The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

lord of the rings the fellowship of the ring poster 2001 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great visuals, strong story and acting

Maybe too much fantasy for some

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Studio: WingNut Films

Genre(s): Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s): December 10, 2001

MPAA Rating: PG-13

lord of the rings the fellowship of the ring sauron

I’m the master here!

The One Ring surfaces in the Shire, and Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) learn that ring found by Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) could mean the end of Middle Earth if Sauron ever finds it.  It is up to Bilbo’s nephew Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin), Merry Brandybuck (Dominic Monaghan), and Pippin Took (Billy Boyd) to get it to the elves in Rivendell.  With the Ringwraiths of Sauron moving in closer and closer, the danger is growing, and the adventure might have just begun!

Directed by Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings:  The Fellowship of the Ring is the first part of the three part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings first published in 1954.  The film was released to a massive box office return and strong reviews.  The movie received Oscars for Best Cinematography, Best Makeup, Best Original Score, and Best Visual Effect with nominations for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, (Ian McKellen), Best Director, Best Adaptation, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Film Editing, Best Original Song (“May It Be”), and Best Sound.  The film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2021.

lord of the rings the fellowship of the ring black rider ring wraith

I smell Hobbits

The Lord of the Rings was almost a rite of passage.  The Hobbit was an easy, quick read, but the bulk of The Lord of the Rings was daunting as a kid.  When I heard the director of gross-out Meet the Feebles, Dead Alive, and the critically acclaimed Heavenly Creatures was directing it, I didn’t know what to expect…but like most viewers was pleasantly surprised.

The movie is a pretty faithful adaptation, which is difficult considering the sheer bulk of the novel.  With the size and scope of the adaptation, it is obvious that parts of the story were lost.  The beginning of the movie compresses the time covered in the story.  This is smart because it gives a bigger sense of danger and more of a rush that wasn’t always felt in the novel.  The biggest change was the omission of Tom Bombadil from the story.  For fans it was a loss, but it also feels rather repetitive in the store.

lord of the rings the fellowship of the rings cast

So…who’s the leader?

The movie has huge potential to just be goofy, but fortunately all the actors commit to the characters.  Elijah Wood is a great Frodo and Ian McKellen brings some fun to Gandalf.  Viggo does a nice job as the underplayed Aragorn and it is great to see Christopher Lee to return as Saruman.  One of the nice surprises in the film is Sean Astin as the faithful Sam.  It is often a popular character in the book, and he plays it well.

The story is benefited by great visuals.  Jackson really does create a world and the setting of New Zealand just feels like another world. From the hilly shire, to the mountains, to the forests, and plains, the landscape is amazing (and a great marketing campaign for the country).  In addition to the great settings, the designs for creatures, and even the humans are great.  It all comes together for a nice story and film.

lord of the rings the fellowship of the rings gandalf vs balrog ian mckellan

You seem a bit hostile…can we talk about this?

The Lord of the Rings:  The Fellowship of the Ring is an amazing first step in a big journey.  The willingness of the studio to back such a big project was a big change (even Star Wars wasn’t a lock when it was first made) and did affect how films were adapted.  The bottom line is that it is a fantasy and that can turn a lot of people off.  There are goofy named characters and they inhabit a world that is full of whimsy.  Moments like the big battle in Mines of Moria however show that the movie can be enjoyed by fans of action everywhere.  The Lord of the Rings:  The Fellowship of the Ring was followed by The Lord of the Rings:  The Two Towers in 2002.

Related Links:

The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey (2012)

The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

The Hobbit:  The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

The Lord of the Rings:  The Two Towers (2002)

The Lord of the Rings:  The Return of the King (2003)

The Hobbit (1977)

The Return of the King (1978)

The Lord of the Rings (1978)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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