The Annecy Film Festival “first look” at The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim has just concluded and reactions are starting to trickle out. While we wait for fuller reports from our own Crebain, here’s a selection of thoughts from the internet.
(It does seem quite positive and I am personally very excited by that.)
Just finished the work in progress talk for the new #LotR film #WaroftheRohirrim, and I have to say that the marriage between Lord of the Rings and #anime never looked so good! The world and characters looked very authentic. I can’t wait to see this in theaters next year.
Art-books, chara-design and extracts enriched this exclusive presentation of the future “The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim” in the company of his team, including Kenji Kamiyama (director) and Philippa Boyens (screenwriter of the LOTR saga ).
LordOfTheRings War of the Rohirrim is already shooting to the top of my most anticipated movies of 2024. The (very short and unfinished) footage shown at #Annecy2023 looks fantastic. This is 100% in line with the original trilogy while also very much an anime. Can’t wait.
I’m drying my wet eyes, I’m cleaning up all these pages of notes and I’m telling you, but #WarOfTheRohirrim is in very good hands.
This is beautiful 2D from new drawings by John Howe and Alan Lee. It’s full Rohan and the story, based on three paragraphs, is led by a young woman, Hera, the daughter of Helm Hammerhead [sic. i think that should be “Hammerhand”.]
Two scenes were shown (one of them, the opening, not finished) and the producers commented on the importance of trying to unite the world of Lord of the Rings movies with anime ones. And it really was an interesting combination. It reminded me a bit of Castlevania.
Castlevania! That’s interesting. I’ve not watched it (Netflix jail something something), but I understand it’s well-regarded. Two scenes is also interesting, and accords more or less with my expectations of what they’d reveal.
For #WaroftheRohirrim, a lot of Unreal and motion capture is being used to help figure out the shots. But no rotoscope is being used, it is only for reference. Then it is all getting the traditional anime treatment for the final look. It looks amazing! #LotR #AnnecyFestival
It is only for reference: right now, I’m interpreting that as meaning for fight scenes pending further clarification. I do think they are trying to not scare/alienate people who’ve seen Bakshi’s rotoscoped LOTR treatment with that clarification.
I saw the first images of the (Japanese) anime “The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim” To be honest, not particularly convinced for the moment, I was hoping for something else BUT we really find the style of PJ’s films and the sets seem successful.
The first fence-sitter! And more for the adherence to PJ-style than anything else? Interesting.
There was a really early layout of what looked Ike [sic] the opening sequence: starting from a map fly through to a sequence with Hera on a horse with some great eagles. Then a talk scene in I assume Edoras with Hera talking about the shield Maidens. #LofR #WaroftheRohirrim
A little bit more detailed information about the scenes that were shown.
Some work in progress footage, and then at the end a montage of completed shots. It really looks like a lot of care is being put into it.
Aaah, wish I’d been there to see!
French publication Allocine comes in with the first extended report on the “first look”. I’ve used the googlemonster’s auto-translate to pull out some key details, but you should peruse the original article in French here.
This animated prequel set 260 years before the cult trilogy is inspired by the Appendices provided by JRR Tolkien at the end of The Return of the King (Appendix A, Chapter II: The House of Eorl).
This is a curious one since earlier publicity material has stated events occur 183 years before the events chronicled in the original trilogy of films. Even factoring in the canonical delay between Bilbo’s party and Frodo setting out for Rivendell, something still seems wrong. It’s also … well… trivial, so I’ll return to this weirdness when I have time.
The film features a female character Hera, “neither a princess in distress nor a warrior” , the daughter of King Helm whose hand is coveted by Wulf, himself the son of Freca the leader of the clan of wild men.
I really like the neither/nor. It feels more complex and open to a nuanced presentation. By-the-by it also accords with the vibe I got from my discussion with Philippa Boyens last year.
“The attraction of this film was to tell a film that follows neither the story of the Ring nor that of Sauron” summarizes the New Zealand producer, who also hinted that some characters well known to fans of the trilogy could appear in this film.
The Helm story is a very human one, and on the face of it, remarkably unmagical. No elves, no dwarves, no wizards. Except Saruman at the very end. They really want to say Saruman, but they’re only willing to tease it.
To explore Tolkien’s universe using anime codes, several different animation techniques were employed, ranging from CGI to more traditional 2D animation as well as the employment of performance-capture techniques . For the sake of realism, the animators of the film were asked to study horses and practice horseback riding.
As I wrote yesterday (completely stealing the line from the incredibly smart anime art anaylsts over at Sakuga Blog), “horses populate the nightmares of animators”. It makes a lot of sense — Rohirrim as Tolkien outlined in Letter 144 is a Sindarin name meaning “the host of the Horse-lords”. Kyoto Animation had people on their staff who knew Kyudo (Japanese archery) for their series Tsurune. The results of that practical knowledge applied to their work speaks for itself.
Three non-finalized excerpts were broadcast in exclusive preview during this panel. The opening sequence, introducing the character of Hera, a dialogue scene in King Helm’s throne room, and finally a short teaser announcing the film’s main action scenes.
No Eowyn seemingly? Kinda surprsing, but I’ll take a cookie for guessing Edoras would feature. Hera and Helm suggests to me that the familial relationships will be critical. Hera may end up our viewpoint character. Why? She survives wheras all her close kin — Helm, Haleth and Hama — perish.
Big ups again to Allocine for the summary!
SLASHFILM also has a very nice report up now. Unfortunately, at time of writing, they appear to have confused Charlie Cox for Brian Cox, who is the real voice actor for Helm Hammerhand. we all make typos but hopefully the eds over there can fix that one soon.
ARROBA NERD has an even better and more detailed report. It’s getting late over here in Oz so I’ll leave it to others to break it down, but it has more details about character designs and dialogue that you can read about here.
IMPORTANT (because i know a lot of people will wonder): Producer Jason DeMarco clarified about the status of the footage shown to attendees — “We presented work in progress for attendees of the festival but it won’t be widely released.”
NOTE: I’ll keep updating this as more reactions come in (hopefully with more details), so be sure to check back!