First…A disclaimer! (and trivia; for those who care) Lord of the Rings is NOT a trilogy, despite popular perception. It ranks as one of the longest single novel that’s been written and consists of 6 books:
BOOK I “The First Journey” and BOOK II “The Journey of the Nine Companions” comprise FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. BOOK III “The Treason of Isengard” and BOOK IV “The Journey of the Ringbearers” are THE TWO TOWERS. BOOK V “The War of the Ring” and BOOK VI “The End of the Third Age” concludes THE RETURN OF THE KING.(the titles were part of Tolkien’s manuscript but were never used).
That said, the upcoming TWO TOWERS & RETURN…are not sequels and shouldn’t be viewed as such. So There !!! Like Peter Jackson, I can’t wait till the entire trilo…oops, I mean the entire story can be viewed back to back on DVD at 10 hours plus.
Oh! the movie. It’s great! On 1st viewing, there were more things I liked then didn’t, but my perception was prejudiced from my own interpretation cemented thru many years (I read it 8 or 9 times over 20 years). But on repeated viewings, I came to appreciate the brilliance behind the maker’s decisions on how to tackle the telling that would appeal to readers and non-readers alike (face it! there’s no way to please EVERYBODY). Compromises were necessary; so it wasn’t to the letter of the book. What was captured faithfully were the set-pieces, the characters (fleshed out beyond expectation) and the spirit of the excitement ; thrills. This is what cinema should be.
Those who liked the movie (readers and non) will appreciate a repeat viewing that is near improbable to catch the first time. SUBTLE SPOILER:(that’s Gollum’s voice screaming “Shire” then “Baggins”, seconds later the Nine Riders exit the gates of Barad-dur [the Dark Lord’s tower]. Immediately what follows is Gandalf’s approach toward Minas Tirith [nice long shot] that will be more prevalent as the city besieged in RETURN OF THE KING. And of course, readers will recognize Tom, Bert and Bill, the trolls from “The Hobbit”. This is just a few bits of treasure laced thru-out the movie). (more subtle spoilers) I admired the slight changes made. I never did believe Frodo could’ve stayed on that horse by himself, in his condition, on his final flight from the Nine Riders (unless the horse sprouted an extra pair of hands to hold him) so Arwen’s expanded role seemed totally justified. It also gave the filmaker’s an opportunity to expand the role of women as heroes, that was sadly minimized in the trilo…darn-it!…I mean the epic (I almost take that back as the character “Eowyn” will prove in the upcoming sequ… I mean, installments of the story). Also, the Tom Bombadil episode was an amusing trifle…for the novel (I did like it), but I always wondered how anyone could film that section without producing unintentional laughter from the audience. It’s ommission is ok by me, as the first part of the movie really belongs to the thrill of the chase and the terror of capture from the Nine.
There are so many nice things said about the performances, the music, the locales, the props (wonderful) that’s been said better then I can (most of all…Jackson and the collaborater’s vision) so, no sense in repeating it here. It’s not totally flawless…but realistically…what is?? As far as it’s slight from the American Academy Awards as Best Picture…big deal! (It did win the British Award and American Film Inst. Award) No lack of any award robbed my enjoyment from Citizen Kane, Chinatown, Wizard of Oz (I equally loved the movies that did win_) and the lack of Best Picture won’t take any pleasure away from Fellowship.. (please don’t interpret that I’m lumping these movies on the same level – I’m just making a point – then again, maybe I am)
For those who didn’t enjoy it as much, that’s understandable. No movie in history has been unanimous amoung critics, or viewers for that matter. I wasn’t sure how much I enjoyed it the first time, but after many repeat viewings, I surrender! 10 out of 10