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Monday, August 10, 2020

Hollywood Rewind | The Lord of the Rings I: A classic example of ‘how to make good movies based on books’

At a time when everything seems so uncertain, it is reassuring to fall back on the basic, decent tenets of humanity which The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring espouses.

Written by Anvita Singh | New Delhi | Updated: July 25, 2020 4:05:53 pm
lord of the rings The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring released in 2001.

For one moment, and this maybe hard to do, let us forget the numerous awards won by Peter Jackson’s landmark movie series The Lord of the Rings. Especially the part one, The Fellowship of the Ring — the one that started it all. Let us not remember anything but look at the part one of this installment as what it is — a motion picture.

Released almost two decades ago (in 2001), it is hard to ignore the film’s achievements, isn’t it? Especially what it managed to create in terms of its visuals. The special effects, fantastical lands, monsters, dwarfs and elves. Even its human beings had an almost unearthly quality about them. Such a rich, alive world filled with all kinds of potential. I remember watching The Fellowship of the Ring as a 12 or 13-year-old child. And I remember my eyes lighting up at the gorgeous images on the screen. I had always been obsessed with fantasy dramas, but as a young child, LOTR was an unexplored area, and it was something that I discovered first through Peter Jackson’s movies, and then moved on to the books, the mind-bendingly good novels penned by JRR Tolkien. The Fellowship of the Ring happens to be one of those few movies that are as good as the source material, if not better.

To those who might not be familiar with the premise of the plot, the LOTR movies deal with the journey hobbit Frodo Baggins undertakes with eight other people to destroy the One Ring of the Dark Lord Sauron. In this first part, the members of different worlds come together to form what is known as ‘the fellowship of the ring.’ Hobbits, a wizard, an elf, two men and a dwarf form this exclusive clique to save Middle-earth. The cast boasts of names like Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Sean Bean, Andy Serkis, Orlando Bloom among others. Not only were these cast members convincing in their parts, they brought more energy and life to it, so much so that I still cannot imagine anyone else playing these roles. A special shout out to Sir Ian McKellen who was so brilliant at playing the good, powerful and all-knowing wizard Gandalf, that he has helped immortalise the character crafted exquisitely by Tolkien.

Hollywood Rewind: Zero Dark Thirty | The Godfather | Say Anything | Warm Bodies | Bright Star | Malcolm X | Stardust | Red Eye | Notting Hill | FargoThe Virgin Suicides | The Breakfast Club | Enchanted | Walk the Line | Blood Diamond | Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban | Mortal Kombat | Bridges of Madison County | Edward Scissorhands | Breakfast at Tiffany’s | She’s Gotta Have It | Ever After | The Devil Wears Prada | The Matrix | Creed | Mulan | Ratatouille | Shutter Island | Her | Dead Poets Society | Sleepless in Seattle | Waitress | Pride and Prejudice | The Dark Knight | Before Sunset | School of Rock | About a Boy | A Few Good Men | 50/50 | Begin Again | Brooklyn | Drive | Chocolat | Batman Begins | 10 Things I Hate About You | The Departed | Freedom Writers | Pretty Woman | Dan in Real Life | Jurassic Park | TangledMeet Joe Black | Monster’s Ball | Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | You’ve Got Mail | Half Nelson | Fight Club | Doubt | American Psycho | Julie and Julia | Forrest Gump | The Silence of the Lambs | Finding Neverland | Roman Holiday| American History X | Tropic Thunder | Before Sunrise | Scent of a Woman | Finding Forrester | Sixteen Candles

But apart from the technical and performance aspects of the feature film, what added more dimensions to it were the various themes it discussed. The society and its hierarchy, who should wield power and what happens when a good person is tested to carry out a task well beyond his/her apparent means? These and several other questions of morality, mortality, love and loyalty are put under the lens in this film spanning three hours (over three hours in its extended cut). To compress all the knowledge and wisdom of Tolkien’s epic saga into one movie, with its subtleties intact, that requires extraordinary skill, which at this point, everyone knows filmmaker Peter Jackson and his team are more than capable of.

And at a time when everything seems so uncertain, it is reassuring to fall back on the basic, decent tenets of humanity which The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring espouses. As Gandalf had once told Frodo when he had complained of the bitter happenings and wishing none of it had taken place — “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

You can watch The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring on YouTube.

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