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     " This joins 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' in proving that any P.o.S. can get an Oscar nomination if enough money is spent hyping it. "

      Title: Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings by New Line Cinemas

      Format: Major Motion Picture

      Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult

      The Hype: The 2nd most printed story in history makes it to the big screen. Follow a band of 9 heroes as they fight evil and journey to New Zeeland…er…Mordor…To destroy a ring that could rule humanity if it fell into the wrong hands. The first in a trilogy, Fellowship sets the stage for epic battles to come.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Story: What you may or may not know about Lord of the Rings is that it is, arguably, the most influential fiction in history. Star Wars, Dungeons and Dragons, Babylon 5, Star Trek, and thousand of other sci-fi / fantasy stories beg, borrow, or steal story from this quintessential epic. That's the good news. Here's the bad: This movie has almost none of the story in it! Now, remember, this review is about 1 movie not the trilogy as a whole and, looking at it that way, the story pretty much sucks. It starts with a voice over that covers some thousand years of pre-history in uber-ultra-mega fast forward, moves to an overly drawn expose on the ring and its importance, and then sort of meanders its way through the start of a quest to destroy the ring…And that's it. No real arc, no real movement, and absolutely no completion to speak of. And that's not to mention the thoroughly confusing presentation of characters, events, and sub plots. With character names like Isildur, Gondorian. Legolas, Boromir, and Smeagol you'd think they'd take some time for good character introduction and exposition…But they don't. Frankly, I'm not sure they even bother to introduce half the characters when they're brought on screen.
          What's more, even if you can associate name to face, 2/3rds of the people paraded in front of you are never, ever explained! This means that just because you see the guy with the broadsword doesn't mean you'll have any idea who the guy with the broadsword is! This is especially confusing when the characters are trying to extrapolate on deep, meaningful interpersonal relationships and you have no idea who they are, how they know each other, or what the hell they're talking about!!! And I know it wasn't just me. I saw it twice and, after both shows, I asked various strangers at random to tell me who some of the characters were and why they were interacting they way they were. The only ones who could answer were the people who had read the book. And that, more than any thing else, is the pure and total annoyance of Lord of the Rings. If you've read the book it'll make sense. If you haven't you'd better have someone with you who can explain it afterwards. And that's just bullshit however you cut it. If we were supposed to have read the book before hand they should have been handing it out when I bought my ticket.
          Finally, as if all that isn't enough, the movie just sort of stops at the end. It doesn't wind down, it isn't resolved, it doesn't even have a palpable pause…it just suddenly stops. Right in the middle of the story. Which is even more confusing than the convoluted social structure and nameless characters.
          Trust me...You should ignore all the Oscar buzz and fantasy geek rhetoric. Without question, this first movie leaves you absolutely starved for any real impetus and makes almost no sense on its own. 1 out of 5

      Acting: Hey Elijah…Look confused! Okay…now look scared! Great…Now look confused again! Outstanding! Okay, so it's not quite that bad- but it's close. The acting, much like the characters, is completely and totally two dimensional and frankly left me wondering how so many award winning actors could so consistently look completely uninspired. Though, truthfully its not their fault…when your characters have the emotional range of a crumpet it's probably hard to act realistically. 2 out of 5

      Action: For a 3 hour medieval fantasy flick, Lord of the Rings produced surprisingly little action. That being said, what action it did produce can be divided into two distinct categories: Great and Crap. What's great is every serious scene that is key to the plot: A badass battle with a cave troll, and bitchin encounter between an archer and some orcs, and the dramatic fight where a hero dies. What's crap is pretty much everything else- being composed entirely of cookie cutter sword fights and half rehearsed choreography. 3.5 out of 5

      Visuals and Directing: The one true shining point, without question, on Lords is the visuals! Boy, howdy, the colors, the shots, the ambiance, the costuming…It's all epic! It'll almost make you forget that you're being bored out of your skull for the better part of three hours. The only flaw, and though noticeable it's not a big deal, is the lack of consistency in the CGI. Things change sizes, can move kind of funny, and aren't always consistent in their animation. 4.5 out of 5

      Sound Track: Maybe I'm getting jaded, but I'm having trouble differentiating the sound tracks between medieval epics any more. Braveheart, Rob Roy, Lord of the Rings…They all sound the same. Not that they don't sound great, just that I think it's time for something new. 3.5 out of 5

      Value vs. Admission: Well, if you stack it up as time spent for your buck I guess it's a pretty good deal. I mean, how many other things can you do for 2 bucks an hour? Still, in any other capacity, it's pretty much a waste. It's not a story in its own right, it'll leave you confused, and the stop (notice I don't call it an ending) may be the single lamest termination of a movie in history. 2 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       Though I know a thousand neophyte fantasy freaks will spam me with hate mail, a movie, any movie, must stand on its own merits. It can not rest on its legacy (i.e. the books) and not on the promise of what's coming next. And, when you keep that in mind, I think this movie falls down flatter than a Hobbit under a steam roller. It's poorly explained, incredibly confusing, overly long, and has no arc of its own.

      The Good: It's very pretty.

      The Bad: The story, characterizations, lack of resolution, and abrupt ending.

      The Overall Ugly: This joins "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" in proving that any P.o.S. can get an Oscar nomination if enough money is spent hyping it.

      What it's Worth:

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