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THERE AND BACK AGAIN: A Geek's Adventure in Middle Earth! Chapter TWO!

This morning I awoke from the dream that was yesterday. Looking out my window at the harbor below… ships coming and going… a museum down below. I stumble out of my bed, and walk over to my computer to take a look at what is going on in the world I left behind for Middle Earth… Bush is President… Posters for PLANET OF THE APES and HARRY POTTER have come about online. I see reports from BUTT-NUMB-A-THON have been coming in… and all I can think about is getting back to set.

I was supposed to wait for a car, but I can not weight anymore. I call a cab and tell them to head out on the highway towards the stone quarries. I tell him, I want to goto the LORD OF THE RINGS set… As we drive I’m taking in the vegetation upon the drive… Amazing the different types of ferns, shrubbery and trees… Dollops of some red flowers atop a tree here or there… A dense tropical world.

It seems as though it takes an eternity… My cab driver, designated as James 19. He’s an older chap. I ask him about LORD OF THE RINGS… what he thinks of all this filmmaking stuff…

"You mean da Lord of the Rinnngs?"

"Yes, how do you feel about it!"

"Well, I’m really quite a bit excited by it all, as is just about everybody. It really is quite something, what with all the money that its bringing into the city and all."

Again there is this lit up eye thing. People, just regular people here in New Zealand, there seems to be a great deal of hope and expectation for these films. The man that drove me from the set yesterday back to my hotel…. He has 2 other jobs in Wellington… On some days, he is delivering bread… some days he is delivering milk to the grocers. He is a single father of 3, and for him… this film is something rather special.

Now… I suppose I should be honest. At the moment, I am sitting behind Peter Jackson in a chair made especially to support my girth. The titanium chair is supposedly Harry-proof.

At the moment, David Wenham is three feet away having his rather beautiful helmet removed. He’s watching playback of the scene … Ian is sitting next to Peter… And Peter is giving direction. First, here’s the scene.




Gandalf
"Faramir… Faramir… Your Father’s will
has turned to madness and evil.
Do not throw your life away so rashly"


Faramir
(Riding horse back in full armor a
melancholy look of determination upon
his brow)
"Where does my allegiance lie if not here.
This is the city of the men of Numenor.
I will gladly give my life to defend
her beauty, her memory, her wisdom"


Gandalf
"Your father loves you Faramir…
he’ll remember it before the end"

NOW… Here is the direction. Peter to Faramir… "You know that first part of your line… ‘Where does my allegiance lie if not here’… Why not try that line like you are telling Gandalf.. ‘don’t do this, don’t try to come between me and my father’"

David (Faramir) has this look like he gets it, shakes his head in affirmation… Meanwhile… as the playback begins on the Faramir riding, the shot starts on Peter’s children… watching the men ride off in their armor.

This take jives and Peter calls for the break for lunch. David comes back in…. Approaches the monitor… Weta takes a shot of him…. His armor is being removed… and he’s focusing on his performance. Studying himself… to see if he can do it better… if he’s happy. In the shot of Faramir… you can see a look of love as he describes why he leaves… for what he fights. There’s a half distant dream and a spark of idealism. The sound of hoofs coming down… crunching the gravely ground. This really is something.

I know this scene.

Meanwhile… as all of this is happening on the BLUESCREEN Unit… They were shooting some work with Gimli, I’m not 100% sure what it was… but John Rhys Davies looked magnificent. The hair work was great… big huge shoulders… Meanwhile the 2nd Unit screen was revealing Gandalf (double at a distance) shooting a scene where they are pursuing Orcs in the streets of Minas Tirith… or at least that is what I think is going on. But enough of this… The stomach calls for food.

LUNCH BREAK

Ahhhh… here I am dining with fine armored soldiers… rangers… Gandalf… Faramir…. Grips, electricians, the DP… Everyone. On slate for consumption today was Roast Beef, steamed potatoes and this thing called vegetable curin (I think that’s how it is spelled.

I eat rather quickly as I want to wonder the sets alone… Nobody over my shoulder… During lunch the sets are completely empty. A fellow like me can wonder about and be in Minas Tirith. It was amazing. The birds from the tropical environs… tweeting about… the smell of horse mixed with the pollen of the surrounding area… there was a sweet odor to the city. Most of the equipment was cleared, so as I walked up the hill to the general vicinity of the ‘rat catchers abode’ I was just pleased as punch. I would shut my eyes and hear the sounds of a tranquil New Zealand… My sparkling creepers crunching on the cracked stone streets… My footsteps’ sound bouncing off the walls… my steps and mine alone. I glance to the side… and over yonder is a little garden… a small bird bath, there is a whole series of characters all about it carved in… all wearing armor, all in the same alabaster stone of the city. This here, this is my time in the city of Denethor… The last stand of man against the forces of the nameless one. I find a little corner all my own. I sit. I sit and be still.

I’ll remember this moment. The wind picked up… my hair blows about… And I can almost see the mountain that should be right there…. Towering like an enormous tusk jutting up out of the earth. I’ve read about the mountain that will be there… I know that it will be quite something to look at…. In my mind, I see it… though in reality I will not be seeing this mountain for 3 years. Here… alone, it is magnificent.

Afterwards… I decide to wonder back to the dark stone world of Helm’s Deep. Completely different style. The set is in quite a state of disrepair. Shooting here has long since past. There is now only a memory of what was here.

I here the cry of, "WE’RE BACK" and I know that the set must be live again. I make my way back to the Harry Chair… And lo and behold… all 4 monitors are active again. The First Unit cameras are continuing to shoot pieces of the Faramir and Gandalf scene where Faramir sets off, allegedly to his doom (wink wink) And then, In Unit 1B…. Ian is in full Gandalf gear… GANDALF THE WHITE… he is mounted upon ShadowFax, blasting off camera orcs with his pure white staff… He’s twisting and turning… two strong hands upon the staff… thrusting it at each offending orc or Uruk Hai. DAMN DYNAMIC looking… Gandalf and Shadowfax moving as one… all in one shot… Suddenly, the surreal nature of film returns as Gandalf holds a large red and blue umbrella… Somehow… giggle… Somehow it is perfectly wrong.

In the scene, Gandalf has such a look upon his face. No nonsense, straight to business… When the camera breaks and Ian relaxes his face… and that sterling smile of his… I bet that smile was left at the shire in the film, but here it is, where it shan’t be in the film.

A bit ago, the head of New Line Theatrical Publicity was here… and he really seems in love with the project. New Line is still working out all of the details in the releasing… But they really really seem gung ho for this one. The whole one day one world release plan will hopefully come about, but it is a logistical nightmare according to Joe Nimziki because the work involved in recording the audio track for trailers… the type face and language issues… for 40 different languages is just such a daunting task… But ultimately, it seems that this is what they want to do… Treat this film like royalty… like the event picture that we only see once or twice in a lifetime. I learned that the trailer is most definitely scheduled to be released on the 12th of January… it will be attached to 13 DAYS. Also, on the 12th, we’ll see a complete relaunch of the website. The new LORD OF THE RINGS trailer will be one of those grand Quicktime jobs. Plus between now and release we will be seeing on the official website these 5-8 minute documentaries from the set every month being handled with Real Networks technology which he tells me is just fantastic full screen quality. Also, it seems that whatever is going to happen at Cannes is going to be a BIG deal. Selected press will be given full access to the actors and talent for interviews… plus there is a chance that something quite exciting might happen at Cannes beyond the publicity event… depending if the surprise is ready.

Joe took off, and I’m back to watching the shoot. While I’ve been talking, it seems that David Wenham’s Faramir has gotten filled full of arrows and is being drug into Minas Tirith nearly and seemingly dead…. Those that know the book, know what is about to happen…. The fight and the battle has taken place at some far off location within the past 3 months… I know this, because David tells me he’s only been shooting for 3 months.

There is a misting rain during this scene that you won’t be seeing in the film… but these sweeping pinpricks of vapor are everywhere as is Peter. I’m serious… this guy might not look like he’s the personification of energy, but he is the most mobile, johnny on the spot director I’ve seen. Talking with his actors, his DP… Script supervisor, the video engineer… Weta’s makeup folks… He just did an interview with the E! journalist that’s been writing all those fantastic set reports.

GEEEEEEEK! The sound of that blasted door opening and closing… it is massive. A sound… like… "THUNK CLUNK" now add a lot of reverb and the neighing of horses in the distance. OH… and when the door to Minas Tirith closes… there is this wrenching un-oiled hinge sound that’s just a bloody shiver down the spine.

Now… I just had the HOWARD SHORE conversation with Peter. For the record, Howard hasn’t recorded anything yet. He was shown a bunch of assembly footage… a rough cut of the film, and has been off writing themes and sequences of music based on his emotional reaction to the film he’s seen. Then after he had some ideas, he’s now beginning to write music to the images… so that it all fits together. Peter is really quite confident in Howard, and he tells me that this comes from listening to Howard talk about the emotional way he writes his music. Personally, Howard Shore is a daring choice… not because he isn’t any good… Quite the contrary, I adore Howard’s scores… but because we have never heard the Howard Shore epic score before. We’ll have to hang loose and wait and see.

Meanwhile, the city is under siege in 2nd Unit A-Camera… poor Pippen is being picked up and placed upon ShadowFax. There are fires in the street and poor David/Faramir gets to be dragged behind a horse shot full of arrows in full armor. Ok… I think I saw two arrows to be specific… but man, thanks to Weta… they looked grisly awfully painful. David seemed to enjoy a nice nap while being dragged though.

This was the last shot of the day (prior to the night shift coming in… which I’ll do next week at some point!). The set day ended with Peter taking a seat and looking over the playback… We began talking about movie posters… and how aggravating it is to see things like that damn KING KONG 3-sheet from a few weeks back go for over a $100,000. Then we began discussing the one day fate of the Ackerman collections and the Bob Burns collections… How they ought to be placed in a museum en masse… Of course soon, I realized the danger of this conversation, because Peter really is the sort of guy that would buy both collections… move them to New Zealand and build a gigantic museum to honor the remnants of past films.

Tomorrow I awake at dawn to join the entire Fellowship on the Bluescreen Stage where Peter will be shooting quite a bit of drama I understand, with the full cast present. Monday is to be the coronation sequence I believe.

As for the folks in Talk Back asking about the various moments that they fear will or won’t be in the film… I’m taking notes and I’ll try to ask Peter about these soon.

As for now, I’m exhausted. The fellow that drove me back to my abode is a man named James. He handled security before LORD OF THE RINGS. He is one of the transportation guys… they shuttle actors, extras and crew back and forth over the course of the day. In addition he has been an Orc and a Gondorian Warrior. On the way back to the hotel, he just begins spontaneously clamoring on about how great it is to be a part of this thing. How everyone locally in Wellington will forget about the films till they come to a theater a year from now. And how then they’ll understand and feel proud about being a part of something bigger than themselves. "Twenty Thirty years from now, God only knows what I’ll be doing. But I was a part of this, and I’ll never forget that. Never."

That’s what this means to these folks. For real, I have never seen a cast and crew more heart felt about what they are working on. It is coming up on the end of it all for many on this job, but I sense no anxiety… no relief. There is almost a sense like… "Well we did it!" and backslaps all around. This sense of being a part of the team is terribly contagious. Makes you want to pick up a paint brush… Put on armor… just do something, just so you can point and said… I did that. That right there.

God I love being here. See you folks tomorrow. Cheers.

Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 14, 2000, 11:02 p.m. CST

    from skeptical to embracing....and a remembrance of the first HO

    by tensticks

    It was once my dream to make these movies, in much the same way that Mr Jackson is. My filmmaking aspirations remain and bear ever more positive fruit, but i have given up on this particular priject. I think--from everything I know so far--that despite a few liberties that may be taken with the story, Mr Jackson will do this masterpeice justice. Knowing much of the text word for word and paragraph for paragraph, if harry's transcription is accurate--then it looks as though PJ does indeed knwo waht he's doing and I applaud him. I have moved from highly skeptical to fully supportive of this project and I cannot wait to see it. I should also like to take a moment to acknowledge the death of Mr Rayner S. Unwin, in England on Novembre 23rd. As the son of JRR Tolkien's publisher, Mr Unwin was directly responsible for the publications of both THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS, and thus for the fantasy market as we know it. On a personal note, back when I was in my early teens, I wrote to Tolkien's publishers on two occasions with various questions, some of which were pretty out there. Mr Unwin took the time to personally respond and address ALL my questions, with infinite grace and patience. I could ask for no more. Sleep well, unwin.

  • Dec. 14, 2000, 11:16 p.m. CST

    Wish I had Harry's guardian angel

    by Mother Plucker

    Playboy manshion now the set of Lord of the Rings. Lucky skunk.

  • Dec. 14, 2000, 11:40 p.m. CST

    wow

    by JackLint

    man, sure sound like magic. Is anybody filming this? I could watch behind the scene footage of this whole thing for days. why didn't Peter hire a documentary crew like Gilliam did w/ 12 monkeys and don quioxte? or did he? I would love to see the making of this movie almost as much as the movie itself. thank you Harry, keep us posted.

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 12:05 a.m. CST

    Why am I not there?

    by Pr_Frink

    Damn I wish I was there right now. I'm in B.C., Canada and it's supposed to snow about 7 inches by morning. These reports that Harry is doing not only make me giddy like a school girl about the movie, but depressed because I'm stuck here and not in New Zealand. Oh well. I'll get over it. I can't wait until these movies get released.

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 12:06 a.m. CST

    Thanks Harry (and thanks tensticks too)

    by Ambrose Chappell

    Harry, thanks for another great posting about your adventures in Middle Earth. You described the battle between Gandalf and the Orcs very well. Also, thanks tensticks for the tidbit of information on Rayner S. Unwin. I've never heard of the man, but I can appreciate the impact his decisions had on making the fantasy-fiction market what it is today.

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 12:55 a.m. CST

    Questions For PJ And Company

    by AncalagonBlack

    Does Arwen really fight at Helm's Deep? Is Prince Imrahil in the films? Balrog - wings or no? Will the Scouring of the Shire be in? What's the deal with the Wizard Kabob? Will Gimli really say things like "aye, laddie" and "yer bloomin' buzzard"? How much will be see of Sauron -- will he appear as a flaming eye in his Third Age form? Does Boromir really pick up the Ring on its chain, like we see in the trailer?

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 1 a.m. CST

    Psst! Robo-memo to Harry...

    by robogeek.com

    The inner circle needs your contact info to confer on matters of state. (P.S.: Your reportage ruleth.)

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 1:28 a.m. CST

    I'm so excited... I just can't hide it

    by sjmaatta

    but Faramir has some lines in there that were not in the book!!!! Damn you, Mr. Jackson, Damn you to hell!!!!!!! Keep the reports coming Harry! And check out big black flying worm's questions!

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 2:46 a.m. CST

    Argh, even more droolings

    by EmperorCaligula

    Gosh, how great:) Harry is definitely in great mood nowadays. * Now, about the film: Yes, PJ has a team doing the behind the scenes. Do you seriously think that such a project would not have a team for this? * Harry-proof seat, lol. Criticise the man, at least he can joke about himself :-) * Battle into Minas Tirith. I can bet M Martinez, Kelennar and hordes of die-hard purists will have heart attack. Ok, I'd bet the orcs enter when the Gate is broken, and it's only when they are repelled by Gondorians and Gandalf that the Witch-King comes to meet Gandalf... And did you notice, he's doing a report -every- day!?

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 3:12 a.m. CST

    Thanks Harry. Will you post pics ?

    by SwissBen

    Thank you so much Harry. By reading your reports, we really are with you on the set of the movie. Tell us, will be able to take a acouple of pictures and post them on your site ? Regards, SwissBen

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 3:23 a.m. CST

    WOW! Sounds almost too good to be true...

    by Shad0wfax

    If this films goes as you say Harry... HOT DIGGITY DAMN! I've never had the stamina to get through all of the books. (I own the huge condensed into one, with illustrations, version). I've got up until after the bit with Shelob and Gollum and stuff, I think it was book four, maybe five. But that was two years ago. Anyways, lets hear more and more...AND MORE!!!!!

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 4:11 a.m. CST

    ROCK ON!!!

    by Eriol

    Harry, ask him exactly how the timing of the battle of the Pelannor Fields and also the destruction of the Ring will be. In the book its really hard to do it while still maintaining a sense of suspense, especially on the Pelannor Fields with Theoden. If you get an answer you are the coolest man alive. Eriol

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 4:20 a.m. CST

    who payed for the trip?

    by walesfilmclub

    Did they pay you for publicity purposes? or has this site turned you into a millionaire? just curious..

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 4:34 a.m. CST

    Howard Shore and the LOTR Soundtrack

    by Skooky

    Just something in connection to LOTR: Haryy mentioned in his article on the set of LOTR that he had never heard the "epic Howard Shore" score. Well, Howard Shore did in fact write a musical score which is quite grand and epic. It is the soundtrack for Al Pacino's LOOKING FOR RICHARD. It is actually quite impressive (a big orchestra and a big choir) and is available on cd. If I hadn't heard this score, I would have doubted Shores ability to do this (given his work on Se7en and Silence of the Lambs is so very different from what I imagine should be the music for LOTR), but after I heard Looking for Richard, I was sure that Shore will pull it off!

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 5:29 a.m. CST

    Harry must have been a good little geek.

    by Rosie Lass

    He appears to have died and gone to geek heaven. Sorry I try not to be a nit picker but I can't resist. Pippin Harry!!!! Pippin!!! Let you off the first time because you might have been suffering from jet lag but its time to start getting it right. Right now that's out of my system another great report but if I keep getting more and more excited about this I don't know if I can last another year.

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 5:50 a.m. CST

    Questions questions quiestions....

    by imrahil81

    First off, is Imrahil going to be in the movie?? What with all the men he brought to the war...it kinda seems he's important. Also, how much is a ticket out there to New Zealand....?

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 6:39 a.m. CST

    Huh?

    by Achilles

    Who taught... you how to write? It is... asinine to constantly... use "dot-dot-dot"... like this. As for the trip... it sounds great. Keep up the reporting... it is great to read about the filming. And again... to all the sycophants I have to say... before you shoot back a ton of TalkBacks defending Harry... shut your pie holes. Signed, Ach... illes.

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 6:53 a.m. CST

    The trailer and 13 Days

    by Joey Jojo

    Hey Harry - any chance that the LOTR trailer will be attached to the 13 Days prints that will run here in NY and also in LA in a week or so, so the movie can get in for Oscar consideration?

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 7 a.m. CST

    We get reports like this every day?

    by Lord Trevor

    That is torture. You had me almost crying that something like the timemachine didn't exist yesterday. What will you do to me if you keep on posting this stuff for the next full week? Torture, man. Shore sounds okay to me. I'm sure that once he fully realizes the scope of this project (why doesn't PJ ask him to come out and do some time on the set to get the feel), he'll be encouraged and inspired to pull of magnificence.

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 7:25 a.m. CST

    Harry Burma-Shave

    by Astro-Bubba

    I'm trying to maintain an even fanboy keel, but it's hard not to get stoked by these reports. Off topic: I'm driving into Austin on 71 last night and what greets me outside the airport? A giant freaking billboard with Harry's mug on it. It says "Ain't It Cool?" and "earthlink.com" (I think, the beer was making my vision foggy). When did that happen? What are the staggering implications? Where are my pants? - Bubba

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 7:58 a.m. CST

    Damn, it's gonna be a great year...

    by George McFly

    ...for movies. Between this and Harry Potter, plus the launch of XBox, the fall/winter of 2001 isn't going to come fast enough for me. Folks, I'm *just now* reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy--yeah, yeah, I know, but it was something I just never got around to doing. I'm about halfway through book 1, so I gotta be careful when I read these reports. But I want to have them read before the movie hits--I think I will appreciate it more. Thanks for the report, Harry--I could never jet around like you, with my fear of flying (actually a fear of crashing) and all. McFly<--

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 8:35 a.m. CST

    Wondering around Minas Tirith...

    by Genie

    Even though the correct spelling is wander/wandering -- somehow Harry's "wondering" is definitely a more apt description!! I would give anything to "wonder around" Middle Earth myself!! Keep up the great reporting, Harry, you lucky geek!!!

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 9:23 a.m. CST

    Bad music can ruin a flick: Mission to Mars

    by Crisp One

    Okay, Mission to Mars was a horrible movie anyway, but the music really put it over the top for me. What weird weird music that was! The worst I've ever heard. I've never heard any work from the guy doing the LOTR music, but I hope he doesn't try to do anything "artsy" or "different."

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 9:32 a.m. CST

    Good point, Harry

    by Prankster

    About Howard Shore. No doubting his talent and credentials, so I wasn't quite sure why I wasn't totally trusting. But that's it--he's never done an epic before. Not that I don't think he can pull it off, he's just unproven in this area. Anyway, I think the question you MUST get some kind of answer for is the Saruman-on-a-spike pic. Saruman's not actually going to die in part 2, is he? And if so, how does that affect the Scouring? Please, we can go without info on everything else, but you REALLY need to ask that question. If it gets evaded you're going to make a lot of people nervous. And of course I understand PJ doesn't want to give away the ending, but can he at least give us a HINT? The other big question is to what degree Arwen will be FIGHTING (not just being in the thick of battle, actually fighting). The two biggies, although I'm not too concerned about Arwen personally. And how does PJ feel about the aforementioned folks like Martinez and Kelannar?

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 9:33 a.m. CST

    Harry once again, you lucky douche bag

    by JokersNight

    Damnit, could you smuggle some pics brother...?

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Harry: information request

    by semuta

    Harry, I'm going to have to agree with Prankster here, and once again request you ask Peter about the Scouring of the Shire. That ending to the book is what really seals it all up for me. It's what really takes it from just being a happy-go-lucky ending with the kind coronated and trumpets and bells to a deeply moving, home-hitting story. The return of the hobbits to their beloved Shire is an important piece itself, but what of the Gray Havens when Frodo leaves Middle Earth with Bilbo and the gang? That is the true ending of the Lord of the Rings and the Third Age of Middle Earth. If you can squeak out an answer from PJ on this it would be the best news I've gotten yet. Ending with the coronation of the King Elessar seems to be the easy way out, and I really hope he goes for the real deal. Other than that, I'm pleased as hawaiian punch about this project. :D

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 9:45 a.m. CST

    *GAG* Harry is the luckiest man on Earth...!!

    by NathanSloan

    WalesFilmClub: WHO GIVES A BLOODY SWANK? If you have been following the development of this movie at all, you'd know that P.J. and crew are going to OWN Lucas and nearly everything else that comes out in '01 (Sorry, Raimi...Spiderman ain't the most anticipate '01 release...). You'd know that despite all the doubt that has been poured out from geeks worldwide about this movie, it looks like our favorite English professor will finally be getting a fair shake on the big screen. Far the love 'o Pete, look: McKellan, Alan Lee, Christopher Lee . . . and Freaking Peter Jackson! These people turn out quality like nobody's business and it can be determined FROM OTHER SITES that this movie will be what we are hoping it will be. THEREFORE, it doesn't matter if P.J. reached into his piggy bank and payed for Harry's trip; granted, it's a possible buy out, but seriously: WHO WOULDN'T LET HIM/HERSELF BE BOUGHT OUT IN HARRY'S PLACE? Even if it was the end of Harry's credibility (far from it, I think), it's the best possible way to end a great career. I don't think Harry's cred is gone; I think this kind of geekgasm reporting lends more credibility to him than those glossy, hip, easy-to-digest E! reports lend to E!'s cred. Harry: Keep 'em coming! I'm downloading these reports and storing them on my comp for future drool-fests! That's all I can reasonably ask of you...unless you'd like to pick me up a souvenier? Hint-hint? Hehehe. Harry: you are The Man; Officially The Luckiest Bastard On Earth. Have fun and take care. Have a safe trip back to the States.

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 9:49 a.m. CST

    Please ask Peter...

    by georgeliquor2

    ...if Gandalf will have organic web shooters (that would suck).

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 9:55 a.m. CST

    OH MY GOD ! WHAT HAVE THEY DONE?

    by Skyway Moaters

    ...Gandalf didn't wield *giggle* a @%^$#& UMBRELLA! Keep up the good work Harry this installment was even tastier than the first HUZZAH.

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 10:04 a.m. CST

    Brilliant report, but I have a question...

    by brokentusk

    Another amazing report Harry! I can see that when you truly feel for something you really know how to express yourself - man oh man I wish I was where you are. Something has been knawing at me for a while though: Seeing as these films are being filmed in New Zealand, we won't be seeing all these people in the film who are speaking like New Zealanders will we? (not that I have anything against New Zealanders). It would be weird to see 'The Lord of the Rings' with everyone in Middle-earth speaking with an Australian-type accent. Harry - if you are reading this then please g-d ask Peter (Jackson) if this is the case or not - it's killing me and I don't think I can wait a year to find out.

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 10:04 a.m. CST

    goddamnit harry. you almost made me cry

    by Dragonfire

    bloody hell, this site rules because its run by a guy who's as passionate about all this stuff as we are. man, that thing about mount doom was beautiful.

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 10:05 a.m. CST

    Shore and Great Film Music

    by Dr Benway

    I think the connection between a great film and a great score is a sort of chicken-and-egg problem--our perception of one colors our perception of the other. **** I think if a director has made a great film, the composer, working subsequent to the filmmaker, is then inspired to write a great score. And then when we watch the final product, our enjoyment of each reinforces our enjoyment of the other. I don't think a great score can "make" a great film--look at 'Star Trek: TMP.' **** IMO, this explains why the best work of film composers tends to accompany the best films, and the weakest music with the weakest films. Look at Williams' work with Spielberg--when the film is memorable, the score is memorable. When it's not...it isn't. Even Williams can't conjure up great music in a vacuum. The film is the thing. **** Regarding Shore, I'm thrilled by the choice, in part because he's not James Horner, and I suspect Horner might have slipped back into that syrupy, "lilting" 'Braveheart' mode once he saw all those shots of the Shire (but I won't get into this here). **** Anyhoo, Shore has consistently impressed me with his melodic inventiveness and versatility, particularly in his scores for Cronenberg. Give 'Dead Ringers,' 'Naked Lunch' 'Crash,' and 'Existenz' a spin, and you'll hear four very different, very good scores, ranging a gamut of influences from classical symphonic to jazz to rock and back again. **** I agree with Harry that we haven't seen a truly "epic" score from Shore yet, as his work tends to me more atmospheric, but I have faith in him, judging by the quality of his previous output. And of course, in PJ we trust...

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 10:56 a.m. CST

    "I was supposed to wait for a car, but I can not weight anymore.

    by IAmLegolas

    HAHAHAHAHAA... I'm sorry, but I couldn't read past that line.

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 11:05 a.m. CST

    Aragorn has chosen the path of the dead....

    by waynefreak

    ...yep, I'm reading it. Peter Jackson... Lord of the fucking Rings... ...amazing... 'am buzzin...'am buzzin..'am buzzin.....'a bzzzzzzzzz..... now... everybody focus: Peter - Hobbit, Peter - Hobbit, Peter - Hobbit......

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 11:42 a.m. CST

    I've got a hunch...

    by Seepgood

    ...that once morpheus lays his peepers on that "orc-blasting Gandalf" stuf there'll be trouble. Tenner says I'm right.

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 12:04 p.m. CST

    Fantastic!

    by greenleaf

    Keep 'em coming Harry, this is great! :-D You make us proud (sort of?)! Hey folks, looks like AICN's back into the groOooOOoOoOove! Long live Harryl

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 12:14 p.m. CST

    some infos about the movies

    by EmperorCaligula

    Grey Havens are in. McKellen said it clearly on his site, he said he played the scene with Holm (Bilbo). We have the pic of Sam coming home and her daughter running to him. * Accents: most of the people will speak with some kind of english accents. At least for elves, wizards and hobbits. * Prankster: PJ could well tell Harry for the Scouring. Though if PJ asks him to keep it secret, Harry won't tell us. Then, it's very possible that he's gathering some infos that he'll let come out far later. would be good marketing for the site: as his reports are already a massive hit, he can store some news and pick them in 2 or 3 months, at a time where LOTR news will be fewer on AICN.

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 12:34 p.m. CST

    gray havens

    by semuta

    Great news about the Havens, and the ending with Sam coming home to his daughter (excellent!). Guess I'm out of the loop on some of this stuff if you have seen pictures of this already. What did I miss?

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 12:47 p.m. CST

    Yeah!!!

    by PoopyPantsFanBoy

    the Lord of the Rings Trilogy was the first set of books I read as a young lad. I was quite young but I got the jist of the story, I've read them a few times since, each time getting a little something more with each read. I always wondered why Hollywood never made these books into pictures. I am sooo looking forward to these films, this will be the ultimate epic movie series from the sound of things. I think I might be more stoked with anticipation on these films then when I first heard that Lucas would be making new Star Wars trilogy. The amount of detail and TLC Jackson has put into the making of these movies almost makes me cry with appreciation. Thank Thank You!!

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 2:34 p.m. CST

    The Reason Boromir Is My Favorite Character Is That...

    by Buzz Maverik

    ...he was wrong about everything, every single time! They should get Paul Gleason to play him, since Paul sort of played the Boromir part as the police captain in the original DIE HARD.

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 2:41 p.m. CST

    I would LOVE to get excited by Harry's report, BUT......

    by Mr. Breakfast

    I feel like I'm reading his report from the Grinch set all over. Remeber how wonderous and magical he said it was? Did you see what and immense piece of post modern, post MTV, throw-away society crap it was? Now, I have great faith in Mr. Jackson. I've been a big fan ever since Heavenly Creatures, but I'll pass on Harry's raves until I see the finished project. Unfortunately, it seems like Harry is selling space on his site for trips to sets. Bye bye credibility.

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 5:21 p.m. CST

    Show me the money...

    by MR.CHRISTIAN

    I know where Knowles is getting th bucks to willy-nilley around the globe! It seems thou rotund red wonder has sold his likeness to Earthlink! Yes, I have been driving around the SF Bay the last couple of weeks and had noticed a new ad campaign. It was made of unsual colors to catch attention, but I never paid enough attention to the content. Wellllllllllll, today in traffic I had the pleasure of making a freakin' dead stop (I hate those) in front of one of these massive billboards and paid enough attention to read it. Hmmmmmmmmmm I says, "AINT IT COOL! EARTHLINK." yeah whatever. But then I looked into the grainy one color (a kind a putrid rusty kind of thing on black background)picture that I first thought looked like some old seaman. HOLY SHIT THAT'S HARRY KNOWLES!!!! Soooooooo that's where the buckos are comming from, eh Harry? Anyway, I hate your guts for being exactly where I would most want to be at this moment in time. Enjoy it and keep them awesome reports coming you Bastard!!!

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 8:36 p.m. CST

    Harry, I hate you!

    by Pippin's Diamond

    I've been disconnected for a few days, and when I come back, I find this... you... prancing merrily all over Minas Tirith... Harry, you've just dealt me a deathblow. You SHOULD have told me you were going to NZ! You should've at least held a raffle or something to give a few, say 3 or 4 fellow geeks the chance to go with you! I would've paid my own ticket. Hell, I would probably kill to be on that set. Wait, I think I HAVE killed for that... wait, no, that was just a dream. Harry, I hate you. Maybe I should have told you I'm dying of throat cancer or something, maybe then you would've taken me with you! Aagggghhhh! I'm in agony here! I'll post again once I regain sanity and have a chance to read all the talkbacks. You lucky bastard. I hope you're having the most fun a human being is capable of having over there. And I don't really mean it when I say I hate you. I just... sort of do, as of today. Still looking forward to meet you next comic con, though. :)

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 8:49 p.m. CST

    Umbrellas?

    by Elian Ranel

    umm...sure....anyhow, another great report, i'm dying of anticipation....i'll never last till next winter.....

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 10:41 p.m. CST

    Harry, your spelling blows and you need to brush up a little on

    by Critical Bill

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 11:38 p.m. CST

    Nice

    by Sir Mordred

    Thsi is good. Pips, i'm with you here, well I wouldn't kill anyone, but I've been off for the pat few days. ** oh, PJ, if you happen to be glancing past Harry's computer; i got one thing to say, IMRAHIL! Even if he's only a face at the coronation, we want Imrahil. ** Semuta, i know it isn't related, but I just have to ask if your name has to do with a music associated drug from Dune. **Where are Morgy and morph at?

  • Dec. 15, 2000, 11:57 p.m. CST

    Looking for a forum, here

    by Pseudonym

    I got no place to post this little thing, so I'll do it here as well as one or two other places. I'm looking at the AICN homepage plastered with two advertisements for the Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker video. As pissed off and ranting as Harry has been about how he feels it was outright evil to cut this movie like WB did, does this officially qualify him as a sell-out? Read this while you can, it may be deleted, and I may be banned. But I had to say something about it.

  • Dec. 16, 2000, 2:03 a.m. CST

    LOTR books suck (read the post), and crisp one was right

    by half vader

    Before I get flamed out of existence, let me explain. I excitedly got those illustrated LOTR books and found them incredibly annoying to read - BECAUSE of the way THEY WERE TYPESET. It's acknowledged that the particular font and leading of a book has a subtle impact on the tone of the writing (and can even make it hard to scan if bad enough). I've read about studies where classes of students were given different editions of Shakespeare and came away with slightly different perceptions of the stories (consistant with the edition they had been given). I know this is getting a bit obscure for some, but I just wanted to say how dissapointed I was in what could've been an 'ultimate' edition. Oh well, back to the regular version. All of which is also a tenuous segue into the subject of changing lines for the movie versus being anally faithful to the strengths of a different medium. Just as important as what is being said is HOW you say it. ---------P.S. Crispy was right. M2M sucked dead dogs' balls anyway, but that music! I thought I was listening to the incidental music from some cheesy 70's Irwin Allen TV episode. - And the only big criticism I had of X-Men was the nothing-y score. Boy, if that flick hadda had a kick-arse score it woulda just lifted the whole thing up another level. BTW, the "Unbreakable" score was very clever in manipulating tone, IMHO.

  • Dec. 16, 2000, 5:41 a.m. CST

    It's like I'm there...

    by anothervoice

    Your great descriptions put us right in Minas Tirith. I'm sure this IS the time of your life, and I thank you for sharing it with us!

  • Dec. 16, 2000, 6:37 a.m. CST

    What the....

    by MR.CHRISTIAN

    Hey It's Saturday Morning, where is Chapter three??? Harry, you don't get days off while your in ME!!! We know your out seeing and hearing totally cool stuff. Sit your ass down and dish! Give usssssss the report my precioussssssssssseeeeeessssssss. We waaaaaannnnnnnnttttttttsssssss IT!!!!

  • Dec. 16, 2000, 8:06 a.m. CST

    First!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by JQuintana

    First!!! And I've never been first before on Ain't it cool! Somebody up there loves me, baby! This is gonna be a new start for me on ain't it cool! From now on I'm going to make intelligent comments, and I'm going to make them right up there with the other early risers! I'm back in business baby!

  • Dec. 16, 2000, 12:26 p.m. CST

    Dudes, Harry Has A Right To Make A Living.

    by Buzz Maverik

    I only know what I read in the talkbacks, so I don't know if he really sold his image to Earthlink or somebody, but I'm a capitalist, an adult and a realist (despite being unable to distinguish fantasy from real life) so I say so fucking what if he did? If he advertises or doesn't that's up to him. I know what I'd do. Harry has the right to make money. Communism is dead, except in Red China and Cuba (and I think we ought to over look Cuba and open a trade agreement with them so I can get some excellent cigars without having to break the law or rewrite somebody else's crappy screenplay). Harry gets to have some stuff that some of us don't because he's earned it. Has that damaged the integrity of the sight? I don't think it has. But even if it did, welcome to the real world, folks. Harry has achieved something and deserves the perks that go with it. Now, I ignored the whole GRINCH thing because I could give a shit about GRINCH movies (I'm a fucking adult and Buzz Jr. is too little for GRINCH movies, that fucking GRINCH would scare the shit out of him), but I know that Harry Knowles is a genuine LORD OF THE RINGS fan. This is a project he cares about and that's where I believe his integrity is uncompromisable. So welcome to America, where an ordinary guy who loves movies can get a cool website, make some necessary dough and do some cool things that most of us would do if we had the chance.

  • Dec. 16, 2000, 12:32 p.m. CST

    Teaser/trailer for 13 days??

    by Red Giant

    Can someone please post known info on whether the 12/25 showing would also show the LotR teaser/trailer, or just the 1/12/01 release date showings of 13 Days? I definitely want to go to the 12/25 showing if it will have that teaser/trailer in front of it!

  • Dec. 16, 2000, 1:02 p.m. CST

    Accents

    by lymond

    Will they all be talking like New Zealanders? I imagine it would be best if they did. A New Zealand accent is nothing like an Australian one but then it hall depends on who you are as to how a word sounds. To us NZer's its sounds to us like the Aussies say "Feeesh and cheeeps" but they'd swear black and blue that we're saying "Fush and chups." (The southern hemisphere staple diet which I sincerely hope Harry tries before heading home). And what accents would you rather have the characters speak...American? British? Harry, will you be spending any time in Auckland, NZ before heading home (where I reside)? I'm sure there's a couple of sets up here you could wander around for comparisons sake (old Xena & Hercules stuff...and I'm sure theres something called Cleopatra 2000 being filmed?).

  • Dec. 16, 2000, 1:39 p.m. CST

    Freakin'cool

    by EmperorCaligula

    Pip's Diam: No worry. You'll be able to meet some _nice_ people from the cast later; after all, they won't remain in NZ for long now. * Accents: there won't be many NZ accents, as they said they were mostly using english and other british accents for this movie. * Trailer: rumors say PJ will work hard on it, and there's not much chance it'll be released before 12th january, because it won't be achieved. Probably WETA adding some nice SFX...

  • Dec. 16, 2000, 5:03 p.m. CST

    I'm not first

    by Sir Mordred

    Hey, morgy's her, I can't talk long because The American President is about to come on. I have to defend Mr. Horner; wait, I can see where that guy said he's been doing the Braveheart scores lately, but anyone who did The Last of the Mohicans and Dark City deserves some thumbs up. Those scores were awesome.

  • Dec. 16, 2000, 7:26 p.m. CST

    Minstrel Show

    by m2298

    The Rankin Bass "Minstrel of Gondor" (and the one who sang the songs in their '77 HOBBIT) was not Gordon Lightfoot but Glenn Yarbrough

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 5:43 a.m. CST

    I can't take it!

    by Sylvia Simon

    Oh man, I was so revved to see the LOTR trailer on the 20th - now I have to wait 'til the 12th of January? At least I have these reports to console me. Thanks Harry - keep 'em coming (with pictures? please?)