Hard to believe, but December 2016 will be the fifteenth anniversary of the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Many believed that the Tolkien novels were unfilmable but director Peter Jackson proved everyone work when he produced three movies that were just magic.
I remember sitting down in the cinema three Decembers on the trot and being totally transported and capitvated by the story, the characters, and the look of the film. It is thanks to The Fellowship of the Ring that I went and picked up the novels for the very first time.
Of course, special effects have moved on even further since the release of The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001 and the movie is starting to show its age in places, but it remains my favourite of the three films and the one that I have watched the most over the last fifteen years.
Written by Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens, The Fellowship of the Ring follows Frodo Baggins as he becomes the owner of the One Ring, something Lord Sauron wants back so he can cover Middle Earth in darkness. With the help of fellow hobbits Sam, Merry, Pippin; wizard Gandalf; elf Legolas; dwarf Gimli; and humans Aragorn and Boromir the fellowship set off on a quest to destroy the ring.
It is the hope of The Fellowship of the Ring that I love so much and what makes this film work so beautifully. Death and darkness doesn’t loom over this film like in The Two Towers and The Return of the King and Frodo doesn’t yet understand the burden of carrying a ring of power.
There is a hope, an optimism, and an enthusiasm as they set out on the quest and a belief that they are going to achieve their goal. We see that belief start two wane in The Two Towers and Return of the King as the journey and the battle starts to take its toll on all involved.
The Fellowship of the Ring is also a great introduction to the central characters and we really do see these characters in their purest form; before they become corrupted by the ring of weary of war. This is where the seeds of friendship are sown – a friendship that lasts throughout the entire trilogy and drives them forward in moments of doubt.
Having said all of that, The Fellowship of the Ring is a fast paced film that is packed with action from beginning to end as the Hobbits are chased by the Ringwraiths, Frodo is stabbed with a morgul blade, the chase through the Mines of Moria, to the battle with the Uruk-hai at the end of the film.
Each event only strengths the bond between the characters and gives a hint of the dangers and the heart-breaking that they are going to face along the way.
While Elijah Wood was no stranger to acting when he landed the role of Frodo, this was the movie that really shot him to fame. The Fellowship of the Ring is the film that establishes the courage of this character – we don’t really see his strength until the end of the trilogy. Ian McKellen is another actor who is on fine form and the wise and compassionate Gandalf. Both actors would go on to truly shine as the franchise progressed.
Every generation has a film franchise that defined that era – some has Star Wars or Indiana Jones – for those who were teenagers when The Fellowship of the Ring was released, it is The Lord of the Rings.
Not only is The Fellowship of the Ring rich with story and interesting characters, but Jackson delivered a movie that was also visually stunning. He created places like the Mines of Moria and Rivendell – sets that jumped straight of the pages of the much-loved book and truly transported the audience to Middle Earth.
The Fellowship of the Ring kicked off The Lord of the Rings series in fine and style and, for me, remains one of the greatest film trilogies of all time.