With the detail that Peter Jackson manages to bring to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, there is no denying how great a stature it holds in 21st century filmmaking. Quite possibly one of the boldest adaptations of any literature to date, one that looks to preserve the value of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing more than the horrific Tolkien biopic does, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is an incredibly accessible and engaging piece from a director that has no trouble tackling behemoth challenges. Adapting some of the greatest and most well recognised pieces of fiction to date seems like child’s play in the hands of Jackson as he leads the charge through a truly phenomenal piece of film.
Elijah Wood stars in what would become a truly delightful trilogy of lengthy epics regaling the story of Frodo Baggins, a Hobbit that ventures through the whole of Middle Earth to destroy the “One Ring to Rule them All”. The Fellowship of the Ring could be called build-up, a film that relies on introducing us to a vast amount of characters and fleshing them out through necessary dialogue heavy scenes and the ever-enjoyable action-packed moment. Each scene has its purpose, something that should be hard to argue given the films three hour running time; but if even one scene were to be missing from this experience it would simply lose its enticing structure and other-worldly plot building abilities.
A fantastic script leaves much for the performers to work with, many of whom give their career best performances. It goes without saying that this is by far the best performance Elijah Wood has ever given us, it’s much better than whatever he was meant to be doing in The Trust, and it’s surely far better than his annoying presence in the aptly titled yet uselessly dreadful I Don’t Feel At Home in This World Anymore. His role as Frodo Baggins is truly an iconic one, a piece that has shaped his career and solidified him as a memorable piece of film history, albeit by the sheer chance that he was given the leading role as an arguably interesting protagonist.
Wood has a great deal of screen time in this, but it’s no surprise that he isn’t the best part of the film. It’d be the trio of performances given to us by Ian McKellen’s supporting role as Gandalf, Viggo Mortensen’s entertainingly heroic Aragorn and Sean Bean’s delightfully slimy portrayal of Boromir. The three are by no means the finest and only great performers of the film, but they provide the most interesting scenes here, with many of their scenes together eliciting such an incredible amount of energy and talent all at once. With Jackson pooling this together with his finest direction to date, it’s no surprise that The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is a thoroughly entertaining piece of film.
What makes it so incredible is not just the performances though, but the sheer detail put into bringing such a large and vast world to life. Jackson spares no expense; everything is either perfect or not included. We’re given such a detailed look at how vibrantly expansive and thoroughly incredible the film is. If anything, this gives The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring the slight edge needed to be able to call it a masterpiece. The love that goes into each and every performance, effect, design and sound in this film shows a clear appreciation and respect for the source material.
Going into the re-watch of this behemoth of a film, I was anticipating more or less the same feelings I had felt the very first time I’d watched it; but surprisingly I’ve came out of it with a new found infatuation for the series. An incredible experience that most certainly warrants its lengthy running time, a clearly perfect film that relies on the beauty of its cinematography and the crisp perfection of its unwaveringly large, yet talented cast. Jackson has directed one of the finest films of the 21st century, The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring takes its rightful place among a few of the masterpieces available from this century.