J R R Tolkien is one heck of a famous guy in Hyderabad - not because he has had a fantasy classic of a book called The Legends Of Middle Earth, but because he makes a surreptitious entry on page 242, word list 41 (Barron's). And while every Hyderabadi in the age group of 20-24 makes knowing noises, there might be a few clueless - and those are the educated three out of seven people who actually had the literacy (and patience) to go through the book.
For the rest of the Brady Bunch with no access to the Public Library, this flick is well worth the ignorance.
The movie, like the book on which it is based, is set in Middle-Earth - home to Dwarves, Humans, Wizards, Elves and Hobbits. What's a Hobbit? Well, it's almost like an 8-year-old, only with much hairier feet. Anyways, Hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) has in his possession 'the ring'! No ordinary ring this; you see, it is the ring that rules all other rings - the ring leader so to speak.
On his 111th birthday, Bilbo decides to take a journey into the woods (presumably to have his legs waxed) and hands all his worldly possessions over to his nephew, Frodo (pixie boy Elijah Wood). The ring, like we all probably don't know, has been 'forged by the Dark Lord Sauron in the fires of Mountain Doom'. A rather unfortunately titled place, but when you hear stuff like that, you know that there's bound to be trouble.
Now this is the same circlet that the Dark Lord must have to gain invincibility. Not one to give up without a fight, Frodo decides to penetrate into deep country (New Zealand to be precise), plunge the ring into fires, and thus vanquish Sauron.
Not a job to be done single-handedly, Frodo forms an alliance (the fellowship) with a good sorcerer (no! not Harry Potter!) Gandalph (Ian McKellen). Gandalph ropes in his elf pals, and thus arrives Legolaf Greenleaf (Orlando Bloom), a flaxen haired archer, and the paragon of human heroism, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen).
Aragorn's love interest is played by Liv Tyler, who hasn't seemed to have made an on-screen appearance after her dad's 100th birthday party. Anyway, considering that Hobbit land seems to be a boys-only club, there don't seem to be too many females around. The only other femme is once-upon-a-time Virgin Queen Cate Blanchett, who plays the elf queen Galadriel.
With the cast in place, over hill and dale go our intrepid team, encountering many opportunities to look more like pixels than people, to squelch the ring's evil, and to be chased by Ringwraiths - black cloaked figures who're neither alive nor dead (hmmm... sounds familiar).
This is when the popcorn packs go down with amazing speed as we all stare at some of the best visuals this side of the Atlantic. The movie chugs along purposefully, and we are drawn in from amazing scene to another.
There are also tons of weapons in this movie: swords and arrows and axes. Hey, you'd think folks who've mastered magic could whip up a gun or two!
Whatever your thoughts, there is one thing fershure - Lord Of The Rings rules the roost in terms of pokey-eyed heroes and lumbering anti-heroes. There is visual eye candy by the bagfuls, and the effect is stunning. And most amazingly, the story is second to none.
As this flick is the first part of a trilogy, there really isn't a concrete ending. Which means that the crowds that have been drooling during the flick will have to stock up on their drool for the next two films, due to be released over the next two years.
En fin, as Gandalph says, "We can't choose our time, we can only decide what to do with the time given to us."
So, have you decided?