Hey folks, Harry here.... Now I've been lucky enough... or cursed... depending on one's point of view to have seen The entire Cannes reel, the New Line pitch tape, read an early draft of the scripts, live on set for the final 10 days of filming, see the blooper reel and the various dailes and such that Peter was looking at whilst I was on set... Lucky in that I've seen more than just about any person outside of the production has seen. Cursed in that, when you find yourself lucky enough to see this work. The magic that is being attended to down in New Zealand... You can't help but become a hopeless addict.
When people talk of these films eclipsing the STAR WARS franchise... I don't believe that it is meant in malice or with a spirit of anger. I believe it comes from a place of frustration. For many of us, we grew up in the shadow of the Star Wars Franchise... They were the films, for many, that made them dream of what cinema could be. For me, those films were KING KONG and THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD. Those were the two films I saw at an age that made me, forever, addicted to film. And though I love them with every fiber of my being... Though I love STAR WARS and EMPIRE STRIKES BACK with every ounce of my weighty frame. Though I worship the essence of THE ROAD WARRIOR and BLADE RUNNER and PINNOCHIO and TREASURE OF SIERRE MADRE and GOLDFINGER... I do. I worship these films. Well I continue to look for other films. Something new.
For over 25 years now we've been STAR WARS geeks... The type that quote scenes seemingly as gospel, citing Yoda phrases to our friends when they need advice... when they say they'll 'try' we say, "Do or Do Not, there is no try." When automatic doors open, we wave our hands and mumble, "All Too Easy."
We go to conventions and see folks in X-WING & Stormtrooper & Boba Fett & Leia &... well the costumes of STAR WARS. When I first entered fandom about 27 years ago, the costumes were Sandman costumes... From LOGAN'S RUN... There were folks dressed in DAMNATION ALLEY garb... Classic Trek ruled the roost. Then you had the PLANET OF THE APES folks and the old Serial Fans.
Then STAR WARS and STAR TREK took off in a phenomenal way. Suddenly... That was what fandom became. That's not a negative, but the days of Harryhausen and George Pal seemed to pass... and now we seemed to exist where the two fan groups were Star Wars and Star Trek fans.
LORD OF THE RINGS symbolizes a dynamic influx of FRESH BLOOD. Suddenly we will all have something new to collect, talk off, wax poetically about and use as something above 99% of the genre efforts. When this takes off, and the naysayers really haven't a clue how big this is going to be, it is going to shake fandom like you won't believe.
We need FANTASY strong again. We need a strong financially successful alternative to science fiction. Why? Because I need something to make my eyes go wide again like when I was young. Why? Because I refuse to believe that the last time I saw something new that made me dream of far away places and magical realms was watching the Falcon fly through that Asteroid field.
However, I've seen a scene that did that for me again. It began with the scene these folks saw tonight in Lincoln Center... Inside I laugh at the thought of all these people dying over the Cave Troll scene... That scene, while admittedly great... amongst the best animation/live action mixes the world has ever seen... It is a pimple on the ass of what happens in the following scenes. It's a tease of an EPIC PROPORTION. I can say to everyone that saw the presentation tonight.... YOU HAVEN'T SEEN ANYTHING YET.... Trust me... I'm at this keyboard with wet eyes and a cheshire smile thinking about it... you haven't seen anything yet... Just 99 more days....
On with the reports... this first one comes from Daniel Dravot and it is one of the absolute best yet!!!
Hi Harry, I've been a reader since 1996 and I finally have something to contribute. I was lucky enough to have attended the 9:30 presentation of "Behind the Scenes of Middle Earth" at Lincoln Center in New York City.
As I was waiting in line I saw the people coming out of the earlier showing and I rushed up to them to ask what it was like. First I found out that the Cannes footage, which I assumed we'd get to see, was not shown, and there were no special guests beyond producer Barrie Osborne and director of visual effects Christian Rivers. Then as they started collecting tickets I saw a group of people talking outside the theater and realized one of them was Elijah Wood! And there was Orlando Bloom next to him and Sean Bean right there as well! I am so glad I went to the later showing and got to see all three of these actors.
I got perfect seats 5 rows from the stage and just happened to be two rows in front of where the actors sat. The presentation was a nice mix of production stories, descriptions of how the film was made, and some really amazing behind the scenes videos, as well as about five minutes of the Moria sequence with the fight against the cave troll.
The presentation began with a description of New Zealand and why it was so perfect a location for the movies. Christian and Barrie briefly descibed their career histories and how they got involved with LotR. Barrie mentioned that during the Vietnam war he was in Korea as an army engineer learning how to make bridges and roads, a skill that came in handy when he was involved with such a huge production like LotR, which involved the creation of over 16 miles of road to get access to remote locations. He told us how scared Sean Bean was of flying and how Sean took a ski lift up half a mountain and hiked the rest so he wouldn't have to fly up in a helicopter.
They showed us the second teaser trailer with the Gandalf voice-over and a really interesting sale pitch film that Peter Jackson showed to Bob Shaye at New Line. It had more footage of Peter (as the two presenters referred to him as) in front of the orc helmets as seen in the first Internet Teaser trailer explaining his vision for the films. It also included a wonderfully detailed model of the BALROG'S HEAD! It is truly original, really fantastic, and did remind me a little bit of a monter bull crossed with the alien from Predator. Barrie mentioned that Weta made over 48,000 items for the three films, including chain mail that was created by hand by linking slices of plastic pvc pipe (12.5 million links from 7 miles of pvc in all!) and then electroplating the finished product so it looks like metal and has some weight when it moves.
Then Christian talked us through the story board and digital "pre viz" process for the Moria sequence. He also mentioned how the Hobbiton set was built one year before it was filmed, so all of the greenery would have a chance to grow and look natural. One un-natural bit of Hobbiton was the over 250,000 fake oak leaves that were individually attached to the live trees to make them greener and fuller. Barrie told some more great stories like filming earthworms crawling out from under the toes of the hobbits as they are hiding from the ringwraiths, illustrating how all living creatures naturally want to avoid the undead kings. And also mentioned how Orlando, Sean, and a few others were trapped in a small town by landslides on the roads leading into and out of the town. Orlando chimed in at this point to mention they bought lots of chocolate and Sean made tons of pasta because they thought they'd be trapped there for a long time, but the production sent in helicopters to airlift them out, and even Sean had to fly in them this time.
More brilliant behind the scenes footage was show, including how the forced perspective shots were created to shrink the hobbits as well as the use of actors on stilts, which WERE used in the film (sparingly) and were not completely abandoned as has been reported on the web. We saw some breathtaking shots like an elven charge at the Last Alliance, Gandalf's stunt double flying through the air again and again when he is being thrown around by Saruman's magic, and a really really fantastic shot of Arwen and the Black Rdiers during the flight across the ford. There were also some really funny bits like an elf in full make-up and costume saying how Galadriel in her swan boat is "a bit poncy...she had to have a special boat instead of just taking the bus", and what looked like Gandalf intoning "Orcs! Orcs! And so far from Orcland!" (referring to Aukland, the capital of New Zealand) The shots of the digital work is really what blew my mind the most. The digital stunt double of Boromir was SOOOO amazingly realistic. The shots of the different levels in developing MASSIVE, the software for the battle scenes, were just incredible. Christian explained how the digital combatants are programmed to get dirtier as they fight, each with their own racial fighting style, and how they could be programmed with different levels of agression, he added that they "eventually turned them all up to max".
The final bit before the questions was centered on the creation of the Moria cave troll. Christian showed us about 16 different pre-production designs of the troll, charting his development and zeroing in on the elements Peter liked best like the two-fingered hands and the cloven hoof-like feet. We also saw some fascinating footage of Peter on the Balin's Tomb set wearing VR goggles and controlling a digital camera so he could walk around the real set and compose his shots at the same time he was viewing the "pre viz" computer generated animatics that had been prepared of the troll and the fellowship fighting.
Then we got to see the footage from the entering of Balin's Tomb to the Cave Troll stalking Frodo. Wow. It's already been described many times so I'll just add I was as blown away as everyone else. It was magical. My favorite part was Gandalf drawing Glamdring and then attacking orcs with his blade in one hand and staff in the other.
I'm really tired and need to get to bed, but here's a quick paraphrase of the questions and answers:
Q: How much motion capture was used as opposed to hand animation?
CR: We really married the two and used both. It wasn't all motion capture, for example the cave troll was all 3D animated by hand.
Q: What does "weta" mean and how long has it been around?
CR: Weta is an insect unique to New Zealand which looks like a huge grasshopper covered in nasty spikes. Weta, the special effects company named after the insect, has been around since about 1988 and bought it's first computer for Beautiful Creatures, but became a named company in 1994.
Q: What will be the running time of FotR?
BO: About 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Q: What can you tell us about the scripts and any deviations from Tolkien's books?
BO: They are very faithful to the books, there are no introduced storylines. One of the biggest planned changes was the removal of Bill the Pony due to the cost of transporting animals to so many remote locations, but in the end Peter had to keep him in the film. (Hooray!)
Q: How much of the footage that we saw tonight will be on the DVDs and what special features can we look forward to? (this was the question I asked)
CR: I can pretty much promise you that almost everything we showed tonight will make it on to the DVDs. Peter has set out to make the greatest trilogy of movies ever, and he also has plans to make the greatest set of DVDs ever made with tons of great extras.
Q: Is the scourging of the shire going to be portrayed in the films?
BO: Yes, but you'll have to wait to see how and when.
Q: When are the films coming out? (Duh!)
BO: The next three Decembers.
Q: What is the DVD release plan? One per film or all three together?
BO: I'm pretty sure there will be one released after each film, and then you can also expect a full compilation at some point in the future.
Q: Has there been any talk of making the Hobbit next?
BO & CR together: (laughing loudly, then...) No!
(I guess they just want to finish this project and then take a well deserved rest!)
As the presentation ended and we all drifted back to reality I was thinking how cool it would be to meet the three actors who were there. Unfortunatly we didn't see them as we were heading out of the theater. My wife and friends and I hung out outside for a bit to see if they were coming out but they didn't show. So I decided to poke my head back into the theater and saw a small group of about a dozen people incluing Barrie, Christian, Elijah, Orlando, and Sean! So we rushed back in and waited until a good moment to introduce ourselves. All three were really personable and friendly, though Sean, the oldest of the three, was more quiet and reserved. Each seemed happy to shake my hand and give me an autograph, and I even chatted with Elijah for a few moments thanking him for his involvement with web sites like Ain't-It-Cool and TheOneRing.Net.
I still can't believe I got to see actual footage AND meet the actors who brought to life Boromir, Legolas, and FRODO! What a fantastic, magical, mind blowing evening it was!!!
You can call me...
Next came from a man with no name I deemed The Barrel Rider
I know you've probably been inundated with reports from the first screening of the Lord Of The Rings promotional piece that occurred tonight in New York's Lincoln Center. I attended the second screening which was at 930.
Briefly, It was the producer and the visual effects supervisor talking about the film with lots of video of how the film was done.I'm certain someone who was at this show or the earlier one can fill you in on all of the details. We were all warned not to tape the proceedings, neatly dressed men in black suits watched for any signs of recording, however the whole proceedings were taped by someone in the front on a digital camera which leads me to believe the video will turn up somewhere, possibly the dvd which they said would mostly likely contain what we had just seen.
The making of the film was charted by the showing of video footage from the making of various bits of the film but primarily the attack in the tomb in the Mines of Moria, for give the spelling, its late and I don't have the book in front of me. All of the video was impressive and only made you want to see more.
It was a wonderful presentation, if a bit long so late in the evening.
The topper of the evening was the showing a portion of the finished attack in the Tomb.
It was mostly marvelous. My sole complaint is that there is one bit of the action that was obviously animated, namely the crossing of the chain to the back of the cave troll. It stood out as artificial in an otherwise perfectly animated sequence. I should add that it was jarring in that they had just spent a great deal of time showing you real versus CGI, even showing a computer generated Sean Bean that made the people around me gasp at the realism.
Has Peter Jackson, gotten it right?
Yes, although I know that there are going to be people who quibble. There will always be naysayers, but then how can you please people who's strongest argument against it is going to be, "that's not how I would have done it."
It was a very nice evening, to which I must add that Sean Bean, Orlando Bloom and Elijah Wood were there, looking totally inconspicuous and being absolutely charming and wonderful when asked for autographs, even by me who had to scrounge a flier for a different event to get a signature.
I can't wait to see the whole movie.
The Barrel Rider
Here's a small report from GF...
I was at the 9:30 Lincoln Center LOTR event.
To confirm, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom and Sean Bean were there. Did not see Ian McKellen, though I did see someone who looked like Todd Graff.
Lots of talk, maybe too much, about the production design and effects work from Osborne and Rivers, but overall they were good. It was nice of them to come all the way from New Zealand for this. At least that’s what they said.
The pitch ‘film’ to New Line from Peter Jackson was nice, but the highlight of the event was definitely the four or five minutes of film footage, it looked great. The design, direction, effects, and acting, were all very promising.
You try not to get too excited over something like this, cause it won’t be out for awhile. But what was seen is making it tough to wait, and it’s only been three hours.
And so all you people that listen when people say an event is sold out and give up hope.... Here's a guy that got in, when he didn't have a ticket when he arrived... Faith is a powerful ally of the geek. Learn it, live it and experience the cool because of it.... Here's The Man Who Never Was....
Dear Harry, ?
OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot believe the kind hand fate dealted me! My friend and I attended the presentation for Shrek, hosted by , one of the directors. It went over fairly well, not a sold out show. My friend and I could not obtain tickets to see the presentation for Lord of the Rings so we decided to wait after Shrek to be the first in line for "standby" tickets to "Welcome to Middle Earth." Well, all seemed lost because a crowd had already formed at 2:30pm. So, my friend and I decided to hedge our bet and see if we could get into the 7:30 show on standby. ?
Around 6pm a guy that was fortunate to get ?ickets by holding up a custom made sign requesting them? he even wrote a passage in Elivish let my friend and I use it. In less than five minutes we had bought ourselves two tickets !!!! YEAH!! But........ ?
They were for 9:30 and darn it! I wanted my Ring fix now. We tried to swap, but to no avail. So, we waited for the 9:30 show by waiting in the lobby. Nature called and I went into the bathroom. As I came out my friend looked at me and said "There's Elijah Wood!" I looked over at the concession stand and lo and behold it was Elijah "Frodo Baggins" Wood! HOLY SHNIKE!!!!!!! I grabbed my program and walked up to him to ask for his autograph. But as I approached him I bumped into non other than 006 himself ( or Aragorn to all you Ring fans) Sean Bean!!!!!!! I was speechless! He kindly gave me his autograph and I complimented hi for his work in Goldeneye. I told him how I felt that it was the best Brosnan Bond ( he agreed) and that he was great in it. He was very gracious about my compliment and I turned around to Elijah. ?
I approached him and said "Excuse me Mr. Wood, could you autograph this ( my program ) for me? " ?
"Sure!" he said. After I thanked him for it, he thanked me for asking. Elijah made impressed me greatly with how gracious he it. He is on the verge of superstardom yet he is totally affable and approachable. ?
I did not realize it at the time, but the gentleman with the close cropped dark hair was Orlando Bloom. He too was being swamped for autographs. ?
Inside the theater, we all took our seats. Elijah and crew sat a few seats ah *??p L???on sitting?? Elijah looked back at the crowd and said "What's up y'all?" To the, crowd gave Elijah and company and roaring applause. ?
I'm sure other people have written to you about what the program consisted of. But I must say, the scene of the Fellowship being attacked by the Orcs and then the Ogre blew me away. I've read the book and the everything about that scene has completely convinced me that the Trilogy of films will be mind blowing to say the least. But the best part about it was that Frodo, Legolas, and Boromir were just ahead of me watching the action as well and that really made my night! December 19th cannot come fast enough. I am one lucky dog! And to think, I desperately wanted to trade my 9:30 ticket for 7:30...... ?
The Man Who Never Was
And here's Rich with his nugget from the event....
I too went to the Lincoln Center, as many others have tonight. ? went to the 9:30 screening where much was discussed about the The Lord of the Rings. ?ne note I would like to mention that hasn't been mentioned is that The Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring will have a run time of approxiamately 2 hours and 45 munutes. ?t was a fascinating evening. ? don't want to say any more because I think it has already been covered, but what a great bunch of DVDs these will be.
"Moriarty" here again. I just got this report in from Jack the Cat. It's interesting because he talks about how they're working to do a direct digital scan of the film for DVD. This would actually one-up Lucasfilm, since it turns out the upcoming STAR WARS EPISODE I - THE PHANTOM MENACE DVD is taken from a film master, not a direct digital signal. Way to go, WETA and Wingnut...
i was at the 9:30 presentation which was basically the same as the 7:30 - totally amazing!
also, not only sean bean, but orlando bloom and elijah wood were there. they must have surprised barrie osborne and christian (i think that's his name) the art director, because there were surprised hugs and shouts all around. it was great to see them there.
the behind the scenes stuff was amazing and the art director guy said that it would all be on the DVD and that the DVDs would come out one by one, not as a package after the last film - thank god. they also said they're working on a direct digital scan for the DVDs.
the orcs, cave troll, fighting - all very intense. the sense of suspense too. ian as gandalf is PERFECTION, as are gimli and frodo. in fact, it was all spot-on.
pardon my excitedness causing retard grammar etc.
call me Jack the Cat
This next report comes from a "Faithful Christian" who did a hell of a job breaking the evening down for you...
Tonight at the Walter Reade theatre in the Lincoln Center there was a special presentation about the Lord of the Rings trilogy being directed by Peter Jackson. It was an incredible event in a small space. I managed to get four tickets by some miracle and two friends and I went to see it. I sold my forth ticket (at face value of course) to a guy who had a sign requesting a ticket in both English and elvish. With that sign, he definately deserved it.
Who Was There
The event started about 9:30 and the three of us sat in the third row. Sitting in the audience also was Elijah Wood who plays Frodo Baggins, Orlando Bloom who plays Legolas Greenleaf, and Sean Bean who plays Boromir. It was very interesting to see both Orlando and Sean. Sean did not have the facial hair that he has in the film as Borimer and all three of them had very different hair styles (it was reviewed later in the evening that most of the characters had to get suited up in wigs everyday which took a great deal of time.) As a result, it took a little while to mentally match up their real faces with their likeness on the screen. It was very cool to have them hanging out in the audience though.
The presentation began then and we were introduced to Christian Rivers and Barrie Osborn.
Christian Rivers seems to have played a number of roles in the making of the films, but he works primarily as a conceptual artist. He did the original storyboarding of the film and worked closely with Peter on various visual aspects of the film. He has worked with Peter since they did Dead Alive back in 1992 and has been working on the Lord of the Rings films since 1997. Barrie Osborn is the producer of The Lord of the Rings and has worked as a producer in the past on many films including The Matrix and The Big Chill. I believe this is his first time working with Peter Jackson on a film. After they told us a little about themselves, we watched a trailer for Lord of the Rings; one that I have seen in the theaters before. The list of cool things we got to see and hear past this point is incredibly long, and I can't imagine I'm going to be able to recount them all in the proper order. As a result of this, I'm just going to spit out everything I can possibly remember in the best order I can manage. Here we go.
How the Project was Born
Christian talked about how they had just finished up the frighteners and they were in a room and Peter said they were given three options for their next film and that he had already picked one. Those options were Planet of the Apes (which none of them were interested in doing), King Kong, and Lord of the Rings (which excited Christian a great deal.) Peter then informed them that he had chosen King Kong. Soon after though, the movie got canceled. It was because of the timing. It would have been coming out at about the same time as both Godzilla and Mighty Joe Young and they didn't feel they could compete with that.
As a result of that, they began to work on Lord of the Rings in 1997. Miramax owned the option to create the film, but for some reason had lost interest. They allowed Peter to try and sell the project to another studio which he did eventually to New Line Cinema. We then got to see the actual video that Peter used to try to sell the project to a different studio. The video contained Peter talking about the film and how he would approach it. He discussed the importance of the art direction and challenge of bringing something to the screen that already existed in so many imaginations. Peter pointed out the various interpretations of the novels that had been done through artwork over the years and how that would help in creating the look and feel of the film. They even showed who he considered the two most prominent artists that have done work on Tolkien and their enthusiasm in trying to bring this story to the screen.
We got a good look at a lot of the early work done on the film. All the weapons and armor were produced by hand by a small group of people using very old methods. It made the equipment about as realistic as possible. They spoke specifically about the chain mail. It would seem that the chain mail was made by three people sitting in a room. They took PVP pipe and pulled small loops off of it and then linked them all by hand. These three people did this for over a year. Christian made a very funny comment about how one of the guys who did this for over a year had moved on to a different job and said his new job was "boring." Christian said this as a demonstration of how committed and enthusiastic everyone was just to be working on the film. They then took this chain mail they had put together and sent it to a place where they put the tiniest amount of metal on the entire thing. Christian said this allowed the chain mail to hang appropriate and I can assume it did so without being insanely heavy. Peter Jackson also did a very large number of exercises to work out the blocking and layout of various scenes. Besides standard story boards, they built tiny replicas of scenes. Peter would then use small "lipstick" cameras to test out where the audiences point of view should be for each scene. Peter also brought in computer animation people and they worked with very simple 3D programs to work on the basic blocking of each scene. We also saw both the conceptual art and final design of much of the weapons and armor. They all looked fantastic and seemed to have a great deal of variety. In particular I found the elvish armor to be very beautiful and many of Christian's conceptual sketches to be very inspiring. They were also careful to design fighting styles for each race in the story so as to reflect each culture appropriately.
Shrinking the Hobbits
They also showed video and talked about how they managed to shrink many of the actors down to the size of hobbits. This part I found to be quite remarkable. They showed a scene where Gandalf and Frodo are riding on a carriage and Frodo is a great deal smaller. It would seem they accomplished this by having Frodo sit much further back. By keeping the camera angle in the appropriate place and with the help of a little computer graphics, they are able to create the illusion of the hobbits being quite small. My description of this effect is a bit lacking, but it really is quite remarkable. In some other cases they filmed the actor playing hobbits on a blue screen and inserted them digitally and on occasion they used shorter actors as stand-ins where it was appropriate.
We got a to see a healthy amount of footage of Hobbiton and it looked quite beautiful. A few interesting things came out about Hobbiton. Hobbiton was built almost a year before shooting began. As a result of this, they had gardeners who lived there for that year in order to maintain the grounds and keep the gardens healthy. As a result, when they went to film, Hobbiton already had a very lived in and organic look to it. Also, in a video that we got to see of some of the crew working on Hobbiton, during some of the filming the trees lost their leaves. As a result, they had to have people attached fake leaves to the trees. It was quite funny.
There was a lot of video of Peter doing his thing: directing. He always seemed incredibly passionate about what he was doing and I have to comment that the man looks like a hobbit himself. He always seemed to be barefoot and wearing shorts. They did all of their filming in New Zealand, which from the footage I saw was an absolutely perfect selection. Due to the enormity of trying to create three films at once, they would sometimes have up to 6 different scenes being filmed at once often at different locations. In order to do this, they would set up a satellite link so that peter could always see what was going on at all the locations and could make corrections as needed or order reshoots if necessary. At one point you watch peter leave the filming of one scene and then walk into Bilbo's party. It was very surreal and brought a smile to my face.
The role that computers played in this film was quite remarkable. They talked a great deal about a program they developed called Massive. This program is used to create animated people in very large scenes. For instance, they are using this software in scenes where enormous battles are taking place across vast landscapes. Bravely, they showed us much of the early tests of this software. It was less than perfect as you would see some strange and often humorous behavior out of the artificial intelligence controlling these characters. As we watched the progression of the technology though, everyone in the audience was shocked. The animation became ridiculously lifelike wherein it because nearly impossible to distinguish the live actors from the animated ones. We also saw computer version of many real objects used in the movie. We saw computer version of many of the characters, including Gandalf. And, we also saw a computer animation of Gandalf's face. These were quite well done and at times frightening in their realism. One moment in particular really struck the crown. They showed video on the screen where on the left side was the real object and on the right was the computer animated version. They were completely indistinguishable except maybe to the very trained eye. Everyone was very much in awe If anyone had any worries about computer animation not being realistic enough (which I did), you can put those worries away. No one seemed disappointed.
The Cave Troll and the Grand Finale
The largest single piece of time was spent on discussing and showing us footage of the cave troll in the Tomb of Balin. Christian showed us a number of early drawings of the cave troll and said that this process took some time to work out. They would draw and redraw and redraw the troll showing Peter each iteration for his feedback and direction. Christian even mentioned how they would try to draw full scenes around the variations they liked the best to try to get Peter to head in that direction. Once they had worked out the look of the creature, they even went through a number of variations on the hammer until finally choosing a final design. Then we saw the early 3D versions of the troll. The troll is a completely computer animated character and is done so to jaw dropping effect. Some of the early test animation they did was with the troll angrily stomping on bouncing beach balls. It was very funny and it seemed like the animation people were having a great deal of fun putting this frightening creature in a humorous environment.
One very particularly cool moment was seeing video of describing how the troll should move. You then see Peter suited up in a Virtual Reality outfit including a head visor and he then starts moving around like the troll so they can record his movements to work on the troll. It's really amazing to see the director of such a large project get involved on this level. Then came what was unquestionably the best part of the evening: We actually got to watch 5-7 minutes of the film. The scene we got to see was the one in the tomb of Balin. It contains some beautiful shots of Dareron's runes and the Mines of Moria. This also included the scene with the troll and a number of orcs and it was absolutely amazing. It's going to make waiting until December just that much harder.
After all of us being put in a state of shock from seeing the clip, Christian and Barrie were kind enough to take a few questions. Here's the information that came out of that session:
- The movie will have a run time of about 2 hours and 45 minutes
- When asked how true the film will be to the book, Barrie replied that they tried to stay as true to the vision of the book as they could. He even mention that many of them tried to get Peter to remove the prancing pony scene and Peter refused.
- There will be no test showings of the film before it's release
- When asked if we were going to get to see Gollum, Barry said that Gollum would not be revealed until the release of the movie itself.
- As good as the special effects looked, they were not completely done yet.
Well, that's it. I'm sure I've missed a number of things, but this is certainly the bulk of it. Hopefully others can fill in the areas I may have missed. We all have a great deal to look forward to.
Now off to bed to dream of Galadriel,