The voice over itself introduces the film by giving relevant details on the history of the rings, and of Middle Earth in general which, again, is important in the understanding of the basic storyline. Without this opening voice over, the setting for the film would not have been properly explained and therefore, people who have not read the book may have found it difficult to follow the film. The entire opening sequence (up until Bilbo Baggins finds the ring) is needed for this reason as well.
Such as a panning, establishing shot is used in the battle scene; an establishing shot was also needed when the transition from the battle to sixty years later, in the Shire, took place. Although there hadn’t really been a massive change in setting, the scale of time that had passed meant that, obviously, everything looked completely different and, because of this, the audience needed to understand what the Shire was like for those who lived there. This was easily achieved with a relatively short establishing shot, slowly moving round to show Frodo sitting against a tree.
After explaining to the audience where the story was set, who was in it, and a small amount of historical information surrounding the Ring, it was crucial that interest was injected into it. The director is obviously aware that it is during the opening of a film that a person decides whether or not to continue watching. In just the first ten minutes of the film, many different points of interest are raised which, we presume, will be followed up later in the film.
One example of such a point is shown when the different races of Middle Earth are given a set of rings. Whilst the female voice over is naming the races, the camera is focused in on a circle of rings, and then zooms out slowly, or tilts upwards to show the creatures to which the rings belong. This shows that the rings are more powerful and important than everything else. During the battle scene, the monster that has the ring is only show on screen after a close up of the ring on its finger.
Again, showing that the ring is more powerful than even such a huge monster. The importance of the rings is shown using shots that make them shimmer in the light, and look good and pretty. However when the “One Ring” is shown, surrounded by fire, the normal assumption that jewellery is ornate and harmonic is shattered, and we begin to realise that beauty can be misleading. The One Ring is shown hovering in fire, which gives us the realisation that the fire signifies evil, and so, this ring represents elements of the personality of its evil creator.