In 2001, the world awaited with baited breath to see the Trilogy finally unfold on the big screen. The epic scope was everything we dreamed of, but there were some bad flaws with this script. The hobbits and Gandalf were well done, and the Shire seems like the most peaceful place ever, but once Frodo and Samwise set out on their mission to destroy Sauron’s One Ring, things go artistically awry. We don’t really know in the telling of the film that Gandalf had been gone from the Shire for 17 years after Bilbo’s 111th birthday bash, or that Frodo and Samwise where 50 years old when they headed out. The obvious thing that gave this the PG-13 rating were the Ring-Wraiths. Many a child who saw this movie might have gotten a pretty good scare from them. So many things could have been added, and when you have so much to work with, perhaps it is best to remember to add some important secondary characters. The extremely old and merry Tom Bombadil was never even mentioned, as was his ever elusive quest, to have the water nymph, Goldberry, as his own. Bree-lands was as well as expected, but there was no mention of Bill Ferny and his Southern bandits. The Midgewater Marshes were just perfect, and there could never be enough bugs, as is true with any marsh. Weathertop and the Lonelands were a bit too green for plains, and the Trollshaws, where they met up with Arwen were far too open.
Arwen, now there is another thing. Those of us who read the books barely received a glance at the elven girlfriend of Aragorn, but the overly hopeless romantic scriptwriters (who happened to be frumpy nerdgirls from what we could see in the special features), took this a bit too far. The time in Rivendell was needed to set up The Nine, and it gave us a chance to learn more about them. The hobbits were pretty well established in their personalities, ever curious and loyal to Frodo and Gandalf. Gimli was just as his family before him, ever suspicious of the elves, and ready to take his axe to anything. Boromir had been under the influence of the Palintir for a long time before he ever came to Rivendell, and seeing The One Ring was what took him over the edge, but he did his best to fight it. Legolas was a bit too lofty for a young prince of Mirkwood. Mirkwood was home to some of wildest party animals in Middle Earth, but Bloom’s role was a bit too subdued. We were not exactly expecting a beer-crazed frat boy, but a little more upbeat emotion from him would have been good to see.
Once they left Rivendell, and headed down into Eregion, that was when we got to see Saruman’s power at work. Saruman the White’s influence was vast, and he had all kinds of creatures working as his spies. So what happened when they left Rivendell? Did a new scriptwriting team take over? Moria was impressive in its dark and vastness, and the swarm of goblins was very cool to see, and Gandalf’s fear at encountering the balrog was justified. Their time in Lorien was impressive as well. Cate Blanchette made a very good Galadriel banshee when she was being tested with the temptation of the Ring. Later on, Boromir got past his own temptation, barely, only to be cut down by Saruman’s Uruk-hai and orc troops.
This first movie of the Trilogy was flawed here and there, but the geography was true to the Tolkien maps, and aside from the Arwen/Aragorn relationship being too focused on, this movie was really good, but not nearly was much as the other two. Darker, not as much action, but still a classic, but best to watch with the others, because it really does not stand on its own with the cliffhanger ending.
I give this film a Musing review of