20 years later, why is “The Lord of the Rings” still an insurmountable peak?

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Why is the trilogy “The Lord of the Rings” still able to kill most movies on the market today?

Because this trilogy has epoch-making significance, it is basically equivalent to the trilogy of “The Godfather” and “Star Wars” of the year.

In other words, “The Lord of the Rings” is “The Godfather” in the fantasy movie, and it may happen once in ten or even twenty years!

The Lord of the Rings” is a fantasy trilogy that achieves an almost perfect balance between business and art.

Not only did it earn nearly $3 billion in the global box office, it also won more than 300 awards in major film festivals around the world.

The final chapter “The Lord of the Rings 3” even created an impressive score of 11 mentions at the Oscars.

Today, I’m going to talk to you about how such a trilogy masterpiece was made, and its behind-the-scenes story is equally amazing.

There is no shortage of money or technology. Why is it difficult to shoot such “The Lord of the Rings” now?

Peter Jackson was born for “The Lord of the Rings”

Peter Jackson can be said to be the best candidate for the filming of “The Lord of the Rings“, there is no one!

It can almost be said that his early film career was prepared for “The Lord of the Rings”, and he was born for this.

This series of works by J. R. R. Tolkien is so influential in the West that many people compare it to “The Journey to the West” in China.

Related Post: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

The Lord of the Rings” was even thought by fans that it was impossible to make a movie.

Before the “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, only one cartoon of “The Lord of the Rings” was filmed in 1978, which can only be said to be quite satisfactory.

The 1978 cartoon “The Lord of the Rings” is like this

20 years later, why is "The Lord of the Rings" still an insurmountable peak?

However, Peter Jackson first became attached to “The Lord of the Rings” because of watching this cartoon.

The 17-year-old was on the train from Wellington to Auckland and spent 12 hours reading the original “The Lord of the Rings“. This book was bought bundled with other things, and since then he became “The Lord of the Rings” Fans.

In 1993, Finland released a 270-minute miniseries with 9 episodes. It was not called the Lord of the Rings, but the Hobbit.

However, only one of the 9 episodes was adapted from Tolkien’s “The Hobbit“, and the other 8 episodes were adapted from “The Lord of the Rings“.

Post a few pictures and feel for yourself.

Gollum, why are you so fat…

20 years later, why is "The Lord of the Rings" still an insurmountable peak?

Are these four tramps?

20 years later, why is "The Lord of the Rings" still an insurmountable peak?

Frodo and Gandalf

20 years later, why is "The Lord of the Rings" still an insurmountable peak?

In 1995, Peter Jackson, who had just finished filming “The Frighteners“, had already become famous.

He watched “Jurassic Park” filmed by Spielberg in 1993, and thought that with this CG technique, he could fully present the effect of “The Lord of the Rings” Middle-earth!

So the director encouraged the owner, Miramax, to buy the film adaptation rights of “The Lord of the Rings” from Saul Zaentz.

He himself did a lot of work in the early stage, including conceptual design, special effects display and so on.

At first, the director found Disney, but at the time, Disney’s CEO heard that the two “The Lord of the Rings” had a budget of up to 120 million U.S. dollars, so he backed down.

20 years later, why is "The Lord of the Rings" still an insurmountable peak?

The Weinstein brothers, who invested $10 million in Peter Jackson in the early stage, were anxious and asked the director to find a buyer within three weeks.

When he was desperate, he found Bob Shaye, the owner of New Line.

Bob Shaye said after seeing the director’s preliminary work: “The original work of “The Lord of the Rings” is a trilogy. Why isn’t the movie made into a trilogy?”

In this way, Peter Jackson won the rare major production series in film history.

Before that, he had made N movies with a gross box office of less than 30 million U.S. dollars, and he could only be regarded as a B-level film director.

However, he was not lucky enough. The director’s “Heavenly Creatures” had already won the Silver Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival.

20 years later, why is "The Lord of the Rings" still an insurmountable peak?

His application of special effects in films such as “Braindead” and “Heavenly Creatures” has been extremely proficient and original.

The passage in “Heavenly Creatures” where the protagonist Kate Winslet dances with the clay figurines is very fantastic, and already has the prototype of some scenes in “The Lord of the Rings“.

For the “The Lord of the Rings” series, the director spent 3 years just writing the script!

20 years later, why is "The Lord of the Rings" still an insurmountable peak?

Among them, he has carefully considered every detail and drew the sub-shot script of the whole film before the filming started.

The director uses clay or sculpting to create monster models, and uses 3D to create future camera movements.

In other words, before shooting, the entire film has already taken shape before the eyes of the production staff.

20 years later, why is "The Lord of the Rings" still an insurmountable peak?

From 1995 to 2001, when the first “The Lord of the Rings” was released, Peter Jackson prepared for six years!

How can such an epic fantasy trilogy be made without such a director who is familiar with the original work and has worked so hard to prepare?

Cost wise calculation

The Lord of the Rings” is a fantasy trilogy that achieves an almost perfect balance between business and art.

Many people think that “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy is a huge commercial film giant investment.

In fact, the total cost of the trilogy is 280 million U.S. dollars, an average of about 93 million U.S. dollars each.

What is the concept of this number? We can look at the investment scale of several commercial blockbusters released in the same year as the 2001 “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring“.

20 years later, why is "The Lord of the Rings" still an insurmountable peak?

“Pearl Harbor” is $140 million; “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” is $125 million; “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” is $115 million; “Planet Of The Apes” is $100 million; “Artificial Intelligence” is $100 million.

have you seen it? The film “The Lord of the Rings” couldn’t even make it into the top five most expensive titles of the year.

The director of photography laughs at himself as “the largest low-cost film produced in the world.”

Judging from the scale of “The Lord of the Rings“, the number of participants in the trilogy exceeds 26,000, which is an extremely cost-effective filming!

In order to save costs, Peter Jackson creatively proposed that the trilogy adopts a back-to-back shooting method, that is, many scenes are shot together, instead of finishing one and preparing another one.

He also took full advantage of New Zealand’s cheap labor, government support, and tax rebate policies. Not only did he complete the film at low cost, he also provided a lot of employment opportunities in his hometown.

Going farther, he even promoted the development of the tourism industry and established the myth of Weta’s world’s top special effects company…

In contrast to cost savings, the director strives for excellence in scenes, service, special effects, and even light, soundtrack, and photography.

Let’s use some examples to see how rigorous and sophisticated this series is.

In order to ensure the authenticity of the scene, the stunt team of “The Lord of the Rings” will only use the computer to generate the scenery and buildings in the film when it is “forced”.

The scenes required by the film are mostly shot with actual sets.

20 years later, why is "The Lord of the Rings" still an insurmountable peak?

The most important sets, such as the “Hobbit” cabin, were made in their original size, while others were made into scaled models.

Weta Workshop has produced 68 scaled models, most of which are 1/35, and some are 1/14, 1/4 or even 1/2.

Some models are quite large. For example, for the filming of the “underground cave bridge war” scene, the studio produced a huge 1/14 model, which is 6.4 meters high, 20 meters long, and 13.3 meters wide.

These models are very detailed and can stand the test of close-up and surround shots.

In order to reflect the characteristics of the “medieval”, Jackson invited real blacksmiths to build weapons for them.

The weapons of the 100 main characters are made of steel and used for close-up shots. More made of light metal aluminum, used to shoot mid-range fighting scenes. As for the rubber and plastic weapons used to shoot distant scenes, they are even harder to count.

They produced a total of 48,000 items, including 1,000 hand-made armors, 200 hand-sewn leather garments, and more than 2,000 weapons.

Similarly, Weta Workshop also strives for perfection in the makeup of the actors. They have made more than 10,000 plastic masks for the actors in the film.

Production excellence

Through a set of data, we can fully understand the behind-the-scenes production process of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

20 years later, why is "The Lord of the Rings" still an insurmountable peak?

7: In 7 years, Peter Jackson and others worked for “The Lord of the Rings“.

28: The number of main characters in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

68: The number of scaled models made by Weta Workshop for the three “The Lord of the Rings“.

100: In the early days of filming, the art department looked at more than 100 “storyboard” sketches for Jackson every day.

20 years later, why is "The Lord of the Rings" still an insurmountable peak?

100: The staff of Weta Workshop made more than 100 sculpture heads of “Gollum” with different expressions based on the photos of Peter Jackson.

274: 274 days, the actual shooting time of “The Lord of the Rings“.

300: The most complicated “The Lord of the Rings” specifically refers to the number of layers required for the scene. A layer is an element that needs to be synthesized. The more layers, the more complex the synthesis.

350: The number of people who have worked for “The Lord of the Rings” by Weta Workshop.

1500: The number of special effects shots in the “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

9000: In order to accurately express the expression of “Gollum”, Weta Workshop designed more than 9000 different shapes of head muscles for it.

20 years later, why is "The Lord of the Rings" still an insurmountable peak?

10000: The number of people who appeared in the opening battle scene of “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”.

10000: The total number of plastic masks made by Weta Workshop for “The Lord of the Rings“.

48000: The total number of props produced by Weta Workshop.

25000000000000000: 25 trillion gigabytes, the number of bytes processed by the special effects of “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers“.

20 years later, why is "The Lord of the Rings" still an insurmountable peak?

In particular, when Peter Jackson filmed “The Lord of the Rings“, he paid great attention to environmental protection and respected local culture and customs.

The filming of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy lasted 274 days, using a total of 350 specially constructed filming scenes, with more than 150 locations (including 30 Ministry of Environmental Protection sites) throughout New Zealand.

Before using the reserve and national park for filming, the director must first obtain permission to shoot a movie in the reserve through a professional lawyer.

Lawyers must submit reports to local and environmental protection agencies to ensure that the environment has not been damaged.

In addition, the people at the filming site must ensure that the local cultural symbols will not be destroyed.

20 years later, why is "The Lord of the Rings" still an insurmountable peak?

Mount Ruapehu is sacred to the local Maori.

According to traditional requirements, Maori cannot look directly at the peaks of this mountain, and painting or photographing the mountain is considered rude.

Therefore, Peter Jackson agreed with the elders of the tribe that “The Lord of the Rings” can photograph the mountain, but digital effects (such as adding lava) should be used to make it unrecognizable.

Variety of aesthetic styles

Minimizing the use of CG special effects is the point that “The Lord of the Rings” is very different from most major production movies in recent years.

The Lord of the Rings” trilogy uses a lot of real-time shooting and physical special effects. CG special effects are only used when necessary.

Peter Jackson wants to pursue a real sense of quality, and shoot the film as a historical/epic blockbuster rather than a pure fantasy film.

20 years later, why is "The Lord of the Rings" still an insurmountable peak?

He hopes to present the feeling that “There may indeed be such a Middle-earth world, with such unique races and unique characters.”

In fact, Weta Workshop was not the highest-level company in terms of CG special effects at the time. What they were best at was physical special effects, makeup, and miniature setting.

Although Weta Workshop used the more advanced Massive software at the time to generate a large number of troops, its CG production level was still not as good as that of the old special effects company.

But Weta Workshop has an unparalleled advantage, that is, they are very cheap!

20 years later, why is "The Lord of the Rings" still an insurmountable peak?

It can be said that what Peter Jackson presented in “The Lord of the Rings” is not necessarily the best CG special effects at the time, but it is definitely the most cost-effective.

In the “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Peter Jackson’s personal director style is very prominent in the film, and the trilogy can even be regarded as an “author’s film.”

The director showed a variety of aesthetic styles, which is impossible for many Hollywood commercial film directors.

20 years later, why is "The Lord of the Rings" still an insurmountable peak?

In addition, the film soundtrack of “The Lord of the Rings” is also very impressive.

Canadian musician Howard Shore, as if inspired by a volcanic eruption, made the trilogy’s soundtrack to the extreme.

20 years later, why is "The Lord of the Rings" still an insurmountable peak?

Howard Shore also recruited a group of world-class musicians for the trilogy.

20 years later, why is "The Lord of the Rings" still an insurmountable peak?

Even if you look at it independently, the soundtrack of “The Lord of the Rings” can also be called an extremely good audiophile.

Nowadays, Hollywood composers seldom conduct orchestras by themselves, and Howard Shore conducts all the music performances of “The Lord of the Rings“. His dedication to this work can be seen.

20 years later, why is "The Lord of the Rings" still an insurmountable peak?

Regarding the casting of the leading role of the “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, in fact, we can start a separate article and talk about it for three days and three nights.

Unlike most commercial blockbusters today, the director did not choose a big star with a huge box office appeal, but at the same time may be expensive.

The director uniquely adopted a combination of old, middle-aged and young actors, and assembled a group of old drama bones, middle-aged personality actors and very promising young actors. At the same time, British actors, Australian and New Zealand actors are the main actors.

Related Post: The 16 Cast of “The Lord of the Rings”, a comparison of the past and the present in 20 years (1).

This not only accords with Tolkien’s identity as a British writer, but also has a strong guarantee of acting skills-and it’s not expensive!

Related Post: The 16 Cast of “The Lord of the Rings”, a comparison of the past and the present in 20 years (2).

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