The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Extended Edition (2001 - DVD)

I have to admit that when I first saw this movie in theaters years ago, I was completely blown away by it, probably because I'd never seen an adventure/fantasy movie quite on this level before. Compare it to something like DragonSlayer where the dragon looked fake and the swordfight scenes had no energy, and here you've got realistic monsters and intense battle scenes, even if the characters do seem to fight against impossible odds over and over again and always come out the victors. And even though the characters are basically running across New Zealand, it does feel like a grand epic adventure, with its exotic settings like the Elven cities of Lothlorien and Rivendell, and the dark Dwarven Mines of Moria, which reminded me a lot of Xak Tsaroth from Heroes of the Lance.

Seeing it again now that I'm older and have viewed the entire trilogy, a few things stand out to me that perhaps didn't bother me so much before. The first is that a lot of the dialogue is characters arguing over where to go. One character will say, "We have to go over the pass to Caradhras", and another says, "No! Let's go through the Mines of Moria", and another is like, "We must take the Pass of Rohan!", and on and on. And the audience, save for maybe those who have read and memorized the books, have no idea what these places are or what their significance is. There's that, and well, almost every single time they get into trouble it's because of Pippin Took's bumbling.

I know a lot of people who loved the books complained about the changes that were made and some go so far as to completely hate the film for them, and they're entitled to that I suppose, but I'm really not enough of a purist to care so long as what's on the screen is entertaining. The special features explain that if they had tried to make the movie line-for-line like the book, it would never have worked. The Council of Elrond scene alone would've gone on for half an hour. Despite being a very long film (and the extended edition even longer) it seems to go by quickly because new things are always happening. Although, sometimes I want to slap Frodo in the face and say, "Quit whining! Wake up and realize you're on an adventure!"

The extended edition adds a few new scenes, most notably some more about the Hobbits in the beginning, but it's been so long since I've seen the theatrical release that I'm not sure what else was new.
Rating: 3.5/5



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