Before I start, I want to clarify that this is a review of the films only. I have read the books between 13-20 times (I lost count at 13) and seen the whole trilogy of films more than 20 times. I have also read The Hobbit 3 or 4 times, read the Silmarillion twice, The Book of Lost Tales, Unfinished Tales and The Children of Hurin, so I would say I am pretty familiar with Tolkien’s work. The films are a pretty good reflection of the books but they are not an accurate rendering on screen, so if you really want to know and understand Tolkien, read the books; the man was a genius, so I can’t even attempt to do him justice in a review of his work. We are simply talking about Peter Jackson’s excellent movies here. I will attempt to outline what is good and bad about the movies and compare them with the books, as well as Harry Potter and Game of Thrones, both of which it’s frequently compared to. This whole review is a spoiler, so if you don’t want to know what happens to the characters, don’t read this.
The Fellowship of the Ring
The three movies begin with the Fellowship of the Ring. Frodo Baggins, nephew of the wealthy, respected (if only because of his wealth) and usually reserved Bilbo Baggins. Bilbo returned from an adventure some 70s years before with treasure that included a ring of invisibility. We needn’t concern ourselves with that story here; read The Hobbit for details of his adventure. Frodo is perplexed when Bilbo puts on the ring at his 111th Birthday disappears and then abruptly leaves the Shire, homeland of the diminutive race of hobbits. Only the wizard Gandalf, who has been a friend of the family since Bilbo’s adventure, has a clue what the ring is; it is the One Ring, a ring forged to control the races of men, dwarves and elves in ancient times by Sauron the Great, servant of the Lord of Darkness himself, Morgoth.