Movie Plot – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: A soft-hearted Hobbit from the Shire named Frodo Baggins and eight companions set out on a journey to destroy the mighty One Ring and save Middle-earth from the Dark Lord Sauron.
Director: Peter Jackson
Writers: J.R.R. Tolkien, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson
Cast: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Viggo Mortensen, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, John Rhys-Davies
From Book to Movie
Only people who have been living under a rock will not be familiar with the gigantic and enormously successful film project “The Lord of the Rings.” It’s an adaptation of the world-famous fantasy book by Professor J.R.R. Tolkien. New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson, known until then only in cult circles, took charge of the adaptation of the book. Lord of the Rings had always been considered unfilmable. However, Jackson did so in an unparalleled way, with such flair, such an eye for detail, and such a love for the story, the characters and the world described in Tolkien’s epic, that it pretty much resulted in a masterpiece.
For all the skeptics who did not entrust Tolkien’s classic in the hands of Peter Jackson, “the most unlikely person imaginable”, a quote from the first film of the “trilogy,” ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ will suffice: “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” Jackson made history with his “The Lord of the Rings. He single-handedly gave prestige to the fantasy genre, cashed in (collectively) 17 Oscars with his film adaptation, and, with Gollum, created for the first time a digital character who truly comes to life among real actors. A feat of considerable accomplishment.
The Fellowship of the Ring
It all started in 2001 with “The Fellowship of the Ring. In a way, this film was the most important. If Jackson had not been able to win over audiences with this film, if he had not been able to portray the imaginative world of Middle-earth and its characters satisfactorily enough, things would have looked bleak for films 2 and 3. The first film otherwise has its own difficulties to overcome. Making a mythological history with many races and complicated names. In addition, introducing nine main characters and a handful of side characters. And then there are the battles to be fought with a multitude of monsters and orcs, and the locations to be covered over hundreds of miles. And all within three hours. That’s still not easy. But Jackson manages to pull it off.
A magical world always appeals to me. Middle-earth is one of the greatest fictional worlds in movies and books. It grabs my attention and fascinates me because I want to know this made-up world’s history and story.
Through an effective, overwhelming prologue that explains the story of the Ring – and who villain Sauron was and how the gem finally ended up in the hands of a Shire hobbit.
We, as the viewers, are brought up to speed within minutes and ready to begin the real story with the hobbits a little later. Although speed is of the essence – because there is much to tell – it is important to spend some time in the Shire, since this place and its inhabitants are the heart of the film. This is what Frodo and his friends are fighting for, for the hope that this rustic place will never be lost. It is also important to first get the viewer to bond with these genial hobbits so that he is sympathetic to their plight and willing to go along with the imaginative story.
I was always a fan of the scenes in the Shire. It’s fun to see all the hobbits dancing, working and playing around in a small little town. Everybody seems to know each other, which makes them more connected. However, Frodo seems to be the most appealing of the bunch, as he’s a very polite lad.
A perfect adaptation
One of the reasons Jackson’s film(s) have found such a large audience, despite the fantasy genre: the realistic content and the recognizability of the emotions. There is no winking, over-the-top style used, but a serious tone, and a reasonable restraint with “magic.” For example, the wizards in this film(s) do not shoot lightning bolts from their rods, as is common in the genre. Gandalf the wizard is a three-dimensional character, who sometimes laughs, sometimes is petulant, sometimes is inscrutable, and also makes mistakes. He is superbly portrayed by Ian McKellen, who was therefore deservedly nominated for an Oscar.
This philosophy of taking the story and its world seriously extends throughout the production. The crew had to treat the story, just as Tolkien himself did, as if it were real history. That means that truly the smallest details – from the decorations in the houses and the finish of the swords of the different peoples, to the rings on the chainmailers – were researched and perfected. Everything exudes authenticity, making it easier for the viewer to be sucked into this world and adventure.
Orcs, and other monsters
Everything is pulled out of the closet. There are hideous orcs, an intimidating cave troll, a water monster with tentacles, and a “devil from the old world”: the phenomenally brought to life Balrog, who is a crucial obstacle for our heroes. Respect for the book aside, one of the reasons for Jackson to embark on this precarious project was his love of (movie) monsters. And it shows that he put a lot of love (also) into this aspect. Almost all the creatures seem to have a personality and stick with the viewer. With the cave troll, you even almost feel sorry when he is finally defeated and collapses to the earth.
To say that “The Fellowship of the Ring” contains good action is an understatement. One nail-biting fight after another comes along, portrayed time and again in a dazzling way by Andrew Lesnie, who uses handheld camerawork (as in the mines of Moria), a tracking system that lets the camera hover over the forest to follow the running Uruk-hai (special orcs), and also several times of a camera plunging downward, often to get a look at the caves of Isengard, where the corrupt wizard Saruman plots his nefarious schemes and his orcs forge weapons.
Drama and emotions
Although you never really learn much about the characters, you soon lock them in your heart. The elf and the dwarf (Legolas and Gimli) who can’t stand each other but slowly become friends; the wizard (Gandalf) who shows he has a lot of damn human traits and especially has a soft spot for hobbits; the insecure king-to-be (Aragorn) who slowly has to take on a leadership role. The proud Boromir who wants nothing more than the power to defend his people but makes wrong choices and has a strained relationship with Aragorn; and finally the innocent Frodo, who has a warm relationship with his uncle Bilbo, but especially with his friend-through-and-thin Sam. Together these two form the beating heart of the film.
‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ offers adventure with a capital “A”, gripping drama, and manages to put Tolkien’s fantastic world and interesting characters on the big screen with conviction.