Film Discussion 18: Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Nick and I had a great discussion yesterday about Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. We dove into what made the movie different from the book and what that means in terms of the story, then went broader to the difference between myth-making and storytelling in general. In the end, we seemed to decide that Tolkien was both the myth-maker and a storyteller of Middle Earth, but he's not the only one who can tell these stories.

As far as Peter Jackson's success as a storyteller of Middle Earth, that will be something we continue to discuss with the next two films. We'd love to hear your thoughts, and please join us for the next discussion and weigh in on these incredible films. Until then!

Show Notes

1. "Lord of the Rings, The: The Fellowship of the Ring" by James Berardinelli

With this production, Jackson has used The Lord of the Rings to re-invent fantasy for the cinema in the same way that the novel provided the blueprint for the written word.


If the books are about brave little creatures who enlist powerful men and wizards to help them in a dangerous crusade, the movie is about powerful men and wizards who embark on a dangerous crusade, and take along the Hobbits.
...the movie depends on action scenes much more than Tolkien did. In a statement last week, Tolkien's son Christopher, who is the "literary protector" of his father's works, said, "My own position is that 'The Lord of the Rings' is peculiarly unsuitable to transformation into visual dramatic form." That is probably true, and Jackson, instead of transforming it, has transmuted it, into a sword-and-sorcery epic in the modern style, containing many of the same characters and incidents.

3. "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)" by Jeffrey Overstreet

Frodo is not merely a cipher, like Harry Potter is. Frodo has to choose to do what he is doing, while Harry Potter just wanders into and out of scenes with wide eyes and a smile. Frodo has to choose, every moment, to go forward, to endure, to carry a burden unimaginable even to great men.