Four Em­pire writ­ers as­sess the fil­mog­ra­phy of the real lord of the Rings

Empire (Australasia) - - Re.View -

Chris: Let’s start by talk­ing about when we first knew of Peter Jackson.

Dan: I was about 15. Every­one was rav­ing about this re­ally funny film which in­volved aliens who ate people, and it had this re­ally funny bit where some­one fires a bazooka and it goes all the way through the house, and misses ev­ery­thing, and there’s a shot of a sheep stand­ing there in a field and the bazooka hits the sheep and the sheep blows up.

Chris: Hang on. You had that spoiled for you? That’s the best joke in Bad Taste. Dan: Yep. So I watched it on video and it was bril­liant.

Chris: And it ab­so­lutely lives up to the prom­ise of that ti­tle.

Nick: For me, it started with the DVD cover for The Fright­en­ers. That was the first Peter Jackson film that made an im­pact on me. Then The Lord Of The Rings came out. I was ob­sessed with those films.

He­len: See­ing Fel­low­ship for the first time is one of my all-time great cin­ema-go­ing ex­pe­ri­ences. I went to a mid­night screen­ing in Houston, Texas. I got speak­ing to ran­dom geeks in the queue who told me what slash fic­tion was.

Nick: Have you seen the new Lord Of

The Rings slash fic­tion?

He­len: I have not.

Chris: Some hot Tree­beard and Le­go­las slash fic­tion go­ing on.

Nick: How would that even work?

He­len: Please let’s not. But that was one of the great feel­ings.

Nick: From that pro­logue it was im­me­di­ate that he was do­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent. It’s got those strange Peter Jackson an­gles. Chris: I was an early adopter of Jackson. Brain­dead is, to this day, the only film that has made me want to be phys­i­cally ill. The bit where the ear falls into the cus­tard… Dan: Isn’t there pus as well? Chris: Yeah. This is a guy who started his ca­reer with people pass­ing around a bowl of alien chuck and drink­ing it. Dan: There’s worse in Meet The Fee­bles. There is a fly lit­er­ally eat­ing poo poo. He­len: That’s what flies do, man. It’s the nat­u­ral or­der. Chris: Nick, you love The Fright­en­ers, is that right? Nick: I think it’s one of the most un­der­rated films of the ’90s. You can re­ally see Lord Of The Rings com­ing out of it. It’s funny, it’s re­ally in­ven­tive, it’s scary at points.

Dan: The Fright­en­ers just didn’t do it for me. It felt com­pro­mised and sani­tised even though I saw it af­ter Heav­enly Crea­tures, which I thought was ab­so­lutely as­ton­ish­ing.

Chris: I love that he has this crazy side to him, this gore-lov­ing side. I love Meet The Fee­bles. I think it is a de­ranged piece of moviemak­ing.

Dan: What I love about Peter Jackson is that he has had a jour­ney like few other film­mak­ers. He’s gone from a guy who di­rected a pup­pet movie in which a cat gives a wal­rus a blow job and be­come the Os­car-win­ning director of this colos­sal tril­ogy. He trans­formed the film in­dus­try, trans­formed New Zealand.

Nick: I feel the dan­ger has gone a lit­tle bit from his work, which is sad. The Hob­bit

films felt neutered in a way the Lord Of The Rings films didn’t.

He­len: Part of it is grow­ing up. It’s a good thing. You shouldn’t feel obliged to fill your films with splat­ter and gore be­cause that’s what you do.

Chris: Let’s pick up where he is now, with his most re­cent films. I like a lot about the Hob­bit movies. Have you watched all six films in a row?

Dan: No. I thought about do­ing that. Chris: It’s 18 hours.

Dan: It just doesn’t feel right to watch the Hob­bit films and then go into the Lord Of The Rings as if it’s one big story. They don’t feel of a piece.

Nick: The Deso­la­tion Of Smaug is the best one by a coun­try mile. What I don’t like is where they’re con­stantly nudg­ing you and go­ing, “Hey, re­mem­ber the Lord Of The Rings films?”

He­len: Some­thing about them feels syn­thetic to me in a way that all his other films don’t.

Chris: Has Jackson given into bloat and self-in­dul­gence as a film­maker? King

Kong did not need to be three hours long. He­len: I re­ally don’t mind the length in that one. I do in the Hob­bit movies. I liked the sense that you spend more time on the boat and get to know th­ese people be­fore they get eaten by gigantic bugs.

Dan: There’s a greater sense of jour­ney. It should be an epic. This is some­thing Jackson does better than any other film­maker ex­cept maybe Spiel­berg in his finest mo­ments, which is build­ing the nar­ra­tive of an ac­tion se­quence and know­ing how to sus­tain and layer and give it pace. What he did with the T-rex ver­sus King Kong se­quence…

Nick: V-rex.

Dan: Sorry! V-rex.

Nick: That is my favourite Peter Jackson ac­tion se­quence.

He­len: I love Kong. I was heart­bro­ken when he fell off the build­ing. I thought this time he might make it.

Chris: I was glad he died. Screw that guy. But I love that se­quence. It’s sec­ond only to Lionel go­ing nuts with a lawn­mower at the end of Brain­dead.

Nick: That scene’s too much for me.

Chris: So, Lord Of The Rings. What is your favourite?

Dan: It’s so hard. I find it hard to sep­a­rate them.

Nick: It’s Fel­low­ship.

He­len: It’s Fel­low­ship.

Dan: But it’s Fel­low­ship.

Chris: Right, enough squab­bling.

Let’s vote!


To lis­ten to the full Jackson de­bate as a pod­cast, go to www.em­pire­on­line. com/pod­cast.

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