Freitag, 30. November 2007

Behind The Scenery

This year’s returning ritual of watching the Lord Of The Rings Extended Edition, usually taking place around Christmas, started somewhat early, in November.
So on Tuesday I began with The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, and Wednesday night I finished The Return of the King.
They’re becoming more and more kitsch, but I’m still impressed by the making-of stuff that comes on 6 additional DVDs.

So when the films are finished, there’s a lot more to see, and thankfully this time I managed to shut down those f… subtitles- for all my English erodes from my brain as soon as there are German words on the screen.

However, I found it extremely difficult to understand what was said there, even though it’s all English (probably...)
But there seem to be Americans, English people, Scots, People from Australia and New Zealand with all their individual dialects… and this amazingly beautiful Viggo Mortensen, who’s talking in a language I did not understand at all. And I don’t talk of his speech at Copenhagen. Perhaps it’s something about his voice? I don’t know.

It’s awe-inspiring to learn of the huge amount of work behind it all: The armoury, the weapons, the prosthetics, the make-up and clothes, the computer generated animation, how they built the trees and constructed Minas Tirith, Helm’s Deep and Mordor- it’s all equally fascinating.

The arrows of orks and elves are decorated differently, though no one will be able to see this in the film. The swords used by Aragorn and Gandalf and about one hundred more are real swords, and lots of the armoury was made from light-weighted plate steel and leather, by two Armoury smiths, earning their living in New Zealand.
All the Rohirrim cavalry fighting in the siege of Minas Tirith consisted of in fact about 250 real horses with their riders, multiplied by computer rendered imagery- and every time you see a horse going down it’s one of the digital ones, so no harm was done.
And you learn why the big olifants or Mûmakil don’t make elephant-like trumpeting noises…

It’s a touching moment when Peter Jackson, the Director, let’s Elijah Wood repeat the last scene with Sam over and over again, just to not have to say “cut”- it’s the last pick-up shot, and he just doesn’t want to say good-bye.

The quality of this additional material makes up for all the kitschy moments of the actual film- especially in all the scenes with Galadriel or Arwen. Cate Blanchett is a beautiful woman, and so is Liv Tyler, but all this blinding lights and sentimental music makes me rather sick.
I prefer the orks fighting their way into Helm’s Deep, or the Mûmakil on the Pelennor field trampling down the Rohirrim. Hehe.

But still, kitschy or not, Annie Lennox’ last song “Into the West” is one of my favourites.

And New Zealand itself remains one of the places I dream of… I can’t imagine anyone here in Germany having the idea to put a picture of a movie character onto a plane – let alone a Lufthansa-Boeing. It’s impressing to see the people in Wellington at the world premiere of The Return of the King, all their excitement and pride they take in it. So there’s not only landscape and mountains and animals. I’d also like to get acquainted to the people there.

Maybe if I win the lottery my next posting will come from Tongariro National Park.
There’s a 38 million Euro-jackpot this Saturday. Keep your fingers crossed :-)

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