The ten-minute sequence of film that opens documents all the different beings that have had the ring in their ownership. Beginning with the monster, then the victor of the battle, through to Gollum and ending with Bilbo Baggins. It is an extraordinary journey for one ring to take, and intriguing to the audience when one thinks about what else the ring is capable of surviving. Each of the owners is different, in that they are all of different races and, as such, when just the ring and owner are shown, there are great variations between them.
The monster is dark and plain in colouring, with the all over background effect mirroring this, whereas the victor of the battle, and thus the man with the ring, is still dark, but there is more detailing to him, signifying that there is more to his personality and he has other worries than that of the ring. When Gollum finds it, the voice over talks about how it “… consumed him… ” and we are taken to a view of inside his cave. The mood is uneasy, the audience almost feel like they are intruding on it’s home, and everything is an eerie greyish-green colour.
Things still look dark when Bilbo Baggins picks up the ring, however the background isn’t at all as harsh as in Gollum’s cave, instead the backdrop is a woodland area which may be a reflection on the owner’s personality – that is, that he is a calm, more relaxed person. The voice over featured at the beginning has many aspects that one may find intriguing, such as the fact that it is a female voice. This creates an air of warmth and almost recognition between her and the audience, hence a feeling that the viewers have been invited into the world of Middle Earth.
When an audience feels they have a relationship with the characters of a film, they are likely to respond more openly to the ideas explored in that film. The anonymity of the voice over add a slight unease to the soft sincerity of the introduction – a hint that perhaps if you get too involved in the characters day to day lives, you may become lost in a world beyond your control. The music is also an attention-grabbing feature to the opening. Throughout the ten-minute section we studied, the music changes on several occasions as a way of provoking different feelings and emotions in the audience.
Two examples of how it can be used in extremities are the music featured in the battle scene, which is of a higher tempo and creates a tension and excitement, and the music when filming changes to the Shire. Here, a livelier, upbeat music is used to relax the audience and show that this is a happy village where people get on well together. The captivating differences between the action taking place during, and immediately after, the battle scene and that of the Shire, sixty years after are shown, not only by musical differences, but also by the shots used on the camera and colours used in the background.
During the battle scene, much of the action is shown by long shots and panning as this creates the feeling of size and is a simple way of showing how many fighters are involved. Almost everything is grey and there is little detailing on the soldiers because of the shots used. The dark, seemingly boring, colours used in the scene add unrest and anxiousness to the battle. With these sorts of emotions, the audience are almost waiting for a ‘twist in the tale’ and this comes when the monster with the ring begins battling against the single soldier.
This is a great contrast to how the Shire is shown. All the action is filmed using medium shots and close ups which give a more intimate feel, while the filters are much brighter and more natural. As one would expect from a woodland setting, green is the main colour featured, with the blueness of the sky and the vibrant, yet in keeping, colours of the hobbit’s clothes all working together to create a happy, relaxed backdrop.
Through imaginative use of colours and music, an original take on how to portray different characters and an overall, creative approach to symbolism, “The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Rings” has the ability to, not only capture audience’s imagination, but also maintain it. The film was either going to fail or succeed to such an extent that no one dared expect, mainly due to the cult following the trilogy of books gained. However, the director has made the opening to this film so well that even someone without previous knowledge of the book is able to watch, and fully understand, the film.