Jan 11, 2019 in Film Review

"The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" James Bowman Film Review

There is a saying that tastes differ. That is something that should be taken into consideration while analyzing certain works of art. Nevertheless, it is also important to be critical about things that one sees in order to see their true value. It is something that James Bowman tried to do while reviewing films. One of his most interesting reviews is the one about the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. This review is particularly important because of movie’s popularity, and also because of an original approach Bowman used toward the analysis.

Bowman’s overall opinion of the movie is mixed. He found some positive aspects in it, but he also stated many negative aspects. Bowman found the movie to be rather dull stating; it did not excite him much. According to Bowman, the effects of the movie also did not impress him because they were seen before in many other movies. Bowman also noted that although Jackson’s directing was smart and well-managed, the movie did not strike the critic with “the force of revelation”. Nevertheless, Bowman noted some positive aspects of the movie such as faithfulness to the book. He praised the fact that magical creatures in the movie look like they were described in the book. He also praised movie’s focus on Sam Gamgee’s loyalty to Frodo. In the conclusion, Bowman recommended seeing the movie as a kind of “rambling heroic epics that have little structure or internal cohesion — though this has both — but that still manage to stir our souls at the moments of stark confrontation with a heroic imperative”.

Bowman expressed interesting ideas, but it is hard for me to agree with him. First of all, he seemed to absolutely miss the point about “The Lord of the Rings” and its importance. The movie is definitely “not one of those”, meaning it differs greatly from other fantasy movies. Why? Since, fantasy world is merely a metaphor of the real one, which is why it is important to analyze not only visual effects, but themes and motifs of the movie. The film itself carries many valuable ideas, which Bowman did not mention or simply did not notice. For example, he wrote nothing about Boromir’s betrayal, and then regret. Boromir’s death, sorrow and ultimate recognition of Aragorn are one of the key moments in the film, which represent people’s inner struggles and their consequences. Jackson’s movie also deserves appraisal for amazing portrayals of the nature and contrasts, which the director has used in order to show different situations. For example, the film opens with the settings in happy Shire, but with the movie’s progress, the tones become darker and gruesome, surrounding main characters – as well as spectators – with approaching darkness. Bowman praised Jackson’s faithfulness to the book, which is something very important. Unfortunately, acting was left unnoticed by the movie critic. It is necessary to say that actors really felt their characters. Ian McKellen, for example, truly became Gandalf the Grey, towering above the rest both physically and mentally thanks to his magical skills. Hobbits that were portrayed as tiny creatures, thanks to computer effects, seemed like little children who suddenly got huge burdens on themselves. They were shown as pure, na?ve, sometimes irrational, but brave and loyal, too.

Thus, it can be said that Bowman was right about some things in the movie, which was definitely a good thing, but he did not grasp film’s overall value and meaning. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring brings a fantastic tale to people where they can find their childhood combined with emotions of the real world. Beautiful landscapes and the amazing cast make the movie even more appealing not to mention dramatic and epic scenes such as Boromir’s death or Gandalf’s fight with an ancient demon Balrog.

Nevertheless, thanks to Bowman’s reviews and previous studying, I have learned a lot about arts criticism. It requires objective and unbiased approach to the analyzed work as well as the ability to see deeper meanings of the analyzed artworks. I understood that reviewing movies was actually something I liked because I could be quite objective and improve my own critical skills. In arts criticism, it is very important to take a critical stance and support it with logical arguments, which can be proven. Thus, it is crucial to defend one’s position basing on the facts, not only on emotions. Such approach is very important while analyzing movies, because such work needs well-developed critical position as well as the arguments that support it.

Related essays