A new day allows me to continue watching some more Tolkien-based movies. Now the first time I saw this movie, well, I actually only saw a little bit of it. Back when I was a kid (about 10 or 11 I think), my family and I were in Tennessee for a funeral and were staying at my grandparents house. While everyone was finishing getting ready, I was channel surfing and I happened to catch a small portion of this movie (the part where Boromir is killed). We left before I could watch the rest of it and though I looked for it at Blockbuster and the like for years, I was never able to find a copy. Years later, when Peter Jackson’s trilogy was in full swing, this movie was released on DVD and I finally got a chance to watch the whole thing. So here is today’s movie, The Lord Of The Rings.
The plot: Many years ago, The elven smiths forged rings of power, 9 for mortal men, 7 for dwarf lords, and 3 for the elven kings. However, Sauron learned the secret of forging and created the One Ring, with which he planned to rule over all. An alliance of men and elves fought against Sauron, and he was defeated and the ring was taken by Prince Isildur. However, Isildur chose to keep the ring instead of destroy it and was soon killed, and the ring wound up lost in a river. Years later, two friends, Deagol and Smeagol, are fishing and Deagol finds the ring, but Smeagol kills him for the ring and after repeatedly using the ring, wound up hiding in a deep cave in the Misty Mountains. Smeagol, now known as Gollum, would eventually lose the ring, and it would be found by Bilbo Baggins during his adventures with Thorin Oakenshield and his company. In the present day, Bilbo is celebrating his 111th birthday and after giving a speech, uses the ring to disappear. He goes back to his house and places the ring in an envelope. Gandalf appears to make sure Bilbo leaves the ring for Frodo and Bilbo initially refuses, saying it is his precious and he intends to keep it, but when Gandalf raises his voice, Bilbo relents and leaves his house without the ring. 17 years later, Frodo is relaxing at home when Gandalf stops by to visit. Gandalf asks to see the ring and after commenting that it looks like an ordinary ring, he throws it into the fire and reveals an ancient script that proves it is the One Ring of Sauron. As Gandalf and Frodo are walking through Hobbiton, Gandalf tells Frodo about Gollum having left the cave and was captured by Sauron, who learned about the ring and where it might be found. Frodo decides that he will leave the Shire and Gandalf agrees with him, then has another hobbit, Sam, accompany him after Sam was caught listening in on their conversation. Gandalf rides to see Saruman the White, the head of the Wizard Council, but Saruman turns out to have allied himself with Sauron’s forces and keeps Gandalf prisoner in his tower, Isengard. Frodo, Sam, and Frodo’s cousins Merry, and Pippen are traveling out of the Shire but when a mysterious rider approaches, they quickly hide off the road until he passes. The four hobbits eventually make their way to the village of Bree and stay at The Prancing Pony. During dinner, Merry goes out for a walk and ends up being attacked by a pair of Black Riders. At the inn, Frodo causes an uproar when he trips while dancing on a table and the ring slips onto his finger, making him invisible in front of the inn’s patrons. After apologizing to Butterbur, the inn’s owner, Frodo, Sam, and Pippen go back to their room, where the see a man waiting for them. The man introduces himself as Strider and says he is a friend of Gandalf and offers to take them to Rivendell. Merry burst into the room to say that he saw two Black Riders in the village and Butterbur offers to do what he can to help. Sam doesn’t trust Strider, but Strider reveals that his real name is Aragon and pledges to do whatever he can to keep Frodo safe. That night, a group of Black Riders enter the village and when the come to the Prancing Pony, they quickly appear in the hobbit’s room and stab the beds, only to find that the beds were empty. Later, Strider and the hobbits make their way towards Rivendell, eventually reaching a hill known as Weathertop, where they camp for the night. That night, they are attacked by a group of Black Riders, which Aragon calls Ringwraiths, and Frodo puts on the ring, but instead of hiding him, the ring makes him more visible to the wraiths, and one of them stabs Frodo before Aragon is able to chase them off. As they continue making their way to Rivendell, Frodo grows sicker due to the wound, which Aragon believes has a piece of the knife still inside. They soon are met by the elf Legalos, who had been sent by Elrond to search for them. When they reach the Ford of Rivendell, the Ringwraiths appear and Frodo is forced to go ahead while the others try and hold them off. Frodo ends up falling off of Legalos’ horse but when the Ringwraiths begin to cross the river after him, a sudden surge of water causes them to be swept away. When Frodo wakes up, he sees Gandalf and learns that he was unconscious for three days but Elrond was able to cure him. Gandalf the tells Frodo why he was detained and how he was able to escape from Saruman. Later, Frodo is surprised to see Bilbo and the two have a brief reunion before they join the council of Elrond. During the meeting, Elrond decrees that the ring must be taken to Mount Doom and tossed into the fires from which it was forged. Frodo agrees to take the ring with Sam as one of his companions. Bilbo gives Frodo his old sword, Sting, and a mithril shirt, which was given to him by Thorin. Accompanying Frodo and Sam are Gandalf, Aragon, Legalos, a dwarf named Gimli, a man named Boromir, and Merry and Pippen. When their way forward has become unpassable due to a blizzard, Gandalf decides that they should go through the Mines of Moria, though Aragon is doubtful if this is the right thing to do. At the door to the mines, Gandalf makes several attempts before he is able to open the door but as they prepare to enter the mines, Frodo is attacked by a monstrous creature in the lake. Aragon and Boromir manage to save Frodo and the group rush into the mines with the creature shutting the doors behind them. They make their way through the mines but when they stop to rest for the night, they hear a strange tapping sound after Pippen drops a stone into a well. They soon find a journal of the recent dwarven colony and learn what happened to the dwarves before they are attacked by some orcs. They manage to escape and make their way across a stone bridge but when a Balrog appears, Gandalf faces the creature and destroys the bridge to keep it from chasing the others, but ends up falling into the ravine as well. Aragon leads the group to Lothlorien, an elvish forest ruled by Galadriel and Celeborn. As the group rests, Galadriel shows Sam and Frodo the mirror of Galadriel, which shows Sam an image of the Shire in trouble while sees an image of the Eye of Sauron, and also sees one of the three elven rings on Galadriel’s finger. After leaving Lothlorien, the group must choose whether to accompany Frodo to Mordor, or go with Boromir to Minas Tirith. Frodo goes alone to make his decision but soon is approached by Boromir, who tries to convince Frodo to go to Minas Tirith, then tries to take it from Frodo, but Frodo uses the ring to escape. Boromir rejoins the others and tells them what happened, which causes Sam, Merry, and Pippen to run off and search for Frodo. Aragon catches up with Sam, but Sam figures out what Frodo would do and heads back to the boats and sees one moving off on it’s own and jumps into the river to join Frodo in the boat as they travel to Mordor, unaware that they are being followed by Gollum. Meanwhile, the rest of the group find themselves under attack by a large group of orcs, with Boromir getting killed while Merry and Pippen are taken prisoner. Making a hard choice, Aragon chooses to follow the orcs in the hopes of rescuing Merry and Pippen. Meanwhile, the orc army is marching towards Isengard but soon come under attack by armed horsemen from Rohan. Frodo and Sam continue making their way to Mordor, and soon come face to face with Gollum, and Frodo is able to get Gollum to promise to lead them to Mordor. Back in Rohan, The orcs and the Rohirrim end up fighting and Merry and Pippen manage to escape into the nearby Fangorn Forest, where they soon meet an Ent named Treebeard, who takes them deeper into the forest. Aragon, Gimli, and Legalos have tracked the hobbits to the forest, where they are reunited with Gandalf, now robed in white. Gandalf tells them what happened with himself and the Balrog then leads the trio to Edoras, to warn King Theoden of an attack by Saruman’s orcs. Arriving in Edoras, Gandalf exposes Theoden’s aide, Grima Wormtongue, to be a spy for Saruman, and with Theoden free to make up his own mind, he leads his people, accompanied by Gandalf and the others, to the nearby stonghold of Helm’s Deep to prepare for the upcoming battle. Meanwhile, Gollum/Smeagol is leading Frodo and Sam towards Mordor when they see a Ringwraith flying on a winged beast and are forced to hide. Afterwards, while Frodo and Sam sleep, Gollum argues with himself about whether he should kill the hobbits or help them and soon decides that “She” will help him. Back at Helm’s Deep, Theoden, Aragon, and the others look on as the orc army approaches and the battle soon commences. but when the walls are breached, they are forced to retreat into the caves. At Dawn, Theoden, Aragon, and the others prepare to ride out and face the orcs but as they are making their last stand, they are joined by Gandalf and the rest of the Rohirrim army, who are able to turn the tide and help defeat the orcs.
The Lord Of The Rings met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While some said the film was a unique visual experience, many felt that it would not make sense to viewers who were unfamiliar with the books. Much of the film was shot in new technique, where live-action footage is “rotoscoped” to give it an animated look. The movie was a box office success, earning over $30 million off a $4 million budget. Peter Jackson also listed this movie as one of his inspirations to do his own live action version of the books.
Personally, I didn’t like this movie as much as I did the animated versions of The Hobbit or The Return Of The King. The voice acting was decent but I thought Peter Woodthorpe did a poor job as Gollum. The story was good and actually followed the books pretty closely. Yeh, some stuff was cut out but the only big difference was that Legalos was the elf that met Aragon and the hobbits in the movie instead of Glorfindel, who met them in the book. The animation honestly looked weird at times, with the whole “retroscoping” making the various characters look kind of fuzzy and out of focus. A decent animated movie and a good telling of the movies if you are in the mood for it.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5