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!