Harry here with a review from RingBearer.Org from a lady... Here ya go.... Click here for a Lady's point of view!!! Now in addition another review has shown up over at PopCultureShock.Com that says, "LOTR joins Star Wars, Blade Runner, Empire, Indiana Jones, and The Matrix as a bonafide ‘modern day classic’. It entertains from beginning to end. An unlike a lot of contemporary films so light in story (The Mummy(s) and the overrated Gladiator come to mind) it’s an epic tale with characters you actually care about. Ones that make you laugh, cry and cower." Read it!!!!
ADDED!!! The OFFICIAL LORD OF THE RINGS WEBSITE has just put up all of the TV Commercial Spots Online in Quicktime... I wish they were much larger in format, but the quality of image is the best thus far. If any of you see tidbits of footage from the Fox Special Tonight online... Let me know!
Harry here... There've been a couple of additional reviews that have popped up online. This first one showed up on TolkeinOnline. Which by the way was where that Gandalf Trailer was hosted the other day. Now they've nabbed a review, here's a touch of it linked to the full review.... "So, to sum it all up for you, it did not seem like nearly three hours. It was an intense, emotional experience shot through with moments of Genius. I cannot say it was the best movie I ever saw, but it was head and shoulders the best movie fantasy movie and probably the best film in five years." and this review from Puff, who has been answering questions about the film. Here's a bit of what he said, "It's very, very, very good. And on every level, this transends the genre, it's magnificant!"
Hey folks, Harry here... First up is FrodoLives... He's a talkbacker and a big fanboy for Lord of the Rings. I first became aware of FrodoLives when his wife contacted me, prior to New Line selling their first poster for LOTR when she wanted to buy her husband, FrodoLives, a one sheet for his birthday. I hooked her up, and in return... after that birthday, Mr FrodoLives called me up from Chicago to let me know that I have a seat booked for a private screening of FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS in a theater with leather seats and alcoholic libations. I informed him that I would be seeing the film in Austin, but thanked him. I hadn't heard from him till last night when he discovered that he would be attending an early morning screening in Chi-Town. This is an astonishingly detailed exhaustive look at FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING.... Minute details follow, beware of spoilers .. OH, don't forget that FOX is showing a 30 min "Making of" special for Fellowship THU night 11/29 @ 8pm. It has some interesting BTS footage as well as expanded film footage (with full, final "LOTR" look) of the Cave Troll scene. Now, here's Frodo Lives...
Long time lurker on your site. This will be the first review I've sent your way, but what a review!
First off, call me FrodoLives. Why not? ;-)
I have just returned from a special screening of LOTR:FOTR, which I was fortunate enough to get into (due to the kindness of my new favorite person on this planet aside from my wife). Before I dig into the review, let me give you a little bit about myself, so you'll hopefully know whether to trust me or not.
I'm a geek. Always have been. Proud of it.
I've been looking forward to LOTR since I first heard about it 2 years ago. I've had a theater booked out for opening night for the past year and a half now. I'm a huge fan of movies, though I don't consider myself a "critic". In general, I tend to like the movies that I see too much to be a critic. Critics always seem to look for the worst in a movie. They ruin it for themselves. I get too much enjoyment out of movies to ever want to do that. I love movies for the pure escapist thrill that they provide.
So. Enough about me. Onto the movie.
First off, for those that don't want "spoilers". Stop reading now. Just go away knowing that this movie truly is the gem that we've all been hoping for. Get in line RIGHT NOW and make sure you have tickets to opening night. You won't be sorry.
Are they gone?
Onto the good stuff. This is going to be a long one, so be warned. I'll go through as much of the film as I can remember.
The movie opens beautifully. Black screen. Nothing showing. And then Galadriel's voice, speaking out of the darkness, describing the history of the One Ring. The telling of the Second Age. The fall of Sauron. The screen opens up to those scenes we've seen of the armies of Mordor marching. Battles between Sauron's forces and Men and Elves. Elrond in full armor. Sauron using the might of the One Ring to CRUSH his opponents. Isildur falling before him, his sword shattered. Isildur raising the shard of his sword to strike the ring from Sauron's hand.....it's just unreal. You fade out with Gollum's hand reaching down through the river water to grab the ring.....My Preciousssss.
Fade to the Shire. Gandalf arriving and Frodo greeting him. From the first tip of his hat, McKellen owns the role of Gandalf for all time. You've heard it before: he IS Gandalf. There's no acting, it's way too natural. He just IS. Perfection.
Frodo is utterly innocent. A Hobbit of the Shire. Carefree, full of life. It's almost painful watching this if you know the book and know what he's about to face.
Watching Gandalf interact with the children....the fireworks displays....Merry and Pippin stealing a firework and setting it off (nearly blowing themselves to bits). All wonderful.
For the purists out there, there's plenty of nods straight to the book. You have references to chapter titles throughout the movie....just snuck in there perfectly. However, be warned that changes have been made. Fairly straightforward changes, all aiming to trim the story down so that they can fit it into a movie. I had no problems with any of them.
What changes you ask? Prime example: There is no delay in Frodo's leaving. Gandalf returns after discovering what the ring truly is (after Bilbo's party) and warns Frodo, gets him to leave immediately. Sam (caught eavesdropping) is sent with him. Merry and Pippin join in more by necessity as they fall in with Frodo and Sam while running from Farmer Maggot (they were raiding his garden). Immediately after this, the Black Riders come and there is just a wonderful chase through the forest. The Hobbits (all four) flee to Bree.
- From that point on, it's a rollercoaster ride.
Gandalf facing Saruman. And losing. Badly. Trapped at the top of Orthanc. Later, you see him whisper something to a butterfly-like thing that flies by the tower. And then the rescue by the eagle. I was getting giddy by this point.
The flight of the Hobbits and Strider from Bree to Weathertop...The fight on Weathertop (again, different from the books, but still wonderful). Aragorn is awesome. Standing up to five of the Ring Wraiths and fighting them off on Weathertop (the fire brand that he's carrying in the trailers is put to good use). Viggo takes on the role of Aragorn almost as well as McKellen plays Gandalf. It's just so RIGHT.
They flee from Weathertop and start the long run for Rivendell (Frodo being in a rather bad way after being stabbed). Enter Arwen. Say what you want, I think that Liv Tyler did a wonderful job in this role. Would I have rather seen Glorfindel? Yes. I would KILL to see the flight to the ford and "the elf-lord unmasked in his fury." But, again, I can see why the change was made. And Liv Tyler does the best acting I've ever seen from her (I'm normally not a huge fan). She's perfectly acceptable.
The flight to the Ford is a thrilling horse chase that's a match for any car chase or fighter jet dog fight sequence you've seen. The calling of the flood....the charging "horses" in the raging waters....just wonderful.
Rivendell is spectacular. Elrond is exactly how you want him to be. Full of power. Knowledge. Understanding. In command. The scenery in Rivendell is breathtaking. It just has this old, time-worn feel to it. Coupled with a feeling of great power. Just a power that is in the twilight of its life.
The introduction of the rest of the Fellowship....the forming of the Fellowship....and the absolutely priceless look of outrage on Elrond's face as Sam and then Merry and Pippin crash the Council. The decision of Frodo to take the Ring to Mt. Doom is wonderfully acted and shot. Very moving.
The journey to Caradhras is handled quickly, in a series of brief shots of the countryside and the grandeur of the landscape. The storms on Caradhras are explained a bit differently....with Saruman being behind the calling of the storms. Gandalf tries to fight the power that Saruman has called and is once again defeated. They flee the mountain top at Gimli's urging (and Frodo's agreement) to Moria.
Fans of Cthulhu should rejoice in this movie. The Watcher in the Lake is one of the best, most vivid and terrifying Cthuloid renderings I've ever seen. The Fellowship is forced into the mines.
Once again, the scenery and cinematography is just spectacular. The Mines of Moria are not quite what I had pictured when reading the books....they are BETTER. The finding of Balin's Tomb. Gimli weeping at the tomb. The almost comical moment as Pippin knocks the skeleton into the well with a clatter that makes even the audience cringe. And the exact lines from the book: "Fool of a Took! Next time throw yourself down there and spare us from any more of your stupidity." Or something like that. I'm too hyped up to read right now.
The drums start sounding and from then on you're in for one thrill after another. The orcs attack and you see, for the first time, the Fellowship fighting together. At this point, let me just say that Legolas is AWESOME. I don't know where they found Orlando Bloom, but you've never seen anything like this! He fights like and Elf. That's the highest praise I can give. A marvelous shot as he leaps from a ledge ONTO the cave troll, firing his bow down into it's face while standing on it's shoulder. Him twirling like a dervish as orcs close in too tight for him to use his bow and he falls back on two daggers. Just fantastic stuff.
Gimli bulls through everything in stark contrast to the fighting style of Legolas. As he should. He fights like a Dwarf. And oh, that axe! Never piss off a Dwarf. Ever.
The flight to the Bridge has you on the edge of your seat (as if you weren't there already). The orcs streaming after the fleeing Fellowship. Thousands of them. Surrounding the Fellowship and closing in for the kill when....flames light up the far end of a hallway and you hear the Balrog walking. Thundering. The orcs all flee. A moment of silence from the Fellowship as Gandalf concentrates on what is coming and then "This is a peril you cannot fight".....They run. You never see anything of the Balrog during this race but a fiery light pursuing them...always just out of sight around that bend....bringing the walls down with its tread. This is so perfectly shot it's hard to imagine. Just be sure you bring a change of pants.
They make it to the Bridge and Gandalf had the others race across it as he turns to face the flames that are now visible as a wall.
Enter the Balrog. Picture a minotaur made from black ash and flames. It opens its mouth and it's like the fires of Hades glowing from its maw. I cannot imagine how Jackson could have done any better than this. It is dead on.
Gandalf facing the Balrog on the Bridge. The first utterance of "You shall not pass." Much less force than the one in the trailer. Glamdring shattering the Balrog's sword...the Balrog drawing back and lashing out a whip of pure fire.....it's almost beautiful...and terrifying. And then...."You....Shall not....PASS!!" The line is exactly what you've seen in the trailer. Only in the proper context, your heart just pauses for a moment. Then the bridge shatters and the Balrog falls.
Gandalf standing at the edge of the shattered bridge in triumph. Then the whip snaking out and lashing around his ankle, pulling him over the edge. He hangs on long enough to cry "Flee fools!" before falling into the abyss.
The music at this point is what I remember most. And the cry of utter anguish from Frodo as Gandalf falls. If you're not moved by this, check your pulse.
They exit Moria onto the hillside. The light is almost painful after the darkness of the caves. The Hobbits are all weeping. Aragorn drives everyone onward, saying that they must make Lothlorien before nightfall.
Lothlorien is beautiful in an entirely different way than Rivendell. More natural. More powerful. Rivendell spoke of the twilight of a race that was once powerful and beautiful. Lothlorien is a bastion of that race's former glory.
Galadriel enters in a blaze of light and power. Her gaze into the eyes of the members of the Fellowship is handled flawlessly. Power radiates from her. You feel the eyes boring in. And then she looks at Frodo. You hear her voice in his head. And there is this moment where the true extent of her power is shown for just a heartbeat as those wonderful eyes suddenly harden. There's an effect done here that I really can't describe...Galadriel's eyes change. She becomes almost sinister. And then she is back.
The Fellowship rests briefly. A beautiful elf-song echoes through the forest. "The Lament of Gandalf"....very poignant.
Frodo is awakened in the night by the passing of Galadriel. He follows her to the Mirror of Galadriel and looks in. You see the destruction of the shire....then the Eye of Sauron, calling to the ring....pulling it from Frodo's shirt and drawing his face toward the bowl. He pulls back just before touching. He speaks with Galadriel.
And offers her the ring.
You see Galadriel change into a being of power. Her voice alters....mutates. She twists. She is undeniably powerful. And undeniably evil at this point. And then she is back. She refuses the ring. "I have passed the test. I shall fade with the rest of my kind."
The journey down the river...leaving Lothlorien.
Cut to Saruman calling for the Uruk Hai. Sending them after the Fellowship with instructions to bring the halflings to him "unspoiled". And to kill the others. The Uruk Hai race forth from Orthanc.
Shots of the Fellowship on the river. Legolas feels the Uruk Hai drawing nearer.
Passing by the statues of the kings. Nearing the falls of Rauros. The party pulls the boats the the side of the river.
Boromir trying to take the ring from Frodo. Frodo putting the ring on and fleeing to the top of Amun Hen (if I'm remembering the name right). I should mention that the world that Frodo enters when he's wearing the ring is (once again) unlike anything you've seen. Everything is drawn out...racing. Like a wind effect washing everything out. Colors bleed off. And in the center of it all is Frodo, touched by the chaos, but still himself. Fleeing to the top of Amun Hen, where he can see Minas Morgul. The Eye of Sauron starts coming for him....and he removes the ring, falling back into the "real" world.
Aragorn finds Frodo. After a rather touching scene, he agrees with Frodo's wish to go off on his own. It is the only way.
Then the Uruk Hai attack. Aragorn turns to face them as Frodo flies off through the woods. Once again, you will be astounded by the swordwork. Aragorn is almost a force of nature as he moves through the orcs, spinning and slicing with his sword.
Legolas and Gimli enter the fray. It is here that your jaw will simply come unhinged and fall to the floor. The fighting with Legolas.....I still can't believe I actually saw it. This one absolutely perfect scene as an orc closes in on Legolas: He stabs the orc through the heart with an arrow that he has in his hand. As the orc falls, he pulls the arrow out and IN THE SAME MOTION draws it and fires on the next orc. A shot from a slight distance as his arms just blur as he's drawing and firing on the orcs around him. There's just this clearing about him into which no orc can cross.
Gimli barreling about like the Dwarf that he is.
And then a cut to Merry and Pippin. They see Frodo leaving. They sacrifice themselves to help him get away from the orcs that are hunting him. They stand and shout at the orcs and lead them off.
Boromir crashing in to their rescue as the orcs catch up to them. And it is here that you have the wonderously worked redemption of Boromir. He fights like a man possessed. Like a man trying to win back his soul.
No orc can come near him. Or get past him. You see Lurtz draw an orc bow and fire an arrow into Boromir. The arrow is simply huge. About a half inch thick. You can almost FEEL it as it pounds into his shoulder, throwing him back. And then he fights back to his feet, killing more orcs as they try to get at the Hobbits.
You know what happens next. It's shot brilliantly with a near-perfect eye for the action that needed to take place.
The movie closes with Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli charging off to rescue Merry and Pippin. And with Frodo and Sam heading into Mordor.
This was, bar none, one of the greatest movies I've ever seen.
Were there flaws? If you go in looking for them, yes. But even then, they are so minor as to be inconsequential next to the magnitude of what Peter Jackson has accomplished.
Surprises? Plenty. You get several tantalizing glimpses of Gollum. The light in his eyes. His hands. Him crouching over a rock. Enough to seriously wet your appetite.
Go to this film expecting to be blown away. Let yourself be immersed in the world that Peter Jackson has created. Go in looking for flaws and you'll find them. That can be said of any movie ever made. Go in looking for a marvelous film that you can sit back and let wash over you and carry you away and you won't be disappointed.