The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

by British Film Critic

As a kid, I used to be obsessed with Tolkien’s work, and to that effect, Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of The Lord Of The Rings books, so, having last seen any of the films over a decade ago, I decided it was about to time to revisit them. The Fellowship Of The Ring captures the essence of the source material in almost every way, setting a bewildering standard for fantasy worlds to come and setting the framework for what was still one to come in the coming films.

I really cannot give enough credit to the quality of the world-building in this first film alone, constantly riding the fine line between easing you into this whole new world and thrusting you into the complex and awe-inspiring narrative – so much of this film’s impact depends upon said world-building, and I think it’s safe to say no expense was spared, with every aspect of the costume, prop and creature design going above and beyond. Although it undoubtedly serves a major function of laying the groundwork for the future films, The Fellowship Of The Ring works incredibly well as its own thing, telling a vast, expansive tale that feels far from incomplete, whilst also keeping you intrigued and excited for the continuation of the story.

I needn’t even mention Howard Shore’s beautiful score, but I will because it really is that good: it’s so varied and emphatic and weighty and huge – just fantastic. There’s no shortage of great performances in this film, from Ian McKellen’s instantly iconic Gandalf to Viggo Mortensen’s brooding Aragorn, there’s more than a lot to love with this fabulous cast.

The Lord Of The Rings trilogy is, and always will be, a great testament to when all of the moving parts of a motion picture come together to create something truly special, combining a varied, triumphant, and epic score, with gorgeous cinematography, spectacular set, creature and costume design, all built upon the foundation of legendary source material to make for a great first entry into the LOTR saga that is more than worthy of its runtime, it’s praise and it’s accolades.