Nine years ago this December the first Lord of the Rings film, The Fellowship of the Ring, opened in theatres. Since I recently had a chance to re-watch the trilogy, and with production on the prequels finally moving forward, now seems like an appropriate time to look back at the Lord of the Rings films, and look forward to The Hobbit movies.
Remembering The Lord of the Rings
The Fellowship of the Ring
Image: Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring. Copyright New Line Cinema.
For Fellowship, I believe my count was five. I think it was my second watching, this time at a livelier city theatre, that the audience cheered when Aragorn decapitated that Uruk-hai who had pumped Boromir full of arrows. That remains the only time I’ve ever witnessed an audience respond to a film in a non-embarrassing way.
Upon re-watching Fellowship of the Ring, I am happy to report that it is just as I remember it. Still awesome. The slavish attention to detail, the richness of the world that Jackson has recreated on film, the acting, and the dialogue have ensured a graceful aging. Of the three, I still maintain that it is my favourite, and still the best paced. The film begins slowly, just as with the novel upon which it is based, presenting the idyllic hobbit life, and then steadily layering tension and complexity.
That’s not to say that it’s a perfect movie. The moments that made me grit my teeth and wish they would go away when I saw the movie for the third through infinity times are still there. These aren’t movie-ruining moments by any means, it’s just that the corny bits here aren’t endearing, they’re distracting. The cinematography has a habit of reminding me that Jackson used to direct cheesy horror movies, with those choppy slow-down moments and wacky zoom-outs. Mostly though, it’s Galadriel’s green-faced freak-out that gets to me.
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