Two things have inspired this new series of blog posts: one was fellow blogger and author Berthold Gambrel’s series of reviews of 90’s action movies, and the other was a post on Twitter asking users to name four movies that they find to be flawless masterpieces.

And so, I intend to do a review of each of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings films, as well as a few other movies I really enjoy too. A quick reminder and point of emphasis, these reviews will be on the movie version of The Lord of the Rings, not the books. So I won’t be bringing up Tom Bombadil or anything else from the books that did not make it to the movies. First up is The Fellowship of the Ring.

When I say that I believe the The Lord of the Rings movies are flawless, I truly mean it. I do not think there is even one facet of filmmaking that could be improved upon: the casting, the script, the special effects, the actual acting, the camera work, the musical score, the sets, the costumes, nothing at all comes up lacking.

From the very opening of the film, you know you’re in for a sweeping epic. A dark screen with a hushed woman’s voice speaking in Elvish, then translating into English.

The World is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the Earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost. For none now live who remember it.

Goosebumps, even as I write it. A great monologue that perfectly captures the spirit of Tolkien’s world and his writing, which is an abundance of sorrow that leads to precious hope. Tolkien says as much in The Silmarillion when he writes that Nienna, one of the Valar (a race of gods in Middle-Earth), saw so much sorrow in the fate of the World that her song of mourning “was woven into the themes of the World before it began”, but that she also “brings strength to the spirit and turns sorrow to wisdom” for all those who call out to her.

The action comes quickly, as Frodo received the One Ring after Bilbo’s birthday bash, is told of its history by Gandalf shortly thereafter, and immediately begins his quest. Black Riders, Morgul blades, goblins and cave trolls, and orc raiders all accost him and the Fellowship throughout the movie, and we get some truly epic battles. Who can forget the iconic standoff between Gandalf the Grey, old and bent and perhaps weary, and the mighty Balrog, a demon of fire and darkness?

“I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udun! You Shall Not Pass!”

Again, goosebumps. And again, what a perfect casting to have Sir Ian McKellen play Gandalf. Sir Christopher Lee had wanted to play this role, but he ended up portraying Saruman the White. Personally, I think either one would have been perfect for either role.

But my favorite part of the film, which involves my favorite character, is the last stand of Boromir (I’ve previously written about him here). A lot of people I know don’t like Boromir’s character, but to me he’s one of the most inspiring characters in the movie. A man of honor and great courage, he wants to take the Ring and use it against Sauron. The Ring knows this and works on his heart, finally convincing Boromir to try and take it from Frodo, causing Frodo to flee right into an orc patrol and thereby shattering the Fellowship.

But he gains instant redemption when he dies protecting Merry and Pippen, who to that point were a burden on the Fellowship rather than any help. It takes three arrows to finally bring him down, and as he lays dying he acknowledges Aragorn as his king.

The whole scene (his last stand and dying words) is fantastic. What I like most about Boromir is that he’s the only true Man in the Fellowship. Gandalf is a wizard, an ancient, powerful being. Aragorn is a descendant of a race of demigods, blessed with long life. But Boromir is literally just a man. A soldier fighting to protect his home from destruction and death, and its this very bravery and determination that the Ring uses to corrupt him. But despite his failure, he finds redemption in the end.

It can be hard to aspire to be a wise, masterful Gandalf, or a warrior-king Aragorn. But a brave and noble man, one who stumbles and falls but keeps getting back up? That we can be.

Boromir’s part in the story is a small, but important one. Indeed, his action may well have secured the Ring’s fate. Who knows what may have happened if Frodo and Sam did not go off to Mordor together and alone? Or had Aragorn, Gimlie, and Legolas not helped save Rohan because they were looking for Merry and Pippin?

If you read this far, I want to thank you! This was a long post since I’m discussing a greatly beloved topic, though I did try to keep it succinct. Next week, I’ll discuss a bit about the next movie in the trilogy, The Two Towers.

Published by Peter Martuneac

Marine, Boilermaker, husband and father. I'm here to share my thoughts on all things political or philosophical.

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9 Comments

  1. This is a succinct review worthy of the film. Our own Sean Bean (Brit writing here), almost stealing the entire film with those last words- yeah those words are goosebump evoking.
    The last time I saw the trilogy was on VHS tape, but I think I shall have to get the DVDs

    Liked by 2 people

    1. He really did steal the show, and watching him play that role encouraged me to seek out other Sean Bean films (I particularly liked Bravo Two Zero).

      I’d recommend getting the Extended Editions on Blu-Ray, it’s like watching it for the very first time all over again!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He gained a high profile in the UK playing the role of ‘Sharpe’ based on Bernard Cornwell’s Napoleonic series, and went on from there.
        Of course there was the stint in Game of Throne too.

        Speaking of Goosebump moments- this has to be mine:
        The absolute Hero of Lord of The Rings takes centre stage.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. First time visitor courtesy of Berthold’s ‘public service announcement’ 😊 And huge Tolkien fan!
    Great, succinct review. I’m planning on rewatching the films soon and reading your review is really whetting the appetite.
    In ‘The Fellowship’ – book and film – Boromir is my favourite too. He’s honourable and strikes me as someone you can rely on, yet there’s also an underlying sadness. His dying scene in the film always leaves me choked up – one of the few times the film version is better than the book.
    Being a Sean Bean fan, I remember having a bit of an eye-roll moment when I realised he was playing Boromir, only because his characters usually end up dying!
    Looking forward to your upcoming reviews 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your comment, and glad you found my review! Yes, there’s definitely that underlying sadness there, a sadness that permeates Tolkien’s works as I mentioned. I believe as a war veteran, he came to believe that it’s only by experiencing sorrow can we truly feel hope and joy.

      As for Boromir, it’s easy to see how a man who spent his entire adult life fighting what he probably knew was a hopeless fight against an enemy that wanted only to enslave his people. He was truly noble, but the Ring saw his desperation to save Gondor and exploited that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your take with Boromir – it’s a very Peter Martuneac (TM) (C) (R) take, if you ask me, and I think that’s awesome. I’m much more likely to read the books again rather than watch the movies, but I think either way, I’m going to have to pay more attention to Boromir next time!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha thank you! I suppose maybe I should trademark my takes lol. I’ve always been drawn to Boromir’s character, and it helps that Sean Bean delivered a Oscar-worthy performance of the tragic hero. Book Boromir is even better since Tolkien is able to give even more depth to the character and his background.

      Like

      1. That’s probably, in general, why I am more likely to re-read the book than re-watch the film: it’s just so much more cohesive and complete. Jackson made some great movies, but the books will always have oomph the films miss.

        Liked by 1 person

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