After finishing the book, I watched the extended version of Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring (2001). So here’s my thoughts on how the story fared on its transition to the big screen.
As book adaptations go, its one of the best I’ve seen. However, I found the the film a lot more dramatic than the book and the pace was much quicker, of which the score enhances, and in my opinion is one of the best scores for a film. The right decisions were made in terms of what to get rid of and what to keep, however, even for a 3 hour film, after reading the book, the whole thing seems very condensed. But that’s the trouble of making books into films, you can’t have everything in the film. Luckily, for this story, there was plenty that could have been taken out (the walking, sleeping, stopping for food), and you’d still get the main events into the film.
Probably the only thing that I had the problem with the film is that, since a lot of the walking was taken out, I never really got a proper impression of time. The whole thing was so urgent. Instead of Frodo taking waiting 17 years from Bilbo leaving to actually leaving The Shire himself, the audience were given the impression that he set off the next morning. One thing I am thankful for is that the Council of Elrond was cut down, instead of taking as long as the 30 pages it took in the book.
I suppose the mark of a good book adaptation, is that you can understand the story from just watching the film, without having to read the book. Reading the book certainly supplemented my knowledge of Middle Earth and gave me a better understanding of the story.
I like the casting for this film. Especially since the film was a boost for many of the actors’ careers. For instance, Legolas was Orlando Bloom’s breakthrough role. However, after some research, the Fellowship that almost was is somewhat troubling. According to one article on MTV.com, Nicholas Cage was offered the part of Aragorn. Just thinking about him playing Aragorn actually made me sick a little, probably because of his terrible english accent in Season of the Witch. I’m glad Viggo Mortensen agreed to play Aragorn instead.
Overall, as book to screen adaptations go and even as a stand alone film, I thought this one was rather exceptional. In regards to the book vs the film, I can’t say that I like either more than the other. While it is the same story, I like each the book and the film for different reasons. I like the book for the fullness of the story, but I like the film for the amazing scenery, especially how beautiful Rivendell is. As I’m sure like many have before me, both the book and the film adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring have definitely become my favourites, and I’m sure that my journey into Middle Earth, though hardly finished yet, won’t be the last that I take in my life.
Next Time: The Two Towers by J.R.R Tolkien – Book Three: Chapters 1 to 11