**½/**** Image A+ Sound A+ Extras B-
starring Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin
screenplay by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson, based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien
directed by Peter Jackson
by Walter Chaw For the uninitiated few, Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) are diminutive hobbits making their way, with the treacherous Gollum (Andy Serkis) as their guide, through perilous lands on a quest to destroy the One Ring of power, forged by evil Sauron in a volcano called Mount Doom. Their story is set against a series of epic military manoeuvres and intimate Machiavellian machinations engaged in by elf Legolas (Orlando Bloom), dwarf Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), and the once and future human king, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen).