Pre-screenings of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring continue to ramp up the excitement about the epic's big December 19th opening day. But this week, Peter Jackson's ambitious $250 million dollar project gained its first official complaints.

Film Critic's Christopher Null is the only naysayer thus far, but what a lot of nays! "The obvious digital backdrops that start to wear you down … the fights are not particularly well-choreographed, either. You don't get a good sense of scale of the big battles, and the in-close fighting is edited too frantically to follow well." He boldly claims that "most moviegoers will find it overly long and just too exhausting."

So far, though, Null is a minority of one. Just listen to the other mainstream reviews:

"The Fellowship … is thrilling," exclaims Entertainment Weekly's Lisa Schwarzbaum, "a great picture, a triumphant picture, a joyfully conceived work of cinema that would appear to embrace Tolkien's classic with love and delight, and rewards both adepts and novices … Every detail … engrossed me. I may have never turned a page of Tolkien, but I know enchantment when I see it."

The highest praise yet comes from ScreenDaily's Emanuel Levy: "Jackson's Ring cycle generates the kind of epic cinema excitement encountered in the films of Abel Gance (Napoleon), Akira Kurosawa (The Seven Samurai, Ran), David Lean (Lawrence of Arabia), Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey), and arguably last seen on the American screen in Coppola's Apocalypse Now. It certainly far surpasses the standards of popular epics like Braveheart or Gladiator, the Oscar-winners of 1995 and 2000, respectively." It contains "a moral and emotional significance" and is "bound to assume ...

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