Lord of the Rings Movie Review

© 2002, Michael Kennedy

Greetings fellow movie-goers,

As you know I, with Merrie [Michael's wife - Ed] and M’Liss (her sister), saw the LoTR movie a couple of weeks ago [This was 'The Fellowship of the Ring' - Ed] – Boxing Day in fact. It was an unexpected attendance as it was a surprise Christmas present. We arrived at the Hoyt’s cinema Complex at Warringah Mall about an hour before the scheduled starting time and as such we were the second people in and had prime seats. The previews seemed to last an eternity, especially when I got to thinking that there was still at least 3 hours of bum-sitting ahead. However, the movie began with the now familiar New Line Cinema logo shot. Here follows my thoughts:

1)       Did the movie do justice to the book?

Yes and no. Yes, because I think it managed to capture the spirit of the story, at least in part. This was due a lot to Ian McKellen (who played Gandalf) and performed admirably managing to express both sagacity and humility – musts for Gandalf. I also thought that Elijah Wood played Frodo well and he managed to convince the viewer of the turmoil ringing in his mind. The entire Company was well cast and it’s difficult to imagine better choices.

No, because there is still so much missing. While the story would have flowed to people who have not yet read the LoTR, I couldn’t help but notice the gaping hole left by Tom Bombadil and Goldberry’s absence, to name but one. There were a myriad of other ‘necessary’ omissions that if left in play would have turned a 3 hour bum-number to a 10 hour bum paralysis, and the decisions had to be made by the film hierarchy. However, this is why no movie can destroy a reader’s vision of a story such as LoTR. If I was to score this section out of 10 for sticking to the book I’d give it eight!

2)       The soundtrack?

Excellent. I’ve never heard Howard Shore before but I thought his score was brilliant and I have been playing the soundtrack quite a bit since the movie. The Enya tracks are very Enya but I don’t mind them. 9/10

3)       Special effects?

Very impressive. At times it was almost too impressive as your mind raced to keep up with the eyes, especially in Isengard. However, it was all quite convincing and as the larger battle sequences are still to come, I’m optimistic that PJ will be able to make a fist of it. 9/10

4)       Nitpicks

There were many and Wade and Ted have given a comprehensive account. Here are a few others that stuck out in my mind:
I didn’t mind the added humour and frivolity – I could well imagine the hobbits (especially Pippin) behaving in such a way.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it and will almost certainly see it again. However, I came out of the cinema more attached to the book than when I went in, as I realised that the book stands alone and cannot be sullied. As a way of analogy take a diamond. You can set it in a fancy gold or silver ring, and you can adorn all sorts of other gems around it, such as sapphires, emeralds and opal. Some would see it as a way of embellishing the diamond, but does a diamond need embellishing?  These people would admire the adornments but would be distracted them from the singular beauty of the diamond, yet the diamond remains and cannot be marred, no matter the trimming. If you catch my gist, this is how I feel about the book.


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