The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Rating: A

Dir: Peter Jackson
Star: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee

I got bored with the books before getting to the end of the first – hey, I was a teenager – so am not really qualified to comment on how faithful it is to the books (not that I care much, anyway). What I do know is that this is fabulous film, a genuine epic that will have you wishing part two came out next week instead of next year. This is despite a terrible hole at its center, in the shape of Frodo (Elijah Wood) and his hobbit friends. They are disturbingly non-heroic, and not very interesting either: it’s little wonder a lot of the publicity has focussed on Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn, who is much more engaging and appealing.

Wood does little but wear an expression of concerned bemusement. Or is it bemused concern…?  Anyway, it looks fabulous, and would be worth seeing again purely to wonder at the sets and landscapes. The trip through the Mines of Moria would be a fitting climax to any other film, while the romance between Aragorn and elven maid (Liv Tyler) has “hopelessly doomed” written all over it. It certainly caused me to get in touch with my sense of wonder – and while I still don’t want to read the books, it’s simply because Peter Jackson’s imagination is more than a match for anything mine can deliver.