A milestone in modern cinema. Peter Jackson’s adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s colossal masterpiece brought fantasy fiction, a genre not yet profitable, to the masses worldwide - earning a total of $3 billion.
“You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain” - Harvey Dent/Two-Face, The Dark Knight (2008).
If the One Ring could speak, Harvey’s words would be it’s tag-line. It consumed Gollum to villainy - although to be fair Gollum did start as a villain and then tried to redeem himself only to give into this can’t-imagine-going-invisible-would-be-this-awesome-a-power drug; it almost took Bilbo; and we all know the transformation it made Frodo go through during the story (which took place over a year roughly).
Good and evil have their own well defined and represented places in this story, and it is only those who stay away from the ring (Aragorn and Gandalf to name a few - because there were few) who become living and breathing poster-children for the saying “Power cannot be taken, it has to be earned.”
While another giant fantasy fiction franchise, Harry Potter, has seen many underwhelming clones, LOTR remains untouched territory. The only worthy exception being the must-watch show on HBO - Game of Thrones (2011): think Mahabharata meets LOTR, for adults. And when I say adults, I mean adults. Bad things happen in this show. And it is awesome.
Greatness Elements: direction, special effects, scale.
Favorite Scene: The (literal) Return of the King - "You bow to no one." YOUTUBE LINK