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Thursday, 27 December, 2001, 16:36 GMT
The Lord of the Rings: Your views
Dominic Monaghan plays Merry, the Hobbit
Two more films will be released in 2002 and 2003
The first part of The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, is the biggest box office success since Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

Tolkien's classic is packing out the cinemas in much the same way that Rowling's wizardry has done over the past few weeks.

"Director Peter Jackson avoids almost all of the traps to deliver a powerful, intense and beautifully realised movie that interprets the novel - well, almost to perfection," wrote BBC News Online's Jackie Finlay.

But would it please the diehard fans and newcomers to Tolkien alike? Below is a selection of your reviews.

I have not read the book and I don't intend to - the film was brilliant!
Harshad Bhadeshia, UK

The film was so very, very boring! It was like a TV mini series impersonating a movie. Don't believe the hype. Avoid this film!
Michael, England

I saw the film last night, and thought it was brilliant - absolutely magical, and well acted by all. Everything was very well done, from the sets to the make-up. I cannot praise the film enough. It should be in line for a Best Film Oscar!
G May, England

This movie is too good for words. I took my girlfriend, and she hates fantasy books and movies. She loved it, and so did I. Hats off to the crew and cast for three hours of edge-of- the-seat stuff.
Dustin, Canada

So it wasn't exactly what you read. Could you imagine what it would be like if it was word for word? Long. I enjoyed the movie. Peter Jackson is a true artist. He used his brain and vivid imagination, and sought advice from Tolkien experts. The detail was truly amazing. Tolkien himself would have been proud, I'm sure. Take a bow, Peter Jackson.
Jade, UK

The movie was all I had hoped it would be. It kept me spellbound. My heart was racing through most of the film. I laughed at times, and was near tears at others. More than once I took a loud, deep breath.

The scenery, the costumes and the acting were great. The Orcs were terrifying. The variations from the trilogy were both understandable (because of the time constraint) and well done. I must see it again soon.
Karen, USA

If you go to see a movie adaptation of a novel and expect it to be exactly the same as the book, you will be disappointed. Don't even go. And why in the world would you even expect it? They are completely different media. Do you expect a painting to be exactly like a photograph? Both can show you the same picture with equal power and beauty.

I thought the film was well done from start to finish and displayed a wonderful adherence to the spirit, heart, and - yes - even the plot of the books. I left the theatre feeling like I was leaving Middle-earth - a Middle-earth I have known and loved for a long time. The consensus among our group of 10 was that it met or exceeded all our expectations - and to get all of us to agree about a movie is no small task!
Sherry, Canada

Am I the only one that missed the elves singing and laughing in the trees in Rivendell? Or the golden leaves of the trees in Lorien and the green, green grass they rested upon? Even the "good" places in the movie were dark and dire.

This was the most successful merging of art and technology in the history of film.
Syd, New Zealand

I was a little worried when I heard the love story between Arwen and Aragorn was going to be elongated, but it was fine - it's actually better that way for those who haven't read the books. The movie was fabulous, but I must say, I really missed seeing Tom Bombadil.
Julia , United States

Once again, it is proven that the skill of the modern moviemaker is no match for the imagination of the person reading the book - especially when the moviemaker tries to improvise.
Martin, Canada

I read the book about six months ago for the first time, and it blew me away. I became an instant fan. I saw the film on Friday and became an instant fan of that, too, despite the differences. People should just enjoy them both, and accept the bit of artistic licence used by Peter Jackson to make the film work.
Andy Turner, England

This is the only time a film exeeded the hype. I became so engrossed in this wonderful film that I forgot I was in a cinema. It was possible to believe it all. This is worth paying to see on a big screen.
Tony Jones, England

When the screen went blank at the end, my friends and I all thought it was an interval break! Where did the three hours go! The film was stunning, absolutely stunning!
Emma, UK

Re LOTR being the work of Satan - from what I recall, JRR Tolkien was actually a Christian as well as a close chum of CS Lewis, probably the greatest Christian theologian of the 20th century.There are, undoubtedly, pagan overtones to the book, but its utterly anti-modern tone and total lack of moral ambiguity betray it as a Christian text par excellence. So there.
Magnolia Fan, UK

Who was Homer? Who was Shakespeare? Ages pass and stories pass into the realm of myth. The tongues of men bend and change them as nature slowly sculpts the land. Why should it not be so? Arwen and the other changes to LOTR are simply in that great and long tradition of myth-making.
Robert F. Coles, Spain

I saw the film yesterday and, overall, was disappointed. I thought that by portraying the Shire as "Teletubbie land "and missing out Tom Bombadil, it was not possible to understand the importance of the relationship between the people, hobbits, elves etc and the land itself, which I have always felt to be a key part of the story. Mind you, I would watch it again just to see Legolas in action!
Ellen, UK

I read the books last some 10 years ago, and I was stunned at how the film vividly bought the characters to life as if I had read the first book yesterday. I jumped out of my skin on numerous occasions, gaped open mouthed at the incredible scenery and felt my skin crawl with a real sense of horror at the orcs in the mines. Good cinema should be about spectacle, and stir emotion and debate. This film, for me, certainly meets all these criteria - with hobbits on.
Jacks, UK

I am really sorry about these negative opinions, but I cannot help thinking that the film could have been much better. This version has no soul - it is deprived of the suble dialogue between the characters, profound ethical pondering and the fascinating references to the earlier history of Tolkien's world. Instead, we have thousands of computerised orcs and action.

The music is at times pompous and overwhelming, sometimes mawkishly sentimental, preventing the viewer from experiencing his own feelings. Some of the characters are fairly correct in appearance, others as if made of plastic, and full of clichés familiar from cheap American TV series. I guess that soon there will be hamburgers named after Tolkien's characters. Where is the carefully produced British version? I really wish that you British would save Tolkien's works from ruthless murder.
Henri Schildt, Finland

I haven't read the Lord of the Rings books since I was a kid, and maybe that's a good thing because I was able to just sit back, watch the movie and enjoy every second of it, without falling into the trap of nitpicking over every single little detail.

All I knew, coming out of the theatre, was that for me, the movie evoked all the same feelings that the books had all those years ago. And what is there to complain about?! The Shire was bucolic perfection, the Nazgul were menacing, the special effects were incredible, and as for the scenery of New Zealand, words fail me.
Eden, New Mexico, USA

What the movie leaves out from the books is not really crucial to the movie storytelling. The orcs are pretty damn ugly, the elves are as they were imagined and the hobbits are just about top notch.
Jay, USA

Glorfindel has no real significance beyond his appearance at the ford, whereas Arwen still has an important role to play, and the establishment of her character early on is justified. My only compaint is that Tom Bombadil has been missed out again (a trend started by the BBC). That apart, the film is magnificent.
Derek, UK

As one of the handful of people who have not read the book, I can judge the film solely on its merits on the screen. And it's a beauty! It reminded me of classic fantasies like Jason and the Argonauts and Sinbad, with 21st century effects. The acting was top notch, particulary by Sir Ian McKellen.

My only gripe is perhaps the ending, which I'm sure Peter Jackson could do very little about since he tried to stay true to the book. I am very much looking forward to the sequels, in betweeen catching up on the books.
Mike, Birmingham

A fantastic piece of filmmaking - but Tolkien would have hated it. The pop-video shock tactics result in pretty much the opposite of his wide-ranging, ruminative narrative. And where did the warmth go ? The Prancing Pony, Rivendell and Lóthlorien were all cold, miserable places, nothing like the originals. Peter Jackson has clearly made big concessions for the MTV generation!
Matt, England

Throughout the film, I kept thinking to myself: "They've got Gandalf right, the Shire right, Bree right; Arwen and Rivendell are right enough - but what about the Balrog?" And they hit the Balrog for six.

Black fire, vast wings, protective force field of Gandalf, crumbling bridge, red whip curling around his feet, "Fly you fools!"... Excellent!
Scott Redding, Canada

Remember this - anyone who sees these films without reading the books first will never, never be able to be introduced to Middle-earth by reading the books. They will start reading with this hastily paced, Bombadil-less image in their minds, being surprised only by what the film left out,and never by developments the film left in.

The books must endure. These films must be forgotten. And the more memorable the films are,the worse,in the long run,for the books.
Louis Epstein, USA

I wasn't especially looking forward to seeing this movie, but I was quite pleasantly surprised - it was awesome and I really enjoyed it.
Natalia, Chicago, USA

As with all the great literary adaptions ever filmed, Peter Jackson and his team wisely approached the material with an eye to the cinematic rather than a slavish retelling of the original text (which is where, most recently, Harry Potter suffered some flaws).

And yes, Jackson's voice is indeed more evident than Tolkien's in much of the film, as it should be. This film is his, and had he tried to tell it with Tolkien's voice it would have been an immensely dull, cinematically uninspiring representation of a wonderful story.

The reason that the film is such a resounding success in almost every respect is because it does exist as a different form from the novel, as a piece of exceptionally well crafted cinema. Its existence takes nothing away from the novels whatsoever, and (rarely for any adaptation) the two compliment each other.
Phil Colvin, UK

This film, for me, an avid science fiction and fantasy fan, is the best film for at least 10 years. Yes, I know it deviates from Tolkien's masterpiece of a book, but it was not written as a screen play.

The acting was mostly great, the special effects were brilliant, the entire film portrayed the story in a coherent and visually stunning way. Well done Peter Jackson, you are a genius.

When it finished with Frodo rescuing Sam from the river I had a tear in my eye and was so disappointed that the film finished after only 3 hours. Awesome.
Jonathan Harvey, England

Remember The Wizard of Oz? Remember Gone with the Wind? For the purists (and I am an Oz purist) those films made based on those books were not always dead on to the source, word for word. But they made me want to venture into the original realms. Fellowship comes after having read the books. Like Oz and Wind, I love both the movies and the books - they compliment each other. Thank you, Peter Jackson, for your homage to Tolkien. I have been to Middle-earth now, through the word, and through the screen.
Dianne G, USA

I have never read any of the books so I didn't know what to expect. To be honest, I think it is a very good movie - but I didn't like it. I thought it was too long, I felt bored and I even fell asleep at one part of it. Sorry, but it didn't catch my attention so, I guess it will be for only for the fans.
Martha, Venezuela

I was really looking forward to this film - dragged my boyfriend out to see it. Thought the first hour or so was charming - I loved the visuals and Ian McKellen. But then it seemed to become the same old thing - chase after chase, swordfight after swordfight -I was hoping the evil empire (or whatever it was!) would get the damn ring and kill all those annoying midgets. At the end the audience looked numb and a bit bewildered at what all the fuss was about. It was three hours and it felt even longer!

LOTR left me cold. My boyfriend has made me promise that we don't have to sit through the next two installments - and I have told him not to worry.
PB, Austria

The movie was interesting to watch but I was also very disappointed in it. I had prepared myself for changes from the book and was ready to overlook them but this went beyond the worst that I had imagined.

The only part that I felt was done authentically was some of the casting. I thought Frodo was absolutely perfect; Legolas was fairly close to what I imagined and some of the others were reasonably good. Gandalf was awful, in my opinion.

To sum up, I felt that the movie changed the artistic simplicity and subtlety of Tolkien's work into a Hollywood hack and slash, "magical" adventure. Yes, I know I'm just another Tolkien purist but we're entitled to our opinions too.
Faith, USA

It was OK, but, as someone with no real predilection for wizard 'n' warlock type movies, three hours was too much. The last half of the film was like being pummelled by different pages from The Big Book Of Fantasy Locations.

Can't really say that the next two are high on my "must-see" list.
Doug, UK

I saw the film last night and agree that it was a very good film. The fighting/chasing scenes were great and almost (but not quite) made up for the shocking acting by some actors (especially the guy playing Elrond).

As for the Council of Elrond itself, surely they could have cut out the arguments and stuck to the book, which introduces the characters from the fellowship perfectly. And I would of thought that Jackson could have done better than Gandalf spinning in circles on his elbow!!

Overall I enjoyed the film, but the importance of some of the characters does seem to have been overlooked. I give it 8/10.
Tom C, UK

This film has been a childhood dream for me ever since I read the book (I was 12 the first time) I wasn't sure it could ever be made but Jackson is a true genius - his choice of Wood to play Frodo must have been fate, as this actor is amazing. I spent 3 hours in Middle Earth and I'm still there now.
Suzanne, UK

I made sure that I had finished the first book before I saw this movie. I found the book wonderful, but incredibly tedious at times and I wondered how Peter Jackson could make this an entertaining movie. I think he did an amazing job with very difficult source material. I was extremely impressed by this movie!
Bear Christensen, USA

It would be impossible to do complete justice to the books, but this film comes as near to it as is humanly possible. Thankfully, all the characters were as I imagined them, but my imagination could not have dreamt up the 'baddies' so well, so when I come to read the books again this will do nothing but help to enhance my enjoyment.

My advice to Tolkein purists - forget about the deviations and Matrix style scenes. Just go and enjoy it for what it is - a hugely enjoyable film with stunning scenery, great special effects and superb acting.

The best part is my fifteen year old daughter came with me to see the film, fell in love with Frodo, and is now reading the book! This is a miracle in itself, and if the film does nothing else but encourage my daughter to pick up a book then I am all for it.
Gill, England

Let's not kid ourselves. I was so pumped for this movie, and so let down. I can only imagine that those who enjoyed it were rationalizing or really don't have anything better to do for three-plus hours. I wanted to chew my own hand off. Only for hard core D&D freaks that were going to like it no matter what.
Robert Rimavicus, USA

I got myself to the first screening (I was lucky to get one ticket). A fantastic movie that took me for a great ride. Only problem now is having to wait another 2 more years before I can see the ending visually. Hate it when movie producers make their audiences wait.
Steve, Malaysia

Very, very cool, brilliant, everything - one of the best movies ever.
Maddy Giles, Netherlands

Who kept reloading Legolas' ever-filled quiver with arrows? It was like an old-time Western movie six-shooter.

There are missing scenes in this first cinematic release - some characters appear from nowhere (Gimli for one) but at three hours the current version is commercially viable (just). There will be, I am sure, a future version for the aficionados with the extra scenes included.
Robert, Atlanta, USA

I thought the film was superb. It's 15 years since I read the books and I knew there were sections removed, though I struggled to recall them all, but in three hours I could not expect more and it did not distract from the storyline one bit.

I took my dad, visiting from the UK, who loved it too although I neglected to say it's a trilogy and he'll have to wait two years for the ending. But one burning question still remains that perhaps some highly avid Tolkien followers can answer. Rather than travel by foot to Mount Doom why not ask the Lord of The Eagles fly in and simply drop it in? Too easy by far and not much of a story but surely something Elrond and co should have considered?
Jerry, USA

The film isn't perfect, and neither was the print trilogy. The book is simply one of the great works of the last century, and the movie is a gripping rendition of it. I've read the trilogy at least a dozen times over four-plus decades. Even taught a college course entirely devoted to it.

To the purists: no point in expecting what you imagined! Books take place in your imagination: they can never be fully realized externally. And to present them, they must be changed.

For what it's worth, I thought the film's renditions of the Shire and Rivendell were absolutely right, though I was disappointed by Lothlorien. I liked hearing Elvish spoken and recognizing some of the words, even without subtitles. Some of the settings were realized more fully than I had imagined--the crossing of the ford was one example, and the scale of the mines of Moria exceeded what I had imagined.

I liked the way the movie straightened out the chronology of the book, though it remains to be seen what they'll do for the rest of the story.

Speaking of Heaven, the movie preserves the film's spiritual aspects, which are of course ultimately Christian. Don't mind me - I'm old and overcome. Just go see the film again.
Steve Khinoy, Staten Island, New York, USA

A true sign of a great movie is when the end of the film takes you by surprise. I was wonderfully swept up in the magic and the pageantry of this amazing movie. I left wanting more - I hope next year is a quick one.
Andre, USA

I liked the movie. I was a little troubled with certain parts of it that seemed to stray too much from the book and its theme [but] overall I thought it was an interesting adaptation that was at times breathtaking to behold.
Yuriko K, USA

The movie was great. I need to watch it one or two more times, which I definitely plan to do. I actually wish the movie was 3-6 hours longer so that it could accommodate most everything in the Fellowship of the Ring.

I will definitely buy the DVD and will be angry if the DVD is not released until after the 3rd movie is released. I hope the DVD is released by August next year. I can't wait, because I need to see this movie over and over again.
Francis, USA

In my opinion Peter Jackson has captured the magic and sheer delight I have felt every time I have read the books over the past 15 years. As an avid Tolkien fan I was truly impressed by his attention to detail and character that is much more than I ever expected to see on the movie screen. How he balanced this detail with the grandiosity of the locations and immensity of the story line was truly amazing.

Now, can a movie ever be as good as the book? Of course not. There just isn't enough time. However, this comes as close as I can possibly imagine. If the small changes are going to upset the obsessive purists out there they'll be better off saving their money.

I can't wait to see what he has done with the next two films! Until then, I'll just have to see this one again.
Carter, USA

To Isaac, in the UK - no, you're not the only person who found the books tedious and incredibly hard going. I went to see the film with three friends, two of us having read the books (albeit quite a few years ago) and two having not read them at all.

We were all blown away by it completely and are looking forward to seconds. Personally, I feel the film should be viewed in the context of whether it's a good or bad film - and it's clearly the former - not whether it's a good or bad adaptation of the book. From reading the posts here, it would seem that to ensure you enjoy what is in fact a fantastic movie, you have to have not read the books.

What a sad message the fans are giving out: "But it wasn't Arwen who crossed the ford, it was really..." Snore. Surely, the most important part of the story is that it is enjoyed, not word perfect to Tolkien's text.
Ali Bushell, UK

I was there at the first showing in the Odeon Leicester Square on the 19th and then again at the second showing. Twice in one day should be enough LOTR to give a true opinion on this long-awaited release.

Having been a Tolkien fan since the age of 12, when I read the Rings and the Hobbit, I had followed with interest the filming of the series over the last 18 months on website. I was enthralled by what appeared on the screen.

I thought the overall fim experience was stunning - the characters were straight off the pages of the novel.

I thought the compromises to the story were forgivable, three hours was long enough, and that the parts that were missed - the barrows, Tom Bombadil etc - would have been quite dull in the film.

I don't think anything not filmed felt omitted from the final version - although I too hope that the DVD contains a few extra scenes. The music was stunning and added enormously to the visuals - Howard Shore has done a great job too. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, and the second time through it was even better because I knew what was coming and could savour those moments.

I shall certainly be visiting the cinema again to see it a few more times, and look forward to the DVD release later in the year and the Two Towers next December.
Jon Calton, UK

Comparing HP with LOTR, we see conclusive evidence that the least Hollywood-influenced project (LOTR) easily comes out on top. You don't think Harry Potter was influenced by the US? They even changed "philosopher" to "sorcerer" in the title, which is amazing when one considers that they used the "black-magic" word, sorcerer, to cater to the allegedly more religious American market.
Howard Jones, USA

I just saw it an hour ago, a few days after the premier. One warning - spoilers ahead! Don't read if you haven't seen the film! I reads the three books between the ages of 12 and15, and had great expectations of doom after the animated debacles that shall not be again mentioned.

The film is just a tad too fast - a four-hour film would have done me fine. I don't know how someone who is unfamilair with the story would feel, but, I suppose, a little lost. We hurtle from big scene to big scene before we can feel something.

There is little chance for character development, and that is a huge part of the books. One thing's for sure - Tolkien certainly didn't have a modern screenplay in mine.
Stephen, Malaysia

I read the book as a teenager, it has remained in my top ten list for the last 25 years. I was not sure what to expect from the film. However I was impressed by it. The visualisation is good, and most of the acting is good. Some deviations from the novels are not a major problem. On the negative side, the musical score is diabolical and the lack of character development is a flaw. We are supposed to care about everyone in the fellowship, not just Frodo.

On the whole, though, I enjoyed it and am looking forward to The Two Towers.
Stephen Labourne, UK

LOTR is fantastic! It is by far the most enjoyable experience at the cinema this year. The anticipation for The Two Towers is almost unbearable.
Herbert Fung, UK

For all the purists - just go watch the film. See what Peter Jackson has done and what the actors and actresses have done to such a wonderful story.

They are bringing alive mythology again - reinventing the feeling of going to watch a good movie instead of a churned-out movie.

Jackson's vision is wonderful. The changing of the main storyline is inevitable and also wonderful. Bringing Arwen into the main core of the story instead of leaving her as an appendix is a brilliant idea.

The books are the real thing if you want to travel with your mind - the film is for your heart and mind. Well done, Peter. I can't wait for the next two. Just go see it! You'll enjoy it whether you've read the books or not!
Jason, UK

I thoroughly enjoyed the film. I'm sure it's destined to be a classic.

I would agree with other contributors that the music was rather weak - I couldn't remember any of it once I'd walked out of the cinema.

The only other nitpick I have is that the orcs' defying gravity by running up the pillars in Moria was too reminiscent of The Mummy. Still what am I moaning at? A few seconds out of three hours of brilliant entertainment.
Richard, UK

Full house - a spellbound audience for the entire three hours with applause at the end. It was visually stunning, with tremendous effects. I thought the interpretation of the world as seen when wearing the ring was particularly good. If the other two movies are as good as this, then this piece of filmmaking will come to be seen as one of the truly great movies. Fantastic!
Mark, UK - Scotland

I thought LOTR was torture - far too long to sit through all in one go. I could have done with a 15-minute break halfway through. The first five minutes were superb, then it went downhill.

I liked the character Liv Tyler, played but she was only in the film for several minutes, which was a shame. Instead, you get some really annoying dwarves who I really couldn't care about. I wished they all could have been wiped out early on.

There were quite a few people who left the hall and didn't return - I couldn't blame them. I may be in the minority, but I won't be returning to the cinema to see the next two parts..
Massimo Stefani, Paisley, Scotland

I was extremeley disappointed by this film. I accept that changes had to be made, and actually thought that the bits with Arwen (mostly) worked better than they would have with Glorfindel.

But the film lacked any real depth of character, lurched around like an MTV music video, and had no cohesion at all.

If I hadn't read the book a number of times, I would have been completely lost in both time and geography (As were the friends I went with). The music was intrusive, and many re-engineered parts of the story altered enormously the characters involved, such as a much-too -ynical Elrond, the freaky Galadriel in the dark and dingy Lothlorien and the slapstick fight between Gandalf and Saruman.

I can't really believe the accolades this film has received and honestly think that regardless of the similarities with the book (or lack of), this film will be judged much harder in the course of time on low cinematic merit alone.
Jo, Canada

This film was so good. I am 53, read Tolkien, and feel the film has portrayed the essence of the book without deviating from the book's central story. It is, in my mind, the best film I have ever seen! Jean H, Edinburgh
Jean H, Scotland

Director Peter Jackson has painted a picture that a true LOTR fan can appreciate and enjoy! Simply a beautiful painting, Mr Jackson I look forward to the rest of the films.
Billy, Canada

A cinematic tour-de-force that captures the mood, rhythm, essence, nuance, and epic storytelling of Tolkien's classic. No film can reproduce the magic of a written book, but this film comes close.
Gus, USA

Overall, I really liked the film and thought that Peter Jackson did an amazing job in attempting to adapt the impossible to the screen. However, despite the brilliant acting, stunning scenery and great action scenes, I do think that what could have been a masterpiece was flawed by a few OTT Hollywood touches that crept in. Am I the only person who thought Sauron's appearance in the prologue simply demystified him?

I couldn't take the fight between Gandalf and Saruman seriously, and the same goes for Galadriel turning into some evil warrior when offered the ring.

But to finish on a more positive note: Gollum! From the very little that I saw of him, I was relieved. He looked believable, and the voice seemed OK, too. So far as I'm concerned, the definitive Gollum voice is Peter Woodthorpe in the outstanding BBC LOTR radio production, but Andy Serkis's Gollum doesn't sound that different - not that we had many words to go on of course! I'll definitely be going to see it a second time.
Luke, France

I absolutely loved this film. I've read the books on average every year and a half since I was 15 (I'm now 55), and I was so afraid of being disappointed by the film. Instead, it's brilliant. The actors clearly love their roles, and have set their hearts on bringing them to life exactly as Tolkien wrote them.

I was so touched by their TV avowal of how they have formed a fellowship in real life, and bonded closely to support each other's characters while filming.

I was sad not to see the Old Forest, Tom Bombadil, and the Barrow Downs. Those episodes would have given the hobbits more chance to show their mettle in this first film. But the movie worked so beautifully, and leapt from high point to high point so flawlessly, that I'm content to enjoy it for the wonder that it is, and to continue reading the book for the rest of Tolkien's rich and varied tale.
Sally Hasted, USA

OK, I'm a LOTR purist, yet I enjoyed the film. I remember being disappointed several times while watching it, but 15 minutes afterward, I couldn't recall why. Yeah, I missed Bombadil, and I thought the truncation of the time between the party and Frodo's leaving was unnecessary. And why did Merry and Pippin go too? Can't tell from the film.

I can get over the whole Arwen thing, too. It at least served to explain the love story. There were a few things that really did bother me. Elrond is not supposed to be so callous with regard to the fate of Middle-earth! Galadriel is not a holdout from the 60s on funny mushrooms! And what the hell happened to Narsil/Anduril, the sword reforged? That's a huge deal in the book, and I only vaguely remember some smith pounding on a sword in the movie. All in all, though, a very good adaptation (not recreation) of the epic. I'll probably see it again.
Paul, USA

I saw the movie yesterday and can't get it out of my mind. I did not read the book and did not even know the story. It totaly suprised me. Fantastic. The best movie I saw in 2001.
Chantal, Belgium

In writing this story, Tolkien went through decades of research, invention, and rewriting. His ultimate goal was not a masterpiece, not an allegory, and most certainly not a unchangable ideal that all writers must strive for. Tolkien wrote stories for the entertainment value and, while I am inclined to believe that he would rather have 200 million people be entertained by a book rather than a movie, he would agree that they could do far worse than to be entertained by something as well crafted as this.
Michael Phaelen, USA

I went to the theatre expecting alot from this film. What I didn't expect was the way the film moved me. Although I knew the story (from the trilogy itself), I still found myself gripping the armrest of my seat in many of the scenes of this film (the ringwraiths chasing Arwen and Frodo comes to mind). I would say, this was the greatest investment I've made in the movie theatres yet, and I am greatly looking forward to the next two parts.
Tony Clure, USA

Oh, for goodness' sakes! The book and the film are different animals. They do suffer from the same limitations (a rather simplistic moral projection of the world) - but the are both "worlds", and are fascinating. A great flick.
Dan F, Canada

I haven't read LOTR, but if the book is as good as, or better than, the film, then I have a treat waiting for me. The film is well scripted, and the various plots flow well together. The acting is very fine and the cinemtography and special effects are breathtaking.

But it is a little flawed - the fight scene between the wizards was laughable, and there were far too many tears for one film. Also, there was a distinct lack of atmosphere created by the musical score (this is the only point where Harry Potter is stronger). Overall though, I feel that this is the second best film of this decade so far, beating Traffic into third place - but it still lacks the sheer power and emotion of Gladiator. Can't wait for the next film, though!
Marc Edwards, Wales

The greatest story ever told has become the greatest film ever made. My mind is still in shock - by the time of the scene of the flight to the ford, I was really beginning to wonder whether I could make it through to the end!

It was such an incredibly rich, overwhelming experience - almost too much. All I could think during the three hours was: "It's alive! They've done it! The Lord of the Rings is alive on film - finally." I have been so nervous ever since I heard that a film of LOTR was being made - would it be another wasted opportunity and sell-out of Tolkien's vision? Thankfully, I saw today a true masterpiece of that vision. I disagree with Peter Jackson that this is just a film - I have never experienced anything like it - it was an incredible work of art.
Simon, UK

Peter Jackson definitely got Middle-earth and the characters right. The only real comments I have are: the scene where Gimli asks Galadriel for a lock of hair should have remained; the fight between Gandalf and Saruman could have been done better (but then what does a wizards' duel look like?); and the effects when Frodo offers the ring to Galadriel were a bit much.
Mark Corsi, USA

If you have read the books and know them well (as I do) the film will be beautiful to watch, but the story will be boring. This is the kind of movie that needs surprise to work well. If you have not read the book, I would suggest you go see the movie first or you might be disapointed.
Etienne Brodeur, Canada

I watched the film this morning, and was quite impressed by how well Peter Jackson has been able to transfer the first book to the big screen. Admittedly he does use some artistic license on the way which readers of the book will notice immediately. However this is done with minimum disruption to the plot. Visually it's stunning, the highlight for me being Moria. It's testimony to how well this film has been made is that it maintains interest for it's long duration (three hours) whilst adhering firmly to the plot.
Timbo, Edinburgh, UK

Despite being of advanced years, and never having the slightest interest in wizards, sorcery and the like, I was astonished by the film. The imagery, acting, effects and plot were convincing and, in places, deeply moving. This is undoubtedly one of the greatest films I have seen in 53 years of attending the cinema; I hope I will be around to see the next two!
Hamish Cunningham, Scotland

Stunning! It's like seeing The Empire Strikes Back again for the first time. Peter Jackson has conjured up images that far surpass what I believed were possible! Destined to be remembered as a classic.
Stuart Bennett, UK

At last, after this year's terrible crop of movies comes a film that is actually fun and it really is FUN like the blockbusters of old! There were other good films this year, Memento and Amelie but nothing on this scale. This is movie making at its best. I can't wait for the other parts, even though it veers from the original text at many points it does maintain the sense of heart and I think that was a gamble that truly paid off. Seeing it again in 5 hours!
Matt Stockton, Austria

It's incredible to think that in the three hours of the film the director had to miss so much of the original story. Even so, it is still a true masterpiece.
Iain Diamond, UK

And once again, it was Glorfindel who saved the day at the Ford of Bruinen, not Arwen. Hey, what's wrong with changing the story to sell a couple more tickets?
Simon W, USA (ex-UK)

Tolkien set out to create a mythology for England; Peter Jackson gives us a new telling of that mythology, and he does a brilliant job. Sure there are differences, but he stays true to Tolkien's world and the spirit of the tale. He does more than that, he delivers a stunning and brilliant work. I am just off to see it for a second time!
Peter Slade, USA

The best compliment I can give the film, and I could give it many, is that Tolkien would have been pleased.
Michael, Ireland

This film is tacky, and very weak in places, the start of this film was enough for me to walk out. I persisted in viewing this movie - laughing at Gandalf's obviously stuck-on beard and some appalling acting. I was truly thumped by the hype of this film and left the theatre annoyed (reminds me of the hype of the Blair Witch Project - another awful film).
Adam, USA

This diehard LOTR fan will not be watching the movie. Obviously a lot of cutting is necessary, and that means changing things, BUT nothing forgives what has been done with Arwen. It's clear that merchandising was more important than remaining faithful to the story, they had to have their action figure for the girls, their Arwen Burger King goblet, and could they have cast anyone who looked more like Padame from The Phantom Menace?

Not every good book HAS to be made into a movie and this one should have been left alone! Anyone who wants the story without reading the books should get the BBC Radio adaptation.
Ruth, USA

The film is a triumph for all involved. The imagery, quality of acting and the conception puts it in a realm of its own. I'll be seeing it again and again!
Chris Hamilton, France

No one in their right mind can, or even should expect Jackson to have taken the books and simply put this on the screen. Saying that, what Jackson has done is breathtaking, all the essential elements are there, the characters, the acting, the script and the special effects. I have never before watched a film and been left silent for criticism, yes, there are some gaps in the story, yes, the characters may not be as you imagined them, but this is the best film I have ever watched. Roll on next year and the Two Towers, and role on the DVD/video, I know what I want next Christmas!
Nick, UK

Saw the film last night. Having read the book five years ago, I was amazed at how some of the scenes matched my mental image whilst reading the book. A testament to both Tolkien and Jackson. The special effects are breathtaking - and three hours pass far too quickly. Without a doubt the best film of 2001.
Dave P, UK

If you expect the movie to be exactly like the book, and you are going to complain if some things don't match up, then I suggest not seeing it. It is a movie made in celebration and praise of Tolkien's work, to deliver his classic piece of fantasy to a broader population and allow more people to fall in love with it; but it is a movie and you cannot expect three hours to deliver every ounce of perfection the book had. The movie is steeped in the foundation and tradition of Tolkien's work and it is a fine film; fun, exciting, with action-packed adventure. That is all that matters. One last thought, if you don't like the way the movie came out, then let's see you make a better one.
Mike S, USA

Although the storyline was not completely adhered to (Arwen did NOT cross Ford of Bruinen, it was Glorfindel), I am still impressed with the translation of The Fellowship of the Ring into movie form. The scenery is breathtaking and the pace of the film kept the action moving along, quite an achievement for a three hour movie.

I would still recommend reading the trilogy first in order to truly savour all of the nuances. It is also, in my opinion, the best way to experience the true genius of Tolkien. I can hardly wait for the next episode!
Pat, USA

I was a bit anxious about this film as I thought it would be a complete catastrophe. One word though - AWESOME!
Dave Seifi, England

I'm sure I am not the first, nor the last, Tolkien fan to say I went into the theatre with some reservation, but after watching the film, my doubts were put at ease. On all levels, this is a wonderful film. The sheer scope that needed to be tackled would overwhelm most directors but Jackson does a superb job. Even the scenes that needed to be cut are given a nod in the script, as if to say "Well, we wanted to do this, but hey, this thing is over three hours long".

What I found really remarkable was the scaling cinematography. This is especially evident at Bag End. I'm still scratching my head wondering "How did they do that?" after seeing the actors playing Bilbo and Gandalf shot to be about 2 1/2 feet different in size. My only "little" gripe is the lack of development and motivation for Merry and Pippin. And for all of those who go on and on and on about Arwen - well, she really isn't in it very long (10 minutes altogether tops) and the way she was rewritten doesn't affect the flow of the film or the original concept of the story one iota.

A fine, fine film and a must-have when it hits DVD (which I'm sure will have some deleted scenes). Cannot wait for the next two.
Michael Allen, USA

Missed bits out? Maybe - I've read the books so many times - and yet I didn't feel anything had been missed. The film distills the very essence of what the books are about - and any sad anorak who complains about the tiny change from Glorfindel to Arwen, bits were missed out, etc. can't see the wood for the trees.

I saw the film today - and will be going back again shortly. It was one of the most powerful, emotional films I have ever seen.
Wendi, Scotland

I could have watched all three parts of LOTR in one go. Fantastic.
David Pullen, London, UK

And to Ruth in the USA: Don't be such a literary snob.

Go and see the film, then prepare to eat your words.
Dave, UK

Jackson filmed a book which has been hailed as the greatest written work ever. His film not only does justice to that book, but it exceeds it. This, for me, is the greatest piece of work ever committed to celluloid, the greatest film ever made. It is the only film I have ever seen, from the literally thousands I have watched over the course of my life, to make me genuinely moved, fearful, awe-struck and left with the feeling that every single one of my already sky high expectations had been met, nay, far surpassed.

This is an absolute certainty to win a huge amount of Oscars. And for the first time in years will be the first film to truly deserve them all. This will be the greatest film of all time, and will be looked upon in years to come as an absolute classic in the art of cinema. Breathtaking.
Dave, UK

I was truly disappointed. The cast is great, the script, too. But someone other than Peter Jackson should have filmed it. The visuals are no good. Tears rolling down the cheek thrice (was it?) in one movie is too much. He could have very well used that time to put in some desperately needed breaks between scenes. The viewer is not allowed enough time to "experience" the film. Instead, one is subjected to the bombardment of events which would not make sense if one had not read the books.

Too much unneeded effects. I wished someone could rework it. The fight between Gandalf and Saruman was nothing but a joke. I did have a hard time keeping myself from laughing. Two great wizards, and all they do is making each other fall and trip? Cut me a break...
Mike S, USA

The movie was splendid. Even though it may not follow the book as intimately as some of the book readers may have wanted it, not many of those types of movies do. Whereas most ¿book inspired movies¿ have failed to deliver the original punch of the author and lived up to the expectations of the fans, this one does. Fans and readers of the trilogy will be pleased; even Tolkien himself would probably regard it as good depiction of his original work. What is left to see is if the next two films manage to maintain the same enchantment as this one.
Arthur Van Sevendonck, UK

Breathtakingly beautiful, it's lost nothing of the book for me. Too long to wait for the next twp installments. What does surprise me though, speaking as a parent, is the terror and violence level which doesn't deserve a PG rating. It's a Cert 12. I'm please though that it hasn't been watered down for a wider audience. A true cinematic classic has been born.
George Taylor, Scotland

I never imagined that a beloved story I have read repeatedly throughout my life could be brought so vividly to life. I was enthralled at the majestic scenery, captured breathless and tense as Arwen raced for safety with a wounded Frodo, and greatly pleased to see the Fellowship exactly as I have pictured them for so many years. The scope of this movie is so great that to the sceptic or inflexible Tolkien diehard I can only say, leave your criticisms at the door and enjoy the journey to Middle-earth. I have waited 34 years for this movie and I for one will revel in it!
Todd Krueger, USA

In general, very enjoyable - and it has made me want to read the books again. Overall, the casting was good, the sets superb and the sense of "fellowship", with all that it entailed, very well presented. The only thing I really disliked was the horrible Titanic-style music at the end.
Simon Gibbons, Luxembourg

I think Adam (USA) must've seen the wrong movie... Go and see this film. The best experience since the original Star Wars. I bet Lucas is wishing he could make a film like this.
Alan, UK

I have been a Tolkien reader since 1958 and had to rebind my books about 10 years ago owing to the wear from re-reading. The books are magic. The film is not. I got bored after the first hour. It is pointless criticising in detail. I shall not be seeing the future releases.
Ernie Smart, UK

Wow! I thought this movie was fantastic. Haven't read the books so I can't really compare it. Book aside, it's an extremely enjoyable film to watch for all ages. Visually stunning and the music goes pretty well too. Can't wait for the DVD release.
Mark, UK

The film would be impressive, but it seems to me that it simply proves that you can't make such a detailed book work on the big screen - all the character building, plot building, etc, is cut out and what you're left with is five minutes of cartoon action at each location. It's very disorientating and makes it feel more like a pop video, with no depth whatsoever. All the making people glow and changing the colours of the characters for tense moments didn't do it for me, either.
David Rees, UK

Yet again a film revelling in witchcraft and sorcery bursts onto our screens and draws enormous crowds. What will it take for people in this "Christian" land to realise the revulsion that God feels for such things? How many more children and even adults will now be drawn into experimentation with the occult after first Harry Potter and now Lord of The Rings?

I might sound wacky - I'm sold out for Jesus - but I would challenge any Christian thinking of seeing the film to find one scripture in the Bible where God says it is acceptable or entertaining to watch or partake of magic, witchcraft and sorcery. For the church leaders out there I would repeat the challenge and ask you to stop theologising and moralising - what does God say? What Would Jesus Do? I'm just praying for some more wholesome films like Miracle Maker in 2002.
Andy Lewis-Morgan, UK

Harry potter - a book I enjoyed - weak film.

LOTR - a book I loved - storming good film.
Rob, UK

Expectation management is needed. The film is long at three hours and has no flashy, big ending, just the ending of the fellowship. That said, it was by far the best film I have seen this year, or for a few years. The drama and narrative was complemented by the special effects instead of being replaced. Characters were uncannily similar to the way I imagined them. There will never be a better adaptation of the LOTR.
Russell, UK

I don't know what film the majority of your reviewers were watching, but I have to agree with Ernie Smart. The special effects were good, but the film is boring - not a patch on any of the early Star Wars films. I can only say that the other reviewers need to get out more.
Eric Scott, UK

The books are great, even though only a couple of characters are explored in depth the plot and action is fantastic. To turn this into a film is a massive undertaking. This film is massive. Those people who are Tolkien purists expecting a book on screen exactly as they imagine it need to calm down and appreciate a real work of art.
Andrew Round, UK

It is a visually stunning and well-acted film, which kept me hooked all the way through. Surprisingly, the only real let down was the script, which was a real clunker. After lots of advance publicity about the problems of adapting Tolkien, it turns out that it is those (few) scenes which trust Tolkien's dialogue which are the tightest and most moving of the film. Tolkien is a better story-teller than Jackson, and the film would have done well to have been more faithful, not less.

If all the interpolated scenes and dreary swoop shots had been replaced with the key narrative and character developments which the script elides, the film would have been no longer, but it would have been more engaging, tense and funny.
Stuart, UK

Saw the film last night ... having read the book five years ago. I was amazed at how some of the scenes matched my mental image whilst reading the book ... a testament to both Tolkien and Jackson. The special effects are breathtaking - and 3 hours passed far to quickly. Without a doubt the best film of 2001.
Dave P, UK

I was a bit anxious about this film as I thought it would be a complete catastrophe. One word! AWESOME!
Dave Seifi, England

I could have watched all three parts of LOTR in one go. Fantastic.
David Pullen, London,UK

Believe all the hype. This film is worthy of all the celluloid it uses. Its special effects will astound you and the acting from every one of the cast is divine. The only down part is the fact that we all have to wait another 12 months before the next installment.
Iain Rawlins, UK

My, how open minded Ruth is. To judge a film based upon rumours read on the internet. Fortunately, her opinion is irrelevant, as is any opinion from a person who is ignorant of that which they are discussing. Please go see the film and then give us your opinion, only then will it have any validity.
Phil Jones, UK

I have spent one of the most enjoyable mornings of my life totally engrossed by this great film - roll on the next two films
Chris O'Donoghue, UK

This diehard LOTR fan watched the movie, and loved it. It's Middle-earth, as envisioned and beautifully realised by Peter Jackson. It's not what he's detracted from Tolkien, it's what he's brought to the mythology that's important. Bloody brilliant. 'Tis a cruel irony, that the sooner you see The Fellowship, the longer you'll have to wait to see The Two Towers.
Drow, USA

I have my reservations - I too am not entirely happy with Arwen (although it DOES give a way of introducing the character - not always as easily done on film as in print) and I wasn't entirely convinced by the "Ninja Wizards" fight between Gandalf and Saruman - but apart from these niggles I was astonished how good this was. It's an excellent movie, and an excellent "translation" of the book. It would have been SO easy to make a pig's ear of this, and he didn't. Not overhyped, has been worth the wait.
Mike Ross, Scot in New York

It was with some trepidation as well as excitement that I went to see this film, and I was overjoyed to discover that Peter Jackson has done an excellent job. It doesn't cover everything in the book, but if it did then it would most likely be unwatchable - they are completely different media, and have to be treated as such. This is an amazing (and most likely the last) interpretation of Tolkien's mastepiece - but remember that its director said that the one true interpretation (the one to rule them all) is the one in your own head. He recognises that, and is clearly not trying to replace the books with the films - he's supplementing them. And doing it amazingly well.
Skip Bruce, Scotland

I'm an avid Tolkein book fan and can't wait to watch LOTR film again. There are lots of good things about the UK and this is one of them even though the film was shot and produced in NZ. Keep up the good work, Kiwis!
P. Wong, China

It's the most perfect film ever made.
Helen, UK

Only half the age of Bilbo Baggins I hobbled painfully out of the cinema after watching the Ring. That's a good sign. It means I sat transfixed for almost three hours and never stirred a muscle...hence the cramps.

Just once or twice during the film I snapped out of the escapism and wondered what on earth I was doing watching such childlike fantasy. But there's more than a touch of the child in us all and, after all, Tolkien's only taking up the mantle of Beowulf, the Arthurian legends and so on. Peter Jackson and co have created an epic. If you don't care for such fanciful heroes give it a myth!
Bilbo Brooke, UK

Excellent. OK, I've been a purist and could nit pick to my heart's content but what would that achieve? The main ingredients are there, as well as all the imagery and much as the mind's eye saw it. I reread the book just beforehand and felt I might have done some things differently, but only because I know the story. If the film brings millions more to Middle-earth then so much the better. As for the objections of the "devout", I've heard many a good sermon take the self-sacrifice of characters in LOTR as a basis.

Can we have the next two installments now please? Pretty please with, well, hobbits on.
Andrew Fanner, UK

Okay, so he (Peter Jackson) had to make a few changes from the book, but the film is still a masterpiece. The sets are amazing, the fight sequences are HUGE and the music is perfect. No film is ever as good as the book that it's based on but this one is close enough as not to matter. Is it important that Arwen was written in earlier (by a book and a half), that Merry and Pippin are a bit too childish and that the 17 year gap between Bilbo leaving the shire and the start of Frodo's quest disappears? No, they only change the story a little and only if you've read the books.

The only way you could get something identical to a book this size is to film it as 22 two-hour-long TV shows which no-one could afford. I'm sure Tolkien would be pleased with this result as the film has to, and does, appeal to those who have and haven't read the books.
Mark Taylor, UK

Just watched the film last night and boy was I disappointed. If Peter Jackson is going to make this amazing book into a film then please keep ti the original story. In the book, as we all know, all the hobbits are rabbit-like not troll-like! And what's the point in trying to make Gandalf into this great wizard when actually in the book he was a humble potter who used the "forces of clay" to shape Middle-earth into a world for his dying mother. Don't even get me started on how un-unicorn the orks looked...
Jim, UK

What happened to Tom Bombadil? What happened to the Barrow Downs? What happened to Arwen? and.... oh well. I thought the film was good (8/10) but I still feel that if you are going to make a film of a book then you should stick to the plot otherwise its not a film of the book. Oh yes, the end of the Fellowship of the Ring was completely changed... sigh!
Paul Attard, UK

Yes, the special effects are sensational. Yes, the scenery is stunning - surely a great advert for New Zealand. And yes, some of the set pieces - the initial battle, the sequence in the mines - are all powerful, although the drowning of the Black Riders was vas very reminiscent of the celebrated Guinness Ad in which the waves become white stallions.

But, did I feel any sympathy for the characters? No. Did I like the cheesy "Titanic-style" pipe music that seemed to occupy the last hour of the film? Not one bit - I kept expecting Kate Winslet to hold her arms out on top of a mountain. Did some scenes drag? Yes, many, especially the one at Rivendell, which was desperately tedious. The film could have lost a good 45 minutes and been the richer for it. This one is more for the fans I expect. And as for Tolkien himself, I doubt he is turning in his grave, but I suspect he is starting to rotate.
Guy Walters, UK

I was surprised by how much the film owed to Ralph Bakshi's cartoon version. Some of the scenes were exactly the same, only not cartoon! I didn't understand a couple of the plot deviations, which would have been better on all levels had they stayed true to Tolkien. Good, but could have been better. Ernie Smart got bored after the first hour, because the first hour is the most boring part.
Simon Haldon, UK

Well, George Lucas may be trying to kill the magic of the Star Wars trilogy with these prequels, but we now really do have "A New Hope". The Lord of the Rings trilogy has the potential to be every bit as good as that trilogy once was. Undoubtedly this movie will be hailed as a classic for years to come. Thank you Peter Jackson.
Berwyn Davies, UK

Forget the (utterly remarkable) books. Forget the fact that you will most probably know (most of) the story line. Forget gripes about character re-writes, merchandising, suspicious acting. And just go and lose yourself in this truly fantastic film. Immersed in nearly every emotion, struck by the beautiful scenery, caught up in magic. Hmmm - no place for a film/literary critic to be overly critical, since I'm sure 90% of the audience think their ticket money was well spent...and I'll probably see it again.
Chris Eaton, Malvern, UK

For the complainers so far... Adam: One would think that you are Robert de Nero or Al Pacino. Your comments on the acting are undeserved in the extreme.

Ruth: You may be a diehard fan, however, it seems a pity to be so short-sighted as to not even watch the film. It should be obvious that some changes have to be made for a screen adaptation. But that is precisely what it is, an adaptation...not an exact replica. The feel of the film is true to the book, despite a host of changes. The film is meant for a wide appeal, not just for the diehard fan, but it strikes me that you cannot be a true fan if you will not even consider seeing the film. You might be suprised and actually enjoy it!
Ewan, UK

Absolutely magnificent! A fantasy film that never condescends or takes a short-cut at the expense of an author's vision. Like so many other people I have been waiting decades for this movie. Never have patience and hope paid off so handsomely. Thank you, Peter Jackson!
Robert del Valle, USA

I have read the LOTR books at least a dozen times as well as every other work associated with Middle-earth and I have to say that the film is a splendid adaptation of the J.R.R Tolkien epic. We have to bear in mind that time and again Peter Jackson has made the point that it would be impossible to tell the whole tale complete in every detail. That said the special effects in the film were breathtaking in parts and astounding as a whole. It really captures the scale of Middle-earth as a place of beauty, terror, wonder, fear and most of all, depth. Well done to Peter Jackson and all the cast and crew for all their hard work. Roll on 2002!
Lee, England

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