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The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen
Director: Peter Jackson
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 178 Minutes
Release Date: December 2001
Genres: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action, Suspense

*Also starring: Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Kevin Conway, Martin Csokas, Orlando Bloom, Hugo Weaving, John Rhys-Davies, Andy Serkis

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
2.  Susan Granger read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
3.  AlexI read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
4.  Harvey Karten read the review ---
5.  Dustin Putman read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

For those of you who, like me, were disappointed by HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE, as well as for those of you who can't get enough of magical tales, New Line Cinema has the perfect answer: THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING.

Directed with dark intensity by Peter Jackson (HEAVENLY CREATURES), the film pushes the limits of its PG-13 rating. Decapitations in PG-13? Excuse me? "Are you frightened?" Aragorn a.k.a. Strider (Viggo Mortensen) in an early scene asks Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), the story's convincingly vulnerable hero. "Yes," Frodo replies with wide eyes. "Not near frightened enough," Strider corrects him.

HARRY POTTER works best for the eight-to-twelve age group, but THE LORD OF THE RINGS is inappropriate for most kids under twelve. For those old enough to see it, THE LORD OF THE RINGS is definitely the more rewarding of the two.

Sharing the majesty of opera composer Richard Wagner's own ring series, THE LORD OF THE RINGS has a bold, stirring score that's easily the best of the year. As the music moves your ears and heart, the sets will delight you eyes and mind. Filmed in the director's native New Zealand, the sets range from enchanted cottages to skyscraper-sized stone sculptures.

The intricate story concerns an all-powerful ring. Like many people, I've never read any of J.R.R. Tolkien's books about the ring. Nor, for that matter, any of the Harry Potter books. Prior knowledge isn't necessary for THE LORD OF THE RINGS although I suspect the books' many fans will be able to appreciate numerous subtleties that I missed. If you don't know the story, be sure and see the movie from the very beginning as the opening explanation is quite helpful.

The ring is an extremely challenging and dangerous possession as Frodo finds out when the ring passes from Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) to him. Both of them are Hobbits, which is a race of half-height people with wide and very hairy feet. There are many different races in the story, as well as some quite scary characters. One race of bad guys appears rather like the Borg from Star Trek. The hardest monster to defeat looks like a mutant Shrek on major steroids. Between considerations of the mythology, there's a lot of fighting, some of which will remind you of similar scenes from STAR WARS. But, when the going gets tough, Gandalf (Ian McKellen), Frodo's tall mentor and protector, sometimes resorts to "Run!"

My only complaint? Like HARRY POTTER, the film could stand some trimming. I would have liked it even more if it were a tad shorter. Having now seen the first one, I can't wait for the two sequels, which have already been filmed and are going to be released for the 2002 and 2003 Christmas seasons.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING runs 3:00. It is rated PG-13 for "epic battle sequences and some scary images" and would be acceptable for kids around 12 and up. The MPAA should never have said "some scary images." There are many extremely scary images in the movie.

Copyright 2001 Steve Rhodes

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