[April Fool's 2013] The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 11:47 PM | Posted in

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 9.2/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 0/10 (Zero Stars)

April Fool's 2013

Never before has a film ever made me feel so stretched, so thin, like butter scraped over too much bread. Bloated with rather dazzling locations, set pieces, and visual effects, the first adaptation of the Tolkien trilogy manages to fail on the acknowledgement that one can easily blow too much air into a balloon. When it comes down to creating a fantasy world with lovable characters, The Fellowship of the Ring besmearches its own name like a babbling bumbling band of babboons.

The Fellowship of the Ring begins with a narrative, telling about the forging of the Great Rings: Three to the elves, seven to the dwarves, and nine to men. In response to this power, the Dark Lord Sauron forges himself a master ring to control all others. Basically, the ultimate evil poured into the Ring. In the final battle for freedom, Sauron, the enemy of the free peoples of Middle-Earth, was defeated. The Ring, however, carried a will of its own, and because it lives on, so does the evil spirit of Sauron. The prologue then goes on to say that the Ring was founded by a Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins of the Shire (Iam Holm). It is here where The Fellowship of the Ring begins.

The narrative revolves around young Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) who treks the dangerous land of Middle-Earth to Mount Doom, in hopes of destroying the One Ring. With eight other companions that include Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellan), and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Frodo begins his dark journey alongside what is known as the Fellowship of the Ring.

For some reason, this entire journey of traveling to Mordor takes three installments, when all the Fellowship needed to do was to get on an eagle and fly there. This is possible because Gandalf uses one to begin with.

The characterization in the film means well, as it tells civilians of different races meeting together to fight one common evil. The Fellowship ranges from hobbits to elves to dwarves to men. However, personality is one highly exploited hole. Surely, Frodo is an anti-hero. He's courageous for deciding to take the Ring to Mordor, though he renders himself useless many times against the powers of the Ring. The actual forming of the Fellowship does not start until halfway into the film. Oh, and halfway means an hour and a half into the film, because the film in its entirety is three hours long.

Supporting cast members here inflict a common emotion that kids who read fantasy novels do not like: irritation. Sam demonstrates his loyalty to Frodo consistently, even though all he is is Frodo's gardener. As for Merry and Pippin, who get the protagonist in trouble several times, not to mention getting nearly killed, dispose of them. Or, at least have them appear for the first twenty minutes, then move on when Frodo and Sam leave the Shire. Gandalf for sure is the most admirable character around, but I cannot help but see him as a dirtier greyer version of Albus Dumbledore. Good, not great. At the end of the day, severely overrated and is unable to pass. Come to think of it, this is where Fellowship of the Ring lacks originality.

The Dark Lord Voldemort to the Dark Lord Sauron. The Dementors of Azkaban to the Nazgul. Harry's scar burns near evil to Frodo wanting to put the Ring on near evil. A best friend who does nothing like Ron to Sam. An ugly man-creature like Dobby to an ugly man-creature like Gollum. I can go on for ages. Legends will tell of this.

One thing really important about creating a fantasy world is developing the darker creatures, the works of evil, if you would. For Fellowship of the Ring, the Nazgul and the Orcs are undoubtedly the most role-playing enemies. I already mentioned that the Nazgul bear a similar resemblance to the Dementors, but for the Orcs? The ones that look like they belong in the Warcraft series? Please.

This film is rated PG-13, but I promise you, not only should the violence be an R quality, but there is almost no reason why this kind of a story needed to be this violent.

The directing of the film is probably the best part about Fellowship of the Ring. Unfortunately, the entirety of Jackson's powers is destroyed by lazy pacing, slow buildup of plot, and simply repetitive action scenes. Fighting orcs in the mines is no different from fighting orcs in the forest. The narrative is the biggest flaw and is the main core that leads to Fellowship's demise.

The film contains the slowest introduction, exhibiting hundreds of hobbits living in the Shire -- none of it is directly correlated to the real plot. For a film titled The Fellowship of the Ring, you would expect the plot to get going about the Fellowship sooner than one and a half hours. In other words, the film is punishingly slow. In all honesty, I fell asleep, and The Fellowship of the Ring is now the second film I have ever broken one of my three rules -- the rule I broke was no texting or calling while watching the film. The visual effects are eye candy for sure, but the storytelling inevitably bores. As mentioned before, the set pieces are quite dazzling. However, there is no momentum driving one set to another, no purpose of going on astounding scene to another. To quote Richard Roeper: "It goes on forever."

In conclusion, The Fellowship of the Ring is the most disheartening catastrophe in the fantasy genre, if not in filmmaking itself. It tries too hard at being good, and it thinks it is a good film. Unfortunately, that is not the case. This is a film that could have done the same job within two hours or less. Squeezing an extra hour in for a familiar "Chosen One" plot is simply overreaching, whether it is overreaching on technological achievements in the visual effect industry or overreaching in Peter Jackson's vision as a mistaken choice in the director's chair. Oh, and do not get me started as to how different the film was from the original J.R.R. Tolkien novel. Soon enough, The Fellowship of the Ring will become history. History will become legend. And legend will become myth.

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