Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +4

Content: -2

J.R.R. Tolkiens fantasy world of Middle Earth comes to life in the first of three films telling the adventurous tale of one small groups journey to turn back the overwhelming tide of evil threatening the world. Fans and newcomers to the fiction are given a brief introduction to the One Ring, its making, its evil power and its discovery by the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm). After his 111th birthday party, Bilbo disappears, leaving the ring to his nephew, the young hobbit Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood). Bilbos friend, the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), discovers the secret of the ring and starts Frodo on his eventful journey to Rivendale, the city of elves. When the Council of Rivendale decides the evil ring must be destroyed, Frodos entrusted with taking the ring to the only place it can be destroyed. But the spirit of the rings evil maker seeks its power, to once more rule the earth. The fellowship is forged as Frodo is helped on his journey by his three hobbit companions, Gandalf and representatives of the elves, dwarves and men. Despite its three-hour length, the visually stunning film and enthralling adventure will capture audiences with its tale of bravery and friendship.

Underlying the story are allegorical references to both World War two, which was raging at the time of the books'' writing, and Biblical events. Tolkien was a friend of noted Christian writer C.S. Lewis and is even credited with steering Lewis into his discovery of Christianity. A professor of medieval history, Tolkien created an entire fantasy world populated with elves, dwarves, wizards, hobbits, and men. But the ring story is filled with nightmarish villains as well and gruesome battles between good and evil forces. In staying close to its source material, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS includes scenes that are intense and sometimes scary. Medieval-type warfare with swords, arrows and battleaxes includes graphic beheadings, bloody wounds and severed limbs. Wizards and elves are portrayed as immortal and cast spells, in a language created by Tolkien, while battling demons and each other. But the true theme of the story is the value of different peoples standing together against evil and forming enduring friendships that endure despite the upheavals in the world. Aimed at older teens and adults, the graphic, gruesome battles, while true to the book, prevent our recommendation. However, parents may prefer finding the milder, animated versions by Rankin-Bass - THE HOBBIT and RETURN OF THE KING.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
New Line Cinema, 888 7th Ave., 20th Fl., New York, NY 10106

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: None

Violence: Many times Moderate and severe (many sword cuts and stabs, axe hits and arrows shot into heads/ chests, hand/fingers cut off, gate knocked onto man, wizards throw one another against walls, screams, scene of torture instrument, flood washes away horsemen, pushing, tentacles grab people, tentacles severed, arm cut off, beheading, spear in chest, fall into pit, near drowning)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Pipe smoking, ale drinking, drunken behavior

Other: Power of evil corrupts even desire to do good, elves/ dwarves/ wizards/ hobbits/ men seen as different races joined to fight common evil, evil seen as fiery spirit, female elf shows love by giving up immortality, young hobbit accepts burden of destroying ring, spells cast by wizards/ elf, man redeems weakness by self-sacrifice, wizard combats demon to save others, hobbit shows servant-friendship/doggedly keeps promise

Running Time: 180 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.