January 2002
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Jackson's Fellowship Rings In Big
By Jacqueline Friesen, Grade 12,
Garden Valley Collegiate, Winkler MB

"The Fellowship of the Ring" was released worldwide in theatres on December 19, 2001 courtesy of New Line Cinema and director Peter Jackson. The film is based on the first book in J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy "The Lord of the Rings." Filmed entirely in New Zealand, this film features stars from all over the globe including the United States, England, Scotland, and Ireland.

A young hobbit named Frodo (Elijah Wood) and his friends – Gandalf (Ian McKellen), Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) and Sam (Sean Astin) – voyage through Middle-Earth in a quest to destroy the one ring of power. With this ring, the people of Middle-Earth are controlled and if the enemy – the dark Lord Sauron – has it, they will be enslaved to him. Their goal is to destroy the ring in the fires of Mount Doom before Sauron can reclaim it as his own.

There's little to complain about in Peter Jackson's film "The Fellowship of the Ring". The graphic designs are impeccable with great detail and consideration put into every aspect of the film. There is no point in the film that doesn't compare to the events in the book. Make no mistake though, even for readers of the original text, there are surprises. When Bilbo turned demonic in countenance and snarled at Frodo, people throughout the theatre jumped, myself included. There's also the shrillness of the Ringwraith's shrieks that run through your veins as you sit in absolute terror. "Jackson's experience in horror gave him the background to really capture the feeling of impending menace and terror of Sauron, in a way I didn't envision when I read the book," states Tom Poetto of Thunder Bay, ON. "They captured the essence of the books while paring off the extraneous stuff."

One of the best actors throughout the film, I feel, is Sir Ian McKellen who plays the role of Gandalf. He carries what I believe to be one of the hardest roles in the film. As Gandalf, McKellen has to be comforting yet firm when he speaks to Frodo. He has to appear to be caring and trustworthy, an honest man with only Frodo's best intentions at hand. Yet he has to have a mean streak about him when he comes across the enemy. He is "sometimes grandfatherly, sometimes stern, often riddled with self-doubt," as Tom Poetto puts it.

The only critical feedback I received on the film relates to its ending. Some people hate how the film just stops; there isn't really an ending. Anyone who has read the book though, or studied a bit into the films, knows that the book also stops at this point, and then starts again in the next segment, "The Two Towers." The worst part is we'll have to wait another full year to see it. The second installment is slated for release just before Christmas 2002.

"The Fellowship of the Ring" has become quite a hit worldwide, and has been the number one hit in the box office ever since it came out. It really has lived up to its "hype." "It had every element of a great movie; comedy, romance and a ton of action!" says Carey Simpson of Williams Lake, BC. "It's the kind of movie that you actually thought about after you left the theatre." Of course, we'll have to continue thinking about the film till next year when we enjoy "The Two Towers."