An Impressive Saga
The Lord of the Rings was once thought to be unfilmable. JRR Tolkien’s books were so long and full of epic visuals that it would take a multi-million production to do it justice. Luckily New Line Cinema were able to finance such an endeavour.
The trilogy was directed by Peter Jackson who at that time was more known for low budget gore films. He had become obsessed with the world of the books and had the vision to put it on screen. His production company Wingnut Films used cutting edge special effects. These helped with the scenes where thousands of soldiers are seen fighting all at once on screen.
Jackson released all three of these films to great acclaim. They won a record number of Academy Awards and helped Hollywood to recognise Jackson as one of the most important directors of his time. The main accolades were focused on the acting, effects and soundtrack of the films.
The story centres on a hobbit named Frodo who must take a magical ring to a volcano. On his quest he meets a wide range of heroes and villains. As he gets closer to his destination the stakes get higher as several large scale battles unfold. Throughout the course of the films there is an abundance of magic, action and fantastic creatures.
Perhaps Peter Jackson’s greatest achievement is managing to make the land of Middle Earth such a believable place. The geography and different people who live there are very well defined. This is helped by the fact that many of these places were filmed in real world locations throughout the country of New Zealand.
The Lord of the Rings proved so successful that Jackson would eventually return to this world with the Hobbit trilogy. It revisited several characters from the Lord of the Rings. This time, Frodo’s uncle is the focus of the story.
The prequel takes place a number of years before the original trilogy. Bilbo Baggins goes on an adventure with the wizard Gandalf to defeat a dragon. These films expanded on the lore that had been established earlier on. This was a treat for fans who wanted to see more of this magical world.
However, the Hobbit series was not nearly as critically successful as its earlier counterpart. The heavy reliance on CGI was the most common criticism. The story line was also attacked for being overlong. This is likely due to the fact that Jackson chose to base three films on only one short book. Many felt that one movie would have been enough to satisfy them. Despite this reaction, he managed to create an immersive fantasy universe that will be enjoyed by future generations.