BEST: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Before Peter Jackson’s trilogy took home a billion Academy Awards and fandom praise the world over, it was a beloved, seemingly un-filmable book series by Oxford professor J.R.R. Tolkien. Anxiety-ridden fans followed the pre-production with meticulous dedication and were happily surprised when Fellowship finally hit cinemas in December 2000. Jackson’s previous work (such as irreverent comedies like Meet the Feebles and Dead Alive) had no impact on the glossy final draft of Fellowship; his team turned New Zealand into Middle Earth, wholly and beautifully. While the later installments pounded home the book’s commentary on war and industrialization, Fellowship serves as the poignant opening chapter, a beckon to keep going.