Opinion Piece by Eddie on 06/08/2021
There’s been some great 3-peat’s in cinematic history.
From Back to the Future, The Dark Knight, Die Hard, Aliens, Indiana Jones, The Godfather, Toy Story, Star Wars and…….. Austin Powers? That’s just naming a few series of films that managed to entertain across multiple entries and genres, all leaving their marks in people’s memories and places of high regard in the history of the movie making business.
There is one trilogy however that stands above them all, a series of three incredibly well-realized films that defied all odds set against them to become not only box office sensations but critically adored and award winning affairs that not even the most optimistic of experts would’ve predicted being born out of the mind of a bearded tea-loving New Zealander that changed an industry forever with his imagination fueled adventures.
After numerous false starts and years of behind the scenes dramas, 2001 was the year in which director Peter Jackson unleashed The Fellowship of the Ring into cinema screens around the world and from the moment Howard Shore’s rousing music swelled and the universe of J.R.R’s Tolkien’s came to life before our eyes (actually a mixture of magical Weta effects and New Zealand’s natural backdrop), the populace fell in love with a bunch of hairy feet sporting hobbits, brave humans, elf’s, dwarves and eagles that could’ve been a great Uber option to Mount Doom.
Billions of dollars, Oscars and other adornments later, these 20 years on from The Fellowship of the Rings release year that was followed by the Helms Deep anchored Two Towers and the feast for the senses that was The Return of the King, have only strengthened the case that Jackson’s films will remain the very best of of the best for many moons still to come.
Having not personally watched the films in their entirety since their cinematic runs (cinema viewings I will long remember fondly), recent Covid-19 lockdowns have caused me to pause and revisit the three films to once more be taken away by the spectacle, adventure and importantly heart of Jackson and Tolkien’s tale and it pleases me too say that the films have lost none of their charm these years on from initial release, with all three films providing moments of greatness that combine to create a stunningly developed collection of fantasy adventure films that should live long into the history of the industry.
With ground-breaking effects work, brilliant casting choices (both Sean Astin and Andy Serkis being standouts in what should’ve been Oscar nominated roles), masterful adaptive screenwriting courtesy of Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Jackson who managed to wrangle Tolkien’s grand imagination into a way it could be consumed in this medium and an array of other technical aspects such as Shores aforementioned music and Andrew Lesnie’s cinematography, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is absolutely an example of lightning in a bottle moments that managed to draw together a collection of players into a time and place that could never be bettered.
Having been like others left with a bad taste in my mouth due to the sadly not great Hobbit trilogy, a series of films that showed just how hard it is to create these type of large-scale fantasy stories for cinematic purposes and that the Lord of the Rings films should never have worked to the level they did, I wondered if perhaps the original films had been looked upon with rose colored glasses by us all but having barely aged a day in technical aspects and featuring all the heart and soul you original loved, these films really do deserve the love and attention they still get to this day.
An amazing moment in movie history three times over, we can be forever thankful for Jackson’s films, for the joy they’ve given millions of fans, the inspiration for other filmmakers and for letting us watch an elf ride a shield down a set of stairs like a snowboard on the slopes as he dispatches orcs for his growing tally of kills.
In the battle between movie trilogies, there really is only one series to rule them all.
Do you like LOTR? Can you remember going to see them at the cinema? Favourite moment? Let me know in the comments section below!
I do agree of course, this trilogy is a miracle transposition of Tolkien’s masterpiece for sure. But is it really a trilogy? I see the Lord of Ring as homogeneous work of art, just like a painting may be told in a three panels story, just like long and epic and wind blowing adventure in Middle Earth.
Before the lockdown, I’ve rewatched the second trilogy based on “The Hobbit”, another great piece of legendary motion picture, maybe too much filled of CGI. Anyway, I like them both.
Good point mate! I really did not like the Hobbit films, I felt like they lacked any heart or spark that made the original LOTR films so good.
I understand this feeling because I share it. Something’s missing in The Hobbit, lack of spirit, too much storylines intricated in the simple story told in the book. But that is always stirring to come back to Middle Earth and live these adventures once again.
I will sign up to any Middle Earth adventures that’s for certain!
I do think LOTR is a trilogy, in this sense, and it works so beautifully! The trouble with The Hobbit is they could have done it in 2 but this is a fine, fine example of getting everything right with the big three.
You could put the Dark Knight trilogy out there but they didn’t even know they’d do a second originally and while I do like the third, it’s nowhere near as slick as the first two. (And far more obvious)
The Hobbit could’ve worked so much better as a two-parter. I think though there was just something very off about those films, just a real lack of memorable performances or characters and seemed to be so generic in nature.
The point being although Tolkien wanted to release LOTR as one huge book, it was released by its publisher in three parts, which set the perfect template for the films. It had a clear beginning, middle and end.
Lesson to Disney Star Wars execs; go home and watch the LOTR trilogy for your homework. Hence explanation for the ‘F’ given to the Disney Star Wars Trilogy and hopefully lesson learned.
Mate, Disney could learn a lot from these Peter Jackson films that’s for sure!
I lost count of how many times I’ve rewatched the LoTR trilogy, at home and at the cinema. This was one of those blessed occasions when so many things came together just right, at the right time.
I’m hoping Villeneuve’s Dune is the same! Its just a pity they didn’t have the courage to make both Dune films together: I still find it amazing they shot all three LOTR films at the same time, but of course that was the only way to do it and make it economically feasible. If we get a Dune Part One and never see Part Two…
Mate, can’t wait to see what Dune can deliver! I like you hope its not a one off, I think its going to be very special.
It really does feel like a series of fortunate events that made all these films come together so well. I do wonder how the new Amazon TV series will go.
Lord of the Rings was written by an English professor of old-time European cultures, and it shows. What is amazing is that the depth and detail Professor Tolkien put into his work was appreciated by the mass public. It is probably they were responding to the realism rather than appreciating the erudition itself, but still … amazing.
Some very interesting observations there mate. Did you see the Tolkien film from a few years ago starring Nicholas Hoult? Thought it provided some interesting context to his writing.
My favourite movies, I think, and the only ones I’ve watched all the dvd extras including commentaries. Had a rewatch myself earlier this year, and it was such an odd moment hearing John Rhys Davies say at the end something about how well he believes the movies would last and him imagining someone listening to this in 20 years… Exactly as I was!
I can’t believe these films came out so long ago! It feels like just yesterday I was watching them in the cinemas.
Completely agree! No other trilogy of movies even come close to this masterpiece!
Glad you feel the same way! We are so lucky these films came together the way they did.
You mean ‘One trilogy to rule them all…’?
Mate why didn’t I think of this! A very apt tagline.