So, it struck me while I was watching this movie that there are not a lot fantasy movies out there, Sure, there are a lot of movies with fantastic elements around, but the only mainstream, epic fantasy movies I can think of are Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. Even Harry Potter isn't nearly as classic fantasy as this movie is. The Lord of the Rings is, really, a very unique movie - I can't think of any fantasies on this scale at all in cinema, and none that use so many classic fantasy elements. Lord of the Rings is the foundation for modern fantasy as we know it, and it's influenced the entire Geek culture - It arguably created the Geek culture. Which is why it's weird to me that it's not number one to me. But more on that later.
What always really strikes me about Lord of the Rings is how well-crafted everything is. Every little piece of this movie has so much thought behind it, from sets to costumes to the score. I read that they hired people to make each individual link of their chain mail. And by "people", I mean "two guys," because, you know, nobody does that anymore. Some of their armor has decoration on the inside because it's historically accurate. All the fake languages function like actual languages. Actual languages were written for this story. It's just incredibly how much detail went into this movie.
It show, too. Lord of the Rings is so immersive - It doesn't look like a movie, it looks like that's just what's happening and they're filming it. It's like a documentary with multiple camera angles. Most of the time, of course. The special effects in this movie are terrific, but it's also eleven years old, and every once in a while something will show its age. Luckily they didn't use CGI for things they didn't have to, so we don't have anything silly looking too old. Like crowds or leaves or something. That's a good thing.
The acting in the movie is of course good. For one thing, Sir Ian McKellen. You can't question knighthood. And Golum is barely in this one, which is good because he's creepy and annoying. The score is excellent - even people who don't like the movie admit that - and New Zealand looks very pleasant. Truth be told, I really only have two real beefs with this movie:
1. It is long. So long. Truth be told, I don't actually think it's any longer than, say, Gone With the Wind, but it seems like there's so much more movie than that. That's probably because...
2. There's a slow motion crying scene like every twenty minutes in this movie. It is just too much sadness.
And that's not a bad amount of flaws for a four hour movie. I think this thing is great, and should have been number one.