Ringer Spy Riskbreaker sends along this great report from the Lincoln Center LOTr footage screening! More coming in!!! Take a read!


I can’t even bring words to this experience. It was religious.

I purchased tickets two weeks ago to this “Behind the Scenes of Middle Earth” at Lincoln Center. I figured “what the hell, we’ll see some footage of the filming process and ask the producers a bunch of questions.”

They started the night by showing the 2.5 minute trailer. The one that ends with Gollum. There was crazy applause afterward.

Barrie Osborne and the damned-if-I-can-remember-his-name Art Director also attended. They went for an hour and a half discussing the different locations and methods of filming they went through. We received an in-depth explanation of the “forced perspective” technique and how they made the Hobbits look smaller than humans. It was simple — yet ingenious. The simple act of sticking the Hobbit a few steps back from the human and locking a single camera on him works SO much better than using CGI or some other overly-technical method. This one works because it’s tricking the eyes.

In between a load of the behind-the-scenes footage, we got to see some actual film footage. We see Gandalf and Frodo riding on the cart in the Shire. We got to see the Hobbits running from farmer Maggot while arguing amongst themselves in very “Hobbit-like” simplicity. This scene was great. The corn stalks are up over their heads. Then, they roll down the hill. They showed this in about 6 different takes, showing the difficulties of the life of stunt-men and stunt-women (and stunt-Hobbits).

We saw a lot of footage regarding the massive army shots, including the Orcs and Elves. The Elves have very beautiful “hand-made” designs to all their armor, but no two look alike. Legolas uses a sword that has the flare of a scimitar at the tip, but doesn’t have the huge curve in the blade. It’s quite attractive.

We got to see the digital renderings that were made of all the “hero” (main) characters. We saw Gandalf and Boromir. Oh, man! These were so beautiful! They looked *almost* Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within quality, and these things will never be seen (at least in close-up) in the final film. I was amazed by this on it’s own!

We got to see the Helm’s Deep set. It looks great. It looks like 30 wars over 4000 years have been waged there. All cracked and broken bridges, but yet the castle still stands, and you know what it is.

They also showed the sales-reel that PJ used to sell the project to New Line after he began work with Miramax. It was pretty uneventful in terms of new information, but one got a great feel for the amount of work that was already put into the film before they even had a production company carrying it!

We saw some stunt work detailing the different races vs. their different fighting styles. There wasn’t much detail on this, but they did say how they spent a lot of time making sure the Elves looked like immortals who had 1000 years each to practice their own fighting styles. Included with this were unfinished shots of Aragon fighting Orcs at what I think was Weathertop. I’m not really sure on this one. Viggo is amazing! He was killing three at a time. Throwing punches, kicks and wielding Anduril with absolute genius.

There was also footage shown of Arwen at the ford running from the Ringwraiths. This was brief. It looked great, though.

There is more, but this is all I can think of at the moment. I’m sure some of the other 535 people that saw this tonight will correct the blanks here.

The reason is that the following footage made me forget my name, where I lived and where I work. I don’t think I’ll go in tomorrow. I’ll just stay home and work on screenplay #5.

The end of the presentation rolled around, and while it was great, fantastic (these people have a true and genuine love for the work they do. You can see it in their eyes) — I was a bit disappointed because other than the theatrical trailer, we didn’t see anything of the final film cut.

Well, right at the end, they said “We have the cave troll scene to show you guys. It’s not finished, but it’s close.”


The Fellowship of Nine… in the Dwarven Mines of Moria. Gimli finds the remains of Balin, the fallen king. He cries like no dwarf should be seen crying. Pippin (a FOOL of a Took) knocks a skeleton into a well, stirring the Orcish Horde. Frodo draws Sting, the Elven blade. It glows a bright blue. The Orcs are near.

They come like a plague. Legolas and Aragorn hold them at bay with bow and arrow, but they come too fast. Gandalf draws his sword, valiantly standing in front of the Hobbits, Frodo and his precious cargo. Boromir draws his sword and slays four without blinking.

Aragorn flies into a fury with Anduril, the Flame of the West. Orc pieces fly left and right. Frodo’s Hobbit comrades stab and hack at the Orcish horde as well. There is a bloodlust here not from desire, but from a need to survive. Peter Jackson captures it in the eyes of each of the nine in the space of four minutes. He’s *that* good.

But then comes the Cave Troll. A nine foot hulking attrocity storms into the room, held at the neck by the iron-wrought chain the Orcs use to keep him at bay. Words can’t do this justice, but as “Moriarity” from Ain’t It Cool News said: “It’s everything I hoped the Rancor would be. It’s fast, it’s agile. It doesn’t hesitate.”

It’s true. The Cave Troll stomps with a single-minded desire to squish the annoying gnats at it’s feet. Poor Sam has to do all he can to avoid the giant hooves and the six-foot stone hammer it wields.

And then it corners Frodo. Frodo backs himself against a support pillar. The Cave Troll sniffs to the right and Frodo slips to the left. The Troll sniffs to the left and Frodo slips to the right. Moments pass in uncomfortable silence. Frodo steps away with a false sense of safety and —

The cave troll ROARS a blood-curdling Jurassic-Park-on-steroids from-the-toes cry.

And the screen goes black.

I look down to make sure I haven’t ruined another perfectly good pair of pants and I realize that my girlfriend has her nails dug into my arm. Not from fear, but from the sense of desperation and intensity that Peter Jackson created in a six minute unfinished two-tracks of sound clip.

Ho-lee shee-it.

This film will be like a hurricane. It will sweep away everything in it’s path and climb to the top of every record that has ever been set. People will flow in droves to the theaters. Not just geeks like you and me, but every self-respecting fan of fiction that adores the importance of a fantastic story at the heart of every special effects orgasm. This film is that.

Episode II will come and go. George has lost sight of his fans and the taste of his original trilogy. Lord of the Rings will still stand. Twenty five years from now, producers and directors will be looking for that sci-fi/action/fantasy trilogy to top Lord of the Rings just as Lord of the Rings will soon do to Star Wars.

Buy your tickets now, my friends.