By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Three Beers) –
Frodo Baggins is a 3-foot tall human-like creature called a “hobbit” who lives with his uncle Bilbo and the rest of his kind in a region known as “The Shire” on a suspiciously New Zealand-like continent called Middle Earth. When Bilbo leaves the shire on an adventure, he bequeaths his possessions to Frodo, including a magic ring that Bilbo has kept in secret for many years. When the Wizard Gandalf comes to the Shire, he immediately takes notice of the ring’s powers. After some research he finds out that the ring is a mythical “Ring of Power” made by the dark necromancer lord Sauron, in order to hold power over the world. And so Gandalf sends Frodo on a quest to destroy the ring the only way legend says is possible, by throwing it into the volcano “Mount Doom”.
Sadly, it isn’t quite as cool as this
Director Peter Jackson’s film is big, bold, and ambitious. Jackson uses many of the simple camera and editing techniques he learned in his early years as a B-Movie filmmaker, and adds to it a clear vision for the J.R.R. Tolkien story that is sure to please fans of the book and movie fans alike. Unlike most fantasy films, this one had a great deal of cross-over appeal into the mainstream. This is due in a great part to the casting choices including Liv Tyler, Cate Blanchett, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Bean, and Orlando Bloom, who while being perfect fits for their respective roles, also happen to run the gamut of sex-icons.
John Rhys-Davis represented the Bear community quite admirably as well
One of the film’s biggest flaws, which not even the bloated extended version can seem to remedy, is the utter lack of real characters. The story spends so much screen-time attempting to explain every aspect of Middle-Earth that it forgets that there are people populating it. Even Frodo, who gets the most screen-time of any character, isn’t really developed beyond being a “well-meaning guy”. Until well into the next film, we have no real glimpses into the motivations of these characters to keep on mission despite the odds. Gimli and Legolas are never given anything to do other than represent stereotypes of their “race”. In fact, the only well-developed and motivated characters in the entire series are Gollum and Faramir, and neither of them are in the first film (Beyond what amounts to a cameo for Gollum).
I have to praise Peter Jackson for using real locations and practical effects whenever possible. As it always looks more believable when something is actually on screen. However, the nature of the story still requires a great deal of computer-aided effects, and 2001 effects have not aged very well. Granted, these are still way ahead of most other CGI-heavy films from the time period, but by today’s standards are not very easy to watch. This is somewhat more forgivable with the knowledge that the film would have been nearly impossible to do otherwise.
Ok, so maybe it’s not that bad
A promising start to the franchise, but lacking in character development (even in the extended version).
Take a Drink: for every shot of The Ring.
Take a Drink: whenever Pippin fucks up.
Drink a Shot: when the whole Fellowship is on camera at the same time.
Drink a Shot: When Gandalf uses Magic.