NewsWire: `Lord of the Rings' movie captures magic of book - Chicago Sun-Times
`Lord of the Rings' movie captures magic of book
January 13, 2001
BY DAN MILLER BUSINESS EDITOR
They got it right.
At least they got it right in the two-minute trailer for "The Lord of the Rings" I viewed at its debut in Chicago on Friday. Well, 40 seconds were taken up with titles, credits and a tight focus on the Ring.
But those other 80 seconds . . . superb.
They're getting it right.
J.R.R. Tolkien's 1955 epic fantasy chronicles the battle between good and evil during the Third Age of Middle Earth, and requires several hundred thousand words of wondrous prose in three volumes recounting the quest to destroy a certain ring of power or be destroyed by it. The trilogy has sold millions of copies, proving its durability as one of the most intensely realized fantasy epics of all time.
Surely not all of that tale of heroism and betrayal, courage and cowardice could possibly be dramatized in director Peter Jackson's three-part film, which opens Dec. 19. But the trailer reveals that Jackson is relying on depth of character and a compelling story in the first of the three films, and suggests grand things to come in succeeding installments.
With suitably heroic music swelling in the background, the longest section of the trailer introduces the nine members of the Fellowship of the Ring one at a time as they crest the snow-capped Mountains of Moria on their quest to destroy the ring. In the faces of the travelers, we see their destiny.
These are no two-dimensional cuddly cartoon characters. They are living beings of substance, and it's evident in their ragged, dirty dress and their bearing.
Gandalf the wizard, obviously testy, tired and troubled, leads the company. He's followed by Legolas, elvish and elegant, and then Gimli, the plodding, steadfast dwarf lugging a broadax.
The four hobbits follow next, pals Merry and Pippin, Samwise and Frodo the Ringbearer.
But these aren't the squeamish, weak-kneed hobbits who showed up in those wretched cartoon movies and Rankin-Bass drawings. These are real beings--rugged, determined, bewildered certainly, but capable of acquitting themselves in a quest that will bring an end to the Third Age.
Boromir appears next, his face a tangle of frustration and indignation. And finally, Aragorn, the king still hidden in dirty clothes, waiting for his moment to claim his throne or be crushed by the evil growing in the East.
In a quieter scene, Cate Blanchett personifies the ethereal beauty of Lady Galadriel as she whispers to Frodo that even small folk can do great deeds. No wonder Gimli Gloin's Son fell under her spell.
Quick cuts in the trailer show the fearful Black Riders pounding along the Great East Road, spreading terror as they seek to intercept the hobbits and the ring.
Dec. 19, 2001. Mark your calendar. In the meantime, $5.75 for the trailer is worth it.
Dan Miller, 55, first read The Lord of the Rings in 1965 and has the first edition paperbacks to prove it.