As the first introduction into Middle-Earth, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is the perfect way to bring audiences into this world that is full of magic. It’s a solid start to the trilogy and it’s the movie that got me forever hooked on the story. Directed by Peter Jackson, The Fellowship of the Ring is an epic fantasy adventure that will for sure peak your interest and leave you wanting to start the next movie immediately after. Starring an ensemble cast including Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Orlando Bloom, and Cate Blanchett just to name a few, these actors have permanently solidified themselves as these iconic characters. Full disclosure, the Lord of the Rings trilogy is my favourite set of movies ever, so this review will undoubtedly be a positive one (and hopefully not too long!).

[Please note that there are spoilers in this review, read at your own discretion]

Gandalf meeting Frodo as he arrives in the Shire

While most people might say that The Fellowship of the Ring is the slowest and least eventful of the three movies, I would argue that’s because the movie is engaging in a different sense. Middle-Earth is a massive fictional world that has its own set of races, languages, and places – there’s a lot that needs to be explained for you to understand what’s going on. It’s also our first glimpse into this new world, so I think the movie does a great job at teasing how amazing the fight choreography, cinematography, and music all will be. And let me assure you – the visuals are extraordinary. You will not be disappointed by the stunning scenery and the fantastical set pieces (Rivendell is my favourite).

That being said, yes, this movie is indeed 3 hours long, so feel free to take breaks and pause when you need to. I personally love watching it in one go, but I know not everyone enjoys a super lengthy film. For those of you who are turned off by the run time, I’d say the only place you might struggle with is the first hour or so of the film. Admittedly, the beginning does proceed a little slowly, but that’s because it takes the time to introduce the main characters and to carefully set up the backstory for the life-changing event that will soon follow. Once the movie starts picking up, I swear it goes at a good pace!

The Fellowship as they are about to set off on their mission

I actually appreciate how long the movie stays in the Shire at the beginning because it gives us a moment to admire the beauty and peacefulness of what this little village has to offer. The vibrant green of the rolling hills, the flowers blooming in the gardens, it’s all very relaxing to look at. It allows us to understand what Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin are sacrificing in accepting this perilous mission, but it also shows us just how out of their comfort zone they are. While these moments may seem unimportant, it’s actually incredibly vital to the story that we understand the lifestyle and mannerisms of the hobbits; their love for a simple life is the reason why Frodo has the strength to resist the Ring’s allure. The Shire is also the last bit of honest peace you get before the journey unfolds, so it’s best to enjoy the quiet while you can.

One thing that I also truly appreciate about The Fellowship of the Ring after having seen it, is that I’ve realized it’s the only time we get to see all 10 members of the Fellowship together. By the end of the movie, Boromir and Gandalf are dead, Frodo and Sam have split off from the group, and Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas have set off on a separate quest to save Merry and Pippin. While the Fellowship is quite short lived, it was truly wonderful seeing these different races of people come together to help Frodo. They share a unique and complicated bond, but their camaraderie was dear and certainly strong.

Photo of Rivendell from the Lord of the Rings

Despite being the first film of the trilogy, this movie certainly has it’s share of iconic moments. There are two that I have in mind that I specifically want to share and discuss with you. The first one (without question) is Gandalf’s epic confrontation against the Balrog in Khazad-dûm. This scene is so well known, I’m almost certain that you must’ve heard McKellen’s wonderfully delivered, “You shall not pass!” at some point in your life. The tininess of Gandalf as he faces against the Balrog is multiplied as the demon becomes increasingly menacing. There’s so much tension in this moment, and combined with the music and the masterful visuals, it’s truly a spectacle. Honestly, from the moment the Fellowship first battles the cave troll and goblins to this moment where Gandalf fights the Balrog, this entire sequence is just breath-taking. I really have to compliment the CGI in this movie though, because although it was released back in 2001, the CGI is genuinely somehow better than some movies made today.

The Fellowship preparing to fight goblins and a cave troll

Lastly, the other iconic moment that I want to share is Boromir’s final stand. I’d argue that this is the scene where emotions reach it’s height, even more so than Gandalf’s “death” (*wink wink*). Boromir is an interestingly complex character and I’m sure as you watch the movie, you’ll find yourself debating whether you like him or not. As he battles his inner demons to steal the Ring, he becomes less and less trustworthy which all builds until he finally attacks Frodo, seemingly confirming our doubts. What happens next, however, is a true act of redemption. No matter how many times I watch this scene, I am always brought to tears by its sincerity and raw emotion. Boromir’s courageous charge against the Orcs in defense of Pippin and Merry is an act that fully puts his heroism on display and demonstrates to us why he is a Son of Gondor. As numerous arrows pierce his body and you think it’s all over, Boromir repeatedly gets up by sheer will. I always hold my breath during this scene because of how beautifully shot it was.

The meeting for the Fellowship of the Ring

A lengthy review for a lengthy movie! The Fellowship of the Ring excels on all aspects of the film and is truly a brilliant piece of an even larger, more amazing story. Every time I hear Blanchett’s opening monologue where she recalls Middle-Earth’s history, I get shivers. I have to commend Peter Jackson for being able to bring the best out of the books and for doing them justice. I will never forget watching this movie at 1:00 am on a school night and finishing it in one go three hours later because I wasn’t able to stop. Needless to say I had a tiring day at school, but it was definitely worth it and I have very fond memories of this movie because of it. For all of the positive things I’ve had to say about this movie, I’m giving The Fellowship of the Ring a 9.5/10. Fantastic on all fronts, this is an absolute must-see for fans of fantasy, adventure, or just a good story. Review for the sequel, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) coming soon!