Revisiting The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. A movie review

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!

Special Effects

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.

8 thoughts on “Revisiting The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. A movie review

  1. 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.”

    You wouldn’t know it, by reading this review.

    I’m not gonna go on a point-by-point. Lord knows I did enough debating and discussing of these movies when they came out. The only thing I’d say is a.) read the books. They make much more sense of the temptation thing. Like, for starters Bilbo had a much weaker resolve than Frodo, and even though Frodo offered the ring, there’s doubt as to whether or not he would’ve been able to go through with it. Keep in mind also that Bilbo said he’d give the ring up many times before actually doing it and even then it took a lot of coaxing from Gandalf. In general, the ring is meant to resemble temptation, bad habits, sin, or however you want to phrase it: those things we cling to, want, know we should let go, struggle to let go, and continually double-talk ourselves on. The metaphor holds up much more soundly than the literal.

    Which leads to the second point: a lot of it is fantasized, romanticized, and idealized beyond the realm of reasonable. Keeping in mind that these movies came out before a lot of the gritty, “realistic”, dark movies started becoming the trend. The acting isn’t so much hammy as it is theatrical. Think about when you’ve gone to a play and seen the actors exaggerate everything. The idea is that this world isn’t realistic, it’s fantasy. Part of the fun is getting lost in the nobility of the world they’ve created. Sure, in practice, an heir to the throne of a kingdom that spends his time dicking around in the wilderness for 87 years and whining to his elven girlfriend about how he’s still so unsure, after all his years of living, if he can resist becoming a dick the minute he gets near a piece of jewelery….yeah. That guy’s pretty much unfit to rule anything. But in the fantasy world where practicality takes a backseat to exploring the ideas of nobility, temptation, honor, destiny, wrapped up in a romanticized package of elaborate splendor and exaggerated beauty….well, when that’s the point, you forgive it for being a bit cheesy.

    Anyways, that’s my two cents. I love these movies and I can’t wait to see them again in theaters, or maybe on Blu-Ray.

    1. I have read the books many times. This also was not meant as a dead serious post, hence the humor and rants tags. And also why it starts of normal, then nosedives to clusterfuck land, and then has a completely opposite conclusion at the end.

  2. Believe it or not, I think the special effects are more obvious on the small screen in HiDef than in a giant theater using a projection system.

    And the fact we know the fucking birds can fly right up to Mt. Doom in the end of the trilogy and pick up the heroes just makes the fact they weren’t used to drop off the ring in the first movies pisses me off to no end. Bad writing Mr. Tolkien. I have a feeling you and E.A. Poe were smoking the same bowl.

    1. You know, it was funny when it was a joke, “Lol, why didn’t they just ride the birds! haha,” but the “Why didn’t they just fly the ring into Mordor” as a legitimate criticism simply doesn’t…erm…fly.

      The very first thing you see happen, as soon as the eagles enter the frame in Return of the King, is them getting pummeled by the winged fell beasts which were, by the way, larger than the eagles by an order of magnitude. Not to mention being flown by ring wraiths. And they were pummeled, not at Mount Doom, but at the Black Gates. they didn’t make it to Mount Doom until later, when Sauron had already been defeated. It would have been a gambit at best to hope they could’ve simply flown over the mountains of Morder unnoticed, gone undetected by Sauron or any of his forces, and made it safely to Mount Doom before getting shot out of the sky, falling into a field of 10,000 orcs where the ring would’ve no doubt made it into Sauron’s possession in a matter of minutes.

      1. So they don’t have the balls to try flying sorties, but let’s walk a little hobbit through a whole world and make him face unspeakable odds with a chubby hobbit as a companion. This is all in good fun and this sort of thing can be said about many beloved works. (Dune is my poison). The problem here isn’t one of logic. It’s one of cojones on Middle Earth’s part, it seems.

        I just don’t know why fans can’t come to terms with the fact that Tolkien didn’t give that much of a shit about the plot. His concern was world building and a playground for his languages. Considering the metaphors he followed in real life, he couldn’t shanghai meaning into something that there was no meaning in. It’s not the nitpickers who are being difficult, when you can see it’s being done in good fun by someone who clearly enjoyed the movie. It’s the people who look at the blaring holes and rather than accepting it for what it is and laughing it off, they become apologists. This isn’t the damned bible, it’s Tolkien (equally fictitious).

        I say, *shrugs*

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