The Lord of the Rings
SteelCity99 - wrote on 04/22/18
Since this is one of the most critically acclaimed and successful trilogies ever created in filmmaking history, I dare to start this review by stating a fact, and not an opinion: The Lord of the Rings is a masterpiece, admirable in all respects. Now, I'll add an opinion: The Lord of the Rings is three of the best movies of all time, fame that has acquired not for free.
The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003) accumulated a total of 19 Academy Awards, 207 awards and 227 nominations, internationally speaking, in period of 4 years, including Grammies and Golden Globes. The Fellowship of the Ring received 13 Academy Award nominations for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Costume Design, Best Editing, Best Music, Original Song, Best Sound, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published, Best Director, Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Effects, Visual Effects, Best Makeup and Best Music, Original Score, winning the four last Oscars. The Two Towers received 6 Academy Award nominations for Best Sound Editing, Best Visual Effects, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Editing, Best Sound and Best Picture, winning the first two awards. The Return of the King, definitely the best part of the trilogy, broke the box office record of $250,000,000 collected in a single weekend, and was the second movie that actually achieved to reunite a billion dollars in cinemas around the world (the first being Titanic ). Besides, The Return of the King (2003) was the main protagonist of the Academy Awards ceremony in the United States, winning 11 Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Costume Design, Best Editing, Best Makeup, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Visual Effects, not to mention another 106 international awards and 68 nominations. It is one of the most brilliant, unprecedented and groundbreaking trilogies ever made in the entire motion picture history.
Leaving figures such as money and awards aside, we will start with the adaptation. What a film critic should definitely do is to see a film and experiment it as an independent story, like a personal vision of direction for adapting a story, which is normally found in a book. This means that the adaptation of a book to a film will end in a different result in the hands of a particular director, in case another director had not made it in the first place. Consequently, a film should not necessarily be entirely faithful to the original novel, mainly because of aspects such as length or deletion of scenes that end up being unnecessary for the screenwriters or the director, among many other variables. Judging The Lord of the Rings negatively because of its drastic differences with the original novel is a mistake, as it is with all of the films. A fact of the film is that many elements have been modified or even removed, a fact that should not originate any kind of complaint. The adaptation is beautiful and faithful to J.R.R. Tolkien's style and literary vision.
In The Fellowship of the Ring we are introduced to a fantastic Middle-Earth world wonderfully brought to the big screen, not just considering the visual aspect, such as the costume design and the setting, but also the characters and events that take place from the beginning until the last minute, which are perfectly created. The story basically tells the story of Sauron, the Dark Lord that forges The One Ring, a ring that has the power of enabling its possessor to conquer Middle-Earth through the enslavement of the bearers of the Rings of Power... bearers that belong to the races of Dwarfs, Elves and Men. At the base of Mount Doom, the Last Alliance of Elves and Men gathers forces to fight against Sauron and his army. In one battle, Isildur, using the mighty sword of his father, cuts the fingers of Sauron, destroying his army and removing the ring out of him, but not entirely, since their existence is eternally linked to the ring unless it is completely destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom. 2,500 years later the ring is found by the creature Gollum, who keeps it in his possession for 500 years, giving him an unnatural, prolonged life. When the ring is lost, the little hobbit Bilbo Baggins finds it and returns to the Shire with it. In his 111th birthday, he gives it to his nephew Frodo Baggins, and with the help of an old Bilbo's friend, the wizard Gandalf the Grey, the truth about the ring is discovered and Frodo accepts the responsibility of carrying the ring in order to destroy it in Mount Doom, located in Barad-Ûr, territory conquered by Sauron's forces, and Saruman under his command. The Two Towers continues the story with Saruman's army growing stronger and stronger, leading to an intense battle held in Isengard, while Frodo is guided by Gollum with his best friend Sam to Mount Doom. The Return of the King is the conclusion of the story as the heroes of the film fight in a gloriously epic and decisive final battle in order to defeat the extensive forces of Sauron and destroy The One Ring for all times.
The first part of the trilogy is principally focused on the introduction and explanation of the story. It is widely considered as the best part of the trilogy. Its emotiveness and brilliance irradiate amazement to the audience, and it belongs to one of the best films of the decade, not to mention of all time. Betrayal, romance, departures and the power of human relationships play both implicit and explicit roles thanks to the multitalented and multiphacetic vision of Peter Jackson. The sequel opens with a key moment of the first film, introducing us to a tense moment and a great portrayal of superiority craftsmanship. It is principally divided in two parts: the presentation of an upcoming conflict and the final battle, which covers a great part of the film's running length. The third film is a towering achievement in cinema history and quite possibly the best film ever made, being one of the strongest candidates for such a legendary honor. Despite its action-oriented nature, these sequences do not overshadow the masterful direction and the extraordinary final result of the film. Words can't suffice for fairly explaining the grandiosity of such gigantic magnum opus. The first three years of the new millennium witnessed one of the most significant and relevant miracles of cinema itself.
The Lord of the Rings sets a new standard in direction and creation of epic fantasy filmmaking. What this trilogy achieved is to conglomerate every single detail and quality characteristic that the filmmaking process involves so it could transform them into an unparalleled experience. It draws the marriage between cinematic perfection, perfectly held ambition, philosophy and literary poetry. Just like there were giants of the genre, such as Gone with the Wind (1939), Ben-Hur (1959) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962), just to mention a few astonishing Hollywood epic examples, The Lord of the Rings surpassed any possible expectation and kept it alive for the early years of the new millennium in both fans and critics. One of the most amazing facts is the trilogy's completion time: 7 years (unlike other Hollywood hits, not all of them necessarily good). Each year, the promise of bringing the next chapter of this fantastic story to the big screen was fulfilled, and fortunately all three parts were kept under Peter Jackson's direction, with the same cast.
The cinematography is stunning and all of the angles and shots are extraordinarily taken care of, providing vast views of landscapes and a magical world depicted in its most detailed and grandiose form. The film never became tedious and even some scenes were worthy of being paused to admire their beauty. The special effects are some of the best that have ever been created, and despite this, The Lord of the Rings completely stands out from the common and usually mediocre Hollywood films that are based merely on special effects randomly thrown throughout, since The Lord of the Rings is superior to those. Accompanied by the scenes, the musical score created by Howard Shore is beautiful and never distracts the viewer from the scene he/she is watching because in this type of filmmaking (epic) music is a rather delicate detail, and The Lord of the Rings takes it into consideration. The editing deserves the applause of worldwide masses, since not a single sequence is particularly tedious. The battle choreography and the story's pace, besides being excellently divided into three parts, follow a phenomenal and highly appropriate rhythm. The battles that take place in the trilogy are absolutely breathtaking and the technique that I particularly love which consists in removing the musical score in this kind of scenes in order to appreciate technical aspects such as the special effects, the editing, the sound effects and their editing was perfectly implemented by Peter Jackson. In the cases where he does not employ this technique, Howard Shore's musical score plays its role, adding emotiveness and intensity in the finest way possible.
One of the incredible aspects, which is at the same time surprising, is that one is able to identify with a certain character, and even to develop empathy and concern towards all of them, if not the majority of them. In fact, the spectator does not want to miss what this or that character is going through after the story divides them at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, which makes the story even more interesting. The performances of Elijah Wood (surprisingly), Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Sean Astin and Cate Blanchett are worth a powerful mention, and they were able to create well-defined characters, which is not an easy thing to do. Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, Sala Baker, Sean Bean and Christopher Lee gave pretty decent performances as well.
Despite the constant criticism I usually get from hundreds of people when they see The Lord of the Rings as one of my favorite masterpieces, this trilogy is one of the most memorable and spectacular contributions in movie history, technically and artistically speaking. It is perfection, visionary poetry and compelling beauty from wherever it may be seen. A new category of cinema for the new century has finally been reached, and the task has been successfully accomplished by one of the most unexpected directors: a filmmaker that used to make splatter feasts in his early days. Almost no one could see such phenomena coming along the way, but The Lord of the Rings steals the breath, fills the eyes with spectacle, rushes the adrenaline, conquers hearts, makes love to the ears and makes the heart to beat in the strongest way possible.