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The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

You probably know what Peter Jackson's adaptation of this first book in J.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy is about. Many millennia ago, the One Ring — the Ring of Power forged by the evil lord Sauron to enslave the people of Middle Earth — was lost. Years later it was acquired by a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm). Having just "turned eleventy-one," Bilbo's about to celebrate his birthday whilst planning one last, big adventure. Before he leaves, he gives all his possessions (including the ring) to his nephew Frodo (Elijah Wood). Unfortunately for Frodo, the Dark Lord Sauron, creator of the ring, has been lying dormant waiting for the right moment to rise up, nab the ring and get on with his evil work. However, Gandalf the wizard (Sir Ian McKellen) recognizes the Ring of Power and urges Frodo to take it and flee. So Frodo, along with his servant Sam Gangee (Sean Astin) and fellow hobbits Merry and Pippin (Domini Monaghan and Billy Boyd), hit the road, with Sauron's terrifying black ringwraiths in hot pursuit. Eventually, after a few close calls, the hobbits arrive at the home of Elrond (Hugo Weaving) in Rivendell, where a committee of the remaining races opposed to Sauron get together and vote that the One Ring must be destroyed. Tricky bit of business, that, since it can only be destroyed in Mordor ... the home of Sauron. And so a Fellowship is created to complete this task — the four hobbits plus Aragorn (Viggo Mortenson), heir to the throne of Gondor; Boromir (Sean Bean), also from Gondor and destined to be tempted by the evil of the ring; Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), a mighty dwarven warrior; and Legolas (Orlando Bloom), an Elf with a wicked way with a bow. And that covers roughly the first 15 minutes of the three-hour plot. It's lush, entertaining, visually stunning and simply a fantastic thrill ride for the imagination. As far as extras, go, this first of at least two Fellowship of the Rings DVD releases is cleverly designed as sort of an archive commemorating the release of the film, heavy on the behind-the-scenes publicity featurettes. There are three of those, in fact: Houghton Mifflin's Welcome to Middle-earth, Quest for the Ring, and the Sci Fi Channel's presentation A Passage to Middle-earth. Also on board are fifteen two- to five-minute featurettes originally presented on lordoftherings.net; a10-minute exclusive preview of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers; a ten-minute preview of the upcoming four-disc set, which will include 30 minutes of restored material; a preview of Electronic Arts Two Towers video game; the original theatrical trailers and TV spots; and the music video for Enya's "May It Be." Dual-DVD slimline keep-case.
—Dawn Taylor

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