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Wednesday, 19 December, 2001, 18:40 GMT
Fans give movie Ringing endorsement
The Odeon
The first showing played to a packed house
By BBC News Online's Rebecca Thomas

The critics have praised it and now The Lord of the Rings has the endorsement of film fans as well.

Tolkien's classic has enthralled readers for decades so whether a movie version could weave the same magic was understandably open to debate.

But there was no hint of such controversy among the UK audience to come out delighted from the first showing of the film in London on Wednesday.

Most of the 2000 cinema-goers had smiles on their faces when they emerged bleary eyed from the three-hour performance at the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square.

Amongst them, there was a tangible buzz of excitement. John, in his 20s from London, summed up the general mood.

I've read the book loads of times and the film lived up to all my expectations

Tolkien fan

"The movie was great and I really want to see the other two as soon as possible," he trilled. "The best bit for me was the sword fighting."

A young couple who had booked their tickets more than a month in advance had made a two-hour journey to see the movie. But both agreed their efforts had been worthwhile.

"I've read the book loads of times and the film lived up to all my expectations, even though I was sceptical before seeing it," said one.

"In fact, I don't know how they managed to make the film so good and true to the book. My favourite character was Sam. Overall, it was wicked."

And his female companion was of the same mind: She said: "I thoroughly enjoyed it. The effects and suspense were wonderful. It was an early Christmas present."


Most of the audience were young and male and most said they were fans of Tolkien's book. Yet, even those in the crowd who had never even picked up a copy gave the film a strong endorsement.

Edouard from Holland
Edouard had already seen the movie in Holland

But no one could be more enthusiastic about Tolkien's mystical epic than 18-year-old Edouard van Diji from Holland.

Dressed in a grey hooded cape and brandishing a sword - fake of course - like some of the characters in the book, he had jetted to London straight after having seen the movie at midnight in his home land.

Mr van Diji said he was exhausted but elated and aimed to see the movie 10 times at least.

It's a different, more adult, audience than for Harry Potter but the film looks like being as popular

Chris Hilton, Odeon manager

"I loved the books and when I saw the film trailers I just had to see the film. It was great and I think the next two are going to be even better."

Mr van Diji said was slightly disappointed by what he considered to be some important missing elements to the story.

But he did not believe the film could have been any longer than three hours in length.


Yet, long though this first of three Lord of the Rings movies is, most of those questioned said the time had flown by.

And the other point of contention sparked by the PG-rated movie - its suitability for children - was largely dispelled.

Eleven year-old Mark and his father, on a trip to Britain from Australia, said the movie had struck the right balance.

Father and son
Father and son did not think the film was too scary for children

"It was a bit a weird in some bits, especially with the Orcs, but I really liked all the action and thought it was really good," said Mark with his father nodding his head.

The Odeon's manager, Chris Hilton thought the warning displayed at the start of the film was a necessary note for parents that there was violence in the film.

But, Mr Hilton concluded that nothing seemed to be putting the public off.

"We have sold 250,000 tickets for the period before Christmas and most performances are sold out.

"It's a different, more adult, audience than for Harry Potter but the film looks like being as popular."

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