EW.com rates the best of all sites devoted to the upcoming trilogy

The Lord of the Rings, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

There is now one website to rule them all: the official Lord Of The Rings Trilogy site. The movie, which stars Elijah Wood as Frodo, Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf, and Liv Tyler as Arwen, isn’t out until Christmas, but Web heads have been buzzing about the epic directed by Peter Jackson (”The Frighteners”) for the past year. Friday’s relaunch of the website, which is so detailed it includes a discussion of the hair color on Frodo’s feet translated into 10 different languages (not including High-Elven), marks the beginning of the most ambitious online movie promotion to date — and it’s growing like Dark Lord Sauron’s army.

The interactive map of Middle Earth will continue to be updated — and will be complete only when the last movie in New Line’s $270 million trilogy, ”Return of the King,” is released in 2003. Every crew member, right down to the 13th grip, will be spotlit on the site, which will include special areas that can be viewed only by visitors using a Hobbit friendly ”Rings” browser. What’s more, the studio is forming a digital age fellowship of the Rings with more than 400 fan run destinations around the globe in an attempt to rival ”Star Wars” in popularity. But the hype could prove hard for even Gandalf to live up to, especially given the competition in the mystical entertainment world from a young wizard named Harry Potter. Still, the news breaking zeal found on Imladris: Lord Of The Rings Movie News or Ringzone will only become more frenzied as the release date draws nigh.

To begin your adventure through Middle Earth, you can begin with these sites:

?The Barrow-Downs
If you last read Tolkien’s trilogy sometime back in the 20th century, all this talk of Orcs and Elves probably makes you feel as old as Gandalf the Grey. So before journeying into movie sites run by people who debate whether or not Balrogs have wings, refresh your memory with this site’s book synopses.
GRADE Wizard (A)

?The Encyclopedia Of Arda
This alphabetical index will prove as invaluable a companion as Sam is to Frodo as you run across descriptions of Barad-Dur and giant Oliphaunts in the sites that follow.
GRADE Hobbit (A)

Once you’re reacquainted with J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world, this frequently asked questions page will serve as a primer to director Peter Jackson’s movie trilogy. It explains where and how the film diverges from the original storyline, and sketches the history of the production from way back when Jackson was making a two part adaptation of ”Rings” for Miramax. The Effects section also includes an excellent visual explanation of how Frodo will be made to look half the size of Gandalf.
GRADE Dwarf (D)

?The Lord Of The Rings Movie Site
The next stage of the adventure is told in pictures, and these galleries are stocked like a Hobbiton cellar. There are photos of Cate Blanchett resplendent in the robes of Galadriel, John Rhys-Davies decked out in the red beard of Gimli, armies of Orcs, and spoiler drawings of the vicious Gollum. Plus, there are pages full of seemingly unauthorized shots of set pieces and shooting locations.
GRADE Human (C)

?Kyriel’s Middle-Earth Tours
The two most famous illustrators of the Ring are Allen Lee and John Howe, both of whom are creative consultants on the films. Kyriel’s tour is not only one of the best archives of their work, but it’s fantastically organized into three sections covering the people, places, and artists of the realm. The drawings (and recent photos) are often accompanied by passages from the books.
GRADE Hobbit (A)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 178 minutes
  • Peter Jackson