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.
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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

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10 Things That Have Made Me Cry For No Reason

Sometimes it's the little things that get you feeling emotional.
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Let me start this off by saying: everyone cries!

That's not a shocker, but some people are just better at hiding their emotions than others. Now, I find myself to be someone who is not necessarily afraid of crying but is only comfortable crying in the comfort of his own home with nobody else there.

Recently I was at the movie theater watching "Love Simon" (great movie, by the way), and everyone else was crying! I wanted to cry so badly, but alas, my body refuses to give in even though I do get pretty close to bawling.

That being said, I actually cry a lot in private.

Really trivial and nonsensical things make me tear up and after I'm done having my little moment, I just take a second to try and process why I'm even crying, to begin with. Looking back though, it's actually pretty funny to remember some examples of when I've cried for no reason, so without further ado, here are ten things that have made me cry!

1. "No Promises" by Cheat Codes ft. Demi Lovato.

I can't even explain why this happened. This is a dance song, but maybe the lyrics (which are kind of sad) got to me on an off day. Who knows, but I was in the car just crying on my way to school with no explanation why.

2. When I found my favorite protein drink at Walmart.

OK, let me explain! So, this drink is by no means healthy for you (at least I think so), but it is oddly delicious and my favorite. Seriously, I can drink the entire four pack in less than 30 minutes. I had spent months trying to find it at my local Walmart until I eventually realized that I was looking in the wrong aisle because they had moved it! When I found it, I actually got teary-eyed. It's not my proudest moment, but I felt great for finally finding them.

3. When I was walking to another point of my job halfway through my shift.

So there I was, a server at the time, walking from one computer station to a table nearby and I get the strongest urge to cry. There was no reason for it. None of the customers were being mean and the day was going alright, but for whatever reason, I just wanted to cry and run out that door. Maybe a fellow server would understand because I really hated that job.

4. Whenever I rewatch "Friends."

I pretty much have a period of time every year in which I rewatch "Friends." I already know what's going to happen and I know the dialogue of the scenes pretty well too, but I still cry every time when Rachel and Ross initially break up. I cry when Monica and Chandler find out they're finally going to be able to adopt a baby. I cry when Phoebe gets married. I cry at the finale! Point is: I cry. Somehow this show is so infectious that even though I know the result, I still cry.

5. When I find out that the leftover food I was looking forward to having has been eaten.

I mean I was looking forward to it! There's nothing better than coming home and enjoying a good meal, but now that it's been eaten I have to find out what to eat! It's nice to not have to worry or think about things when you get home, that's all I'm saying! Also, THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE FOR ME. HOW DARE YOU!

6. When my little brother passed me in height.

I have an immense amount of pride that stems from my Hispanic roots and also being the oldest sibling. When I was growing up, I wanted to at least reach my father's height, but I just barely missed it. Then, my little brother has a growth spurt and somehow passed me and then my father! How dare he!

I didn't necessarily cry my heart out or anything, but boy was I feeling some sort of way at that time. Still not sure why I cried though.

7. "Castle On The Hill" by Ed Sheeran.

Nostalgia hit me hard. I mean, I still think it's a little weird to cry to this song because it's not exactly sad and not exactly a dance bop, but I still found a way to cry. Personally, I think I just pay attention to the lyrics so when he goes off listing everything that's happened to the people he knew (that's where it always gets me), I just cry. Call me emotional, I don't know, but I love this song.

8. Whenever I watch a flash mob marriage proposal.

I kid you not, I have a list of songs on my phone that I will play at my wedding or propose to someone with via flash mob. I'm a romantic so seeing a flashmob dance proposal is both impressive and immensely adorable. If you've seen the video of a man proposing to his girlfriend at Disney to "Marry You" by Bruno Mars, then you understand.

9. When I want to go out with friends but also simultaneously stay inside and do nothing.

Can you tell that I like to stress myself out? This situation is so annoying! I get to the point where I'm crying out of pure frustration and stress because I'm basically trying to make up my mind, but my mind wants to do both things! It's a struggle, guys. It's a struggle.

10. When I watch any episode of "Grey's Anatomy."

This one makes a little more sense because "Grey's Anatomy" is probably one of the most depressing but amazing shows that I watch; however, HOW ARE THEY ALWAYS DOING IT?!

Sometimes, it's not even that sad of a moment, but yet there I go, about to bawl my eyes out and decide to never leave my room. The show is constantly reminding you of how unattractive, lonely, and unsuccessful you are. Fellow Grey's Anatomy fans will definitely understand where I'm coming from.

It's just ridiculous how they do it.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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5 Of The Most Binge-worthy Shows On Netflix

Your guide to hours of great shows.
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Binging on Netflix is a way of life. Nothing is better than wasting a day watching your favorite shows. Here are my five favorite shows to binge on Netflix.

1. "Gossip Girl"

No matter how many times I watch this show it never gets old. It has an interesting storyline and loveable characters. These two qualities make it a very binge-worthy show. Also, let's be real who doesn't love looking at hours of extravagant events and fabulous outfits?!

2. "90210"

A show that is filled with drama, comedic moments, intriguing storylines, and lots of love triangles it is so easy to say you're just going to watch one episode and then all of a sudden you have finished a whole season in one sitting.

3. "The Office"

With funny episodes that are guaranteed to make you laugh and a variety of memorable characters, The Office is a perfect show to binge on a sick day or when you just need to forget about life for a bit.

4. "Orange Is The New Black"

This show is entertaining but also thought-provoking. The storylines and the characters make you want to watch more while also giving an interesting insight into America's prison system.

5. "Riverdale"

While there is only one season of this show on Netflix right now. The shows constant twists and turns make it so easy to watch every episode on Netflix in one sitting!

What are some of your favorite shows to binge on Netflix?

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