Friday, October 01, 2004

A Nod To Peter Jackson

Spending about 2 and a half hours with the Visual FX supervisor of Lord of the Rings was truly an eye opening experience to the amount of work that went into the greatest trilogy ever put to film. Peter Jackson, perhaps best known for his "The Frighteners" with Michael J. Fox before LOTR has truly accomplished something magical. With the Extended Edition of Return of the King coming this fall, it is perhaps time to recognize the magnificient achievement Lord of the Rings represents.

Shooting 3 films over the course of a year is a logistical nightmare, Jackson accomplished this task by assembling a professional, exceptional crew (the entire number of people estimated who contributed to LOTR now hovers over somewhere in the 25,000). At the top of this massive pyramid was Jackson, faced with the daunting task of satisfying a major studio, film audiences and already established LOTR fans each of whom had their own idea of what Middle Earth looked like. Jackson accomplished this by writing a screenplay that took essentials from Tolkien, respected his work, and visualized his world by first looking to the text- not to the suits at New Line.

The cinematography is spectacular, the casting was brilliant (including the superb, groundbreaking work on Gollum), and even more surprising was the work of Howard Shore. Shore's score is magnificent because not only does it enhance the film, but works on its own as a beautiful composition. A tour featuring selected orchestrations from the film consistently soldout as it traversed across the United States.

Jackson deserves every acclaim he has received for his work on Lord of the Rings- his direction never drifted away from the story at hand, and he was never deceived into thinking (as perhaps George Lucas has) that the effects drive the story. His passion for completing the epic has led for his unprecedented 20 million dollar paycheck for King Kong, a perhaps even daring choice than Lord of the Rings- but knowing Jackson something spectacular is on the way.


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