I genuinely can’t even begin to imagine what this was like for some of you.
I wish the Harry Potter films were like this. This doesn’t change my opinion of The Hunger Games, as I still adore the film adaptation, but I now realize there was a much better book-to-film conversion in the world, and I’d never seen it. And it’s got me thinking about what an immense thing this had to have been for any of you who got to experience these in the theater. Like, some of you read the books and then you saw this. Oh god, what if you hadn’t read the books and then saw this and JESUS CHRIST YOU WOULD GET THE WORST CLIFFHANGER OF ALL TIME.
I think it is a testament to how powerful and immense this movie is that at around the point that the characters entered the mines of Moria, I stopped liveblogging. I had nothing to say because I was overwhelmed. I knew everything that was going to happen. I cried when Gandalf fell. I got goosebumps when the Balrog burst out of those flames. I wanted to curl up into a ball when Boromir died. I knew everything that was going to happen. And it’s not that the first half of the film was uninteresting or anything. But I was just so completely taken by emotions for the second half of The Fellowship of the Ring. I guess I can now truly appreciate just how bleak the end of this part of the story is. No, for real, I can’t even picture the devastation you might feel if you didn’t know this story. SERIOUSLY.
I was going to split this review into a list of things I liked and disliked. I didn’t dislike anything. They changed a good amount of the original story, moved things around, and added things both from canon and from thin air. I have no complaints about these things. More Saruman? More Galadriel? More Arwen? More of Merry and Pippin? More Boromir? YEAH I WILL COMPLAIN ABOUT ABSOLUTELY NONE OF THIS. I was going to make a list of my favorite things until I realized I pretty much enjoyed the whole movie. I am not exaggerating. I loved the Shire. I loved Bilbo. I loved this beautiful, flawless cast, all of whom portrayed their characters exactly as I wanted them to. I could not handle the cinematography, or the sets, or the music (the music HELP ME), or the CGI that did not look dated or out of place, or any of this. I don’t know that I’ve ever loved a movie so completely immediately after it was over. I went out of my way to find something to criticize and I could not do it.
To be fair: I am very new to the material and this fandom. I am nowhere near as attached to it as some of you are, so the changes didn’t bother me or make me feel like it ruined any bit of the story or the characterization. But I totally understand that this is going to be different for each person, and the way I read books gives me such a unique experience in a fictional world. So I get that some of you may dislike elements of the film! THIS REVIEW IS NOT MEANT TO DISCOURAGE COMPLAINTS. And perhaps I’ll come to dislike something after repeated viewings of Fellowship. (You better believe that if any theater within a billion miles of me is doing a marathon of all the movies in a theater, I will be there for all 146 hours.)
I guess I don’t know what to tell y’all. I wasn’t even going to do a post for the film, but then it was over and I had a few trillion feelings to share with everyone? And now I have so many I can’t even deal with them in any coherent way. Like, did you see Ian McKellan’s face when Frodo offered to take the Ring to Mordor? Did you see it and did your heart shatter? Did you also notice that Merry and Pippin were perfect, or that Legolas and Gimli were clearly destined to be together forever? Or maybe that Viggo Mortenson just has a really nice face?
IS IT SECRET? IS IT SAFE?
Oh my god, Sean Bean, no one else could have been Boromir. Ugh, Saruman’s fight with Gandalf destroyed me. And I was just talking to my roommate about this, but watching how Ian McKellan played Gandalf was especially fascinating in all the scenes leading up to the Mines of Moria. He knew. He played Gandalf as if Gandalf knew he was heading to his end. It is so fucking brilliant.
Look, I’m going to go watch the cast commentary, and probably that documentary that comes with the film, and I just need more. Why isn’t it Sunday yet? I can’t believe y’all waited a year or more to see the next one. That is terrible. Oh my god, what have I become? I’VE BECOME OBSESSED IN JUST TWENTY-FOUR HOURS. h e l p
Dude you don’t even know about the amazingness awaiting you. Hey guys remember that time when Return of the King won EVERY SINGLE OSCAR EVER
And now, perhaps finally, you understand how one film completely upended all my life’s plans, and what’s more, how I DIDN’T MIND IN THE LEAST.
Look how obsessed you’ve become in such a short amount of time. Imagine if you’d read the books once a year, every year, since you were 5. All those years spent loving that world and those characters, and believing it couldn’t get better. That you’d reached the pinnacle of fiction.
AND THEN YOU SEE THAT.
De-lurking after almost a year to say YAY!
I’m making my way through your LOTR reviews but I couldn’t wait to read this one. Im so glad you loved it! I love it too!!!!!!
First I saw FOTR at the cinema (the second time when the movie came to my city,to be precise… looong after the premiere) and then I read the books.I <3 it so much that you also love this movie,and your reaction is very similar to mine.Thank you Mark for this review also,and I hope that you will do it also for the rest of the movies too.
Personally the part that really tugged at my heartstrings is right at the very end of the movie, where Sam tries to swim out to Frodo and Frodo saves him and Sam says “I made a promise Frodo, a promise.” I don’t know, it gets to me. I feel there friendship is far better portrayed in the movies than in the books IMO.
I know you mentioned the CGI, but I think there seems to be one piece of bad CGI in each movie– in this case, it’s in the troll scene where Legolas jumps off the troll. Anyway, around 2 years ago, I discovered these movies after seeing my school’s production of The Hobbit. They were perfect and I think I watched the whole trilogy about 6 times. I loved the interaction and broship between the cast as well (there are several hours of bonus material on the extended edition DVDs well worth watching). I wish I was able to see them on the big screen though. I wanted to see LotR in Concert, but alas, it was not to be.