Peter Jackson’s ambitious stab at bringing Tolkien’s much loved novel to the screen is a real technical achievement.
The sumptuous visuals and epic scale bring the world of Middle Earth to life in a way that could never have been attempted before. Unfortunately it is Jackson’s faithful adherence to the source text that proves the film’s one major flaw. Because, at the risk of angering fluent Klingon speakers everywhere, Tolkien wasn’t very good. The plot of Fellowship Of The Ring is flabby, meandering and is littered with irrelevant and pointless asides. The dialogue is a naive collection of cod Olde Worlde speech full of clod-hopping exposition and plain gibberish because of Tolkien’s insistence on giving everyone and everything these absurd and po-faced titles. It is bolstered by the performances of veteran thespians Ian McKellern and Ian Holm who bring depth to their characters but the rest of the supporting cast don’t get to shine until the brilliantly handled engagements with Sauron’s evil forces. But we have to wait nearly two hours before this happens! With some judicious pruning this film could, and should, have been a solid hour shorter and it would’ve been much better for it.
But I still must tip my hat to Peter Jackson, whose skill has managed the impossible and made a film about elves that I was able to withstand for nearly three hours without being left completely comatose.