There is certainly no doubt that The Lord of the Rings was one of the best book to movie adaptations of all time. While I loved Harry Potter’s book series, I felt that the movies were a hit or a miss because they went through so many directors and film styles. Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings saga was the very definition of an epic film, and it still holds its magic 20 years later.
Synopsis: Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) was a typical hobbit living in the Shire. He loved his home and his simple life. When his uncle Bilbo decides to leave him with the Ring of Power, he also inherits the burden of destroying it as the evil force of Sauron seeks to reclaim it to destroy Middle Earth. To accomplish his mission, he is accompanied by the Fellowship of the Ring, made up of three other hobbits, his friend Sam Gamgee (Sean Astin), his cousins Merry (Dominic Monaghan), and Pippin (Billy Boyd), the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen),the elf Legolas (Orlando Bloom), the dwarf Gimli (John Rhys Davies), and two warriors from the human realm — Boromir (Sean Bean) and Aragorn/Strider (Viggo Mortensen). The Fellowship must take Frodo and the Ring to the heart of Mordor to be destroyed by the fires of Mount Doom.
It is very rare for a movie to perfectly depict the contents of a book, especially one as well loved as JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings saga. The film took three hours to lay the foundations for the chaos that grips Middle Earth because of Sauron and his allies’ relentless quest to reclaim the One Ring, but the film managed to get film viewers and book readers on the same page.
It translated the book on screen so well with the detailed production of the Shire, Rivendell, the Mines of Moria and the treacherous journey that the Fellowship had to endure. The cinematography perfectly captured the beauty of New Zealand and the CGI which was considered quite impressive in 2001 still holds as one of the most marvelous executions for a fantasy film two decades later.
I have to give credit to The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring for rising to the challenge that the book presented. JRR Tolkien did not hold his imagination back when he crafted this classic literary piece and the film refrained from limiting itself. It pushed the envelope and squeezed every cent out of its production budget to come up with a high quality film that will hold for next 100 years. A magnificent film does not lose its brilliance over time after all.
Apart from the large scale production and the epic musical scoring, the film also cast the perfect actors for each part. The pacing was great, especially since the first movie was more of an establishment of the story. It was able to incorporate many interesting elements from the book which engaged audience throughout the movie.
There were also plenty of memorable scenes in the movie. Who can forget Gandalf facing the Balrog in Helm’s Deep uttering the famous line “You Shall not Pass!” or the epic moment when Boromir succumbs to the temptation of the Ring towards the end of the first movie. Classic for a character played by Sean Bean.
Now as I look back, I wonder how I was able to keep my excitement in check in order to wait for The Two Towers to come out, and subsequently, The Return of the King. While watching The Lord of the Rings was an exciting experience the first time around, it has a different impact when you are rewatching it after some time. One thing remains consistent. Its quality. It’s worth revisiting each time.
If you want to revisit the film on its 20th anniversary or binge on the entire trilogy, you can catch it on HBO GO.
PS. I much preferred the original movie version than the extended version because the extended version had a tendency to overtreat some of the scenes to lengthen the movie.