The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring Blu-ray Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 9.5
Video 9.5
Audio 9.5
Special Features 1.0
Total 8.0

Distributor: Roadshow
Running Time: 178 Minutes
Reviewer: Simon Black
Classification
: M15+

8.0


The Lord of the Rings
The Fellowship of the Ring

In the 60 or so years following its initial publication, J. R. R. Tolkienís Lord of the Rings trilogy has proven immensely and unceasingly popular with readers all around the world.  Combining its authorís love of linguistics, religion, mythology and epic poetry, Tolkienís high fantasy masterwork undoubtedly stands as one of the great literary triumphs of the twentieth century, and to this day continues to inspire a variety of interpretations regarding its underlying themes and the motivations of its many colourful and expertly rendered characters. 

Despite the enduring popularity of the work and its precursor The Hobbit (1937) however, film adaptations appeared only sparingly and had only ever taken on an animated form, which while allowing costs to be kept to a manageable scale hardly did justice to the unparalleled scope and grandeur of the text. 

This all changed when director Peter Jackson signed on to bring all three works to the big screen.  Jackson saw in his native New Zealand an oasis of contrasting landscapes and immense natural beauty that could convincingly conjure up the realm of Middle Earth.  In a principal shoot that lasted almost fifteen months Jackson filmed all three works simultaneously, released them at yearly intervals to worldwide acclaim and enormous box office success. 

Nominated for thirteen Academy Awards, of which it took home four, The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) still stands as the most cogent and cohesive film of the trilogy.  In this opening gambit, which of the three films also remains the most faithful adaptation of Tolkienís original material, we are introduced to the Dark Lord Sauron and his quest to retrieve the One Ring which was stolen from him some three thousand years previous.  A fellowship of dwarves, elves, humans and hobbits is formed in order to bring about the ringís destruction, and once more deliver peace to Middle Earth.  The powerful wizard Saruman (Christopher Lee) raises an immense army of orcs to defeat the party, who are beset by all manner of dangers on their path towards the fiery and foreboding Mount Doom, the heartland of Mordor and the decidedly hostile abode of the Dark Lord. 

Some reviewers have commented that the special effects look a little dated, but there really isnít too much evidence of that in The Felowship of the Ring.  Aside from the occasional lapse the CGI looks fantastic at a decadeís remove, and the Academy Award-winning costumes and makeup remain equally as impressive, particularly on the Ring Wraiths and Sauronís fearsome orc army.  The BD transfer is pristine, and picture quality remains crystal clear throughout.

There are however a couple of glaring negatives regarding the HD release of the trilogy, namely that each film is presented only in its theatrical version and the only Ďbonusí features included are a smattering of trailers.  Roadshow did this last time around, initially releasing bare-bones DVDs before following with two-disc extended editions some months later.  While this may be a great way to maximise profits itís a slap in the face to diehard fans, and the fact that each release features only a bare-bones theatrical cut is a real disappointment considering the strength of the films themselves.    






 
 



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