|LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Starring: Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Liv Tyler, Ian Holm, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom
Director: Peter Jackson
It's finally here. The adaptation of the first installment from J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" series, and all I have to say is, "Wow."
After a dark prologue that explains the history of the ring, we meet our hero Frodo (Elijah Wood), along with his mentor, the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen). The real story begins with the pair in bucolic Hobbiton, a city full of residing hobbits, or "little people" as they are also referred to. Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm), the current possessor of the ring, passes the ring on to his nephew Frodo on his 111th birthday and unknowingly puts the boy's life in danger.
From here, Tolkien's mythic tale is pretty simple, minus the obvious plethora of details: To save the world from evil, Frodo must return the ring to the fires of Mount Doom where it was forged -- for only there can it be destroyed. To accomplish this, he must form a coalition among the races of Middle-earth, including elves, dwarfs, hobbits, wizards and humans, known as the Fellowship, to battle the armies of the Dark Lord who created the ring.
Director Peter Jackson does an amazing job with the first of three films thanks to his off-the-wall creativity. He's probably one of few directors that could have adapted this film the way he has, including the little details that somehow make it feel like a book, presenting a tale that just grabs your attention.
The only frustrating thing about the film is that when "The Fellowship of the Ring" is over, it feels like it's just beginning. And with one year in between the release of this movie and its successor, there should be just enough time for the hype to boil over. If we're not careful, Peter Jackson's "The Lord Of The Rings" trilogy could give hype a good name.
For anyone who thought that the four-disc extended editions of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy was the be-all and end-all of DVD releases, you’re sadly mistaken. The limited edition releases of the film deliver the definitive “LOTR” experience. Sure, they don’t have two extra discs worth of bonus material, but who needs to sort through all of that junk when the included documentary features everything you could ever want? Produced by critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker Costa Boates, the three never-before-seen documentaries total just over five hours and includes coverage on everything from production, post-production, and even a few on-set antics with the cast/crew. Also featured on the two-disc set for the first time ever are both the theatrical and extended versions of the film (via seamless branching), which makes this a no-brainer purchase for those who currently own the original theatrical releases on DVD.