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Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring Opens!

(by The first of three installments, Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring opened in theaters today to rave reviews from critics and several "Best Picture" nominations from film boards.

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring is rated PG-13 "for epic battle sequences and some scary images." The FX-filled adventure, with WETA providing the majority of visual effects, opened in 3,359 theaters nationwide with many midnight showings for diehard fans. Fellowship of the Ring is expected to be huge at the box office, but not as big as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which opened on thousands of more screens with a shorter run time (Fellowship of the Ring is nearly three hours long).

Here are select quotes from critics:

Paul Clinton of CNN - "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is a flawless adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's literary masterpiece. Director Peter Jackson and his brilliant ensemble cast have created a spectacular holiday gift for the whole world...Not since Gone With The Wind more than 60 years ago has a movie held up as well to the original book..."

Kenneth Turan of the Times - "...What a story it is, overflowing with invention, character and event. Here can be found hairbreadth escapes and heroism in the face of terrifying evil, violent battles and tender sentiments like 'I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of mankind alone.' The basic story line—nine individuals on a desperate quest to save the world—couldn't be simpler, but the incidents surrounding it, and the very nature of that world, couldn't be more satisfyingly complex. Which is what J.R.R. Tolkien intended..."

David Ansen of Newsweek - "First, let me tell you where I’m coming from. Before I saw The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, I didn’t know the difference between an orc and an elf, or what Middle-earth was in the middle of. This review is coming to you from a Tolkien-free zone. I went in to Peter Jackson’s movie—the first of a trilogy—with no preconceptions. I came out, three hours later, sorry I’d have to wait a year to see what happens next in Frodo Baggins’s battle against the Dark Lord, Sauron, and thinking a trip to the bookstore to pick up 'The Two Towers' might be in order..."

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring received major praise from all major newspaper movie critics except one. David Elliot, of the San Diego Union-Tribune, is the lone negative voice amongst major critics saying, "...Simply uttering The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is a verbal project. Watching the film for three hours is like hearing Wagner's Ring Cycle remastered by a genius of the kazoo -- the concepts remain grandiose, but the music gets rather oopsy..." Elliot hinted that he would have needed to smoke "weed" to get him through the movie.

The Associated Press said that moviegoers coming from an early morning showing are giving the film rave reviews. The AP quotes one person as follows:

"Amazing - just amazing," said Edward Chu, 26, leaving a late-night showing in Toronto. "I am definitely going to have to see that again. A couple of times."


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