Jackson Demonstrates His Wizardry in his The Lord of the Rings

Jason Campos

The best word to describe Peter Jackson’s film The Lord of the Rings is Wow! Jackson’s meticulous attention to detail in bringing J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic tale to the big screen is truly outstanding. The film follows the storyline of the book with astounding accuracy. The movie will thrill fantasy movie buffs and Tolkienites alike.

The cast for the movie is one of the best ensembles of actors that have come together in a long time. Elijah Wood’s Frodo Baggins, the hobbit who is charged with destroying the One Ring, is lovable and endearing. He convincingly conveys the human weaknesses and hidden strengths of Frodo’s character. Although the other characters that played hobbits in the film (Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, Ian Holm) have not had distinctive movie careers (Holm excluded) in my opinion, they complement Wood perfectly.

Some devoted fans might have a few minor reservations about some alterations to Tolkien’s original work, most notably the characters. The character of Arwen, played by Liv Tyler, was fused with another minor character from the story. Instead of the classic princess archetype of passivity and delicacy, Jackson has Tyler’s role changed to one of physical strength and outward show of bravery. Another example: Hugo Weaving’s Elrond, who is cynical and contemptible; there is a lack of compassion and wisdom that was not displayed. However, the changes do not mar the memory of Tolkien or do the film injustice.

Jackson’s native land of New Zealand, which has a range of climates and beautiful landscapes, was the perfect place to shoot the movie. Seemingly minor details such as the vegetation for the scenes in the Shire (the homeland of the hobbits) were not ignored. In fact, the vegetation was planted a year in advance so as to seem as natural and integrated with the background as possible. The writers had some of the characters speak Elven languages that Tolkien, who was a philologist and professor of Old and Middle English at Oxford, created over his lifetime.

The film took over a year and a half to complete and the actors were obliged to focus solely on the Jackson product. The commitment and energy that Jackson demanded from the actors is evident. Everyone who worked on the film, from the botanists and physical trainers to the actors and producers, deserve praise for their contributions to this wonderful cinematic masterpiece.