Eight Ways The Lord Of The Rings Movies Influenced Film And Culture

Eight Ways The Lord Of The Rings Movies Influenced Film And Culture

This is why everyone should watch Lord of the Rings.

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have been very influential books ever since they came out. They were immensely popular both in Britain and in America. When Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy came out it was monumental in many reasons. The following are just a few ways The Lord of the Rings movies have changed our culture and the media.

1. Big-Atures

The Lord of the Rings used miniatures (that they affectionately name big-atures) as the way to create many of mythical places in the world of Middle Earth. All of the establishing shots they show, Isengard or Lothlorien for example, were actually large miniatures that they built to create these massive places and settings. The Big-Ature of Lothlorien actually took up a soundstage. The mallorn trees were 8-26 feet tall and 5 feet in diameter. It was one of the hardest to build. The ring of Isengard with Orthanc was almost a mile in diameter. It was built outside in the lot behind the soundstage. Rivendell and Minas Tirith were other Big-Atures they built. Behind them, they would put ornate matte paintings to create the scenery around the place. The Big-Atures were so well done, that you can’t even tell that they are not real places.

2. New Zealand is a country?

Before The Lord of the Rings decided to film in New Zealand, many people did not know about the country, or even think about vacationing there. Peter Jackson chose New Zealand to film because it was most what he imagined many of the places in Middle Earth to look like. New Zealand has some very versatile and beautiful landscape. After The Lord of the Rings was filmed there, New Zealand became known as “The place where The Lord of the Rings was filmed.” Because of this, many people wanted to visit there. Gregg Anderson, the general manager of Western long haul markets for Tourism New Zealand said: “We’ve seen a 50% increase in arrivals to New Zealand since Lord of the Rings.” This has contributed to New Zealand’s tourism economy a lot. Many people visit New Zealand to go to Hobbiton (which has since actually been built where they initially filmed it) or to climb the same path that Frodo and Sam take to Mount Doom.


3. Fantasy on the screen

Before The Lord of the Rings, fantasy had been a genre on screen, usually in the form of Sci-Fi with Star Wars or Back to the Future, but was not a very popular genre for film. After The Lord of the Rings, fantasy stories on screen took off. The Chronicles of Narnia, Eragon, and Harry Potter are examples of this. Movie companies weren’t even waiting until the series were done before they were offering contracts to produce some of these films. In turn, this led to the increase in more recent years in dystopian films such as The Hunger Games and Divergent. People were craving more than realistic fiction, and even though many of these movies do not win awards for their filmmaking, they are still immensely popular and make a lot of money in the box office.

4. Gollum as an animated CGI character

Before The Lord of the Rings, animated characters in live action were not normally done. One of the first films to feature animated characters and live action was Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988. The first fully animated CGI character in a live action film was actually Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace (1999). A few years later, we catch a glimpse of Gollum in The Fellowship of the Ring. He then becomes a key character for the rest of the trilogy. Gollum is also fully animated CGI. Andy Serkis, who plays Gollum, dressed in a grey body suit and acted out Gollum’s moves. Then they animated over that using Motion Capture. Besides Jar Jar, this revolutionized CGI Motion-Capture for creatures in movies and led to being able to produce more realistic CGI characters in future films using Motion-Capture. Avatar and Planet of the Apes used this technology.


5. Nothing was un-filmable anymore

One of the reasons that fantasy was not usually done as a genre in film was because it was hard to do right. Star Wars revolutionized the use of special effects in a film that had not been done previously. The Lord of the Rings also used special effects in the way that had not previously been done. They played around with Big-Atures (as previously stated), as well as using a technology called MASSIVE to create realistic crowd scenes. They experimented with the concept of forced perspective through camera moves when showing the Hobbits next to the “bigger people.” The cutting edge digital graphics were unprecedented and paved the way for films such as superhero films and historical epics because of the way they were now able to create things they previously had not been able to. They were now able to create a world that was believable while playing with the special effects. Because of this films like Avatar and The Hunger Games were able to be made.


6. Extended movies, extended universe

In the early years of filmmaking, as movies became a popular thing to attend, directors started to make them longer and longer. Gone with the Wind was 3 hours and 58 minutes. Ben Hur was 3 hours and 44 minutes. These movies would have an intermission in the middle of them. However, as people became more and more impatient, they wanted faster paced films with less detail and faster plot points. In the early 2000s, it was foreign to make a film that lasted more than the norm of around 130 minutes. So Peter Jackson released The Lord of the Rings in about that length. However, he wanted to be as true to the books as possible and hated cutting out that much information. So he created the extended versions and released them on DVD. Since then, several movies have done the same, although not quite as extensive to The Lord of the Rings in the amount of extra footage. Many films will just include the cut scenes in their behind the scenes DVD. The Lord of the Rings also set the precedence for including extras of interviews and bloopers etc. The extended versions have almost as much behind the scenes footage on the DVD box sets as the length of the movies. This became an immensely popular thing to do.

7. All the sequels

Before The Lord of the Rings, there were several movie franchises with sequels. But it was not the norm. Star Wars and Back to the Future were a few examples, however, they were not actually meant to have sequels. The Lord of the Rings was by far not the first to attempt multiple movies to tell the story, but they did start a trend in movie companies looking to actually sign on more than one movie in a franchise at a time because they saw that they could make money. Superhero movies, Harry Potter, and Pixar and Disney sequels are examples of this. Unfortunately, this also became a moneymaking business, and many sequels are not nearly as good as their predecessors. Certain movie companies even took this to the new level of splitting the last movie into two to give it more screen time and to add more to the story, as well as a way to make money. Hunger Games, Twilight, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and even The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, all ended up in this trend.


8. Books to movies

The Lord of the Rings started a trend in making movies from books. This had been done previously in many cases, especially with making the classics into movies. But before, it was never a widely accepted thing for the young adult target audience. After The Lord of the Rings, making movies off of books of all genres for young adult exploded. Percy Jackson, Eragon, Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, Spiderwick, Divergent, and The Hunger Games, as well as recently Maze Runner, are all examples of this trend. In the last ten years, you can expect at least five movies to come out a year that have been based on a young adult book. And this is not including the movies based off of adult books and short stories that have also been taking off such as Life of Pi, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and The Martian. Whether good or bad book to screen translations, this has been and continues to be a trend in the movie making business. And the audiences like it.


Cover Image Credit: McKellen

Popular Right Now

Why I Listen to Depressing Music Even Though I'm Depressed

Music that's powerful, music that speaks to me, music that means something.

It took me a long time to find my preferred genre of music. In middle school, I remember listening to pop songs that I often heard on the radio. I could (and still can) rap the entirety of Super Bass by Nicki Minaj and I dreamt about my crush professing his love to me by serenading me with Stereo Hearts by Gym Class Heroes. 

By my freshman year of high school, those songs were no longer cool, so I went along with the crowd and started listening to the next most popular type of music: trap music. In my experience, these artists talked solely about fucking bitches and smoking ganja, even though, at that point in my life, I had no intent of having intercourse or "doing" the marijuana (boy was I naive). Though I listened to these genres to appease everyone else, I never felt completed like so many people claimed to feel when they listened to music. I did not have a passion for any bands or artists and I did not feel any sort of deep connection while I was listening.

It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I decided to explore certain genres that I hadn’t yet explored. The first bands I really grew to love were the Arctic Monkeys, Cage the Elephant, and The Kooks. Their music not only sounded great, but the lyrics actually meant something. They spoke about relationships, internal struggles, mental issues, and societal problems. Their lyrics resonated with me, and, surprisingly, the most depressing of their material resonated the most.

I have suffered from depression for as long as I can remember, though I was not diagnosed until a little over a year ago. I’ve been on meds and have learned coping techniques, but the most counterintuitive of those techniques is listening to these depressing songs.

One of the hardest struggles I have with depression is not being able to tell people how I am feeling, not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t have the words. I find that listening to others put into words the exact emotions that I have not been able to convey myself is quite reassuring.  These songs help me better understand my own emotions and give me an idea of how to turn those emotions into spoken language. 

When Alex Turner says “you can shriek until you’re hollow or whisper it the other way” or when AJJ says "everything is real, but it's also just as fake” I feel as if someone has entered my thoughts and put into lyrics the fears and feelings I struggle with on a daily basis. These songs make me feel as if there is a whole community of people out there who experience the same, seemingly-lonely experiences that I do. I feel more connected to the world when I listen to this type of music. I feel understood.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Two Inspiring Movies Everyone Should See

Movies that take you on an emotional roller coaster.

I have always loved watching movies, especially ones with inspiring and emotional storylines. I get very invested and intrigued (maybe a little too much), but I love having that whirlwind of emotions throughout the entire movie.

Recently, I got the opportunity to see two amazing movies that I think are very important and had a huge effect on me. The films were “Lady Bird” and “Call Me by Your Name”. Both of these films came out in 2017 so they are fairly new. They are making a huge impact and receiving a lot of deserved recognition.

“Lady Bird” has such a special storyline. It follows the relationship between a mother and daughter in such a realistic way. As many girls know, a relationship with a mother is not always an easy one and the film really captures that frustration.

It follows the life of a young girl that is about to leave to go to college. So many things change for girls during this time and there are so many emotional challenges and obstacles. I absolutely love how this film displays this situation and many relationships in a very graphic and honest way. I think it is so important for young girls to watch this film and channel all those feelings. It is incredibly relatable and it reminds girls to be courageous.

“Call Me by Your Name” is seriously one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. It is a love story, which we have seen is countless movies, but this film displays a relationship in such a unique and beautiful way.

The best thing about this movie is that it is awkward at some points and maybe even a little uncomfortable. I admire this because love and relationships aren’t always magical and perfect. It expresses a type of love that is so unapologetic and pure. I could watch it over and over and still have the same inspiring feeling at the end. If you are a fan of emotional love stories or small independent films watch this movie. You will not regret it.

Cover Image Credit: Connor Limbocker

Related Content

Facebook Comments