Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Profanity:No four-letter words, but strong Middle Earth language
Nudity/Sex:A kiss
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:Very intense peril, major characters killed
Diversity Issues:Tolerance of difference cultures and species
Movie Release Date:2001

Somewhere, there are future Hollywood directors who will tell magazine feature writers that they first decided to make movies as they watched “Lord of the Rings.”

It is that good. It is that once-to-a-generation, not since “Star Wars,” transcendent reminder of why we tell stories, why we have imagination, and why we must go on quests to test our spirits and heal the world. And it is a story that invites us into a fully-realized world with many different civilizations, all so thoroughly imagined that we do not only believe that they each have complete languages, but that they have dictionaries, histories, mythologies, schools, music, and poetry.

Our hero, Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), comes from one such culture. He is a Hobbit. And he is on a quest to return a powerful ring to the place where it was created, so it can be destroyed. A great wizard called Gandalf has told him that the ring can be the source of great evil. But of course this makes it very sought after by all kinds of scary folks, so Frodo has a lot of adventures ahead of him.

Peter Jackson, who directed and co-wrote the script, has created a movie that seems astonishingly inventive and new and at the same time somehow seems as though it always existed inside us. Every detail, from the tiniest plant to the hugest battle, is exactly, satisfyingly right. The bad guys, all thundering hooves and billowing capes, seem to have come from the core of every nightmare since the world began. All three movies in the series have already been shot, so we can expect his singular vision to carry us through to the end.

A couple of caveats — like Harry Potter, Frodo is a character who is more interesting on the page, where we can share his thoughts, than in a movie, where he is primarily called upon to look amazed, scared, or sad. And like Harry Potter, there were benefits to producing a series of films at the same time (continuity, commitment to getting all of the details right), but some drawbacks, too. So, we get glimpses of people who will be important later but now are somewhere between placeholders and distractions. I know they were there first, but I could not help thinking that all the women in the movie dress like Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks.

Parents should know that the movie might be overwhelming for younger children who are not familiar with the characters and story. I recommend preparing anyone younger than 12 with some background or encouraging them to read the simpler first story in the series, The Hobbit (about Frodo’s uncle, Bilbo). Characters are in severe peril and there are intense battle scenes.

Families who watch this movie should discuss why it is that only Frodo seems immune to the ring’s power to corrupt even honorable, wise, and powerful people and the notion that “even the smallest person can change the course of the earth.” If you were going to form a fellowship for a grand quest, who would you want to be in it?

Families who enjoy this movie should read the books, starting with the prequel, The Hobbit, with beautiful illustrations by Michael Hague. They may want to read more about New Zealand because its extraordinary topography provides the settings for Middle Earth or look at the gorgeously imaginative illustrations by Maxfield Parrish that inspired some of the art direction. They will also enjoy the “Star Wars” movies, Labyrinth, and Dark Crystal. I enthusiastically recommend the BBC audio version of the books, which might be just the thing to keep kids patient until the second movie in the trilogy opens up in December of 2002.



Previous Posts

A Trailer for A Movie You'll Never See: Moonquake Lake with Mila Kunis and Rihanna
"Moonquake Lake" has a lot of star power behind it -- "LEGO Movie" directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord and stars Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, and Rihanna. And it looks....intriguing, some sort of "Twilight"-style supernatural teen romance. It just isn't real. "Moonquake Lake" is a movie with

posted 3:54:43pm Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

New Additions to the National Film Registry: 2014
The Library of Congress has announced this year's additions to the National Film Registry. 25 “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant titles are added each year, under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act. The films must be at least 10 years old. The Librarian makes

posted 12:34:12pm Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Black Reel Awards Nominations 2014
One of the great pleasures of this time of year is voting for so many of my favorite filmmakers as a part of the Black Reel Awards. Thanks, as ever, to Tim Gordon for allowing me to participate. I think it is fair to say we had more and better choices this year than we ever have before. Here are

posted 9:14:29am Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

A Hannukah Version of "Shake it Off!"
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/NoHp2Rq8sMI?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:41am Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Visually stunning, capably presented, and utterly unnecessary, this final in the six-movie Tolkien cycle is just for the fans.  I think even Tolkien himself would cry "no mas" at this p

posted 5:47:22pm Dec. 16, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.