“There’s a little bit of ‘geek’ and ‘hero’ in all of us.”
Even if I hadn’t heard about Rise of the Fellowship through the grapevine of friends and current and future colleagues, its likely that this film still would have crossed my path. I am a Lord of the Rings fan—both Tolkien’s literary masterwork and Peter Jackson’s cinematic adaptation (which I rambled on about just a few posts ago)—as well as a fan of fantasy and sci-fi in general and an independent filmmaker myself. However, I’m not generally a fan of parodies or spoof-style movies so I had some initial concern that Fellow’s Hip—as it was called then—was going to be something more along those lines; a perfectly pleasant romp that, while clever in its delivery, still just retold the same story with a different setting and vernacular.
I was delighted to find, though, that this was not the case at all. The film is distinct and entirely its own, which, truly, is its biggest strength.
While it does pay very respectable homage to Tolkien (with, for example, the inclusion of the Tom Bombadil-esque character Baba Melvin) and, too, to Jackson’s cinematic style, the story is solid and accessible to moviegoers outside the fan bases onto whom the film would otherwise seem to be focused; (fantasy and gaming at large). It’s a real thrill to any audience member; one who is a part of those communities or not. That is, at least to me, one of the biggest tasks in any adaptive-film project and this film absolutely succeeds with it. As an audience member, it made my experience of the film surprising and more enjoyable than I could have predicted.
My other personal favorite aspects of the film are the pacing and tone; the comedy and seriousness are perfectly balanced and the nerd-factor is never overdone. These gamers, as the film’s heroes and main characters, aren’t exaggeratedly dorky or comedic, but neither are they excessively solemn or glorified. It’s inspirational, but light. It’s serious, but also fun!
The cast is excellent, the cinematography and production design are gorgeous and the musical score is beautiful. In short – I’ll recommend this film to anyone who’ll listen.
Check it out!