Movie Review – Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings
by Jonathan Hanie

FIVE STARS * * * * * “Excellent!”

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Fall/Winter 2003

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     " One ring to rule them all." This quote is one of the more famous quotes in the world aside from the Bible or Shakespeare. Before 2001, you could only hear this spoken in the 1978 Ralph Bakshi version of LORD OF THE RINGS. Unfortunately, to most Tolkein fans, if you mention this, then, “DEMS FIGHTING WORDS!!!!!!!!!”
      I loved Bakshi's LORD OF THE RINGS, and I also loved this more recent version as well. True Tolkein fans will just have to shoot me. Yes, I HAVE read the books, too.
      Frodo Baggins, the little hobbit must destroy his uncle Bilbo's prized (and evil) ring. In so doing, he will save the world, er, Middle Earth! It's not so easy as the ring's creator, Sauron, wants it back, and he has evil spirits to help him track down his coveted prize. The fly in the mix is Frodo and his band of amazing friends including the good wizard, Gandalf who prove that there is great strength in numbers. There is also a renegade wizard named Saruman, who desires this powerful ring too. Adventure follows in three action packed hours, and it even ends with a cliffhanger.
Copyright © 2002: New Line Productions Inc.
      Simply put, I was AMAZED at the production in its entirety! In a new imagining of this first part of the beloved Tolkein stories, New Zealand director Peter Jackson puts a fresh coat of paint on the whole story. It was a feast for the eyes and ears, and I only saw it on DVD on my home computer! (WOW!)
      As for the acting, Christopher Lee is great as the evil wizard Saruman. He is just one of the best actors out there, no question about it. He is given great support by Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins. All look as though they thoroughly enjoyed their roles. Elijah Wood is also great as Frodo. His angst and inner turmoil of having the heavy burden of saving the world are expressed well. He has come a long way in developing an obviously natural talent.
      Some of the most interesting situations arose from subtle internal battles in the film. Gandalf the Grey and Saruman the White have a conflict much like Frodo, about absolute power. I liked their confrontation at the beginning of the film when Gandalf is tricked by Saruman into thinking that he is on his side. Saruman has been, however, like the Biblical Judas Iscariot, corrupted by his desire for the ring and complete power. What power can do to a friendship among wizards!
      FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS has fantastic special effects to rival all modern fantasy films. The ring wraiths are dark, misty and obscure. When Saruman gathers his army of darkness, it evokes the stuff of nightmares. His first meeting with Gandalf is eye-popping with effects. Gollum is hidden, but menacing. I can't wait to see more of him in the next film.
      The location shooting choices were veritably perfect, with the New Zealand countryside serving very well as the setting for Hobbiton. It looks like the perfect place for a Hobbit to call home. Rivendell resembles an elfen Shangri-La. Can I book a hotel there please? The Mines of Moria come alive menacingly -- and make one long for a darkened alleyway in Los Angeles!

Bio: Born and raised in Albany, Georgia, Jonathan "Kibo" Hanie graduated high school in 1989. He has since attended Valencia Community College in Orlando, and Nova University where he earned a Bachelor's in Education, and the University of Central Florida where he obtained a Master's Degree in Educational Media. Single, Hanie has lived in Orlando for the past fourteen years. His hobbies include film, travelling, reading books, cats, Falco, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and recycling.

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