50. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

A meek Hobbit from the Shire and eight companions set out on a journey to destroy the powerful One Ring and save Middle-earth from the Dark Lord Sauron.

The truth? I’ve never seen this film all the way through. I’ve caught parts here and there. I even went to see this film in the theater when it came out in 2001. My grandparents thought it would be a good idea to take me, who was 9 at the time, and my cousins to see this film. And, in the realm of the dark theater, the Nazgul scared the absolute bejeesus out of me and we had to leave. So, this was my first time actually sitting through the film in its entirety (Even though I’ve seen The Hobbit in theaters and read the book). I quite enjoyed it.

It was this moment that 9 year old me begin crying hysterically.

I will always be impressed by Peter Jackson and how he created this whole world on screen. Yes, Tolkien created the world, but to take those words and paint a picture is a whole other feat. Every detail was taken into consideration.

My favorite thing about this film is the way that computer generated imagery and the real-world practical elements are blended. I always say that CGI will do more damage to itself before it does better. Meaning that it will make itself look worse first. Take, for example, another Peter Jackson film, 2005’s King Kong. When that film came out, the technology was the best of the best. But, upon a rewatch, it looks clumsy. Especially if you are to compare it to the CGI for 2015’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. King Kong pales in comparison. The film looks dated. I bring this up only because Peter Jackson managed to get around that clumsiness with Fellowship. The CGI is weaved seamlessly throughout the film. Sure, some moments don’t look great by today’s standards, but for the most part it’s good.

Jackson playing with the camera and perspective in order to show the different sizes of all the characters is one of the things that helps with the seamless CGI integration. The computer is used to enhance the things that are already being down practically. It is not relied on. And, for that, I will always praise this film.

For a film being two hours and fifty-eight minutes long, the pacing is spot-on. The film does not feel like it is that long. There are no lulls where the film drags. There is nothing unnecessary throughout the film that would contribute to the long run time. It’s clear that, when adapting J.R.R. Tolkien’s books, this was taken into consideration.

Frodo and Middle-earth have never really been my thing. I know, I know. People always assume that it’s something I love, just like they always assume that Harry Potter is something I love (I read the first 3 books, but when that 4th book came out and it was 734 pages, my little 9 year old brain was like ‘ha, nope’, and that’s that). Is the Lord of the Rings series one I would look into adding to my collection? Probably not. Do I understand why it is on the American Film Institute’s Greatest Films list? Absolutely. Technical-wise, it did wonders. Not only is the film visually breathtaking, it is audibly breathtaking. Howard Shore knocks it out of the park with his score. He won the Academy Award for Best Score. Fellowship, in fact, deserved all the awards that it won, Academy Awards or otherwise. The make-up, the cinematography, the costumes, the special effects all work together to create one hell of a fantasy film.

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Roll credits.

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