I was dreading reviewing this film because I knew I’d make countless notes. I tried not to write down every detail I loved and I’ve tried to focus on how the story was brought to the screen as the story is a book and therefore the praise goes to J. .R. R. Tolkien, rather than Peter Jackson. And, just for the record, the story is amazing. I’m in complete awe of Tolkien for creating such a fantastic story, characters and ways of life. One day I will read the books!
The movie opens with one of my favourite actresses, Cate Blanchett. I adore her as Elizabeth in those films, she has such royal presence! And her voice is just amazing, I could listen to the opening tale of this movie over and over and over again, its just so pleasing to the ears. The ‘story’ at the beginning draws us in as we not only hear Blanchett’s engrossing voice, but we see the story unfold. I think we know straight away that we are in for an amazing, visual treat! Throughout this movie, I was blown away by the pure vision of the whole thing. Its just so beautiful. Well, except the evil scenes with the Orcs and stuff because they’re gross and very scary but we’ll get to that later. Anyways, the ‘speech’ at the beginning is so beautifully written, almost like poetry [thanks to Tolkien]. They often speak like this throughout the film and not once did I roll my eyes and gone “yeah, alright, bit over the top.” I just accepted that that’s the way they talk. I wish we spoke like that now rather than dis txt spk.
The colours of this movie are very important. We all know light = good and dark = bad but they take it to the next level with this film. Everything that is good or gives hope is bright, calm colours, happy colours, and white. The dark side [sorry, bit Star Wars there] is just that, dark. Black, red, grey, and slimy.
This film, in my opinion, is the modern-day’s response to the epic movies of the 60s [Spartacus and Lawrence of Arabia]. The scale is so magnificent. However, we have spoiled it slightly with CGI but its still pretty damn good.
OK. There are only about two things I… I wouldn’t say ‘hate’ as it’s a strong word and I don’t really hate anything about this movie, but its something that I notice and bothers me for about a second. The first being that you can really tell when the Hobbits are the adult actors and when they’re children. They failed a little there. However, they do redeem themselves when they do have the normal sized beings next to the Hobbits as their actor selves, especially the scenes at The Shire with Gandalf. Both me and dad were shaking our heads in disbelief and awe over how clever they were and how well it all worked to have big Ian McKellen and tiny Ian Holm.
The other thing I don’t like is the CGI of Gollum, though this is more for the second and third movies rather than the first. We have all the Orcs and dwarfs and everyone in full make-up and costume and the fact that they’re real is what makes them so terrifying and amazing. Make one or two of them CGI and you can spot them immediately. They use CGI people a few times in the huge running scenes and you can tell they’re CGI because they don’t run like people. You should either stick to CGI or stick to real, you can’t alternate between the two because it makes the difference all that more noticeable.
Ian McKellen is beyond fantastic as Gandalf. Like my dad said, thanks to all those years of theatre and Shakespeare, he has this stage/screen presence and knowledge. I can’t really think of words that would give the poor man justice. He’s just wonderful. And, to be honest, so is the rest of the cast! Elijah Wood wanders slightly between being a great actor and a crap one, and Orlando Blood needs to of been given slightly better lines but the rest never fail. My dad also pointed out that another reason the cast works so well is that they all have individual, character faces. None of them look the same. You have occasions in movies when they all look the same or similar. And its not just the good guys that are great because lets not forget Christopher Lee and his pure evilness. It’s the voice and, unfortunately, the nose that make him so wonderfully evil. Within seconds of seeing him, you know he’s one of the bad guys and you start to scream at the TV, asking why the hell does Gandalf not see his evilness! Surely the hint is the fact that his eyebrows don’t match his hair!!!
I think the main reason this cast, especially the fellowship, work so well is that they’re all very close friends off-set. I’ve seen a few behind-the-scenes stuff and some interviews and they all seemed incredibly close. Little fact here that I’m sure everyone knows but I like to say it anyways, all the actors who played the members of the fellowship each got a tattoo of a number in Elfish somewhere on their body, to constantly remind themselves of this incredible journey they were a part of. Isn’t that brilliant!! I except all the cast of Harry Potter to have a lightening bolt tattooed on their forehead.
This isn’t the film, this is Tolkien, but I just love the word Mordor, don’t you! Its totally evil! It does, however, sound like Scottish people saying ‘murder’. However, Mount Doom sounds lame, like something you’d hear on the Disney Channel of something.
There are so many iconic scenes in this film that I have seen parodied but in a ‘tribute’ kind of way. I know South Park did an entire episode based on this storyline and scenes of the movie. I remember there being a really good parody of the group scene [where they decide what the hell to do with the ring] being a board games meeting or something. Its something that has been parodied millions of times, look it up on YouTube! Its because its so serious and therefore you can just replace their voices with anything random and it’ll be funny. There’s also the scene where the Dementor- sorry, the Nazgûl looks over the tree thing in the ground which the Hobbits are hiding under. Also the pub scene where Frodo trips and the ring ‘lands’ on his finger. It’s a sign of great filmmaking when people can not of seen the film but if Family Guy parody it, you know exactly what film its from.
Haha, sorry, I have to point this out because my dad kept making me laugh with his comments on Aragorn and Boromir’s hair. My dad says that when Aragorn’s hair is unkempt and dirty and greasy, he looks like a man but when his hair has been brushed, he just look ridiculous. Boromir never has beautiful hair, its always greasy and tangled up. Its quite funny because whenever they go to an Elfish village/city/whatever, Aragorn always appears with beautifully brushed, silky smooth hair. The Elves like clean hair and braids.
Rivendell, the city/village/whatever is absolutely beautiful! So stunning! And then you have Agent Smith from the Matrix [Mr Anderson…] with beautiful hair and crazy eyebrows. But he, too, has this wonderful presence of being all knowing and wise and you believe everything he says.
The location shots are also what make this movie. The film was shot in beautiful New Zealand which looks enchanted and hard to believe that places like that still exist in today’s world. I suppose that’s what transports us into Middle Earth; we’re so used to motorways, skyscrapers and forests being torn down that we tend to forget there’s this wonderful thing called nature. This film is a tribute to New Zealand’s capability to save itself rather than the book.
[takes a breather, so close to the end!]
My mum pointed out and asked the question; why are the Orcs such crap fighters? I think it’s a mixture of the Orcs just being plain dumb and that the fellowship they’re fighting are more trained that they are. Your eyebrow does raise slightly when they’ve fought over 50 Orcs and a troll at one time and they all survived but the way its been shot makes you accept and agree that they would of survived. Yes, they have talent but they are also the luckiest creatures ever. They narrowly miss arrows and ‘swords’ and clubs. Its all been choreographed in a very good way that doesn’t make you roll your eyes when Aragorn dodges arrows that are hitting everywhere but his body.
“YOU! SHALL NOT! PASS!” Another iconic thing from this movie. I will tip my hat to Tolkien for killing Gandalf off, such an incredibly brave move. Obviously, he comes back to life in the next film [sorry if that ruined it for you but oh well, you should of seen the damn movie by now!!!] but for a moment, you think he’s gone! Bold move to kill a beloved character.
Cate Blanchett is even more awesome as that elf woman in person. Not only do you feel you should be bowing to her when she’s on screen but she has such expressive eyes! And that’s incredibly important when you’re doing a scene where the dialogue is completely telepathic.
Lets round it off, shall we! I know I’ve missed out loads of other points about this movie but I’m going to end it here because I’m tired!