11 December 2001
Hobbits, wizards and orcs ran riot in Londons Leicester Square last night (10 December) and that was just the fans. Onlookers donned all manner of Tolkien-inspired garb when they turned out to greet the stars of Peter Jacksons adaptation of archetypal fantasy epic, The Lord of The Rings.
The first of three instalments, The Fellowship of The Ring brings Tolkiens world of Middle-earth to life on the big screen for the first time and the entire fellowship were there in person to witness the event. Legolas the elf, Gimli the dwarf, Gandalf the wizard, Aragorn, Boromir and Hobbits four were all present and correct. The band were joined by elven beauty Arwen and dark wizard Saruman, all out of costume but fully in spirit for the films world premiere.
It was a profound life experience, stated Frodo Baggins himself, Elijah Wood, who linked arms with fellow hobbits Sean Astin, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan before joining his diminutive co-stars inside the cinema. The rest of the fellowship were no less awed by having been a part of what many will insist is the cinematic event of the year. Its the biggest picture of all time, insisted an ebullient John Rhys-Davies, We had a wonderful cast, a great director and a great script.
I was the first to review this film, on my website, said Sir Ian McKellen, laying the groundwork for what is sure to be an enthusiastic critical response, I didnt call it a masterpiece because I was too modest. But it is. In fact, the cast were universally energised about the film and the only regret seems to be that the whole experience is now behind them, with filming on all three films complete and the fairy tale scenery of the New Zealand shoot left behind.
For London, however, the story of the Ring is only beginning and, according to director Peter Jackson, it was only fitting that the film enjoy its first showing on British soil. Its fantastic to be here, he told us, Im really glad were having it here as this is the country Tolkien is from.
The grand chords of the films soundtrack echoed across the square as Elijah Wood, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Sean Bean and Orlando Bloom joined their co-stars and a host of other celebrities inside the cinema while five rings of fire burned either side of the buildings entrance. Leaving behind the crowds - humans and would-be goblins alike - those entering the cinema hurried to their seats to witness the first part of a story people said could never be filmed, finally played out on screen.
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