The Fellowship of The Ring
It was a cold December morning in Dublin City exactly 10 years ago that I went to see The Lord of The Rings first showing. It was close to Christmas and I had woken up early to a gloomy grey sky and a bitterly cold day to see this film specially. At the time I was not a Lord of the Rings fan, I was going into it blind, not knowing the story, what it was about. What these films were to me though were film history, a trilogy. I knew the story was going to be epic, I knew that this was been bantered about as the Star Wars of today. I wanted to be part of that geekdom history that saw it first. It was either that or Harry Potter and at the time Harry Potter seemed to be a film geared towards kids. Looking at trailers for both, Harry Potter had a leading unknown cast of children, a very British secondary cast filled with famous TV personalities and comedians. Also it just didn’t look that epic, the Lord of the Rings had booming music, Wizards fighting wizards, giant fire breathing monsters and a quest (Being a “Knight-mare” fan I love quests.) The international cast of the Lord of the Rings was also familiar to me. Ian Mckellen I adore, as do I love Christopher Lee, Kate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Liv Tyler, Sean Bean etc
From the opening scenes I’m already sold that this is going to be ’something else’. A real genuine big fantasy movie. On every level it just doesn’t look like your typical movie. As Gandalf enters the film for the first time I could see two young women sitting in front of me giddy with excitement. They had obviously read the books and were eating this scene and it’s book references to pieces.
I was really impressed how the main villain of the movie, an eye, could be made to be so fearsome, from the first moment Frodo puts on the Ring the sound and atmosphere blasted my soul and the unblinking burning Eye filled the massive cinema screen. It’s a moment from the film that I will never forget and unfortunately it does lose some of it’s impact watching it on the small screen. Watching this film on the big screen was a life time experience to a movie fan.
The Ring itself is a character here. It’s like an addictive Drug to characters who seem to start suffering withdrawals by just being around it. Here it’s effects are none so apparent as they are to Boromir who is a man who wants to defend his home, a great man who sees the potential of this power as a weapon but it’s clearly more than that to him. It’s power and drugs often make people feel powerful for a time at least.
When the film came to an end I realized only then that the three movies dealt with ONE Ring and not 3 different Rings. An easy mistake for a complete newb to make since it did say the Lord of the RingS .But at that stage it didn’t matter. I was sold and wanted to watch the sequel which was only one year away.
Favorite Quote: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.” – Gandalf
The Two Towers
“The Two Towers” has an amazing opening, it ups the ante and sets the tone for the whole movie as a big action piece. That opening scene of Gandalf and the Balrog fighting makes every other fantasy movie eat it’s heart out.
I always thought of the Two Towers as the action piece in between. The Battle of Helms Deep is really well done. Having loved studying History at School and reading about situations such as a sieging of a Fort or Castle I thought Jackson did a fantastic job of fleshing out the siege and battle which is more prominent and to the front of the movie than it was in the book.
Gollum could have been a disaster of a CGI character. I think lots of people feared a Jar Jar Binks situation, but the amount of work Andy Serkis put into the character made him so real and I do think he deserved at the very least an Oscar nomination consider he had to not only stand in for his character on film but he had to film the scenes again by himself for the CGI movements. He is a more loveable character here and has a journey to go through himself.
Favorite Quote: “…there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.” – Sam
The Return of the King
It’s hard to eclipse the action of the Two Towers but Jackson really does it and does it differently rather than repeat the standard siege battle.It a far broader battle scene he does with action taking place in different areas giving each character a significant role to play.
Some scenes are built up a little too much. The encounter between Gandalf and the Witch King doesn’t really happen so we never get the sense of who the Witch king is whereas in the books he had pages to be dealt with and is far more chilling a foe on page.
Sam and Frodo’s Journey takes on a very dark tone, more so because Frodo keeps to the center stage and is pretty much manipulated by Gollum to mistrusting Sam. I don’t know how comfortably that sits. It makes the situation all the more deadly. But also the characters are more oblivious to Gollum. The scenes in the Volcano are perfect. It’s a dramtic ending and I don’t have much of a problem with the way it’s slightly changed from the books.
I have little problem with the multiple endings too. But further viewings do show a lot of fades to black, over manipulating the audience. But I can’t really criticize that as there was so so much to squeeze into the last movie.
One part of this movie that I liked that isn’t in the book but does bring a certain maturity to the characters and what they’ve been through is the scene in the pub near the end. The four hobbits sit together drinking and looking around at the alien place they find themselves in that used to be home. They have seen and been through some horrors that the people around them do not understand but they themselves do and the look in each of their eyes show a special understanding that only the fellowship could have. I believe this scene is meant to represent our Hobbits grown up as the scouring of the Shire wasn’t included in the movie.
Favorite Quote: “There never was much hope. Just a fool’s hope.” – Gandalf