Run time: 228 mins
For those kids weaned on Harry Potter and are now ready for something a little grander in scope, this is the perfect opportunity to take that first step into Middle Earth.
Part one kicks off with a Cate Blanchet narrated prologue, establishing the creation of a maleficent ring by the dark lord Sauron, and his eventual (partial) defeat by the armies of elves and men. A thousand years later the ring happens upon a lowly hobbit named Frodo (Elijah Wood) and it is soon revealed by wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen, impeccably cast) that he must venture to destroy the ring and rid the lands of the dark lord for good. He is joined by his fellow halfling friends, an elf (Orlando Bloom), a dwarf (Jonathan Davis), and a man (Sean Bean); the fellowship is formed, and the journey begins.
Probably the biggest gamble Hollywood ever took on a director, Peter Jackson’s sweeping trilogy – based on Tolkien’s masterworks, and shot entirely as one production – is a joy to behold. When a film is this good, runtime is irrelevant. An absolute must see on the big screen. (Jack Whiting)