The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Film #11 of Scavenger hunt 34
Task #8: A best cinematography Oscar winning film

Extended Edition
Something I love about this trilogy that I only realized on this viewing is that each film, despite the same cast and crew, has multiple unique aspects that are absent in the other two. As I review the other two films this week I'll list these aspects. Considered as part of the whole, Fellowship is the most unique of the three, with:
-The lovely atmosphere in the Shire. Every frame shot there until the adventure really begins feels so warm and alive, it's just so pleasant to watch.
-The lighting. I absolutely love how different each area of Middle-Earth feels due to the how the actor's faces are coloured in them. Controls the vibe wonderfully.
-The action scenes. Aside from the brief prologue the combat sequences are a far cry from the impressive and bombastic battles of the sequels. With a tighter focus on the characters they feel much more personal and investing.
-The use of slow-motion. I'm one of the first people to complain about slow-no overuse in any action scenes, but it actually happens quite a lot in this film and every time it felt justified and necessary. Whether it was conveying Frodo's anguish and pain after being stabbed or Aragorn's resolve as he walks into an Orc horde or extracting the maximum emotion from a scene, unlike most other films slow-mo aided the story.
-The emotional moments. Return of the King has some great ones but my current thinking is that this film does it best. I think the scene after Gandalf's death highlights it best, I just want to cry with the characters and the way we see each of them react builds their personalities incredibly well. Merry has to console Pippin, Sam starts crying by himself, Gimli is held back by Legolas, Boromir is in touch with his emotional side while Aragorn and Frodo set their minds on the mission. I could write so much more about this scene but it really speaks for itself. Everything that happens following Boromir's temptation is brilliantly emotionally resonant too.
-The visual storytelling is superb too, despite the exposition heavy opening (which still managed to be artful), Peter Jackson took the show rather than tell approach for a lot of smaller moments that I love. For example when the Nazgul go to stab the Hobbits in Bree, we're shown three Hobbits sleeping while Frodo is still dressed and sitting upright. This tells us early on that Frodo is aware of the importance of the mission and that possessing the Ring is already unsettling him, while his friends remain oblivious to his burden.
-The personification of the Ring is done best here too. My favourite shot of the whole trilogy might be at the Council of Elrond where the Ring bears the reflection of all the arguing participants and a fire begins covering them. Again brilliant visual storytelling.
-Nazgul were never at their spooky best after this film.

It's funny that on my first viewing I thought Fellowship was the weakest by a long shot and I expect that it might become my favourite once this trilogy rewatch is complete.