The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Sunday September 25th

Lord of the Rings Captures Magic, Mystery

Lord of the Rings

The next Star Wars Trilogy has been born.

The first in a series of three films to be released over the next two years, "Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring" sets a near impossible standard to follow. Capturing all the energy and fantasy of J.R.R. Tolkien's legendary epic but never alienating viewers unfamiliar with the series, this film is both creative and enchanting.

From the very start, fans and newcomers alike are immersed in Middle-earth with a combination of beautiful scenery and characterization. Jackson's elite team of set makers and special effects artist capture the mood of every scene -- from the sweeping hills of the Shire to the cavernous wasteland of Mordor, no scene is neglected.

Fans of the book will be amazed by the perfect interpretations of both scenes and characters, and a few inside jokes are even thrown in. Elijah Wood finds his first defining role in the bravery and determination of Frodo, while Ian McKellen exudes Gandalf's quiet wisdom and unflappable power.

Even the secondary roles, which could have easily become one-dimensional in the hands of less talented actors, are beautifully realized -- from raucous Gimli to the haunted Boromir. Every character was carefully constructed, from clothing to speech, details which Jackson was clearly passionate about.

Though the film borders on a three-hour epic journey, the action is so intense and unyielding that the film almost seems rushed. Every step that the band of heroes takes is a race against time. The film is action-packed but thankfully blends the fantastic moments of magic and emotion that the book birthed.

The transition from fantasy to film is probably the most impressive element of the epic. The script focuses on all of the key moments -- even blending in a few direct lines from the tale -- but weeds out gratuitous description. The writers did an amazing job of leaving out enough to keep the film alive while preserving the text with passionate loyalty.

"Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring" is the best film of the year and even rivals the legendary and untouchable "Star Wars" with its fantastic story. Everyone from the actors to the artist will walk away with awards from nearly every category. The only problem with the film is the ending, not because it doesn't fit or disappoints but because it makes it impossible to wait an entire year for the next film.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at artsdesk@unc.edu.

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