Movies with Isaiah: See 'Fellowship of the Ring' during special showing in Sumter on Wednesday, Sept. 20


On Sept.  20, Beacon Stadium Cinemas will feature the beginning cinematic masterpiece whose associated trilogy in my opinion will never be surpassed. As much as I adore the original "Star Wars" trilogy, "The Lord of the Rings" has more of a powerful impact, cementing its quality with magical visual effects, mysterious intriguing moments and emotional character development that still find a way to move the heart and soul of the viewer.

 My exposure to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien happened in 2001 after purchasing a ticket to “The Fellowship of the Ring” when the Shaw Air Force Base movie theater had special shows for $1 on Friday nights. It was on that night that my introduction to the world of Hobbits, wizards, dragons, elves, various creatures and noble wandering warriors captured my imagination in the crowning cinematic achievement I still cherish today. “Fellowship of the Ring” features a massive ensemble cast of Elijah Wood, Sir Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Liv Tyler, Ian Holm, Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean and Andy Serkis. Director Peter Jackson took on the daunting task of adapting a series of classic novels that were described as fitting the definition of a story that was unfilmable.

From personal experience in terms of reading the works of Tolkien, I enjoy reading that allows me to escape into descriptive words of wonderment, magic and emotion. However, Tolkien’s creativity is intricately detailed with his style of writing, as the reader will possibly find himself or herself turning the pages on seeing how much longer a specific chapter continues. I still haven’t finished The Hobbit or the Fellowship trilogy. While reading “The Two Towers,” I unfortunately tapped out in completing the series. Tolkien’s writing, as I mentioned, focuses strictly on being attentive and descriptive of every character, weapon, water, trees and magic spells.

The epic tale begins with Bilbo Baggins reuniting with Gandalf for a celebration of Bilbo's birthday. Sensing an ominous power, Gandalf correctly deduces that Bilbo is in possession of an ancient ring of power forged by the hands of Lord Sauron. Its power has the ability of corrupting those who wear it with ultimate powers and abilities. The evil contained awakens the Eye of Sauron and ringwraiths seeking to reclaim what was originally thought to have been lost.

Bilbo’s nephew Frodo Baggins becomes tasked with taking the Ring to the fires of its creation for its destruction. Joining him on his quest are his fellow Hobbits and best friends Samwise Gamgee, his distant cousins Pippin and Merry, Legolas the fearless warrior elf, Gimli the battle-addicted dwarf, the wizard Gandalf and Strider/Aragorn, a mysterious figure desperately escaping his destiny in becoming King of Rohan.

The journey is filled with mystical twists and turns of various revelations involving state-of-the-art visual effects and set designs. Utilizing the principles of filming on location, Jackson directed and edited the entire trilogy in his homeland of New Zealand. Viewers are treated with amazing landscape cinematography of mountainous terrain, peaceful grassy fields, dense wooded areas and moments of experiencing nature in its glorious splendor. There is a quality of beautiful magic in how the film created a mystique of atmosphere of bringing the viewer into this luxurious world. Words cannot describe how Jackson successfully captured an element from the novels that I myself did not believe was remotely possible either.

What Jackson accomplished with this film is gradually build the mystique of Middle Earth. He centered on the absolute art of saving the best for last. It is fascinating how from a storytelling perspective it maintains the ability of keeping the audience physically and emotionally engaged with suspense, horror, comedy, action and drama all interwoven with perfect balance from its beginning to end. The highlight of the acting involves Astin, McKellen, Mortensen, Lee, Bean and Wood. Cinematic trilogies of the past have experienced falling victim to a decline in quality within the confines of its story. “The Fellowship of The Ring,” serving as the beginning of the complex, detailed journey, keeps the promise of magical beauty, experiences of sorrowful loss and intense, riveting action that surpasses “Braveheart” in my opinion. Everything about this film is perfect with it introducing the mythology of Hobbits, kings, goblins, wizards, elves, orcs and ringwraiths all engaging in a battle between good and evil.

Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy are three films that will never, ever be surpassed in his accomplishment of adapting a grandiose mystical story into cinematic masterpieces. The world of cinema will never experience a series of films like this ever again. Its following sequels perfected the art of surpassing their predecessors by exemplifying what it meant to be better, more powerful, emotional and expanding the lore in a method that words cannot accurately articulate their epic scope.

“Fellowship of the Ring” absolutely is the beginning of bringing the perfect literary masterpiece to life by remaining respectful to the source material. Its resounding success revolutionized film and revitalized interest in Tolkien’s artistry. Despite its three- to four-hour length, it does not feel like a meandering story where it becomes bogged by the details. It is a journey that deserves its cinematic experience on the silver screen once again, cementing its immortal legacy. "Fellowship of the Ring” is a prime example of why I adore the world of cinema and why I consider it the greatest cinematic trilogy of all time. Nothing comes close in my eyes.

To watch Isaiah Ridley's movie reviews online, find him @Izzy's Cinematic Escape on YouTube.