The Fellowship of the Ring movie is the first film in a series of three released by New Line Cinema, under the direction of Peter Jackson, in December 2001.
The Fellowship of the Ring movie follows (for the most part) the story line of the first book of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy published under the same name.
The FotR movie was released on December 19, 2001, to massive acclaim, both from film critics and Tolkien fans alike. A Special Extended Edition was released in November 2002.
It was a ground-breaking film in terms of scope and special effects. Jackson used the technique of “forced perspective” extensively to make real, full-sized actors appear smaller for their roles as “hobbits” and to give the films a “scale” that has not been duplicated before or since.
The detail found in the films is also remarkable. Renowned Tolkien artists Alan Lee and John Howe were employed to aid in the reconstruction of Middle Earth down to the finest detail. Locations, costumes, makeup, weaponry…everything was created using the most accurate details available.
FotR begins in The Shire, at the “eleventy-first” birthday of Bilbo Baggins, the hero of Tolkien’s first published piece of fiction, The Hobbit. The narrative follows the travails of Frodo Baggins, Bilbo’s nephew, to whom Bilbo leaves the magic ring he discovered on his earlier adventures.
This ring is discovered to be not merely a magic ring, but the One Ring, forged by the Dark Lord long ago.
Frodo soon finds himself in peril, hunted by minions of the Dark Lord for the Ring he possesses. He sets out from his home, with his friends Samwise, Merry, and Pippen.
The Fellowship of the Ring movie, like the book, follows the travels of Frodo and Co. from the Shire to Rivendell, Moria, Lothlorien, and ending at “The Breaking of the Fellowship”.
Due to the constraints of time and focus, director Peter Jackson and his fellow screenwriters, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, decided to cut several scenes from the book. To further define the focus of the films, they also expanded the roles of a few characters, and completely deleted a few others.
The most notable of the scenes from the book not included in the movie are the sequence involving Old Man Willow, Tom Bombadil, and the Barrow Wights.
The character of Arwen, played by actress Liv Tyler, was expanded to play a larger role in the film version. She replaces the elf Glorfindel in several action scenes. Glorfindel is cut from the script entirely.
The character Saruman, played by Christopher Lee, also received an expanded role. He appears only as flashbacks in the original novel, but appears in several scenes of the movie, including a magical battle with Gandalf not included in the book.
The Fellowship of the Ring movie is currently the eleventh-highest grossing film of all time, earning more than $870 million worldwide.
The musical score was composed, arranged, and conducted by Howard Shore, and includes two songs by Enya. The soundtrack won an Academy Award for “Best Music (Original Score)”.
The Fellowship of the Ring movie was nominated for 13 Academy Awards, winning 4. Aside from the “Best Music” noted above, the categories won were:
- Best Cinematography
- Best Effects (Visual Effects)
- Best Makeup
The movie also won a slew of awards from other outlets, including the 2002 Hugo Award for “Best Dramatic Presentation”.
The Fellowship of the Ring was followed by the second volume of The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, in December 2002. The final volume of the epic trilogy, The Return of the King, was released in December 2003.