‘The Lord of the Rings’: 20 years of Peter Jackson’s film

“This is a giant company, but I consider it to be a personal movie. It is the movie of my life. I read the book when I was 18 and thought, ‘I can’t wait for the movie to come out.’ Twenty years later, nobody had done it, so I got impatient. “

This is how New Zealand director Peter Jackson explained the challenge of bringing to the big screen the epic fantasy and adventure work of the British writer JRR Tolkien, a blockbuster that swept theaters around the world between 2001 and 2003 and is still one one of the great references of the genre, not only for its success at the box office, but also for the recognition of critics and the film industry.

Like the 17 Oscar awards, four of them for the first installment of the trilogy, ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’, which obtained a total of 13 nominations, including best film, best director and best adapted screenplay, and which corroborated the success of audience of the trilogy. He won them in the categories of Best Soundtrack, Best Photography, Best Visual Effects, and Best Makeup.

The total collection of the trilogy was around 3,000 million dollars for its exhibition in theaters, more than 870 million were obtained by the first of the films.

With that ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’, released in December 2001, the general public accessed the fantasy universe devised by Tolkien and so admired by Peter Jackson, a world populated by humans, elves, dwarves and hobbits, and other fantastic creatures in the one that, as in the real world, the fight between good and evil is a constant that marks the destiny of the protagonists.

“A Ring to rule them all, a Ring to find them, a Ring to attract them all and bind them in darkness,” then became a perfectly recognizable phrase, and actors like Elijah Wood (Frodo), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn), Orlando Bloom (Legolas) or Cate Blanchet (Galadriel) put a face to the stories imagined by Tolkien.

The Fellowship of the Ring
Frodo is the great protagonist of ‘The Lord of the Rings’, as opposed to the Dark Lord Sauron, who ordered the elves to forge the Great Rings of Power: three for the elven kings, seven for the dwarf lords, and nine for the mortal men, and also secretly forged the One Ring, which possesses the power to enslave all of Middle-earth.

A ring that reaches Frodo by chance, who will undertake a long and dangerous journey with the aim of destroying him, a mission in which he will have the help of his loyal hobbit friends, the magician Gandalf, Aragorn, Boromir, the elf Legolas and the Gimli dwarf, with whom he will face the evil Sauron, who orders his pursuit.

If the production of the trilogy was a turning point in the career of director Peter Jackson, the character of Frodo has marked the trajectory of Elijah Wood, irremediably linked to the heroic hobbit of ‘The Lord of the Rings’, a role that meant everything a challenge for the actor, due to the expectations generated by the project.

“I definitely felt the pressure. I wanted to live up to all expectations. But when I put on the costume and worked with the others, I just didn’t think about it anymore, “said the actor after the film’s premiere.

Nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actor and a BAFTA for best actor for his role in ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’, Ian McKellen plays Gandalf, the wizard who protects the hobbit in his adventures thanks to his powers and wisdom.

The ‘fellowship of the ring’ is completed by Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd, as the hobbits Sam, Merry and Pippin; Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn; Sean Bean as Boromir; Orlando Bloom as the elf Legolas; and John Rhys-Davies as the dwarf Gimli, who accompany Frodo on his journey through spectacular Middle-earth.

New Zealand, the ideal middle ground
“New Zealand is not a small country, but a large village,” says director Peter Jackson, who with the production of the trilogy of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ in his native country has made it, for two decades, in the dream destination of the legions of followers of the stories created by JRR Tolkien, as it was also the location chosen for the filming of the adaptation of ‘The Hobbit’.

A tourist attraction for the country, which has managed to make the landscapes of Middle-earth come alive in more than 150 real locations, from the green hills of Matamata on the North Island -Hobbiton-, to the steep mountain peaks of Queenstown, that represent the valley of the Sombrío stream.

The peaceful Middle-earth Shire region, in which the hobbits reside, was recreated in Matamata, where the Hobbiton village was built for the filming of the films and has remained a permanent attraction, undoubtedly one of the main attractions for fans of the saga.

After the adaptation of ‘The Hobbit’, a trilogy also directed by Peter Jackson, fans of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ will be able to enjoy the Tolkien universe again thanks to the television adaptation, produced by JA Bayona for Amazon, whose first season it has also been shot in New Zealand.

However, for the second season, Middle-earth will not have the New Zealand landscapes as a setting, since the production moved to the United Kingdom, a ‘shock’ for the country that has in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ one of its emblems.

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‘The Lord of the Rings’: 20 years of Peter Jackson’s film