[MOVIE REVIEW]Fellowship rings in new year"My precious," cries Gollum, whenever he thinks of his magic ring of power. Audiences will say the same thing after they see "The Fellowship of the Ring," the first film in a planned trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings," which opened in Korea on New Year's Day.
It has been said that Tolkien's book divides the English-speaking world into two camps － those who have read "The Lord of the Rings," and those who are going to read it. Translating such a seminal work to screen is a tricky business, both for the book and the film. But the director Peter Jackson and his stellar cast have succeeded with "The Fellowship of the Ring." The film has it all － adventure, fantasy, thrills, faith, friendship and love. While remaining true to the book, the film sometimes even does a better job making it real, especially in its creation of the all-too-real monsters.
Set in the mythical world of Middle Earth, the story focuses on the One Ring － a magic ring, designed millennia past by the powerful, dark wizard Sauron, into which he poured "his malice, his cruelty, his hate for all life." Sauron was beaten once before, but the ring was not destroyed, allowing his spirit to live on. Now his evil has returned; all he needs is the One Ring to dominate Middle Earth again.
The heavy task of saving the world and destroying the ring falls by chance upon a hobbit － a member of a small, furry-footed, innocent race － named Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood). His journey evokes the gamut of emotions: love, hatred, friendship and betrayal. Together with three friends, Frodo sets out to Rivendell, home of the elf-lord Elrond, to meet the wizard Gandalf and to decide what should be done with the ring. Some want to use it to fight evil; some want to destroy it.
Certainly the temptation to use the ring is strong: There is an endless array of wraiths, orcs, demons and other horrors out to destroy the world. But the ring is evil and is able to seduce any dwarf, elf, wizard, hobbit or man who tries to use it.
In the end, the story says that people are weak, but there is always hope. Even though this is a fantasy film, and sometimes rather frightening and violent, this message of hope is what allows the story to appeal to everyone.
The hardest task now for Tolkien fans is to wait for the second film to come － "The Two Towers" will not be released until Christmas.
by Chun Su-jin
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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