December 5, 2001
Rings Strikes Right
Chord with Hollywood Trades
Variety's reviewer Todd McCarthy praised director Jackson for successfully translating J R R Tolkien's vision to the screen. "Jackson must have convinced someone that he would do it right, a view thoroughly borne out by what's up on the screen," he wrote.
McCarthy said the world of Middle Earth was "superbly physicalised" by the New Zealand locations, the makeup, creature and armaments by Miramar-based Richard Taylor "sensational".
The film was also easy to follow by people who hadn't read the book, while the performance by Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf the wizard had "great relish and gusto" and Christopher Lee as the evil wizard Saruman was "silky superb", he said.
Variety had some reservations about the "odyssey-like structure" to the story. "The `and then, and then, and then' nature of the narrative becomes necessarily repetitive and even a bit wearisome at times, and ultimately arbitrary in the sense that one battle more or less with orcs, ringwraiths or uruk-ahi wouldn't have made much difference," McCarthy said. "(It) unfortunately makes the film's running time feel pretty much like the three hours it is."
The Hollywood Reporter's David Hunter said The Fellowship Of The Ring "should conjure up a worldwide box office bonanza".
"(The film) rarely takes a wrong turn in its fairly faithful adaptation of the first Rings book . . . (It is) quite masterfully paced and one of those rewarding movies that seems to get better and better as it progresses.
"Fellowship justifies its long running time," Hunter said.