Magazine December 20, 2021, Issue

Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, 20 Years On

Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) in The Fellowship of the Ring (New Line/WireImage)
Whatever its flaws, we should be glad it exists

‘It would be easier to film the Odyssey,” the late Oxford philologist John Ronald Reuel Tolkien once said of his most famous work, the high-fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings. “Much less happens in it. Only a few storms.” And it did end up being something of an odyssey to get Tolkien’s epic onto the big screen.

That wasn’t because The Lord of the Rings (Tolkien understood it as one work, though it was published in three volumes) was some obscure tract. It is among the best-selling books of modern times. Its story is, by now, well known. In the

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This article appears as “Twenty Years Of Jackson’s Lord of the Rings” in the December 20, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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