Top critical review
I'd forgotten why I didn't like the movie version
Reviewed in Canada on March 14, 2021
I started reading the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) when I was a kid, and reread endless times well into adulthood. Loved the book; as I matured I found all kinds of depth to it that wasn't apparent to me as a child. The writing was gorgeous (though modern young readers would probably find it too 'long', since our attention spans have shortened), there was a deep backstory that made the world seem 'real', and so forth. Some have said that key characters - like Aragorn - had no story arc, and this is actually true in the sense that his story arc, and that of other characters like him, occurred over the course of that backstory, not in the LOTR itself. There perhaps the story arc is that of the hero's journey - which is mostly the story of the hobbits, especially Frodo and Sam.
Recently I've been reading reviews and comments about the LOTR, including the movies, and so decided to watch the first of the movies myself. I'd seen it once after it came out, now almost 20 years ago. Each movie represented one of the books. Fellowship of the Rings was my favorite of the trilogy; the movie by comparison seemed even more appalling today than when I last saw it. Without the backstory, all the characters assembled for this fellowship seemed shallow, relationships weren't explained, Elrond was horribly horribly cast, as were I felt Frodo to some extent, Gimli, and, much as I like Kate Blanchett, Galadriel too. Timelines were skewed and compressed, and also made little sense, especially Gandalf's imprisonment in Isengard, and then his appearance at Elrond's council, which also was a big disappointment. One of the most telling parts of the disconnect to me occurred when Gandalf apparently died Moria. Apart from perhaps the hobbits, why would the others grieve him? There was next to no backstory for any of them, including Aragorn's long friendship and work with Gandalf. Finally, the CGI was overwhelming and often intrusive, the slimy orcs particularly annoying (and looking like every other monster in every other movie). So I suppose this was fun for kids, and people who like superhero movies. A good interpretation of the books, or good cinema, it was not.