December 3, 2001
A 'Ring' to Rule the
First, let me tell you where Im coming from. Before I saw The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, I didnt know the difference between an orc and an elf, or what Middle-earth was in the middle of. This review is coming to you from a Tolkien-free zone. I went in to Peter Jacksons moviethe first of a trilogywith no preconceptions. I came out, three hours later, sorry Id have to wait a year to see what happens next in Frodo Bagginss battle against the Dark Lord, Sauron, and thinking a trip to the bookstore to pick up The Two Towers might be in order.
The movie works. It has real passion, real emotion, real terror, and a tactile sense of evil that is missing in that other current movie dealing with wizards, wonders and wickedness. Jacksons fierce, headlong movie takes high-flying risks: it wears its earnestness, and its heart, on its muddy, blood-streaked sleeve. The actors look deep into each others eyes and swear oaths in quasi-Shakespearean language that could, were it not for the utter conviction with which it is played, topple over into the ludicrous.