There are over two hours worth of extras on The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers DVD. If you thought watching the movie was good, wait until you see the making of the movie.
First on the DVD is the WB special on the making of The Lord Of The Rings. Having the chance to hear from the actors themselves, how they felt about the making the movie is amazing. The two and a half year shoot in New Zealand was a life changing experience for many of the crewmembers. They all talk about the friendships they made, and the fun they had on the set. Orlando Bloom shows us video of crewmembers skydiving and bungee jumping. Christopher Lee talks about how he knew in the first 48 hours on the set that they were making cinema history. Sean Astin treats us to the movie short he wrote and directed, loaded with both humour and great meaning.
Interviews of the main actors and actresses are included, with small bits from each actor that make the movie all the more enjoyable. Each actor comes across as having the time of his or her lives. One of the parts I particularly enjoyed was how they brought Gollum to life. An actor, Andy Serkis, was used to first act out all the parts, and then the animation crew used the actor’s expressions in their rendering of Gollum.
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You can see why Gollum seems so real. Just Gollum’s name says it all. Certainly, Tolkien knew what he was doing when he wrote this extraordinary story. A golem is a Yiddish word for a creature made from mud, brought magically to life but without a soul. The Forces Of Darkness feature more fully explains what the ring is and why it is so powerful. Richard Taylor explains how the sounds effects for the movie were created in fascinating detail. I can see Taylor pinching himself when he wakes up everyday that his job is to make noises and record them. I have two teenage sons who would die for such a job.
The designing of the creatures for Middle-earth is equally amazing. Each creature is based on real animals in nature, modified for terrifying effect. There’s a special on Gandalf the White, explaining how and why he came back and his colour change. The explanation of how the armour was made, using only the tools used 100 years ago to ensure the authenticity of the swords and other battle implements, is a detail that adds to genius of the director Peter Jackson. Watching the special features is as much fun as watching the movie. It’s well worth renting or buying the DVD to see it, and gave me even more enjoyment of the movie itself.
I’ve read quite a bit on Tolkien and what struck me is that he said that his books were not an allegory. Tolkien had a life long interest in languages and used his research into the ancient languages to see into the past. Tolkien, like the great masters of old, is initiating us into a new level of awareness of our past. Like the Mayans with their great ages, and the Hopi who claim we are leaving the fourth world to enter into the fifth, Tolkien wrote about the end of our last world. A world filled with magic, the age of heroes. I believe that the reason Tolkien’s great story resonates with us on so many levels, is because it rings true. This idea is echoed by the actors who felt they were part of something larger then themselves. We’ve lived through the golden age, the silver, bronze, and now we’re leaving the age of iron. What’s really amazing is that we do live in a world filled with objects made of iron while legends of ages past; speak of cities made of gold.
But even if you think what I just wrote is just crazy thinking, you can still enjoy one of the greatest films of our time. It’s worth buying the DVD, just for the special features alone.