It's likely that more trees were sacrificed than Saruman ever destroyed to make the tons of paper generated by the pre- and post-publicity and press coverage for Peter Jackson's Oscar-winning film, the first in his epic trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy series, The Lord of the Rings.
Elijah Wood plays Frodo, a tiny hobbit from the small settlement of the Shire who becomes involved in the fight to save Middle Earth from Sauron, the evil Lord who only needs the Ring of Power to gain complete control.
Taking on the burden of ring-bearer, he and the Fellowship of the Ring, led by magician Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), begin the journey to Mordor, Sauron's stronghold, where the ring was forged and where it must be destroyed. But Sauron and his ally Saruman (Christopher Lee) also seek the One Ring...
The production of the film was equally epic. More than 3,000 people were involved in the 16-month shoot in New Zealand, with a budget of $300m for shooting alone. In return for tax breaks, New Zealand is estimated to have benefited to the tune of $200m from the film and subsequent tourism.
But the investment was worth it, both financially and artistically, with even the initially suspicious descendants of Tolkien, the guardians of his literary estate, endorsing Jackson's vision, while the millions of fans of the book voted with their feet, keeping the film in the top ten lists around the world for weeks on release and setting records for DVD sales.
Artistically, the look of the film coupled with a cast of the famous and (then) not-so-famous saw every character superbly realised (even John Rhys-Davies, the tallest member of the cast, became a convincing Gimli, the dwarf in the fellowship).
If there was one loser, it was Miramax, who turned down the chance of funding the two films originally planned. The producers went to New Line Cinema who, after the pitch, decided it had to be made as three films. The rest, as they say, is cinematic history.