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Review:Fellowship of the Ring 871

One of the best perks about my job is the excuse to skip out and catch the first showing of Lord of the Rings at the local theater. I did just that, and if you hit the magic link below you can read my comments on the film. I'm going to keep it short, and spoiler free. In a word? Wow.

Everyone has expectations about this movie. I imagine most of you have read the books. You all have ideas about what a Balrog looks like. What Gandalf is like. And yes, hell, even what the ring should look like. And you simply can't expect a movie to meet everyones ideas... but this thing came just as close as I could have hoped.

In short, there aren't many great movies that come out any more... but this is one of them. Everyone seems nearly perfectly cast. The special effects are nothing short of brilliant. The sets from the Shire on out look so wonderful and believable that you just wanna move in... until the Ring Wraiths show up and make everything all miserable.

Elijah Woods pulls off Frodo quite well. Yeah maybe he fell down one to many times, but the angst is believable. And Gandalf? His desire for the ring is intense and his actions are truly heroic.

I can't imagine a film adaptation of perhaps the best book ever written being done better. The first 45 minutes are a bit slow going, but once the Fellowship starts coming together I just didn't want to blink.

I could find things to nitpick about: some scenes the audio mix wasn't quite right, but that could partially have been the mediocre sound system in the theater: dialog was a bit muffled under the music. Some of the effects were noticably CG, but those were rare. Quite frankly nobody has done CG monsters as convincingly in a film to date. There was a handful of shots that looked faked, and all the rest seemed as perfect as could be.

God damn. The hype is warranted. The wait was worth it. But 12 months for the next one? At least I have my copy of FFX to keep me occupied during maybe 40 hours of the next 8,760 or so I have to wait. But who's counting?

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Review:Fellowship of the Ring

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  • Spoiler-free? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @04:40PM (#2728194) Homepage Journal
    It's based on a 50-plus-year-old book. Whoever hasn't heard of the plot by now probably has been living under a rock. Why bother keeping it spoiler-free?

    - A.P.
    • Re:Spoiler-free? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cisco_rob ( 443705 ) <> on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @04:43PM (#2728208) Homepage
      Because hopefully this will be a mythos that a 10-13 yr old audience can enjoy, because as a culture we have very few. Those kids might not have heard of the books, but might see the movies, and might read this site...

      maybe a long shot...
      • Ah yes, one of the best aspects of this film is that it will introduce children to the magic of not reading...

        (Ok, ok, it's The Onion's joke about Harry Potter but I thought it was amusing...)

    • Re:Spoiler-free? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cliffy2000 ( 185461 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @04:43PM (#2728212) Journal
      Well, this is a mainstream adaptation of the series... and not everyone has read Tolkien.
      To have spoilers wouldn't be right. Don't assume that since you know the plot that everyone does.
    • Re:Spoiler-free? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by er0ck ( 267290 )
      Hey, all of the great Greek plays were known to the audience, but people still turned out to see how it was portrayed on stage.
    • My wife, for one. (And yes, she does read Slashdot. Ain't I lucky?)

      For another, it was announced well in advance, and shown in the previews, that the basic plot has been altered. There was NO love interest mentioned in Fellowship, yet it's in the movie according to the previews I've seen.

      THAT is why spoilers are kept out, and why they should be. I haven't seen it yet. And I just simply cannot wait much longer to see it...
      • Re:Spoiler-free? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by glenmark ( 446320 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @05:06PM (#2728428) Homepage

        For another, it was announced well in advance, and shown in the previews, that the basic plot has been altered. There was NO love interest mentioned in Fellowship, yet it's in the movie according to the previews I've seen.

        Admittedly, Arwen's role is greatly expanded in the film (seemingly subsuming the role of Glorfindle at the ford near Rivendell, at least from what I can tell from the previews), but I wouldn't say that the romance between her and Aragorn isn't mentioned in the book. It is, however, only glancingly hinted at. Of course, the story of their romance is expanded upon in one of the appendices. Aragorn's love for Arwen is also the source of his discomfort upon meeting the lovely Eowyn in The Two Towers. Without coming right out and saying so at that point, Tolkien makes it clear that Aragorn feels somewhat guilty about finding Eowyn attractive when his heart already belongs to Arwen.

        It's all in the books, but if you blink, you'll miss it. Subtle nuances that one misses reading the book for the first time as a nine-year-old, then catch years later upon subsequent re-readings as an adult...

        As for omissions, that is entirely understandable. I can't imagine American audiences sitting through a five hour version just to see scenes such as those involving Tom Bombadil and the Barrow Wights (hmmm, wonder if those parts were actually filmed? DVD anyone?), which, while adding to the overall mythic feel of the story, don't really advance the plot or contribute to character development.

        • Re:Spoiler-free? (Score:3, Insightful)

          Admittedly, Arwen's role is greatly expanded in the film (seemingly subsuming the role of Glorfindle at the ford near Rivendell, at least from what I can tell from the previews)

          She also subsumes some of the roles of Aragorn (who in the film does nothing for Frodo's injury until it's almost too late) and Elrond (when it is she instead of he who summons the flood at the Ford of Bruinen) and Gandalf (who does not add his little contribution to the flood but which seem to be there anyway). She is also given a line that belongs at the end of the story in a different context (giving Frodo her place on the ship sailing West rather than sustaining him until Elrond can operate) and evinces an emotional attachment to Frodo that's quite inexplicable in terms of their relationship as it had developed at that point. IMO the additional role of Arwen was the most poorly-written part of the script, and it needed a better actor than Liv Tyler to pull it off.

          Without coming right out and saying so at that point, Tolkien makes it clear that Aragorn feels somewhat guilty about finding Eowyn attractive when his heart already belongs to Arwen.

          No he doesn't. There's not a hint of guilt in anything Aragorn does or says, nor is it apparent that he finds Eowyn attractive in the sense you mean here. It's Eowyn who finds Aragorn attractive, and when he puts off her subtle advances by not responding to them she falls into a depression. Aragorn is sorrowful that he must do this out of his love and commitment to Arwen because he admires and respects Eowyn, and even loves her in strictly Platonic terms, and does not want to cause her any grief. Unfortunately, she sets up a situation where he has no other choice.

    • Re:Spoiler-free? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Brazzo ( 22202 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @04:52PM (#2728323) Homepage
      Why? Simple: Peter Jackson changed the story, ever so slightly.

      Granted, it's not huge. There are just minor changes. If you're indifferent about the Trilogy, or even if you're just a casual fan, they won't matter that much. Heck, the changes make for a more marketable, more Americanized Tolkien.

      But, if you're like me, and you're a Tolkien nut, they're big enough to cause you to pause during the movie. They're big enough to make you walk away and think, "Hmm. Not bad, but..."

      It was a good movie. It wasn't, as a friend called it, "The Best Movie, Ever." It definitely wasn't as good as, say, the BBC Radio production. Aside from reading the books themselves, that's still the best adaptation I've seen.

      Still. No spoilers in the review, because there are some people, like me, who've been avoiding all the crap about the movies - I didn't want this to be another Star Wars: Episode I, where I knew almost every line of dialog before I walked into the theater...

  • Good but not great (Score:2, Insightful)

    by craigeyb ( 518670 )
    LoTR is good but not great. It does a great job of bringing a mainstream story to the silver screen, but it doesn't introduce any new concepts or demonstrate any real creativity. This makes it a good film. Go ahead and flame me for this.
    • Well I won't flame, but I will disagree. You can't make a movie out of LotR and try to make it 'great' by adding your own flair. The fans wouldn't stand for it.

      No, your only hope is to be as faithful to the book as possible, which I would say is a greater challenge then creating a new movie. So if this is done as well as every reviewer I've read seems to think then it is indeed a truly _great_ movie.
    • LoTR is good but not great. It does a great job of bringing a mainstream story to the silver screen, but it doesn't introduce any new concepts or demonstrate any real creativity. This makes it a good film. Go ahead and flame me for this.

      Actually, it just shows you how far films have fallen, and how far they have come.

      it is a delicate balance to mix in CG correctly so that it does not screw up or over power the story. never mind condensing 40 hours of novel (reading) to 7 or 8 hours of Film on the screen.

      there may be nits to pick, but ten some people will never be satisfied.

    • by Jason Earl ( 1894 )

      Fah, Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series is a classic. The last thing I want (I haven't seen it yet) is a movie that gets creative. There is little or no chance that some hack in Hollywood is going to actually improve the story behind LoTR. The director and staff should use their creativity to find a way to translate the story to film. That's one of the things that I like about the Harry Potter movie. It was almost as if they took the pictures right out of my head and pasted them up on the screen. What the LoTR needs isn't creativity, it's craftsmanship. I want a movie that takes one of my favorite stories ever and recreates it faithfully. Accomplishing this task, in my opinion, would require more actual creativity than rewriting the story.

  • This review's good (Score:4, Informative)

    by meehawl ( 73285 ) <> on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @04:45PM (#2728238) Homepage Journal

    This one [] says:
    For long sections of the film, I didn't take any notes; it's hard to scribble when your jaw is on the floor. ... Visually, the film is astonishing-and nearly unique-because it deploys so much cutting-edge special effects technology with so little fuss. It's arguably the first film with hundreds of spectacularly busy, yet curiously matter-of-fact, digital effects shots that somehow don't take you out of the movie.
    • Fantastic! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 4mn0t1337 ( 446316 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @05:05PM (#2728413)
      I found my way to a midnight+5min showing last night to see one of the first screenings I could.

      Wow! I have been so afraid for months (years?) now about what it was going to come out like. Ever since I heard that viewers of a pre-screening (Before Cannes last year) had to sign a Non-(negative)-Disclosure, I was doubly concerned.

      Set your goals low and you can be pleasantly surprised. ;)

      I deliberately haven't read the books for a few years now, and I wanted to go into with as "fresh" of pair of eyes as I can. I avoided all the "Making of..."s. I didn't download the quicktime trailers. (well, maybe just one -- but only for a little bit.)

      Sure there are places that didn't stick exactly to the book. That has to be expected.
      Sure stuff got left out. (I thought they could have added 2 more hours. But then no one else would be sitting in the theater.)

      But I am glad they waited this long to do the film. To do it right.

      I was worried about Vigo cast as my favorite character. He did much better than I expected.
      Some one complained about Liv. I'll agree, but didn't let it get in my way.
      They kept the tongue of the Elves. (Subtitles for us non-speakers.) Beautiful.

      The sets are fantastic.
      The visuals in a lot of respects are what were in my mind's eye.
      The casting was otherwise great.

      The audience (after lining up for hours -- they opened 3 screens for it as they continuted to sell out of advance tickets all day) and sitting for over an hour in the theaters, was ecstatic.
      They cheered in the battles.
      The crinched in horror at the Balrog.
      And after over 4 and a half hours of sitting (plus the lines just waiting to get in), were visibly and audibly disappointed to see the film end.

      Take everyone you can to see it this weekend. In this age of inflated box office stats, I want to make sure this film sits above the drivel that seems to otherwise draw.
  • The trilogy enjoyed a resurgence in th 70's and the movie will give it another boost into the limelight again. I hope that this will always be a popular novel - a gateway into reading sci-fi/fantasy for many people. I gave it to my nephew and now he can't get enough of it.
    • It was revived in the 70s and you have Jimmy Page and Robert Plant to thank for that.

      'Cos in the Darkest Depts of Modor
      I met a girl so fair
      But Gollum and the evil one
      crept up and slipped away with her, her, her yeah
      Misty Mountain Hop
      • So Led Zeppelin was into LotR on their second album (your "Ramble On" quote) and their fourth album ("Misty Mountain Hop").

        But the intervening third album contains their "Immigrant Song", with its references to Norse mythology.

  • Liv Tyler (Score:2, Funny)

    by chemical55 ( 446280 )
    The movie is amazing and I'm not gonna go into it. (Just see it)

    But Liv Tyler gets on my nerves. How dumb can somebody look? Her elvish was annoying and really took me outta the movie.
  • LOTR icon (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TeleoMan ( 529859 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @04:46PM (#2728245)
    C'mon Taco... high time for a LOTR/Tolkien icon on slashdot methinks...
    • by powerlord ( 28156 )
      ... we have another two years and two films to look forward to.
    • My view (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ektor ( 113899 )

      If I look at it like just another adventure movie it gets thumbs up.

      However if I look at the book I have to say the movie doesn't convey most of what's important. The story of The Lord of the Rings it's nothing special. What makes the book special is its language and the amazing detail with all the linguistics, anthropology, mythology, poetry, genealogy, geology, etc that J.R.R. Tolkien spent many years researching. By looking at the movie I just see a not so original story with plenty of action and a neck breaking pace. I think the characterization, imagery and locations are very good but not enough to recreate the content of the book.

      This movie is probably the best of all the possible renditions given the constraints but in all I think it's a poor reflection of the original work.

      Flame away!
      • Re:My view (Score:5, Informative)

        by Arandir ( 19206 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @10:15PM (#2729954) Homepage Journal
        What makes the book special is its language and the amazing detail with all the linguistics, anthropology, mythology, poetry, genealogy, geology, etc that J.R.R. Tolkien spent many years researching.

        Then the Silmarillion must, of course, be the better book by far! But a good novel it is not. There were times in the LOTR where I couldn't put the book down, even after the twentieth reading. But I could put the Silmarillion down at any random paragraph. I'm not belittling the Silmarillion, but the LOTR has all the best stuff of Sil. PLUS action, drama, character development, grand literary themes, etc.

        I think the characterization, imagery and locations are very good but not enough to recreate the content of the book.

        Nothing is good enough to recreate the content of the book. But be serious now, did you really expect ANY director to subject the audience to hour after hour of elvish poetry? Would the audience have endured every word spoken at the Council of Elrond? Frankly, even Boromir's lengthy rants about the valor of Gondor every four or five pages would have put me to sleep.

        But the movie did have all that language, linguistics, and anthropology, and even bits of poetry. It didn't have much geology, but then neither did the books (in the Fellowship the only reference I could find is the color of Caradhras).

        We saw Tengwar, Cirth and Anthergas scripts, and even a bit of Futhark! We heard both Sindarin and Quenya spoken. We saw the inscription of the ring, heard the translation proclaimed as a translation, and then heard the orginal in the Black Speech.

        We saw that the only Elves with dark hair were Elrond and his family. That may not be precisely true to the book, but it works to distinguish pure Elves from those with Mannish blood. We saw the creation of the Uruk-Hai, and commentary on them from the Wise. We saw Boromir lament the fallen glory of Gondor. We saw the heirlooms in Imladris and the reverence Aragorn had for them. The anthropology and mythology were there. I suspect that in meeting the Rohirrim and Dunlendings in the second book that we will see even more of it.

        A movie must by its nature be different from a book. A book is all words that the reader must interpret and visualize. A movie is all imagery and dialogue. They are media alien to each other. Where the book described in some detail the ruins at Weathertop, the House of Elrond, the Halls of Khazad-Dum and the Mallorn trees of Lothlorien, we get to see them immediately. This is not a bad thing, but a necessity of the media.

        Of course the book is not like the movie. The only way to make a movie just like a book is to have some orator sit in a chair and recite the book to the camera. Bah! The movie is a good movie. Criticising it because it is not a book is just plain wrong.
  • by Shaheen ( 313 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @04:46PM (#2728252) Homepage
    My suitemates and I went to the midnight showing of Lord of the Rings yesterday at a local theater. I was totally impressed by the movie's accuracy. The Gates of Gondor were exactly as I had imagined them when reading the book. Wow.

    However, two things made my experience not the best it could have been:

    1. I half expected Elrond to say "Welcome to Rivendell, Mr. Anderson"

    2. The audio in our showing became out of synch with the movie during the battle at the Gates of Gondor. I can't believe that I had to sit through the death of Boromir with the audio lagging by 5 seconds!
    • Our theater had the exact same audio problem (in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania)
  • And I've got to grudgingly agree. The thing just kicked my ass and took it home in a box. In a very good way. I mean, I went to the showing expecting to hate Elijah Woods because of what a whiny little bitch he is, but his character got right in tune with the Hobbitt idea that I had cooked up in my brain after about the tenth reading of the trilogy.

    I've already got tickets to see it again tonight. woo!
  • My boss is treating everyone in company (about 200 people) to a showing at 2pm. My god he even reserved the tickets. I mean my boss is a hugh LOTR fan, and to allow about 600 hours of work to be skipped and foot the bill for the ticket. I guess I'll have to give him a real christmas present this year!
    • Tell Mr. Jackson I loved the movie.
  • Um, okay. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SlashChick ( 544252 ) <> on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @04:50PM (#2728289) Homepage Journal
    I got two things out of this review:

    1) CmdrTaco likes his job.
    2) CmdrTaco liked the movie.

    Which is great (I'm glad you liked it.) But this review doesn't tell me anything about why I would like the movie, or even the #1 reason to see this movie according to CmdrTaco. It doesn't even go into detail of why CmdrTaco liked the characters, or which one was his favorite and why.

    "I liked the movie and you should see it" is certainly passable for an elementary school show-and-tell, but for a popular geek website geared toward college students and adults, this doesn't cut it. Most of us have read the books, so even a little "This scene was like the book and that rocked" teaser would be helpful. At least give us one good reason to hand $8.75/person over to the movie theater!

    • Re:Um, okay. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by alexjohns ( 53323 ) <> on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @05:36PM (#2728645) Journal
      Because when he goes into details he gets nit-picked to death by the trolls and /.-haters. For him to say something like: "I really loved the look of the Rock Troll" would be suicide. The purists would tell him that it wasn't an accurate portrayal. The nitpickers would point to faulty CGI in parts and ask him how he could possibly like this part. The /. trolls would come out to tell him that it wasn't a real troll, since it didn't scream 'First Post' in trollish when it lumbered into the room. The Taco haters would use it for ammunition to show how stupid he is, because, obviously, it isn't anywhere near the best part of the movie or even worth mentioning. And so on.

      It's much easier for him to just say "I liked it" and minimze the amount of ammunition he gives to people who seem to have nothing better to do than berate people on here.

      That may not be the only reason, but I bet it's at least part of it. The amount of flamage the staff of /. gets has got to be enormous. Minimizing your exposure is about all you can do, I guess. Just my opinion.

  • The icing on the cake? The Star Wars EPII trailer!
  • we need someone Taco to mention he has Final Fantasy X?

    At least I have my copy of FFX (from this article)
    then play more FFX (slashdot://01/12/19/1356248 [])

    That's two within 6 hours.

    I wonder if you can still beat the game by simply repeatedly pressing the circle button. Call me jaded but the over-hyped FF7 was not that great; maybe I'm just not blinded by all the hype each time an FFn game is released.
  • Some nits (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs AT ajs DOT com> on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @04:59PM (#2728374) Homepage Journal
    I saw it almost by accident last night (12:01 showing in Revere, MA). I've got some nits to pick, but was floored overall by the quality of this rendition. I want to make it clear that the small concerns I have below should be the level of critisism that EVERY movie can aspire to, this is not meant to diminish the film.
    1. I understand that a lot had to be cut for time, and to add some hollywood moments here and there, but why remove the repair of Aragorne's sword? It would seem to be critical later on.
    2. Jackson's take on what happens to the wearer when the ring is on is... a little out of place with what Bilbo goes through in The Hobbit
    3. Some of the special effects for the hobbits were inconsistant. I couldn't figure out if they were supposed to be 3 feet tall or 5 (though this faded as I got more into the movie and stopped paying attention to the details of FX)
    4. Gollum's part has been re-worked quite a bit. In place, we're given a visual omen of doom (the creation of the Uruk-Hai). I'm not sure I like that trade-off, though it does make for a more traditional Hollywood action feel, and bad-guy training montages never get old ;-).
    5. Everyone does a great job, but I really felt that Elrond was a little wooden compared to the rest of the cast. In just about any other film his performance would have simply been unremarkable, but the level of acting was so damn good, here....
    Now for just a few things that I think were brilliant:
    1. The eye. 'Nuff said.
    2. I thought that taking Tom Bombadil out of the beginning would break the pacing. Boy was I wrong! It's important in the book because we're being taken on a slow, guided tour of Frodo's education about the world. Tom is a gentle introduction. The movie simply ups the pace, and that works fine.
    3. Someone give Ian McKellan more money... NOW!
    4. The mines were perfectly done. I think that was probably the biggest challenge, visually, in the movie, and it was brilliant.
    Thanks, Peter. Oh, and about making us wait a year... YOU BASTARD! ;-)
    • Re:Some nits (Score:3, Informative)

      by Freeptop ( 123103 )
      And in return, I'll pick a nit with your nits that you picked (try saying that three times fast...)

      (Begin quote)
      1. I understand that a lot had to be cut for time, and to add some hollywood moments here and there, but why remove the repair of Aragorne's sword? It would seem to be critical later on.
      (end quote)

      There is a very good reason it was cut out: It actually wasn't. At least, not yet. The shattered sword, is not repaired until The Return of the King. The sword you see Aragorn weilding is just a normal sword that he has for defense (as I recall, he had a normal sword in the books, too). I doubt that the reforging of Aragorn's sword will be cut when we get to see the third movie.
  • OK, I loved the movie. Very nice. They cut the right parts and I have no major bitches about the changes... save one:

    Was anyone else pissed off when Gandalf was made to look like a bit of a tottering old fool? In general, for the first 20-30 minutes, but specifically hitting his head on the DOOR? I mean JINKIES! He's a bloody WIZARD, one of the most powerful beings in middle earth. I don't recall him hitting his head on a bloody DOOR in the book!

    OK, end rant. Good movie. Go see it if you haven't.
    • Actually, no. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DG ( 989 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @05:21PM (#2728536) Homepage Journal
      Gandalf - before the events in Moria - is not particularly powerful. He is subordinate to Saruman, in rank, wisdom, and power.

      The bridge at Moria is were we first get a glimpse that Gandalf may be more than he appears to be.

      After his return, the gloves are off - he becomes the new head of his order, given that Saruman has derelicted the post - and I suspect you'll see a lot more "ass kicking superbeing" and a lot less "kindly old wizard".

      To be honest, I'm suprised and amazed at just how deeply Sir Ian and Jackson grokked Gandalf's character.

      • Gandalf - before the events in Moria - is not particularly powerful. He is subordinate to Saruman, in rank, wisdom, and power.

        Huh? He's still one of the Istari. Not head of the order does not mean "not particularly powerful". We just don't happen to see it in the first book. Isn't it Gandalf (with help of course), that overthrows Sauron in his previous guise (which takes place between the Hobbit and LOTR)?

    • "He who breaks a thing to find out what it is, has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf

      Wise snippets he may have had, but I've always thought that even - especially - the orcs knew better than that one.
    • by pmc ( 40532 )
      Think of it this way - one of the wisest men in physics (reputedly), Eistein, was frequently seen wandering about in odd socks.
  • My FOTR Review (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dark Paladin ( 116525 ) <[ten.lemmuhnhoj] [ta] [lemmuhj]> on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @05:04PM (#2728409) Homepage
    Quick Note

    This is to the people who feel the need to bring their 2 year olds to midnight movie premieres. You shitheads are going to rot in your graves the next time you do that. If you're too fucking cheap and lazy to get a babysitter, then stay the hell home and don't ruin it for the rest of us. I like kids, but I do not want to hear them crying their eyes out because the movie gets loud, or when I go kick in their parents teeth for being selfish pricks.

    Thank you. We now continue with the review.

    Holy Fucking Shit

    When I was 15 years old, I dated a girl named Denise. Denise was a tall (3 inches taller than myself) redhead, full of curves up top, a flat belly in the middle, and blood as hot as fire. When she graduated and left for MIT (she was a senior, I was a junior) it broke my heart.

    I'll always remember one spring day in Washington, when she drove her car (she was 16, you realize) to the park. I won't go into detail, but the next 90 minutes in the backseat was one of the most incredible moments of my life, and the only thing that went through my head during the experience (which left windows fogged and two teenagers slick with sweat) was "Holy Fucking Shit".

    13 years later I'm watching Peter Jackman's adaptation of "The Fellowship of the Ring" (FOTR). I'm not even going to pretend that it was even close to making out with Denise in the back of her car. But only one thought went through my head when the closing credits aired.




    For those who have missed the last 50 years

    Once upon a time, there was this bad ass named Sauron, and he made this bad ass Ring. This wasn't just any Ring. With it, he could control all of these other powerful rings and the people who used them. It also turned him into the ultimate kick ass guy. He'd sweep his sword once, and 20 men would go flying. Entire buildings were built with the force of this ring. The ultimate in evil, The Spice Girls weren't created from the Ring - but the Backstreet Boys were.

    Well, one day Sauron decimating people left and right gets his fingers chopped off (not so invincible now, are ya?) and he gets destroyed. No, not really. Turns out that he put a large part of his own soul into the Ring, so as long as the ring exists, he exists. And the Ring wants to return to his master, for with it great and terrible things can be done. (Like Austin Powers 3.)

    For the Ring is evil. Not as in an evil thing, but as in an intelligent thing, one that tempts and corrupts all who touch it. (Kind of like Don King. Only without the stupid ass hair.) People just looking at it lust after it (like Denise and me), they need it, and only those pure of heart can hold it for long - and even these will ultimately become corrupted by the Ring.

    The ring, after betraying it's new wielder, passes from hand to hand, to Gollum who hides in the mountains, to Bilbo Baggins, who just happens to get lost in the mountains, and finally to Frodo, a young man who has no idea of the can of whoop ass he's holding in his hand.

    And this is where the story begins.

    Where the hell is page 53?

    "The Lord of the Rings" is a very long, and in my humble opinion, rather slow series of books. Events can take months to happen, and most of the books are spent with people talking their lips off at each other. Yes, it's all cool and good and the story of nobility and betrayal is the basis for pretty much all our fantasy today. But damn, it's long in getting there.

    The movie for FOTR gives the story a much needed jolt in the ass. Months are shortened to days, but they don't lose the core of the story. Just moves it along a little faster. We see Gandalf, master wizard and know-it-all at large, discovering that this magic ring his friend Bilbo has is The friggin' ring, and everything goes to hell from there. Frodo's on the run from a psychotic black-clad collection agency called the Ringwraiths - immortal bad motherhumpers who are just about unstoppable. Gandalf is being betrayed by a former friend and trying to get his old bearded ass out of the trouble he's in, and the audience isn't dragged into it, we sell our damn souls to be taken along this ride, and we love every second of it.

    Yes, there are moments that are over the top. When some Elf King guys tells the 9 they are the Fellowship of the Ring and the music climaxes, it's hard not to think "All right, that was camp city". Or other moments when the dialogue is there to explain, and we have to wait through it. But the moments are few and in between. Like getting a bitter bean in your chili - it's gone before you make a bad face.

    Probably the biggest problem with this is with the non-standard names that are thrown out. Just a part of the movie, but there were a few moments like this:

    Legolas: Gollum escaped from the la-le-lu-li-lo dungeon!

    Me: The what dungeon?

    Fanboy on right: From [I can't spell it] dungeon. It's where the elves took Gollum when he was being questioned by Gandalf and Aragorn, where they learned, blah, blah, blah, I want him to shut the hell up so I can enjoy the movie.

    Fangirl on the left: Let's hop in the back seat of my car, Dark Paladin and make sweet, sweet love.

    Me: (Dang, that Liv Tyler doesn't look half bad.)

    It's scary. People get dirty, leaves in their hair, blood in their faces, and we jump in terror when something comes around the corner and goes "Boo", because Jackman is a friggin' genius who really makes us think that the Good Guys are about to have their asses handed to them on a plate. And even when they prove what bad asses they are, we can see the odds are just so way against them, they'd better stock up on life insurance.

    It's also beautiful. In the beginning we see The Shire, Bilbo's home that rolls like like the British countryside that we all dream about - full of long, green hills and farms. One of those places you want to take a vacation, then a shotgun to shoot any bastard that starts talking on their cell phone.

    Then we see the rest of the world, and we're overwhelmed by its size. Inside the mines of Moria, we see miles upon miles of excavated rocks and bridges and columns, and just go "God damn, that things huge!". Or a look at the creation of a new castle crawling with tens of thousands of orcs like ticks on a dog, and it's mind boggling that anything could be so big. It's an incredible effect - and yet, we never notice it.

    The Effects that weren't there

    For the past 5 years, folks in Hollywood have been engaged in a circle jerk to decide who can make the best special effects. Take "The Mummy 2", a movie which had a bad plot, bad dialogue, bad action, bad concept - but the special effects were cool, so the producers figured they could feed us shit by covering it in honey. And that's just scratching the surface.

    In FOTR, we never notice the special effects, because the movie isn't based on them. When we see Bilbo turn into something awful for a split second, we don't say "Wow, nice effects!" We think "Damn, what happened to that nice old guy that we've come to love?" There's none of the slow-motion, camera turning crap that doesn't do a thing for the story. But we do see a river swollen with water that turns out to be horses - but it's gone so fast and the story keeps on, we don't have a director so in love with himself that he forces us to watch computer animation for 5 minutes just to prove how cool it is. It's there, in, out, and done.

    It's the subtlety that show how well the movie is made. Later in the movie a Balrog appears - a demon made of smoke and fire (kind of like the Republican party). But we don't see it for a long time - just a red glow coming towards the characters, as we watch their eyes get big, and finally Gandalf says "Let's get the fuck out of here." All right, so it's not that, but we get the idea, and without seeing this thing, we know it's bad news.

    The best special effects are placed to enhance the rest of the world, and make us forget that this whole thing was made up from somebody's brain case. The hobbits aren't midgets - they look just like regular people, only shorter. I'm sure the guy who plays Frodo isn't really 4 feet high - but when he's standing next to Aragorn, he looks just 4 feet high with hair-covered feet.

    Or when Galadriel, the elf queen, who is a beautiful woman (not sexy, like I want to jump her, but a noble beauty that is to be looked at, terrible in its power) turns around and reveals her own lust for the ring, her visage is still beautiful - and awful. We want to look at her and hide from her. She is the Mother God and Demon Bitch rolled into one.

    It's called Acting. Look it up

    So without the special effects to hinge on, that means we have to rely on the acting to carry the story. And this is where the movie is at its best.

    First, Ian McKellen is Gandalf. No, he doesn't play Gandalf, he is Gandalf. Here's an old guy with a big white beard who seems just that - old, absent minded, into simple pleasures. It's a guy with crinkling blue eyes, the grandpa you want to sit in his lap while he smokes a pipe because he's a cool old guy.

    He's also a bad ass motherhumper that if you cross, he will reach down your throat and pull out your spine, then feed it to you on a plate. You do not want to mess with this guy, old hair and all. There's steel in those bones, and you'll break yourself before they bend.

    He's a man who suffers, who watches others and feels their pain. When he sees Frodo taking up the Ring, because Frodo is the only one who can, we can feel Gandalf's torment at the loss of innocence. When the Ring is offered to him, we know he's terrified to touch it, terrified of the temptation to use it for good, and the evil that would follow.

    Elijah Wood plays an amazingly good Frodo Baggins. He's not a teenager, but an innocent young man who's thrust into this situation. We see how he suffers because of the Ring, because of how others react to the Ring, and how it preys on him and strips away that happy man we saw earlier. We suffer right with him as he moves towards Mordor and his destiny.

    Each of the rest of the cast know their place is to act and entertain us, and they do that. Men cry when their companions are hurt. People actually act like they like each other, not that they met 5 minutes ago and say their lines. And I don't know what happened to Liv Tyler, who normally doens't do anything for me (something about those lips that make me think she's going to eat me - and mind out of the gutter, you), but damn, she looks lovely in here. I still don't want her naked in my bed, but I wouldn't mind snapping a picture of her on the horse and hanging it on my wall. The girl looks good

    There's plenty of action to be had. Fights with orcs underground, above ground, swords flashing, arrows flying - you name it, we've got it. And there's blood, limbs and heads hacked off. Not gratuitous, a little over the top at times, but it's there for the sake of the story, and we're never quite sure if the good guys are about to punch out their tickets. Even folks like me who have read the books still get that "Dude, they are so dead" feeling, even though I know they show up later.

    I'm stingy with my 10 ratings. If you want a 10 from me, you're going to friggin' earn it. Is this movie as good as sex with Denise? Nope. But it's good, it's entertaining, and it's the first 3 hour movie that 90 minutes into it I checked my watch - and was glad there were 90 minutes more to come. This only bad thing is that when you leave the theater, there's 12 months to go before the next movie.

    And it's going to be a very long year.

    As always, I'm John "Dark Paladin" Hummel [mailto]. And that's my opinion.

    PS: The Spider Man trailer kicked ass. That's all I'm going to say on that.

  • by Gregoyle ( 122532 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @05:09PM (#2728453)
    That's labelled SPOILERS not because I give away the plot here, but because I give away some of the stuff people who've read the book might like to be surprised about upon seeing the movie. You have been warned. Since I got laid off a couple months ago, I had the sleep to spare to go see the 12:01 showing :-).

    Things I love:

    Oh my god the cinematography was incredible!! Many people usually say that to mean that the landscapes were great, and it sort of implies the whole _Braveheart_ thing of the characters walking on mountain ridges while the camera pans quickly about them. LotR has those, but some of the other cinematography is just as impressive. I'm talking lighting, focusing on characters' faces on key moments, and awesome camera angles. One cool thing that I think they got from the animated movie of all things was when the Nazgul attack the Prancing Pony at Bree. You'll have to see it, but my heart was in my throat.

    The acting(??)!! I couldn't believe it, but almost all the characters were well acted. I mean, REALLY well acted. I very much expected to be disappointed by the acting, because it is par for the course in any kind of sci-fi or fantasy or epic or even "big" movie. Not so here. I was blown away.

    The story. It was also amazing the Jackson didn't screw it up. There were some things I wish he had kept, but brevity *is* the soul of wit, at least when 3 hour feature films are concerned. Any deviations he made seemed perfectly justified to me, and some of them were really needed to make the film flow faster. The bit with Merry and Pippin and the fireworks was hilarious, and it allowed for good quick characterization of both of them. Pippin almost seems a whipping-boy for Gandalf throughout the movie, but it's all because of his foolishness.

    Stuff I didn't like as much:

    Aragorn. Aragorn was probably my second favorite character in the book (next to Faramir), and I didn't like the way he was portrayed as bearing a family "weakness". He isn't really supposed to be a "weak" character that needs to prove himself. In my mind he's supposed to be a breath from the amazement of the men of Westernesse. You kind of get a glimpse of what men used to be when you see him. Not so for this Aragorn. I very much understand why he's protrayed this way; in order to be an interesting movie character he needs to grow. He needs to come out of his insecure shell and become the king he was prophesized to be. I'm hoping that once he grows he'll recapture the wonder of Numenor(sic?).

    Boromir was too "evil" feeling. I never had the impression that he was more than just prideful and slightly arrogant. In the movie he feels deceitful and a little slimy. I also understand why that needed to be done, there needed to be more "undertones" within the party.

    Galadriel was too mystical. She was more of a "witch woman" than one of the last of the Noldor. This is really the only one I don't think was justified, but it was very minor in my eyes. It was almost just a different way of interpreting the character, so I don't hold it against the director. The contrast between her as the "terrible queen" and the elf queen was awesome though.

    OH OH OH. Gollum ROCKS!!

    • One last thing; Elrond was played byt he same guy as the lead Agent on The Matrix. Every time he said anything I couldn't help but giggle because I was imagining him in the "Mr. Anderson" lines. It wasn't his fault, it was just his voice.
    • I thought the movie was amazing when I watched it last night, but I did dislike a few things and have some comments about the post..

      When action and dialog was added it seemed uniformly worse than the rest of the movie. I understand stuff had to be left out, but I would cite the example of the fight between Saruman (very nicely cast!) and Gandalf as very disapointing. Since this battle was only mentioned in the books and not described, they filled it up with some crap. Contrast this with the action and dialog that Gandalf uses when fighting the Balrog, much more stirring and exciting.

      Pippin almost
      seems a whipping-boy for Gandalf throughout the movie, but it's all because of his

      Pippin is something of a whipping boy in the books for Gandalf. His comment in the Mines of Moria was straight out of the books. Gandalf is sort of encouraging him to mature, which he and Merry begin to do when they are with the Ents. Pippin really comes into his own and does some maturing and gets respect in Gandalf's eyes when he travels alone with Gandalf to Minas Tirith ...

      Galadriel was too mystical.

      Again, Galadriel was supposed to be very mystical and bewitching. I just think it is bad that they left the stuff about Gimli really changing his mind about her out. It is also too bad that they didn't talk about the lembas and cloaks (since the lembas is basically what keeps Frodo and Sam alive in Mordor) or that Legolas is a wood elf (and somewhat more primitive).

      Aragorn. Aragorn was probably my second favorite character in the book (next to
      Faramir), and I didn't like the way he was portrayed as bearing a family "weakness".

      BTW, Faramir is my fave too. Aragorn is certainly portrayed as an amazing fighter. He defeats a whole bunch of Nazgul all by himself (not Frodo using the Barrow-wight knife). Arwen and Boromir's respect sort of makes one feel that he deserves that respect. This is just a matter of personal opinion though...

  • I love this kind of 'review.' Absolutely no spoilers, just an overall reaction to the film.

    Why the hell would I want to read an in-depth review of a film that I am getting ready to go see? It's almost as bad as those trailers that give you a summary of the movie instead of a teaser...
  • One of the best perks about my job is the excuse to skip out and catch the first showing of Lord of the Rings at the local theater.

    And that's so much better then free coffee, think about the number of times you can make use of it!

  • by John_Booty ( 149925 ) <johnbooty AT bootyproject DOT org> on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @05:31PM (#2728601) Homepage
    First of all, it's a great movie. Secondly, they did a good job at choosing what to include from the novel. They couldn't have included everything- the movie would have been ten hours long (not that I would have minded). But having said that, here's things from the novel that I missed seeing in the movie. :(
    • Gimli's character was in the movie, but I wish he had more lines. He was one of my favorite characters in the books, but was just sort of a grunting axe-swinger in the movie
    • Gandalf's laughter after solving the "speak, friend, and enter" puzzle (or non-puzzle, hehe)
    • Tom Bombadil and the Barrow-Wights
    • Leisurely pace that made the action seem more intense and gave a greater sense of the scope of their journey. The movie was all action, which was kind of desensitizing.
    • Gandalf wondering if the galloping horses in the water were stylistic overkill (the water that carried the black riders away)
  • by Enrico Pulatzo ( 536675 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @05:32PM (#2728612)
    I know it sounds weird, but the addition of the Ewoks really made sense.
  • I too made it to a midnight showing. And I sat through the first 2 hours of the movie, and loved every minute of it. Then just when I thought nothing could ever go wrong with the movie, it happened.

    Apparently, the film that was being fed into the projector jumped, wrapped itself around something, locking a frame in place.

    I saw a frame MELT before my eyes on the silverscreen. I now have a free pass to see it again. I'm in pain. Let's hope I have better luck second time around.

  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @05:46PM (#2728709)
    Reminded me of wedding where you briefly meet alot of long lost relatives who become blurred in your memory. There were the nine in the Fellowship, a couple of Elf Lords, a flaky uncle, two big bad guys, and a token love interest. Thats 16 main characters without mentioning the minor ones. Everyone gets 15 seconds of fame and recedes into the background. If I hadn't read the book six times I would have been lost. Another recent movie- Oceans 11- has about the same number of major characters, yet I felt I knew them better.
  • Sounds like an answer in Jepoardy.
    New Zealand was beautiful, though many of the
    scenes in the movie reminded of other movies.
  • I hate you so much. You watch movies, you play video games, you go to conventions. I hate you so much. Get a job. I hate you so much.
  • by The Ape With No Name ( 213531 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @06:12PM (#2728847) Homepage
    My only bitch is that I will have another bunch of dweeb kids who want to have their username/password to be:

    SunOS 5.8

    login: gandalf
    password: 6O11uM

    Please, God. Spare me.
  • by iabervon ( 1971 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @06:26PM (#2728941) Homepage Journal
    First off, I thought it was really good, and the flaws were minor. That said:

    The movie gives away what's going on with Gandalf before Frodo reached Rivendell. Most everyone knows anyway, but I still preferred the effect of the book where they're really hoping Gandalf will show up any minute, and it's a big mystery why this wizard, who's always on time, is late.

    Frodo doesn't shout anything at the Nazgul on Weathertop. Having him shout Elbereth and saving himself long enough for Aragorn to get back helped to set up the effect where Frodo sometimes just does the right thing, without knowing that it's right, because he's fated to be doing these things.

    The effect of wearing the Ring was a bit over the top. If I were Bilbo and that happened when I put on the Ring, I'd have thrown it away long before finding out that it made you invisible. And I'd have never worn it for as long as Frodo does near the end.

    Some of Moria didn't make much sense. They were surrounded by a huge army with range weapons and good vantage points. Then they're saved by the balrog, which scares away the orcish horde. The orcish horde almost certainly could have done them in with a bit of persistence. Then they cross the broken stairs. If they were fleeing the balrog, it must have ended up behind that area when it crumbled. So how did it catch up with them at the Bridge? It can't fly or anything, and it didn't look like there was a way around that chasm. And if the stairs were in that bad shape, they'd probably have broken under Balin's group.

    Merry and Pippin didn't intentionally join Sam and Frodo. It saved a bit of time, I guess, but it seemed odd that they'd follow him halfway across the world after running into him randomly in a field.

    Things I thought they did particularly well:

    Bilbo, when he sees the Ring. I thought for an instant he might actually be able to take it away. Yow. Also Galadriel, when she sees it. I noticed that, despite the transformation, she didn't actually reach towards it, and Frodo didn't draw back.

    Aragorn running into Frodo near the end. I was worried that it would be bad, because it wasn't in the book at all, but it worked really well. They really got what Aragorn would have done, had he found Frodo, and having it happen helped demonstrate his character even more.

    The Nazgul looked more true to the text than my imagination was. The cloak is a real cloak, the horse is a real horse, and the rest is shadows.

    I wished:

    They'd had the camera swoop through Middle-Earth from important event to important event. The movie didn't really give the idea of Middle-Earth being a really long walk; one thing I liked about the book was the feeling that there was a really big world that they go through.

    Frodo had worn the ring when he was about to try crossing the lake. But that's just because I wanted to see the boat launch itself. Plus he could have just gone by the orcs.

    It had been winter outside Lothlorien, for the contrast.

    And a couple dozen tiny details they didn't bother with.
  • by msm1th ( 68753 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @07:44PM (#2729368)

    Jack Valenti: Gentlemen, we have a problem. I've been surfing some web discussion boards, and it seems that many idealistic Geeks and Nerds of the world are angry about the MPAA and the DMCA! They're calling for boycotts! What can we do?

    Studio Exec: Don't worry, Jack. We'll just make some more flashy movies about time travel, robots, and hobbits. These so-called "idealists" will go nuts. They'll line up days in advance to purchase overpriced tickets. They'll brag to one another about how many times they've seen the movie. Then we can use the profits to give our lobbyists salary increases, and to bribe more congressmen.

    Jack Valenti: Excellent ....
  • by Nathdot ( 465087 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @01:21AM (#2730527)
    ...Tom Bombadil, is all I have to say.

    If LOTR had any "so on begat so on" bible type bits then he was it.

    "I'm Tom Bombadil, Tom Bombadillo, something something something, now rhyme with 'Willow'"

    In short GREAT CALL! He shat me.

  • by Wraithlyn ( 133796 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @06:44AM (#2731168)
    Just got back from the movie, it's 2:13AM and I have to work tommorow but I don't care, I think I'm going to be up until dawn reading Two Towers.

    This is not intended to be a review, just a random compilation of thoughts and perceptions concerning the movie in no particular order. Apologies for any spelling/grammar errors, I'm not going to take the time to proof read and correct anything after I write it. There will probably be SPOILERS, but the story's pretty widely known anyway, so what's the big deal?

    I feel almost like I just woke up from the best dream I ever had, the movie has an almost dreamlike, surreal feel to it because it flows so fast, glosses over so many details, because it has to, the story and world is so vast, and they've packed so much in. I've been trying to replay the entire movie in my head ever since I walked out of the theatre, savouring every scene's memory before it fades. And I know I will get more from it another time through.

    I have read the books before, a long time ago. I re-read Fellowship a few weeks before the movie, to have a fresh image for comparison. Watching the movie felt like reading the book, and that's the highest compliment I can pay it. Most of the dialog is changed, and tons is skipped, despite a blistering 3 hours where not a second is wasted.

    OK I'm really going to get into some major SPOILERS now, last warning for anyone who hasn't seen the movie and wants maximum surprise.


    Bilbo's party was excellent, very true to the book. Wish they included more of his final speech. No flash-bang either from Gandalf, but all is forgiven for his fireworks :) Confrontation between Frodo and Gandalf is BEAUTIFUL. McKellan (sp?) will almost certainly have a nomination for this movie, as should Holm for supporting. After the party is where they really start slicing and dicing. There's almost no sense of time passing between Bilbo leaving and when the shit hits the fan. After Gandalf entrusts the ring to Frodo, he leaves in a hurry, we see him surveying Mordor, and reading up on the ring inscription, then he's back in Bag End all freaked out, and convinces Frodo to leave at once, literally pick up a cloak and out the door. (The riders are already asking questions by this point) No long planning, selling Bag End, to the Sackville-Bagginses, etc.. all gone. Gandalf tells him (and Sam, with the whole window scene) to go to Bree where he will meet them at the Prancing Pony. He tells them he will consult Saruman on what to do and leaves, shortly later we see his battle and imprisonment at Isengard. Frodo and Sam just happen to run into Merry and Pippin stealing from Farmer Maggot's (whom we never meet) field. Then there are some scenes with them evading the riders (no encounter with the elven band), and then they are in Bree. No Old Forest, Tom Bombadil, Barrow Downs or Wights.

    I imagined Aragorn with a deeper voice, but other than that tiny quibble, Viggo is perfect as Strider. Weathertop is great, the battle is actually on top. Frodo/Ring-Vision is very cool, everything is ethereal and ghostily flaming. Ringwraiths are genuinely creepy. They camp in the petrified Troll glade from The Hobbit but don't discuss it at all. Arwen replaces Glorfindel's role as Frodo's rescuer, and there are a few brief romance moments between her and Aragorn in Rivendell. Liv Tyler gives a very mature and believable performance; it actually stands out. I was surprised. The Council of Elrond was reeeeeeally short. No storytelling. I agree with other posts that I still see Agent Smith when I look at Weaving. Kept expecting him to pull out a cell phone and say "They have the ring. Find them and destroy them. I hate this place; this smell. I must leave--for the West." but I digress. He still does a good Elrond, it's just that he did such a great Agent Smith :)

    John Rhyes-Davies is absolutely unrecognizable as a loud angry Gimli, he's great :) Legolas is exactly as imagined, DAMN he's good with that bow. Bean's Boromir I thought was a trifle too evil and "spot the bad guy"-able, in the book I always got the impression he was the thoughtful, patriotic type, who only really falters briefly at the end.

    One real gripe: Gimli was expecting a warm welcome at Moria, he had no sense of foreboding or worry at all. In the book he was hoping to find something, even though messages from Balin's little decorating team had ceased decades previously. In the movie he bellows confidently about dwarven hospitality and roaring fires and such they can expect, while Gandalf and Strider exchange knowing glances about the horrors of Moria. It just doesn't make any sense for their conflicting attitudes towards Moria, with no discussion or resolution.

    The battle at Balin's tomb is greatly extended, in the book they essentially just throw the Orcs back momentarily with a flurry of flighting, retreat down some stairs and Gandalf brings down the ceiling. Cave Troll is cool :) Balrog is better :) The whole Bridge of Kazad-dum and flight from Moria is better than I could have imagined. No dwelling at Mirrormere though, and no Orc army pursuing the Fellowship and getting butchered by the Lothlorien Elves, which is a pity. No sleeping on a platform, no blindfolded walk through Lorien. The tree city is very cool though. I've read some complaints about Galadriel, but I thought she was excellent. Maybe a little bit more witchy than the book, for sure, but very effective regardless. Her speech to Gimli which has a very transforming effect in the book on his relationship with Legolas is missing. Frodo doesn't see the "figure in white" in Galadriel's mirror, which was always the one image that stuck out to me in the book. Also, Frodo doesn't discover she is a bearer of one of the Elf Rings. I bet Jackson didn't want to have to explain why the Ring-Wraiths became evil and twisted, but Galadriel is still good. I wish they had put a bit more effort into Lothlorien, I wonder if there will be a director's cut of this movie?

    No gollum/log spotting on the Anduin. The giant Gondor King statues are breathtaking. They stray a bit into Two Towers with the Orc attack, Boromir's death, which is a better place to end it, I thought. It ends with Frodo and Sam on the brink of Mordor, and Legolas, Gimli, and Aragorn in pursuit of the Orcs that captured Merry and Pippin. Saruman seems way more in league with Sauron than in the book... but I think it still likely he will chase his own ambition in the next two films.

    Well I guess that's a long enough comparison of the book.. What would I give this movie? 98%. This is truly a unique movie... and to think that this is only a third of it, the other films should have the same momentum and feeling throughout. I can't wait to see it again, or the next two films.

    Time to .... sleep.. no... must.. read.. farther.. my.. precioussss..... we cannot get out... they are coming...

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin