Thursday, 3 December 2009

Movie Review - Born of Hope

An indie film that's been hotly awaited for quite some time now, Born of Hope is the story of Arathorn, father of Aragorn. The latest fan-made Lord of the Rings movies takes a character that is often mentioned as father to one of the most important characters in LotR, but never actually seen or heard about much.

With a very limited budget, Kate Madison and crew have produced a really good little film here. Some people have complained that it lacks the sweeping panoramic shots of mountains etc that were in both the Peter Jackson trilogy and The Hunt for Gollum, but such complaints are really missing the point of this film. It homes in on a few characters and shows their struggles against the rising tides of orcs coming out of Dol Guldor as Sauron begins to hunt for both the Ring of Power and the last remaining Heir of Isildur. Though much is explained in the story and there is considerable voiceover narration (thankfully both voiced very well and written in a very Tolkienesque manner), it does help to have some knowledge of the history of Middle Earth. (Fortunately for me I'm a bit of an anorak in that regard...)

The key cast members are Christopher Dane (Arathorn), Beth Aynsley (Gilraen), Kate Madison (Elgarain), Danny George (Dirhaborn), Andrew McDonald (Dirhael), Phillipa Hammond (Ivorwen), Iain Marshall (Arador) and Howard Corlett (Halbaron). Since few or none of the character names will be familiar to you, here's the basic plot:

Gilraen and her parents, Dirhael and Ivorwen, are fleeing - to where they do not yet know - as their village has been destroyed by marauding orcs. Set upon by a band of the foul creatures and seemingly lost, their salvation comes in the form of Arathorn and his rangers. In time Arathorn and Gilraen fall in love, but this is complicated by resistance to the idea from Dirhael, Gilraen's father - this is not because of any particular dislike of Arathorn, but knowledge of the dreadful legacy of his being an heir of Isildur. Further complicating matters are Elgarain's love for Arathorn, and Dihaborn's equally unrequited love for Elgarain. Then of course there's the big bad guy Sauron, unseen in this movie but in some ways even more menacing because of it...

Though that might all sound rather confusing, two things should be pointed out - it doesn't dissolve into a mushy love story (for a LotR film, that would just be wrong... even Peter Jackson's movies suffered from his obsession with Liv Tyler [understandable though that may be]). Secondly Born of Hope probably benefits from having a cast of characters we haven't seen on-screen before - in Born of Hope you couldn't help but compare Gandalf and Aragorn with the ones we'd come to know in the form of Ian McKellan and Viggo Mortensen.

The acting is very good throughout, and while it may not have some of the impressive visuals of Born of Hope, the storyline is much stronger. There's plenty going on, good character development and it feels like a valuable addition to Middle Earth's story. The English (and Welsh, I think) countryside is used to great effect and both the sets and costumes lend to the atmosphere. There's one short bit of CGI (troll attack!) which is well handled - to me the film certainly doesn't lose anything from not having much in the way of special effects. The music is nice too, nicely atmospheric but completely different to the score from the trilogy. The battle scenes are well choreographed, though the first ambush scene wasn't entirely convincing.

The only area in which Born of Hope did fall down a little was in its pacing. At 68 minutes long it just seemed to slow down too much in a couple of scenes. Overall though I was very impressed with Born of Hope - the writing and acting were both strong, and it makes for a pretty compelling movie. All Lord of the Rings fans are going to enjoy this - and for the record, though I enjoyed The Hunt for Gollum, I definitely felt that this was the superior film.

Born of Hope is available as a free online movie only. To watch the movie or find out more about the story / cast / production etc, visit the official website:

Related Links

Born of Hope Trailer
Write-up and review of Halifirien
Interview with Tom and Patrick Robinson (Halifirien)

DVD Review - Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (4 Disc Set)
DVD Review - Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2-Disc Extended Edition)
Movie Review - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Trailer for Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Trailer for Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

CaptainD - Movie Reviews Blog


kupz said...

Wow, I should watch this movie, since Lord of the Rings is my favorite movie of all time.

New Movie Releases

CaptainD said...

You definitely should! :-D

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

tiny homes said...

The movie looks like it is very nice! Arathorn's life is not stated and included in the movie. Nice thing they made something separate from the LOTR.