Wednesday night I was going through the movie channels to see if anything neat was being shown and I saw that the critically acclaimed 2001 Peter Jackson epic film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was about to start on Encore. I thought to myself, “the last time I saw that was when I watched the special extended version back in 2002, so why not?” I quickly made popcorn and grabbed some Pepsi, killed the lights and plopped down on my couch just as the mandatory MPAA ratings hit the screen. It warned me that this film contained violence so I nodded to myself in acknowledgement and mentally prepared myself for the potentially disturbing images I might be exposed to.
If you don’t feel like reading all the analytical mumbo-jumbo, feel free to skip to the bottom of Page 3 for my concluding remarks!
From the get-go the first thing that I noticed were the special effects. I recalled how back in the theater in 2001 and in 2002 with the extended edition I was in absolute awe at the glorious special effects this movie had. The realism and magnitude of their awesomeness was absolutely mind blowing. After both screenings I remember being captivated by their immersive power. Yet last night, in good old 2011, I couldn’t help but wonder whether or not I was ridiculously high 10 years ago when I watched this film. The special effects were so obviously fake that they were laughable. How on earth did this film win an Oscar for Best Visual Effects? I’ve seen amateur 3D animation videos on YouTube with better visual effects than this film. However, I had to remind myself that ten years ago these effects were groundbreaking. Back then a 1.5Ghz single-core processor was Jesus and with 512MB of RAM and a 128MB nVidia GeForce 3 Ti 500 that rig could turn graphical water into graphical wine. It is interesting to look back on this film today and realize how far we’ve come when it comes to special effects. Imagine us looking back at Avatar in 10 years and thinking the same exact thing I thought when watching Fellowship.
However, my eyerolls didn’t end with the special effects. The acting in this film made George Lucas’ directing look like the second coming of John Ford. If I were to re-write the Academy Awards to feature a Shitty Acting award, I’d do so, and then I’d re-write those rules to allow for multiple winners of the Shitty Acting award.
Topping that list is Sean Bean for Boromir. Every time Boromir opened his mouth my ears bled a little. Remember that evening in Rivendell when Boromir was being all disrespectful to Isildur’s broken sword? Aragorn was staring at Boromir in bewilderment not because of his blatant disrespect, but because he was so shocked at what a shitty performance Sean Bean was doing. Talk about a horrible execution of forced drama. I was half-expecting Boromir to take a shit on the altar in the most grandiose and dramatic way possible. At the secret council meeting in Rivendell, he may as well have whipped his dick out and flailed it around like a helicopter while screaming, “I’m just here to remind you each and every time that you see me that I’m a deceitful and pompous asshole, just in case you didn’t get that point the first three dozen times I’ve been on screen already!” The absolute low point was towards the end when Boromir tried to take the ring from Frodo in the woods. Right after Frodo slipped on the ring to escape, Bormoir had some bullshit monologue where he was all angry, and then in the middle of it he fell down and began to cry like a little bitch. Ignore the fact that he fell on a pile of leaves and that his fucking companions were probably within shouting distance, he began to pathetically cry and do some ridiculous foreveralone.jpg monologue. The acting was just so unbelievably bad in that scene that I cringed.
And don’t even get me started with Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn. When I hear a name like Viggo I immediately think of some Transylvanian skull-bashing badass that sucks tears out of the eyes of babies and spits them onto a pile of werewolf corpses he is standing on (like the Viggo from Ghostbusters). So I assumed Aragorn, being the King of Men, was going to launch a rocket of piss into Sauron’s eye and scream out, “I’m coming to shit in your pupil!” Instead I got an Aragorn who was insecure about everything and was played by an actor who suffered from the David Beckham effect. What’s the David Beckham effect? Think to the first time you saw David Beckham. You saw this bad ass built soccer player with a superhot wife. You were like, “man, this guy is totally masculine.” And then you saw an interview where David Beckham squeaked spoke and your entire image of David Beckham burst into flames because this guy talks like a pre-pubescent boy. That’s exactly what Viggo did to Aragorn. It was fine at first when he was being all quiet and raspy in Bree, but when he began to talk in a normal voice I was positive that Greg Proops had been hired to dub Aragorn’s lines. On top of that, I had to deal with Aragorn bitching about how he was insecure about everything from a hobbit eating second breakfast to claiming his throne as the King of Gondor. Apparently the fact that one of his ancestors from 300 years ago made a mistake of being human convinces Aragorn that he too will make the same mistakes as Isildur because the “same blood runs in [his] veins.” Hey genius, in the last 300 years none of your predecessors have done anything remotely stupid like trying to use a ring of power to take over the world. Genetic qualities may skip a generation or two, but they don’t lie dormant for 300 fucking years waiting for your pansy ass to be born. Furthermore, I assume that your gene pool was diluted with each marriage, unless of course your lineage consists only of inbreeding, in which case that would probably explain a lot of your shitty qualities. King of Men? More like King of the Emos.
Liv Tyler as Arwen was a nice touch. Instead of showing midgets with hairy feet and unbathed and bearded old men, Peter Jackson opted to add a little bit of sexy into the film. Unfortunately sexy does not equate to good acting. Arwen’s role in the movie was small, meaning Liv Tyler had all the fucking time in the world to perfect her performance. Instead, all we got was a pathetically embarrassing crying scene just after Arwen took out the Wraiths in that river. To top off that extremely fake crying scene, the fact that Arwen cried for Frodo makes me wonder if she spends every minute of her day crying over the deaths of unknown strangers. Aragorn pretty much handed her Frodo and she rode off. That was their only exchange. She had no other personal connection with Frodo aside from that. In fairness, Frodo did say something to her. It was, “grrrrghggllghrggggrrrr.” I think I’ll start using that line on women since it flawlessly ensnared Arwen’s heart.
Elrond. What is there to say about Elrond? Not much. Apparently Hugo Weaving forgot that he was no longer Agent Smith. Peter Jackson would have saved a lot of money by propping a blow-up doll on a camera dolly in place of Hugo Weaving and using PlainTalk to recite his lines. Hugo Weaving gets an F for Fucking Terrible Acting.
I think I’ve firmly established how shitty the acting was in this film. Things aren’t so bad with the plot though. I think the story does a wonderful job at pacing itself. You get a good stream of action and downtime throughout the course of the film to help you digest what happened and adjust to what is going on. Right before you start wondering when the pace will pick up again you are hit with an action scene. I think this part of the plot is one of the strongest points in the film. Movie pacing is extremely important and The Fellowship of the Ring executed pacing spectacularly. To be honest, the pacing was the glue that bound one shitty plot decision to the next.
I won’t go into too much detail about all the ridiculous plot points in the movie because it would involve me talking about every god damn scene, so I’ll just highlight the ones that stood out the most. First and foremost I have a bone to pick with wood-elf queen Galadriel, played by Cate Blanchett. Now I don’t have a problem with Cate in this movie, aside from her eerie creepiness in her role. My problem is with the inclusion of that entire portion of the plot. So Gandalf died in the Mines of Moria (oh, I forgot to mention that this review may contain spoilers. So here you go: this review contains spoilers) and Aragorn drags everyone’s crying ass to the woods where they encounter a bunch of trigger-happy wood elves. After Galadriel greets everyone she uses her black magic to telepathically send some evil message to each individual’s mind and we see more shitty reaction acting by Boromir. At this point I’m thinking, “oh shit, she’s a servant of Sauron too, like the white dude!” She tells everyone to go rest and I began to expect that the next scene would be Galadriel going Hannibal apeshit on them while they slept by eating them alive while dancing to their screams. But instead we have her show Frodo some reflecting pool and him offering the ring to her (more on this later). She resists the temptation and declares that she has passed the test! Awesome! Galadriel resisted evil, the next step clearly is…announcing that she will run as far away as she can to the west? Never mind that she is a potential useful weapon against Sauron because she resisted the most evil thing in the universe, let’s send her the fuck away.
Guy: Hey Galadriel, I have AIDS. Want to have unprotected sex?
Galadriel: Sex is so tempting, hopefully I will be able to avoid the AIDS if I attempt it!
Galadriel: I resisted AIDS! I don’t have it! I had unprotected sex and miraculously my body somehow is immune to the AIDS virus! Quick, I must pack my bags and move to a far away secluded place to live out my life in isolation instead of staying and helping to figure out how to successfully combat the disease with my newfound ability!
I want the 15 minutes of my life back that involved wood elves in that movie. To top it off Galadriel sent them on their way and gave Frodo a gift…her personal light-up dildo. What was that for? In case Frodo didn’t feel that everyone and everything was assbanging him enough times on his journey he can just use that to assbang himself? The dildo does come into play in the next movie because apparently Frodo forgets how to create a fire, but I digress. A few million dollars and a half an hour of the audience’s time could have been saved simply by having Legolas pull out the dildo at the Rivendell council meeting. Instead of pledging his bow to Frodo, he could have pledged his bow and said, “also, here’s my light-up dildo. Since you’re the leader you will need it to lead the way at night. Don’t worry, it’s clean, I put a condom over it each time before I use it.” Budget saved and unnecessary plot filler eliminated.
Let’s go back to the whole Frodo willingly giving the ring away issue. Perhaps I don’t fully understand this decision because it’s such a huge contradiction. So the ring is so evil that every person that comes in contact with it is immediately consumed by it, right? Isildur touched it after he cut off Sauron’s hand and instead of destroying it he decided to use it to be a power hungry douchebag. Gollum found the ring and he transformed into Smeagol and spent his entire unnatural life using it as a cockring for when he jerked off. When Bilbo found the ring, he was granted immortality and became extremely possessive and dependent on the ring. Sounds to me like giving it away is most certainly not an option. Yet somehow the ring is willingly given away by Bilbo in the beginning. We spend all that time getting scenes shoved into our eye sockets about how Bilbo is becoming insanely inseparable from the ring. Even during a verbal tug of war with Gandalf, Bilbo still refuses to give up the ring. Yet all Gandalf had to do was ask one more time and Bilbo was like, “ok bro, take it. Deuces, I’m out!” Wow, for the ring of evil being so powerful as we were shown not once, not twice, but three fucking times in the first hour of the movie, Bilbo puts up absolutely no fight to keep it for himself. No kicking Gandalf in his shriveled old nuts. No setting his birds-nest of a beard on fire. He just gives it up, walks out the door, and starts singing merrily as he walks away. OK, maybe Bilbo didn’t use it enough to be completely consumed by it. So I’ll give the plot that benefit of the doubt.
But then you have Frodo, who within a day of the ring’s possession he is all entranced by that shit. He even wore it a few times meaning the grasp it had on him was amplified tremendously. Furthermore, the fact that Sauron’s goons were after it made its grasp on Frodo even more powerful. Yet somehow Frodo freely offered up the ring not once, not twice, but three fucking times. Yes, I know I said those same words in the last paragraph, but I want you to notice that the three original arguments in the plot were contradicted three times. First Frodo offered the ring to Gandalf in the Shire. I’ll let that slide since Frodo was still new when it came to being buddies with the ring. Then Frodo openly offered it to Galadriel. And then he freely offered it to Aragorn. For three fucking hours I’m being shown that the ring poisons its bearer’s soul by making them insanely addicted to it yet Frodo nonchalantly says, “here bro take it. I’m chill with that” three god damn times. What. The. Fuck.
The stupidity of in the contradictions of the evil ring is further amplified by the stupidity of the supposed evil mastermind known as Sauron. Apparently whenever the ring is worn Sauron pinpoints its location within seconds and sends his horsemen after it. Take the example of Frodo inadvertently slipping the ring on at The Prancing Pony in Bree. Within minutes the Wringwraiths have arrived at Bree and are kicking down doors and trampling on babies. Yet when Bilbo puts the ring on at his birthday party Sauron is all, “herp derp, let’s torture Gollum to see if he knows where it is.” To top it off, the Wringwraiths, with their psychic ring-GPS are asking strangers on the road, “durr, where’s this Shire place and some midget named Baggins?” For being an all-seeing force of evil, I’m pretty sure Sauron knows where the fucking Shire is on a map. Hooray plot contradictions!
Lastly, the entire movie and trilogy could have been shaved down to two hours if they hadn’t ignored a minor but powerful plot element that was introduced. In the Rivendell council meeting everyone’s all freaking out on how to take the ring to Mount Doom to destroy it. “One does not simply walk into Mordor,” says Boromir. At this point Gandalf should have said, “no, but you can fly into Mordor,” because that’s exactly how Gandalf escaped from Isengard. Gandalf was trapped on top of Saruman’s tower with an entire orc army just below. Saruman was on top of the tower with Gandalf when Gandalf jumped off the tower and onto a giant Griffin that flew him over an entire orc army to safety. We’re talking about an orc army equipped with spears and bows and arrows that could easily have been like, “aw hell naw” and shot down that stupid bird. Saruman also didn’t do shit to stop Gandalf from escaping, so we assume that he doesn’t have that kind of power to kill the bird that’s right in front of his eyes, right? Yet later in the movie Saruman is shown shooting bolts of fucking lightning from hundreds of miles away and landing them within a few feet of the fellowship as they’re on that snowy mountain. That’s right out of eyesight hundreds of miles away and Saruman was able to Zeus the fuck out of their quest with pinpoint accuracy. Yet somehow he was completely powerless to shoot down a giant fucking eagle 20 feet in front of him. If a big ass bird that can carry people can fly unscathed past a lightning-wielding wizard and over a brigade of orc archers, then why the hell didn’t Gandalf and Co. just jump on that Griffin, fly into Mordor over everyone and everything, and drop the ring into Mount Doom? It seemed to work pretty well for Gandalf in one of the biggest strongholds of evil, who says it won’t work in Mordor?
I really enjoyed the music for this film. It is a timeless soundtrack that is well orchestrated and perfectly compliments the tone of the movie.
It was really nice to see The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring again. It’s truly a superb film that will go down in history as one of the greatest fantasy film epics of all time. I can’t wait until June rolls around when they will be re-releasing all three films in their extended versions at AMC theaters for a limited time. If you haven’t seen the film in a long while then I definitely recommend you give it another viewing soon. You’ll be amazed at how your perspectives change over time and at how many new elements you notice in the film that you hadn’t noticed before.