The Boston Globe
December 24, 2001

'Rings'-side Reactions
Raja Mishra

It's just past midnight at Loews Boston Common, and some 1,200 people rush for seats in one of four sold-out theaters screening ''The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.''

Soon they will be transfixed and transported by director Peter Jackson's retelling of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasia, in all its picaresque and imaginative glory. But that is later.

First there is expectation to grapple with. Many have imagined a ''Lord of the Rings'' screen adaptation for years. They said aloud that they didn't want it. That it would be tyrannical to impose one director's vision on their private imagining of the tales.

But, inside, they - OK, we - wanted it. What does an Orc look like? How might Aragorn, the uncrowned king, carry himself? More important: Could a film conjure a vivid, encompassing reality - Middle-earth - as Tolkien had?

The fans were the 800-pound gorilla in the room during the epic filming of ''The Lord of the Rings,'' the director careful at every turn to mention his longtime worship of the books. As the clock ticked past midnight, the fans could scarcely wait.

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