Felloship of the ring

This Hollywood adaptation of first part of J.R.R. Tolkien’s cult favorite trilogy of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ is mostly a very successful adventure. It is an unfaithful but tactful adaptation of Tolkien’s mammoth book. It is a common story of the fight of good and evil or their pre-determined notions. It is the story of a Hobbit, Frodo Baggins, who inherits a ring from his caretaker. The ring turns out to be the all-powerful creation of the dark lord Sauron, who had made it in the mountains of Doom. That also is the only place it could be destroyed. Under the guidance of the wizard Gandalf, Frodo decides to undertake the journey to mount Doom to destroy the ring. In his quest, several characters of the middle-earth, interested in seeing the ring and its power destroyed, join him.

Peter Jackson, in his first major movie, does an excellent job of managing the large project and the ensemble cast. He succeeds in making the characters feel real and the movie feel larger than life. Much larger than life. It has a sense of urgency in conveying evil, albeit using special effects, that is very convincing. It is a long movie, but mostly entertaining. It is characteristically episodic and the jump from one to the other not always logical. It lacks character development which maybe a good thing considering the number of characters it has. The special effects are mostly very good. However, as in most recent movies, the fight scenes are video-game like, shot too close and at an incomprehensible pace and hence are not clear or as involving as one would want them to be.

Ian McKellen as the wizard Gandalf the Grey plays the proverbial protector of our young hero. He uses his infinite wisdom to choose the right course of action. Mr. McKellen who has been acting for more than 30 years, does his most prominent role here. He is likeable and respectable.

Elijah Woods is the young Frodo Baggins,a Hobbit. The movie does not care to explain who hobbits really are but if you take Gandalf’s word for it, then they are ‘Wonderful Creatures’. He is good as good as the computer can allow him to be.

Kate Blanchet and Liv Tyler are wasted in politically correct roles which have very little meaning except to rope some female audience in.

Since this picture comes so quickly after Harry Potter and because it has some marked conceptual similarities, it begs comparison and it may be a very good thing for it. Harry Potter appears to be insignificantly small in comparison. But they are indeed on different scales anyway. Fellowship will also have to compete with the famous mythical trilogy of Lucas’s Star Wars. Unfortunately, this picture doesn’t even come close to creating adorable and unforgettable characters like Star Wars did. Fellowship may have its dedicated share of viewers, I doubt if it will be a cultural phenomenon like the Star Wars movies.

This project is yet another example of our generation’s attempt to either reject reason or find an explanation beyond the limited powers available on this earth. This time we are forced by the powers of marketing to travel to middle-earth to find the answers. Maybe there is a ring, maybe there is a chance that evil has one collective soul that could be crushed in one shot to rid the world of all evil. Unfortunately, unlike Warner Brothers, CNN wants us to believe otherwise.