The Evening Post
December 4, 2001

Newsweek Heaps Praise on Jackson
Staff Reporter

Film director Peter Jackson can breathe easy for now - the first review of The Fellowship Of The Ring is out and it's enough to make us all wish we had big hairy hobbit feet.

Newsweek magazine says the movie, the first in the $650 million Lord Of The Rings trilogy, "leaves you with your wits intact, hungry for more. 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," said David Ansen, taking a dig at Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone which opened in New Zealand last week.

"Jackson's 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 other's 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."

Jackson flew out of Wellington on Saturday to promote the film overseas and will attend the world premiere in London next Monday.

Ansen said Elijah Wood was ideal as the hobbit hero Frodo "with his preternaturally wide eyes, his strong neck and his dirt-caked fingernails".

The best performances were from the human heroes - Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn and Sean Bean as Boromoir - while Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf the wizard was "playfully magisterial".

Ansen singled out an action scene in the mines of Moria as one of the nearly three-hour-long film's highlights.

"Jackson's camera flies like a hawk, swooping and plunging into breathtaking scenes of blood and destruction," he said.