Thursday, 20 March 2014

Day Zero Project: Watch all the Lord of the Rings special features

Here's a Day Zero Project target that I actually achieved!

When Mr Click (or rather, our pets) bought me the Blu-ray box set of Lord of the Rings films I knew I had to sit down and revisit all the special features, especially with the release of the first Hobbit film being imminent. But there are a lot of special features and I have a lot less time to sit around watching special features now than when I was teenager and it was all brand new.

It took me a long time to get them all watched, over weekends, when I was home alone and when Mr Click didn't feel like watching TV but I did. I gradually worked my way through everything, including the cast and director commentaries.

I'd seen pretty much all of the special features before, but some of them I've not seen for quite a long time so it was almost like seeing it for the first time. It was also interesting to contrast it with the special features on the Hobbit films, particularly just how new some of the technology was that they were using and that has now been replaced by even newer technology.

It was also kind of funny to see how the production worked originally, whereas they've not got a purpose built set of offices. It was nice to see the 'bigatures' something they've moved away from on the Hobbit films, as well as the increased number of green screen shots on the Hobbit compared to the relative lack of them on The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

I also loved revisiting the cast commentaries; particularly the one on The Fellowship of the Ring. I still remember back when that was the first ever commentary I'd ever really listened to and I completely fell in love with the idea of essentially watching the film with the cast and learning all about the behind the scenes stories.

This time around I also watched the director commentaries. I think I watched them on Fellowship and possibly Two Towers but I never watched the one on Return of the King. It's really interested to hear about the film from two different perspectives; those behind the camera and those in front of it.

It's also really funny to hear Peter Jackson talking about coming to the end of his time in Middle-earth, knowing that he's now right back there. It's something he mentions himself on the commentary of An Unexpected Journey as well as in the special features.

I'm pleased that I went back to revisit these special features. Some of it felt really nice and familiar (like the description of the games 'Cup' and 'Tig' which I'd forgotten about until I rewatched the commentary) and other bits seemed kind of new (like Peter Jackson talking about wrapping everything up on Return of the King). I was watching them with different eyes now compared to as a teenager and I think I can appreciate how filmmaking has changed in the last ten years.

It'll be interesting to see how things will be different in another ten years time.

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