Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Name: The Lord Of The Rings 1: The Fellowship Of The Ring
Year: 2001
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 178
Description: An ancient Ring thought lost for centuries has been found, and through a strange twist in fate has been given to a small Hobbit named Frodo. When Gandalf discovers the Ring is in fact the One Ring of the Dark Lord Sauron, Frodo must make an epic quest to the Cracks of Doom in order to destroy it! However he does not go alone. He is joined by Gandalf, Legolas the elf, Gimli the Dwarf, Aragorn, Boromir and his three Hobbit friends Merry, Pippin and Samwise. Through mountains, snow, darkness, forests, rivers and plains, facing evil and danger at every corner the Fellowship of the Ring must go. Their quest to destroy the One Ring is the only hope for the end of the Dark Lord’s reign!
Stars: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen and Orlando Bloom
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama

Every time I watch these films, Frodo gets more annoying. “I wish this, I wish that…” And why is he allowed to take vital decisions regarding the paths they take? I also wish the filmmakers had relinquished one or two of Tolkien’s archaic phrases for they sound stilted and shall always make me cringe, whether the birds of yore return or to Erebor not. Oh wait, that’s something else. Also, why is Frodo the only person who can destroy this ring? I understand why men can’t do it, but what’s so incredibly unique about this whining, pathetic little Hobbit? Part of me also wishes that they had let Sean Bean play Aragorn, but then again, he’s such a brilliant Boromir (Vigo’s voice really doesn’t work). Apart from Frodo, everything is mostly great, though, except for the fact that the film doesn’t explain a number of things, such as why the Evenstar is such a big deal, why there is an Elvish password on a Dwarf door etc.

The score is of course top-notch, but the mixing of the choir is a big problem, especially in the first half of the film. The choir in the symphony recording (and Belgium’s very own Fine Fleur’s spectacular performance, for that matter) sounded so much closer, so much clearer and so much more vibrant. You barely hear them in this film at times and at one point it’s blatantly obvious that they were recorded separately. Nevertheless, the Nazgûl music kicks ass and tthere’s hardly a minute of uninspiring music in the whole film, except perhaps for the end credits: if you write a work of such magnitude, is it really necessary to revert to a cut-and-paste approach?

The audio described versions of these films are no less masterful either: the narrator (James O’Hara, if my memory is not deceiving me), really loses himself in the story and you can clearly hear he was having the time of his life.

Long have I desired to watch this motion picture in surround sound and this afternoon, the opportunity arose as my companions have temporarily left the residence in which we usually dwell. Surprisingly, it took the film nearly an entire hour before the rear channels were used to their full extent. Also, why on earth did they have to remove that PAL speed-up? For one thing, I like the semi-tone difference, and for another, the soundtrack is now full of ‘hiccups’. One does not simply defile Howard Shore’s score like that. ‘Tis a foul and evil thing to do.

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