G R Matthews
Lord of the Rings
I'll start by saying I love the books and the films; they're different but both excellent. I know some purists will argue the films are not truly the books (and they can't be really) and ignore their existence (or rail against them, angry fists raised to the sky), but I love both.
Now that's out of the way, lets have a quick about this book I've just finished reading -
'Anything you can imagine; Peter Jackson and the making of Middle-Earth' by Ian Nathan.
It is quite a candid account of how the Lord of the Rings trilogy was made. As you read it, one of the first things you realise is quite how close we came to not having these movies made at all. Secondly, you come to realise how cutting edge the technology needed to make it was, and how much they innovated.
Looking back, over the twenty years since the films were made and released it is easy to forget just how far technology has come, and how much of it began in these films.
Peter Jackson did incredible work and they innovated every step of the way.
You'll also get to see some of the background shenanigans that went on behind the scenes, with the production studios, the wheels and deals that had to be done, and the risks taken.
I really enjoyed the interviews and comments of the cast and crew. Elijah Wood and his co-hobbits (we can't imagine anyone else playing them now) were so young when they began that journey and from all accounts it was a gruelling one, but one they took to with such enthusiasm, forging friendships which last to today. Much is made of Viggo Mortensen portrayal and method acting. Never out of costume, never without his sword, going camping in the wilds of New Zealand, yet it all seems perfectly normal. I didn't know that he had been "parachuted" in at the last minute when the previous actor dropped out, and now he is Aragorn - no one else could play it so well, invest so much into that character!
Andy Serkis gets a good chapter and more which is more than welcome. We get to see the birth of motion capture and learn how Gollum developed. You can feel the passion come off the page and also the wonder at all.
Peter Jackson juggled so much but without his crew the films would have been nothing like they magnificence they are. Fran Walsh who loved the books and kept (though that's something of the wrong word) on the right track with the story deserves as much credit as anyone. There are so many others to mention and all get a starring role in this book.
The development of the studio and its special effects WETA are a theme throughout the book, as are the sets, make up and props. It really comes across that these films were a team effort guided by Jackson.
From the first page to the last, I enjoyed this book immensely! Go and read it.