin and Merry, who reveal sincere and pure devotion and true friendship for Frodo. They are small creatures with big hearts.
When studying various reviews of the film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, I concluded that it is essential to differentiate between two types of authors who write those reviews. One type is presented by those, who possess only cursory familiarity with the original book by J. R. R. Tolkien and thus focus exclusively on the movie experience. Another type is the book fans, who never disengage themselves from the authentic story. My personal impression of both the book and the film is very positive and sympathetic. I admire how masterly and skillfully the film was designed to work both as an independent piece of cinematography and as a movie capable of capturing attention of most addicted fans, winning their sympathies and complimentary remarks.
The extent of integration of the story and themes of The Lord of the Rings into the movie has been one of the most disturbing fan concerns, due to a well known crucial issue of filmmaking: a difference between editing a story to fit into a movie format and twisting the original tale often accompanied by ruining the very essence of the genuine source. This issue is especially relevant because of the significance of the Lord of the Rings in the world literature. The book became a real treasure of the XX century English Literature and is said to have laid the groundwork for the entire fantasy genre (The Telegraph. Why the critics must recognize Lord of the Rings as a classic.).
It is amazing how more than a thousand pages long epic by John Ronald Ruel Tolkien, an Oxford Professor specializing in Old Norse, could be successfully compressed into a succinctly distilled film-manageable story. Moreover, Jackson never allows computer-generated marvels to intrude upon the personal tale. He always stays intimately attuned to Tolkien’s mood and characters. This directing approach was very much appreciated by a grateful audience.Thus, a greatfilmmaker’s dilemma concerning compressing the Lord of the Rings into a film-manageable story was successfully resolved.
The production of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was initially meant to last two years, however it lasted much longer. Over this excessive amount of time, a very ambitious and profound job was done. This epic fantasy film won a great number of awards, among which four academy awards: for the best cinematography, makeup, score and visual effects.
The Lord of the Rings offers the audience escape, recovery, and consolation, which were perceived by Tolkien as a primary function of a fairy tale. It celebrates bravery, loyalty, and love and presents a great appeal to large audience by the presence of the magical. The magical in Jackson’s movie is not something artificial, or imaginary. It is as realistic as ever, filled with noble wisdom and sight beyond mortal vision. Words in Middle Earth did not lose their magical power (Hammond W., Scull C.). This is achieved by a directing coup to tell the tale through the perspective of a historical context.
The movie opens up with an eight minute prologue, introducing briefly the legend of the ring, which substantially condenses Tolkien’s back story. Middle Earth is populated with all sorts of peoples, each possessing a unique history, culture and language. All these great and proud nations were in danger of subjugations.Their fate hangs in balance and, ironically, the outcome depends upon the most humble of all peoples, a young hobbit Frodo Baggins, proving that even the smallest person can change the course of the future, and the greatest power can be held in the smallest of things.
Despite The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is first and foremost a fantasy tale, it is rated PG-13, according to the Motion Picture Rating (The Lord of the Rings Official Website). Such a decision is supported by the fact that the movie contains some scary images in the epic battle sequences, moments where a man kisses a woman tenderly, the scenes where the hobbits drink a lot of ale, and a couple of them get drunk. There is also one scene at a bar where several people are drinking alcohol, and it is obvious that some of them are very drunk. Furthermore, a lot of characters smoke pipes.
The budget of the film is estimated to be $93,000,000. The production companies are New Line Cinema, WingNut Films and The Saul Zaentz Company, which is also a licensor. The movie is dazzlingly cinematic and intellectually engaging. It was probably one of the most highly-anticipated films of 2001 (The Lord of the Rings Official Website).
Jackson did a good job choosing stunning locations combined with outstanding special effects. He brought Tolkien’s novel to vivid life on the screen. Critics state that the film is “Visually striking, thematically poignant, and morally weighty”, combines “nerve and verve”, and is filled with “scenic splendors”.
It is sometimes argued that the best a filmmaker can do when adapting a work of literature to the big screen is edit the book events to the point of presenting a compelling story to the people who are not familiar with the original source. In The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Jackson did more than that. Of course, the beginning of the movie does compress in time that of a book significantly, thus presenting a somewhat jumbled impression. Let’s admit that this could hardly be omitted when filming such a consistent epic as The Lord of the Rings. But after the Fellowship enters the Mines of Moria, the situation improves significantly.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring assembled a worldwide reputation for both its creators, Jackson as well as Tolkien, and remains a widely acknowledged masterpiece.