Phillip writes: You don’t seem to have a report of ‘the documentary ‘Frodo Is Great Who is That? I saw it yesterday at the Wellington Film Festival and provide this review.
‘Frodo Is Great Who Is That’ was shown at the Wellington International Film Festival on July 31st to a full house that included the filmmakers, Jamie Selkirk, and a good number of the people who appear in it. The movie itself helped to general a cheerful, uproarious and celebratory event.
The film itself was well made and well constructed by three young Wellington filmmakers who made the best of a great opportunity. We get the full story of Figwit from his first appearance in FOTR (the clip from the movie with helpful red arrows added) to the filming of his speaking appearance in ROTK (17 takes were required to get the line right), the final footage used in the film and Flight of the Conchords’ performance at the Wellington world premiere of ROTK.
In between we get loads of laid-back Kiwi irony from Bret’s father (who played Elendil in the prologue), friends, fellow band members, assorted web site organizers from around the world (including, of course, Tehanu), members of The Scottish Fellowship and random members of the public in the streets of Edinburgh during the festival. The big coup is a substantial range of contributions from cast and crew of LOTR, including major contributions from PJ, Barry Osborne, Mark Ordesky and most of the major stars. The whole mood is a mixture of in joking, self-mockery and genuine delight at the whole Figwit phenomenon. We get an hour of good entertainment and lots of laughter, but we also get an insight into the whole FOTR story as a cultural phenomenon that takes us beyond what we have seen in the documentaries on the DVDs or in Costa Botes’ ‘making of..’ film. And beyond that again we get a quite serious implicit case study in the power of the Internet, the relationship between TORN, New Line and PJ, and the global reach of popular cultural phenomena.
The production values in this film are very high, stretching from New Zealand to Israel to Scotland, and including powerful references to the movies themselves. Add to that the significant participation of a lot of well known faces who are not just going through the motions but energetically performing and clearly having a lot of fun (‘letting their hair down’ seems to be especially appropriate given the frequent send ups of elves and their hair). The film makes the very best of the opportunity they got (all three themselves worked on LOTR). It moves fast, is well structured, has been tightly edited, and has narrative coherence. It deserves a global audience, and at 60 minutes has clearly been aimed at television.
If you get a chance to see it don’t leave before the. The climactic joke builds through the credits and reaches its finale after the credits have finished. For those of us who were fortunate enough to attend the Wellington screening this joke continued into the Q and A session afterwards.