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  • The Battle of the Last Alliance, shown in the prologue of the first film. Remember that with a few happy exceptions, fantasy movies before Fellowship were a marginalized and generally mediocre lot. With one establishing scene, Fellowship destroyed fantasy filmmaking's reputation for Special Effects Failure and Rubber Elf Ears and replaced it with the grandeur, terror and beauty that it had always striven for.
    • We're first shown a short clip of Sauron's orcs rampaging around Middle-Earth, before we hear Galadriel's voice say "But there were some... who resisted." Next thing we see is an army of men boldly marching straight at a massive horde of orcs at the foot of Mount Doom. We then cut to a shot of the aforementioned massive horde of orcs charging at the almost equally large Last Alliance army who then proceed to wipe the floor with the orcs.
    • From the same battle scene, Elrond giving his archers the order to fire, and a volley of arrows goes flying through Elrond's line, narrowly and accurately missing their own troops to lay into the onrushing horde.
    • As the Orcs reach Elrond's front line, the Elves elegantly carve them up in a movement that begins from the far end and sweeps like a wave along the line.
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    • The Last Alliance just walked into Mordor. Admittedly, they did have to get rid of a few obstacles first.
    • And also Sauron himself demonstrating the power of the One Ring and obliterating the forces of the Last Alliance by himself, delivering a One-Hit Kill to anyone who is unfortunate to be within his reach.
      • As well as plenty who aren't his mace sends some soldiers flying without ever touching them. The Dark Lord isn't just using blunt force to level his enemies.
    • Isildur, having seen his father killed by Sauron, picks up his father's sword, only for Sauron to shatter the blade underfoot. Does Isildur just give and die? No. Being the Determinator he is, he chops off Sauron's hand with the tiny part of blade left, separating from him his One Ring and the majority of his power, dissipating his physical body. Just One Man single-handedly took out the ultimate Big Bad of Middle Earth.
  • Gimli in Moria, coming out of his despair to clamber up onto Balin's tomb, drawing his axes: "Let them come! There is one dwarf yet in Moria who still draws breath!"
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    • Another Gimli moment comes a few scenes later, as the Fellowship flees to the Bridge of Khazad-dûm. The chamber opens up and suddenly they are surrounded by thousands of orcs. The rest of the Fellowship looks terrified, but Gimli? He just hefts his axe and growls.
    • Also in Balin's Tomb, Frodo has just received what everyone -including him- thinks is a fatal wound from the Cave Troll. Merry and Pippin's response after their initial shock? Reverse grip their short swords, let out angry cries, jump on the Cave Troll's shoulders, and start stabbing it.
  • The cinematic and musical richness of the Fellowship's encounter with the Argonath, the rock-hewn statues of two notable kings of the ancient border of Gondor. It draws pause to think of how really, really ancient the history of Middle-Earth is—so much that that characters really are dwarfed (sorry) by their role in it.
  • The establishing shot of Barad-dûr. The camera swings as it rises around the gargantuan structure festooned with buttresses, causeways and sheer black stone before the blazing summit of the Eye and distant Mount Doom fill the screen.
    • This then cuts to the Nazgûl pouring out of the vast black gate of the green hideousness that is Minas Morgul.
  • A small one, but the fact Gimli doesn't waste time after hearing the Ring must be destroyed. He immediately slams his axe into it. (Granted, the axe shatters but still)
  • Aragorn's climactic fight against Lurtz.
    • Aragorn, having been knocked half-senseless, swinging his sword at the last moment to knock out of the air the dagger being thrown at him. A classic action moment, elevated when you learn much of the sequence was not choreographed nor a special effect. The prosthetics that Lurtz had on—specifically the contacts—hindered his depth perception, making the headbutt that he delivered to Mortensen quite real and quite painful, nearly knocking him out cold. The punch to his gut was also not pulled, and the sound you hear him making is him grunting in actual pain. Finally, when he threw the knife, what should've been a far miss throw ended up flying straight at Viggo Mortensen's face. Mortensen deflected the knife himself. This was after the stuntman had failed several times to hit the knife out of the air.
    • Just before Lurtz' decapitation though, he has his own CMoA when Aragorn stabs him in the belly and he pulls the sword in deeper, grinning at Aragorn as he does so.
    • That fight was so awesome, audiences all around the world have been reported applauding the cinema screens after Aragorn takes Lurtz's head off.
    • When he tells Frodo to go alone, then he stands and turns to meet a mob of Uruk-hai, saluting with his sword in an utterly badass Slow Walk.
  • Boromir's crowning moment coincided with his redemption, when he charges in to protect Merry and Pippin from the Uruk-hai. Then Lurtz puts an arrow in his chest. Boromir falls to his knees, looks at Merry and Pippin, then he gets back on his feet and starts fighting again. Twice. Also bear in mind, those arrows? They were the size of tree branches.
    • Plus, from how well he was doing until Lurtz intervened, it's entirely possible he would have won, or at least killed enough of the Uruk-hai that Merry and Pippin could have gotten away. And when Lurtz stands in front of him to administer the Coup de Grâce at point-blank range, Boromir stares him down, clearly in agony and exhausted, but not scared, of him or of dying. Lurtz may have mortally wounded Boromir, but he couldn't scare him.
    • His last line to Aragorn: "My brother. My captain. My king."
    • Boromir's second-to-last act before his death? Begging Aragorn for forgiveness for trying to take the ring from Frodo. His last act? He uses his own death as a Dare to Be Badass moment to make Aragorn swear to help his people and his city, by claiming that the world of Men would fall while silently begging Aragorn to tell him that he's wrong. Small wonder that this is Sean Bean's favourite of his (numerous)on-screen deaths.
  • Aragorn's Big Damn Heroes moment on Weathertop. Frodo's just been stabbed, the other three Hobbits are clearly no match for even one of the five Ringwraiths that are surrounding them, and then Aragorn comes flying in from offscreen Dual Wielding his sword and a torch and not only holds off the five of them alone, he sends them running, culminating with one jumping off the side of the mountain to get away with him. And when the last one moves to go after the Hobbits rather than fight Aragorn when he's not looking, Aragorn turns, glares at it, and the thing pauses and looks over with body language that clearly states "I have made a serious mistake tonight" before Aragorn throws his torch into its face and sends it jumping off the mountain.
  • The stunning shot of Arwen riding on a white horse with Frodo across the plain, chased by the Nazgûl in a V formation, is a crowning moment for cinematography.
    • The scene at the Bruinen Ford.
      Witch-King: Give up the Halfling, she-elf!
      Arwen: [draws sword] If you want him, come and claim him!
    • Made even better by the Nazgul's response: Instead of being intimidated, they immediately draw their swords in unison and start to cross, fully intending to take Frodo if Arwen won't give him to them willingly.
  • Sam's first Moment of Awesome in all the movies is the sequence after Aragorn has dragged Frodo up the stairs. While his friend is busy getting creeped out by the strange man, he pulls a drunken Merry and Pippin out of the crowd, spots Frodo being pulled away, grabs a chair and a candelabra and prepares to take down a guy with a sword. A preview to the later awesomeness with Shelob, but a Moment of Awesome nonetheless considering all we'd seen of him at this point was a complaining, not-as-bright-as-Frodo-but-not-stupid sidekick.
    • Just to clarify, Pippin and Merry are the ones holding the chair and the candelabra, respectively, and they both look terrified. Sam charges in unafraid ready to take on a shifty swordsman taller than all of them with nothing but his bare fists!
      Sam: Let'im go! Or I'll have you, Long-Shanks!
    • Sam's next moment comes when the four hobbits are surrounded by the Ringwraiths. As the hobbits huddle together fearfully, Sam shouts "Back, you devils!" and attacks the nearest wraith. After doing nothing but running from them up to this point, Sam is the first hobbit to fight back.
    • He gets another one during the Fellowship's fight in the mines, singlehandedly taking out two orcs, with a Frying Pan.
      Sam: I think I'm getting the hang of this. [Knocks out another one]
  • The entire Bridge of Khazad-dûm scene is masterfully translated to screen. Everyone runs over the bridge while badass music plays, and then tiny, frail-looking Gandalf battles a gigantic, flaming demon three times his size. And to crown it all is when he yells his famous, "you shall not pass!" line. The delivery is a crowning moment of awesome in and of itself, but it shows that Gandalf is not just a charming old man who can magically shoot fireworks, but is now a supreme force of good who will face evil incarnate and kick its ass.
    • The Balrog itself is something that deserved a CGI animation award. If it had been even slightly unconvincing, Gandalf's big scene would have been Narm. Thankfully, it was every bit the primeval demon it needed to be.
      • Oh yes this cannot be understated! The Balrog, one of the most terrifying elements of the entire book trilogy, could have gone so wrong (see for example its almost farcical representation in the Bakshi movie) but the final result was so awe-inspiring that if Tolkien had been alive to see it he would have wept with joy!
    • Trapped with Frodo on the wrong side of a gap too wide to leap, Aragorn surfs a crumbling stone pillar, shifting his weight so that it'll topple and crash into the next part of the stairs. All this while the score builds to a tense, expectant crescendo... and then, when Aragorn succeeds, the Fellowship's theme blares forth triumphantly.
  • Gandalf reminding Bilbo that he's not "some conjuror of cheap tricks":
    Gandalf: I am not trying to rob you! ... I am trying to help you. All your long life, we've been friends. Trust me now, as you once did.
  • Not as action-oriented, but: Bilbo managing to drop the Ring on the floor of Bag End and leave it behind, an incredible show of willpower on his part that's never matched by anyone else in the entire series (everyone else who gave up the Ring had only been in contact with it very briefly - Bilbo had owned it for decades, and yet still managed to give it up.
  • A quiet one, but: Frodo and Aragorn's last meeting on Amon Hen. We've just seen Boromir driven mad by desire of the Ring, attacking Frodo to get it, and reduced to sobbing and clawing at the dirt. Right on the heels of this, Frodo comes face to face with Aragorn, cringes away in fear, and then, when Aragorn realizes why, actually offers him the Ring open-palmed. Aragorn walks toward him, eyes burning in his face, reaches toward it... then drops to his knees and gently closes Frodo's hand over the Ring. This moment - the only Man able to refuse the One Ring - was given to Faramir in the book, but it is more emotional (if more predictable) given to Aragorn. Jackson observed that they never got to say farewell in the book, and putting this scene in the movie tied the resulting 'Frodo arc' and 'Aragorn arc' together.
    Aragorn: I would have gone with you to the end — into the very fires of Mordor.
    Frodo: I know.
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