Rating: 4.5 of 5
Of course most everyone loved this movie. Because J.R.R. Tolkien created such deep, rich, complex characters. And he did something amazing with them that just doesn’t happen now – he gave them nobility. I tried looking that word up for it’s precise meaning and it didn’t help me any. But Frodo’s fierce devotion to carry the ring, to save the world despite how hard it is for him. And the fellowship’s acknowledgement of this burden he carries and their devotion to protect him. Everything about Aragorn and Legolas. All of their devotion to the purpose of the fellowship and each other. Not just that these things exist, but the way they exist give these characters a strength, and a simpleness and a nobility.
And then Peter Jackson cast actors who could bring this nobility to life. Viggo Mortensen is so Aragorn. He somehow brings an undercurrent of an artist or a poet to this warrior. Which is what a king ought to be. You so believe the tenderness and honor when he kisses Boromir. It’s the kind of thing kings do when one of their people has fallen and it’s beautiful. Elijah Wood mingles Frodo’s vulnerability and inner strength so seamlessly. Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan find Merry and Pippin’s humor and still allow for them to be real characters with heart and devotion. Sean Astin does an admirable job of capturing Sam’s unwavering loyalty to Frodo which just is this incredible thing. And Ian McKellen portrayed Gandalf as this superior being in humble trappings, flawed and funny and yet still wise. That’s an amazing precipice to balance.
From the sound of it you’d think I have nothing but praise for this movie – and you’d be wrong. Because Liv Tyler was horrible. She lacks nobility in any sense of the word. She butchered Arwen which sucks so horribly because Arwen is a really great character. And Liv is so plebeian, it’s crass in light of the other actors. Which is completely ironic because Arwen, of any of them, should be noble and exquisite and Liv is just not. [This would receive 5 stars for Performance but for her.]
Despite her though, it’s still a beautiful movie with really amazing and affecting characters that get to grow in fascinating ways in two more movies.
The moments I really love are the moments of nobility…
When they commit themselves to the fellowship in Rivendell.
The aftermath of Moria, when their grief is so real.
And when Aragorn refuses the ring at Argonath.