December 11, 2001
SORRY, Harry, but Ive just seen a movie that runs Rings around you.
OK, theyve both got wizards, trolls, and a hero under 5ft 6in. But the comparison ends there.
Because The Lord Of The Rings is a fantasy adventure on a vast scale.
Harry Potter was, without doubt, a great kids movie but The Lord Of The Rings makes it look like an episode of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.
For almost three hours you are completely immersed in a stunning fantasy of hobbits, dwarves elves and orcs.
No matter how far-fetched the plot or the characters, all scepticism is blown away by the sheer scale and realism of the sets, make-up and special effects plus an acting performance by Sir Ian McKellen that even puts Potters Alan Rickman and Robbie Coltrane in the shade.
Unlike Potter, The Lord Of The Rings is not really for kids at all.
It is a dark, sinister movie which is gripping and at times terrifying even for grown-ups.
The censors gave the film a PG rating but warned that under eights might not be ready for the battle scenes and nightmarish characters.
They were right the Dark Lord Sauron makes Harrys foe Voldemort look like a big girls blouse.
The initial difference in the movies is that JK Rowling has written ripping yarns for kids, while JRR Tolkien wrote an epic saga with complex characters and plot twists.
Combine that with Rings director Peter Jacksons record £190million budget and the spectacular beauty of New Zealand and poor Hogwarts never stood a chance.
For all its wonderful sets Potter looks, by comparison, like it was filmed in a garden shed.
Twenty five years on people still speak of Star Wars in hushed tones. A quarter of a century from now they will do the same with The Lord Of The Rings.
Harry Potter 8/10
Lord of the Rings 10/10
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