If you haven’t read or even heard of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, then stop reading this magazine at once.
Hell, better than that, just do us all a favor and get the out of the whole damned country and catch the first plane back to Popetown, Idaho or Paris, Kentucky or wherever the hell else Mo-Mo’s like you come from. But, then again I am sure you’re not like that in the least…
Over the past few months, so much has been written about this film that it’s a solid 3 to 1 bet that you’ve probably got your own inside scoop on something falling into range of this film. But, nevertheless here’s our take…
For years, various degrees of fans, geeks and other assorted folks have wondered when a live-action version of Tolkien’s trilogy would be made. Their were the cartoons of course, and while the Hobbit remains a classic in animation, the follow-up Lord of the Rings failed miserably.
The filmmakers tried to condense the thousands of pages making up the opus, into two hours. But many have often sense that such a day will come for a proper re-creation to be tackled. And so for decades the fans waited and hoped for the best.
Then came Peter Jackson. Jackson, up until now, was a highly underrated writer-director, but one with a clear talent for his art. Known primarily for his previous films such as the cult classic Bad Taste, and the outstanding thriller Heavenly Creatures, the Kiwi was the one who stepped up to the plate and garnered a Ruth swing.
The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring (for sure, get the Widescreen Edition) is an epic in every imaginable sense. Over 250 days of shooting, more than 20,000 extras, and a grand total of seven years of production make it the largest opus to ever be created since the days of D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance.
But rather than take the Lucas route and spend nearly a decade to pull all three of the Star Wars films to the screen, Jackson and New Line Cinema made the good-hearted decision to go right for the throat and shoot all three in one colossal binge. With the Fellowship out now, you can look forward to the rest of the two follow-ups to be released during the holiday season of 2002 and 2003.
In terms of an adaptation, Fellowship is a success, but not in the manner that Kubrick’s reworking of say, A Clockwork Orange was a success. But Peter Jackson’s near religious version goes so far beyond the extreme to maintain the true spirit of the novel that it achieves such a relationship in the transcription to the screen, that the film also is able to create the entire world in spades.
Well-casted, Elijah Wood whom plays the title role of Frodo, and Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf both come off as a raw impression strait from the pages of the 1954 novel. The digital work, although at times still branding that plastic look, is by-far the best to date.
In the less than humble opinion of Thinky, this is, by no means an Oscar winner, or one of the greatest films ever to be produced. But Peter Jackson’s faithful adaptation of the greatest epic ever to be written since Homer’s Odyssey, does pose the unique ability, to regardless of whatever background you carry, that by the time you step out of the theater, you’ll feel like you were ten years old again.
In essence, the film achieved and will continue to achieve what Star Wars did through last centuries late seventies and early eighties. See it in theater, but if you’re too lazy, don’t fret since this is a film that will be around long after the hype has faded.
Thinky says: Gandalf is the lost member of ZZ TOP.