Insight Online News
By Anand Venkitachalam
New Delhi, Jan 3 : Debuting on 19th December 2001 with “Fellowship Of The Ring”, it has been more than 20 years since the release of ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ film franchise. Based on J.R.R Tolkien’s high fantasy novels, the franchise to its credit has been credited with revitalizing the fantasy genre, and been hailed as an exemplar of epic fantasy movies.
Directed by Peter Jackson, the movie trilogy features an ensemble cast of Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins), Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee), Billy Boyd (Peregrin Took i.e Pippin), Dominic Monaghan (Meriadoc Brandybuck i.e Merry), Sir Ian McKellen ( Gandalf The Grey – “Fellowship Of The Ring” and Gandalf The White- “Two Towers” and “Return Of The King”), Viggo Mortensen (Aragon), Orlando Bloom (Legolas), John Rhys Davies (Gimli, Treebeard), Sean Bean (Boromir), Andy Serkis (Gollum), David Wenham (Faramir), Sir Christopher Lee (Saruman), Bernard Hill ( King Theoden), Karl Urban (Eomer), Miranda Otto (Eowyn), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), Liv Tyler (Arwen), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), Brad Dourif (Grima Wormtongue) and John Noble as Denethor.
Produced by (Barrie M Osborne, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Tim Saunders) and music given by Howard Shore, the ‘Lord Of The Rings’ movies can only be described in one word, perfect.
With beautiful music, great aesthetics, production, cinematography and stellar acting, the trilogy as a collective has won seventeen Academy Awards, (4 for “Fellowship”, 2 for “Two Towers” and 11 for “Return Of The King“) and has collectively made more than $2 billion — (“The Fellowship Of The Ring” -$897.7 million, “The Two Towers”- $947.5 million and “The Return Of The King” – $1.46 billion). LOTR has the makings of a movie trilogy that shall be considered an inspiration by almost all and will be watched for generations hence to understand the concept of film making.
Going off with a perfect start, Peter Jackson knows how to create a world, keep it immersive, thrilling, as well as give enough time to his characters to develop them into strong personalities. Fellowship has some of the best scenes ever made, be it the trek in the dark of Moria and the fight against orcs and goblins, Gandalf’s stare down against the Balrog or Boromir’s epic last stand. By its end, Fellowship is a story of friendship, love, sacrifice and resilience.
The next in the trilogy of “The Fellowship Of The Ring” is the beginning — the “Two Towers” is what holds “Fellowship” and “Return Of The King” and makes them one solid entity. Again just as solid an effort as Fellowship, “The Two Towers” picks up from where its predecessor left.
The fellowship is in tatters, Frodo and Sam have gone off together to Mount Doom, Gandalf is assumed dead and Boromir died protecting Merry and Pippin who ultimately were taken hostage by the Uruk’Hai regardless. The whole Middle Earth is in a dire condition, with Frodo being extremely burdened by the ring, Saruman waging war against mankind from the bowers of Isengard and a weakened kingdom of Rohan unable to defend itself; “Two Towers” is a delight to watch and is a masterfully constructed epic consisting of some of the best scenes ever, be it ‘The Battle of Helms Deep’, ‘The Battle of Isengard’ or the Nazgul’s attack on Osgiliath and Sam’s speech which was specifically invented for the movie. With brilliance radiating from it, “The Two Towers” is simply amazing with perhaps perseverance being the biggest theme of the movie.
The final movie of course is “Return Of The King”, considered the greatest in a bunch of greats. Certainly the longest in length, ROTK ties up all the ends of the previous movies and is the greatest ending for a franchise ever. Just like its predecessors this too has some of the best scenes in movie history ever, such as ‘The Battle of Minas Tirith’, ‘The climb up to Mount Doom’ and ‘The Coronation of the king’ ROTK has everything that one could ask for, a true masterpiece for the ages though that can be equally for all the movies.
Action, emotion, passion, beauty the LOTR franchise has the makings of all one would want from a fantasy film. Furthermore, LOTR is able to capture the spirit of the Tolkien books perfectly while still being an entity that is looked upon separately from the books, as both a faithful adaptation and a perfect movie franchise in of itself. It seems dubitable that another movie would be able to achieve the same level of influence in the high fantasy genre and movie making that LOTR has had for a very long time.