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“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings” follows the story of Frodo as he and a group of friends set off on a quest to destroy the “One Ring” before it’s evil creator, the Dark Lord Savron, can get it and use it to obliterate Middle Earth. This film has a huge following of fans, which is probably something to do with how well such a wide variation of themes and genres are included in the storyline of the film.
Although it is obviously a fantasy film – this is clear from the opening sequence in which the different races of Middle Earth are each given a set of rings – it has elements of other genres featured as well. The huge battle scene towards the beginning of the film hints towards an action/adventure aspect whilst the friendship between Frodo and Gandolf shows that the importance of trust and companionship will play a key part in how the plot evolves. The film begins with a woman’s voice telling the story of how the rings began life and goes onto explain who got the rings.
Whilst she is talking, we see the action on screen mirroring her words as well as an “ancient” map, which points out where in Middle Earth the different races of life live. We are then taken to a panning shot of a huge battle scene in which the keeper of the last remaining ring is defeated. From then on filming follows this one ring as its new owner is ambushed in the forest and the ring drops to the riverbed, then as a creature known as Gollum finds it. This sequence of filming ends when Bilbo Baggins finds the ring.
The next shot is in the Shire, sixty years later, and here we watch as Frodo meets up with Gandolf and the two friends take a trip through the village Frodo lives in. The locals are preparing for a party and for a while we are oblivious to who or why they are celebrating. This is until banner reading “Happy Birthday Bilbo Baggins” is raised between the trees. It is exceptionally important in this film that the setting is explained to the audience. This is because the entire world that the story is played out in is completely fictional.
To gain such needed explanation of setting, extreme long shots and panning shots were used during the battle scene, which meant the audience could understand the enormous scale of the battle. During the opening voice over section, a map was shown on screen pointing out where each of the races live, this gave the film more authenticity and almost made the audience feel this was a real place, and these creatures were real creatures, which was essential if the film wanted to capture the audience’s imagination.