One ring to rule them all,
One ring to find them,
One ring to bring them all
And in the Darkness bind them
In the Land Of Mordor, where the shadows lie.

J.R.R Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings

At last a live action version of Tolkienís classic fantasy masterpiece has finally hit the big screen. Ralph Bakshi in the early eighties attempted an animated version of The Lord of the Rings, this included elements from the first two books in the trilogy. New Lineís version is solely focused on the events that take place in the The Fellowship of the Ring, and as a result the full title of the movie is The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The other movies in the trilogy will be The Two Towers and The Return of the King.

Naturally like any avid Tolkien fan when I heard about the release of this film I was excited and counting down the days to when it would show up on the big screen. So on Boxing Day off to the flicks I went to brave hordes of eager moviegoers and view what I hoped would be a good film. I was not disappointed. Nor do I think were the several hundred other moviegoers who were there with me.

Clocking in at a little over three hours, The Fellowship of the Ring is a movie marathon. Yet the length does the work justice, I do not think that it could have been made in a shorter format without ruining the storyís integrity. Though it is not one hundred percent true to the novel (but then again what movie based on a novel ever is?) it is still true to the essence of the work, which is the quest of a band of heroes from diverse races and locales struggling against overwhelming odds to defeat an ancient and terrifying evil. The archetypal heroes quest that has dominated storytelling down throughout the known periods of human civilisation.

For those who have never had the time, or inclination, to read The Lord of the Rings in its various guises the start of The Fellowship of the Ring gives you a basic run down on how things have occurred. This lead up, which has some spectacular battle scenes and special effects, helps put everything in perspective for the rest of the action in the film.

Once this prelude is finished the film seamlessly moves into the events that comprise the body of its action. The other interesting feature of the prelude is not only does it fill in the audience about the overall story behind the movie, but also we get a brief look at Sauron, the Dark Lord himself in all his spiky glory. This is the first time that anyone has made an attempt to depict the dark lord, in the works of Tolkien he always comes across, when in human guise, as a rather shadowy figure described in general terms. Or else he is a large burning eye forever searching and seeking out for his one ring in the depths of his dark tower.

From the prelude onwards the movie moves swiftly through the events of the story towards its climax, which leaves the story hanging until the release of the next movie The Two Towers. There is great use of sweeping vistas of the countryside of Middle Earth and mass action scenes between armies of Elves, Men and Orcs. In that regard The Fellowship of the Ring had a veritable cast of thousands, calling upon the NZ Territorials to fill the parts for the massed battle scenes.

There is also a greater emphasis placed upon the role of Saruman in the movie than is to be found in the novel The Fellowship of the Ring. And this greater emphasis enhances the vibe of the movie, giving a rationale behind certain events that take place in the course of the story. This will also no doubt serve to give the second and third instalments of the series that extra impact with regards to Saruman and his overall role in The Lord of the Rings.

Directed by Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring stars Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey, Christopher Lee as Saruman the White, Elijah Wood as Frodo, Ian Holm as Bilbo, Viggo Mortensen as Strider, Cate Blanchet as Galadriel, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, John Rhys-Davies as Gimli and Sean Bean as Boromir.

Get along to see this epic, after all the world is made up of two groups of people; those who have seen The Fellowship of the Ring and those about to go and see it.

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