Saturday, 22 December, 2001

The Fellowhip of the Ring

Debra and I went to the theatre today to see the Harry Potter movie, but got there about 90 minutes before the movie was to start.  Not wanting to wait around, we decided to take in The Fellowship of the Ring, which was to start in 20 minutes.  When the movie was over three hours later, I looked over at Debra and said, "Damn.  That was good!"

Understand, I'm not a huge Tolkien fan.  Sure, I've read The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy a few times each, but I don't read or speak a word of Elvish nor do I dwell on the history of Middle Earth.  I read the Trilogy over the summer in preparation for the movie and could hardly get through it.  I don't recall being so bored by the books when I read them about 10 years ago, but this time The Two Towers put me to sleep.  Anyway, back to the movie.

I'm not a movie critic.  I don't study film.  I don't know the first thing about directing, editing, lighting, or even acting for that matter.  I do, however, know when a good story has been turned into a great movie.  This is one, and it's done the old fashioned way with good acting and an attention to detail that is nothing short of astounding in this age of movies that are typically actor-centric rather than story-centric.  (Come to think of it, that's one thing I liked so much about Monsters, Inc. [see my November 10 entry]:  the story, not the actor, was the primary focus.)  In The Fellowship of the Ring, every actor nails the performance.  There's no need for stupid camera tricks or hokey computer animation because the actors actually act.  Their characters were entirely believable.

With the exception of the cave troll, the entire Moria sequence was excellent.  There was plenty of CGI in the movie, and none more than in Moria, but I hardly noticed it all except for that laughable cave troll.  The creature outside the gates was just as I had envisioned it from the book, and the scenes inside the mines were masterfully done.  The Balrog was perfect.  Every bit as frightful as described in the book; perhaps more so. 

The editor did an excellent job keeping the movie on track and not distracting us with scenes from the book that don't advance the main story.  The movie's still three hours long.  Not that I'm complaining.  I think the last time I was so fully engrossed in a movie was the first time I saw Star Wars.  This movie is much better now that Star Wars was then.  Debra echoed my sentiments when she said "Maybe we should have seen Harry Potter first."  After The Fellowship of the Ring, nothing will compare.

Go see the movie, even if (especially if) you've never read the books.