<p>Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (DVD) (WS)</p><p>In the first part of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, a shy young hobbit named Frodo Baggins inherits a simple gold ring. He knows the ring has power, but not that he alone holds the secret to the survival--or enslavement--of the entire world. Now Frodo, accompanied by a wizard, an elf, a dwarf, two men and three loyal hobbit friends, must become the greatest hero the world has ever known to save the land and the people he loves.</p>
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As the triumphant start of a trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring leaves you begging for more. By necessity, Peter Jackson's ambitious epic compresses J.R.R. Tolkien's classic The Lord of the Rings, but this robust adaptation maintains reverent allegiance to Tolkien's creation, instantly qualifying as one of the greatest fantasy films ever made. At 178 minutes, it's long enough to establish the myriad inhabitants of Middle-earth, the legendary Rings of Power, and the fellowship of hobbits, elves, dwarves, and humans--led by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and the brave hobbit Frodo (Elijah Wood)--who must battle terrifying forces of evil on their perilous journey to destroy the One Ring in the land of Mordor. Superbly paced, the film is both epic and intimate, offering astonishing special effects and production design while emphasizing the emotional intensity of Frodo's adventure. Ending on a perfect note of heroic loyalty and rich anticipation, this wondrous fantasy continues in The Two Towers (2002). --Jeff ShannonAdditional Features:
This initial DVD release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring presents the theatrical version of the film with a beautiful picture and Dolby Digital 5.1 EX sound that rattles the walls and gives rear speakers a good workout. Extras include almost two hours of making-of programs previously seen on TV or on the Web, but for many fans the most tantalizing feature will be the 10-minute preview of the next film in the series, The Two Towers. You'll see interviews, the realization of Gollum, and brief but spectacular footage of the battle of Helm's Deep. Note that some of the bonus features overlap a bit, and some were created to promote other products: books, a video game, and even the extended-version four-DVD set that directly competes with this DVD release by offering 30 minutes of extra footage incorporated into the film as well as two discs' worth of bonus features (none of which are duplicated here). Serious fans of Peter Jackson's Tolkien adaptation will choose that option, but casual admirers will find this version has plenty to satisfy them. --David Horiuchi
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