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JLFM's Movie Reviews (152)

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Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 
Rich Story and Fine Acting Bogged Down By Length
3/4 stars

It is unsurprising that critics have taken The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring to liking. It's rich story, fantastic set pieces and marvelous special effects make all this clear. And fans of the books are certainly pleased, I would imagine. But frankly, I'm still not quite sure how anyone else managed to enjoy this film. It's excessive length and constant chatter can make The Fellowship a somewhat tedious affair at times.

As complicated as the film may be, The Fellowship is really about a hobbit (think a small person with very large feet) named Frodo Baggins, who receives a ring from one his relatives, that must be destroyed. Easier said than done, though. Many dark powers have sought to take the ring for their own, and will go to great lengths to secure the ring.

Of course, the film is much more complex than that. With many unique (if a wee bit bland) characters, as well as other things that truly enrich the story. Still, what I have explained above is the basic plot.

The run time is monstrous at nearly 3 hours in length. And because much of the film involves a lot of talking, this feels even longer. Yes, there are some action scenes that, while not being truly innovative or unique, at least bring some true excitement, which The Fellowship desperately needed more of.

Outside of action scenes, the slow, laboring pace is only assisted otherwise by two hobbits that join the journey, named Pippin and Merry, who provide comic relief.

Special effects are gorgeous, as are the costumes and set pieces. You really do feel transported to another world. With imagery both beautiful, and sometimes disturbing, The Fellowship brings some fantastic visuals to the screen.

The score, by Howard Shore, is appropriately mysterious, and lighthearted when it needs to be. The main theme may not be initially memorable, but it is quite beautiful, and those who really pay attention to the score will be rewarded.

The acting was extremely strong. Truly some of the best I've seen. Elijah Wood plays the confused and determined Frodo, while Sean Astin plays Frodo's faithful companion, Sam. Ian McKellen plays a majestic and somewhat mysterious role as Gandalf, a wizard and friend of Frodo. And Christopher Lee lends a wonderfully sinister Saruman.

The Fellowship Of The Ring can be tedious at times, and the bloated run time can really take it's toll, but this first chapter in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy manages to have enough high points to make for a (perhaps, slightly hesitant) recommendation.

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