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Still shot from the movie: Lord of The Rings: Fellowship of The Ring.

Lord of The Rings: Fellowship of The Ring

In the rich literary tapestry of JRR Tolkien's Middle Earth, an unlikely assortment of heroes set out to destroy an evil ring of power. Mostly faithful to the classic novel, LOTR fans will find this an elaborate and impressive adaptation.

Overall Grade: B
Violence: D
Sexual Content: A
Language: A-
Drugs/Alcohol: B
Release Date: 19 Dec 2001
Run Time: 178
MPAA Rating: PG-13

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In-Depth Review

Long ago, rings of power were forged and given to the dominant races of Middle Earth: Elves, Dwarves, and Men. In secrecy, the wicked Sauron forged a master ring, one mighty enough to overtake the others and potentially rule the world in darkness. Through calamities and strange events, the talisman falls into the unlikely hands of Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm), a Hobbit--sturdy childlike people.

During his gala birthday banquet, Bilbo puts on the innocent looking gold band and unexpectedly vanishes in front of the assembled guests, leaving his young nephew Frodo (Elijah Woods) to inherit all of his possessions, including the ring. Saddened by his uncleís departure, Frodo seeks comfort and counsel from Gandalf (Ian McKellen), the wise family friend who identifies the ring's horrible origins. Fearing that Sauron will come searching for his lost possession, the great wizard advises Frodo (and some faithful companions) to flee their peaceful homeland.

However, evil agents are already on their trail. Pursued by dark riders, the Hobbits are forced to team up with a mysterious stranger named Strider (Viggo Mortensen). The reluctant adventurers make their way to Rivendell, a temporary safe haven, where a grand council decides the ring must be destroyed by returning it to the fire from which it was made. With trepidation, nine chosen companions, including Frodo as the designated ring-bearer, embark on a most perilous quest.

True to the classic novel and departing only slightly from the original plot, The Fellowship Of The Ring beautifully showcases friendship, loyalty, integrity, and self-control. The rich settings and stunning special effects preserves the dignity of the novel, providing a fitting tribute to the majestic grandeur of Tolkien's imagination.

Yet, for all the excitement and marvel it has captured, parents need to be aware that this is not a movie for young children. Even older teens should note there are extended and gratuitous battle scenes. The portrayal of the Orc creatures and other villains are frightening, gruesome, and may disturb some viewers.

Prospective ticket-bearers will need to carefully weigh violence versus nostalgia before setting out on their quest to the theater.

Content Details: Beyond the Movie Ratings...

Overall: B

In the rich literary tapestry of JRR Tolkienís Middle Earth, an unlikely assortment of heroes set out to destroy an evil ring of power. Mostly faithful to the classic novel, LOTR fans will find this an elaborate and impressive adaptation. Unfortunately it’s also laden with gratuitous violence making it not a recommendable choice for children—and all others are cautioned.

Violence: D

Numerous battle scenes throughout the film show armored men fighting with swords, bows and arrows, spears, axes, magic scepters and staffs. Many on-screen deaths are depicted (including decapitations), along with dismembered body parts sometimes flying through the air. Creature interrogated in medieval-style torture chamber. Even with the carnage, little blood is shown. Frightening and scary dialog, scenes, and character depictions. Characters in peril are chased and taken captive through out. Magic is used to inflict injury. Innumerable decaying corpses are shown. Characters attacked by creature with tentacles, ghoulish monster swinging a club, and a large fire-breathing monster with whip. Mention of human flesh as reward for fighting. Character who cannot swim nearly drowns.

Sexual Content: A

Man caresses woman’s neck, they then kiss. Woman kisses man.

Language: A-

One indiscernible expletive muttered.

Alcohol / Drug Use: B

Characters engaging in drinking at social occasions, in taverns, and in their homes. Characters remark on large size of beer mug. Some background characters depicted as drunken. Characters often shown smoking pipes. Drug reference made in connection to weed being smoked by characters. Use of herbs for medicine.

Miscellaneous content:

Reckless use of fireworks causes risk to public safety. On two occasions, stealing is engaged in as a prank. Dark and sometimes frightening special effect used to change appearance of characters tempted to do evil, or under spell of magic. Mention of evil disembodied spirit. Spell-casting depicted. Magic spell exerts power on character. Insects are shown in a brief scene. Recurrent fiery visual effect. Numerous ominous and dark settings. Volcano threatens eruption. Many ghoulish and hideous-looking creatures: one born out of a mud pit. Character verbally berates another.

Discussion Ideas: Talk About the Movie...

In the movie, Frodo despairs over the fateful events that have forced him to become the ring bearer. The wise wizard reminds him that no one gets to decide their circumstances, but they can choose what they will do with the lot they are given. How could that counsel apply in your life?

The Elf Queen preaches that even the smallest person can change the course of the future. Do you agree with her?

Director Peter Jackson’s past cinematic achievements have been in the slasher/thriller genre. Do you think his background had any effect on his film adaptation of Tolkien’s literary masterpiece?

Don’t forget The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, and The Hobbit can be found in most libraries. Encouraging your children to read the books, or reading them together as a family, may be a good alternative for those who admire Tolkien’s tales of good versus evil but are concerned about the film’s content.

Video alternatives

Based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s books, the other movies in this trilogy include:

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Other fantasy movies we have reviewed include Dungeons And Dragons, and The NeverEnding Story.

Home Video Notes

On August 28, 2012, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - Extended Edition releases in as a single movie on Blu-ray (5 disc set).

Lord of The Rings: Fellowship of The Ring releases as a single title to Blu-ray on September 14, 2010. The 2-Disc package includes copies of the movie in Blu-ray and DVD.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Release Date: 6 April 2010

The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring is releasing as part of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. This boxed set of 9 discs offers the theatrical versions of all three movies (not the extended editions), plus many extras.

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About the Reviewer: Melanie Law

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