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The Fellowship of the Ring: Revisiting the First Chapter of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies directed by Peter Jackson is broadly thought-about to be among the finest trilogies ever placed on display. The movies tried the inconceivable, because the story written by J.R.R. Tolkien was beforehand thought-about to be unfilmable, because it was too sprawling and grand for any film to have the ability to do it justice. While there had been a number of makes an attempt to adapt The Lord of the Rings earlier than, mainly Ralph Bakshi’s animated film from the 1970s, nothing had been as formidable because the three live-action movies Jackson delivered. With Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens co-writing the scripts to the trilogy alongside Jackson, The Lord of the Rings was a large gamble, as all three motion pictures could be shot back-to-back and launched in subsequent years. New Line Cinema sunk simply over $280 million into the manufacturing of the three movies, having agreed to take action earlier than the primary entry within the collection was even launched.


Luckily, the gamble paid off. The first entry within the collection, The Fellowship of the Ring, was launched in December 2001 and was an instantaneous sensation. The film went on to gross almost $900 million worldwide, and it was nominated for 13 Academy Awards, together with Best Picture and Best Director. It received 4 of the Oscars it was nominated for; these being: Best Cinematography; Best Makeup; Best Original Score, and Best Visual Effects. As the general trilogy of Lord of the Rings motion pictures has achieved legendary standing over time, The Fellowship of the Ring stays the place the place it began. Now that it has been over twenty years for the reason that movie was launched, and the Lord of the Rings collection has continued to develop with the likes of Prime Video’s The Rings of Power, revisiting the primary entry of Jackson’s trilogy makes for a novel expertise.

How It Adapts the Book

New Line Cinema

The novel of The Fellowship of the Ring was first revealed in 1954 as the primary quantity of The Lord of the Rings, which Tolkien had written as a single full unit. As an entire, Jackson’s movie diversifications of The Lord of the Rings make numerous changes from what was initially offered on the web page, and that’s definitely true of The Fellowship of the Ring. Tolkien was a author who persistently introduced nice depth and element to his work. Everything included in his works was a really deliberate artistic alternative. As a outcome, the Lord of the Rings books, The Fellowship of the Ring particularly, are very dense reads. Much of the primary half of The Fellowship of the Ring consists of lengthy and winding descriptions of nature, the lore of Middle-Earth, and the internal ideas of characters. It’s the sort of stuff that may be arduous to precisely convey to the display since it’s so totally intertwined with the medium of the written phrase.

When adapting The Fellowship of the Ring to display, there have been adjustments that wanted to be made. Much of the timeline of the story was condensed with a view to make the occasions stream collectively extra seamlessly. The largest occasion of this comes after Bilbo’s birthday celebration within the opening act, when Frodo receives the Ring and Gandalf frantically leaves to do his personal analysis. While the movie appears to indicate that Gandalf wasn’t gone for all that lengthy (a number of months, perhaps a 12 months at most), within the unique story, 17 years cross between the Wizard’s departure and his return to substantiate that Bilbo’s ring was the One Ring. From there, Frodo and Samwise nearly instantly decide up and go away the Shire to make for the village of Bree, whereas, within the novel, there have been months of planning and prep that went into the departure of the hobbits.

On high of the time compression of the movie, Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring additionally omits a number of notable characters from the story. The most infamous of which is the jolly fellow Tom Bombadil, who saves Frodo, Sam, Pippin, and Merry from bother within the Old Forest as they go away The Shire. There was additionally the Elven hero Glorfindel, whose half within the unique story was as an alternative fulfilled by Arwen Undómiel within the movie. The depiction of Sauron differed within the movie as nicely, as the selection to indicate the collection’ villain as an enormous flaming eye atop Barad-dûr was made particularly for the movies. These are only some of the quite a few book-to-screen adjustments which are seen in The Fellowship of the Ring. While some could also be important, what Jackson, Boyens and Walsh did so brilliantly with the movie, was sustaining the core story and never altering the spirit of Tolkien’s work. There have been definitely adjustments made to the fabric, however the total expertise and story of The Fellowship of the Ring stay nearly fully untouched. It’s the right sort of adaptation that adjusts the story simply sufficient to be only on-screen, whereas nonetheless staying true to what made the story work to start with.

Related: Lord of the Rings: Why There Was Never a Sequel to Ralph Bakshi’s Animated Film

How It Holds Up

Sean Bean in Lord of the Rings
New Line Cinema

The early 2000s have been an extremely hit-and-miss time for blockbusters. Some movies have been excessive concentrations of all of the worst developments of the time. Movies like 2003’s Daredevil had a poisonous combination of poor CGI, motion clichés and an alt-rock soundtrack which have made them age about as poorly as conceivable. On the opposite hand, among the most iconic blockbuster movies of all time have been launched within the early 2000s. They had visible results that have been as beautiful as they have been pioneering, whereas the movies have been additionally telling subtle and thought of tales that might resonate with audiences for years to return. Thankfully, The Fellowship of the Ring is the latter.

That’s to not say that there aren’t any moments in The Fellowship of the Ring that present their age. Of course, there are a few small situations the place it’s clear that the movie wasn’t made with 2023 know-how. Those points are largely simply moments the place the digital compositing is noticeable. However, total, The Fellowship of the Ring holds up remarkably nicely. Many of the movie’s results surpass these of even in the present day’s requirements. Whether it’s the sensible and digital strategies that have been used to implement the height differences between the Hobbits, Dwarves, Men and Elves, or extra fantastical creations just like the Balrog, The Fellowship of the Ring options some actually excellent results which are simply as plausible and immersive in 2023 as they have been in 2001.

As for the story, it’s no shock that The Fellowship of the Ring holds up in that regard, contemplating how devoted and respectful Jackson and the remainder of the artistic group have been to the unique work. Tolkien’s work had already withstood the take a look at of a half-century’s value of growing older when the film was launched, and it has continued to earn its excessive reputation within the years since. The world that Tolkien created is likely one of the most imaginative and intensive in all of fiction, and Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring actually introduced that world to life on-screen for the primary time. While there had been different diversifications that preceded it, The Fellowship of the Ring was the primary time that audiences have been totally transported into Middle-Earth. It felt like an actual place that the viewer may go to, and folks needed to be in Middle-Earth so badly that New Zealand has acquired a endless and thriving tourism business consequently.

Related: The Good (and Not-So Good) of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Context Around It

Ian McKellen as Gandalf
New Line Cinema

The factor that has modified essentially the most concerning The Fellowship of the Ring during the last twenty years is the context that surrounds it. The movie is clearly simply the primary chapter in Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, however when the movie was launched, it was nonetheless up within the air whether or not the subsequent two motion pictures would keep the identical high quality as the primary. We now know that The Two Towers and The Return of the King are more-than-worthy follow-ups to Fellowship, with many individuals arguing that both of these movies may very well be the most effective of the trilogy. As it exists throughout the context of Jackson’s total trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring is lifted to even increased heights. While it could nonetheless be watched as a singular expertise if you need, the movie is so deeply tied into what comes subsequent that it now nearly completely exists as a portion of the entire. Most folks today view watching The Lord of the Rings as a whole expertise that entails all three movies collectively, somewhat than as particular person items.

Beyond that, The Fellowship of the Ring was step one in what would construct The Lord of the Rings right into a a lot bigger movie and tv franchise. After the success of Jackson’s trilogy, he would return to direct one other Middle-Earth trilogy of flicks tailored from Tolkien’s The Hobbit. While these movies are nearly universally thought-about to be nowhere close to the standard of The Lord of the Rings, they have been main monetary successes that proved that the world of Middle-Earth may efficiently exist on-screen past the core story of Frodo Baggins. Now the franchise is within the midst of even additional enlargement, as The Rings of Power is adapting the tales of the Second Age, hundreds of years previous to The Lord of the Rings, right into a streaming collection on Prime Video. While that collection has gotten off to a bumpy begin, it was nonetheless a success for the streamer and has loads of promise for future seasons. There can also be a brand new animated movie within the franchise set for launch subsequent 12 months. That movie, The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim, will exist throughout the identical continuity as Jackson’s movies.

Revisiting The Fellowship of the Ring in the present day, it’s arduous to observe the movie with out a minimum of considerably contemplating all the fabric that might observe on account of its success. Whether it’s with the character of Bilbo and the way the general story now ties into Jackson’s variations of The Hobbit, or the additional context of the movie’s prologue, which is now being supplied in The Rings of Power (although that present is technically a distinct continuity), there was a lot extra exploration of Middle-Earth on-screen within the years for the reason that movie was launched. Viewers know much more in regards to the world and lore of Middle-Earth now than they did when The Fellowship of the Ring was launched. A line equivalent to Gandalf’s reference to “the incident with the dragon” along with the inclusion of characters like Elrond and Galadriel, carries extra which means to them than they as soon as did. The Fellowship of the Ring is the place the trendy age of Middle-Earth all began, and the film stays one of many highest factors within the collection so far.



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