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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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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How Art Can Help You Take Care Of Yourself

It's time to go on a date with yourself.

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Art is a quintessential part of the human experience: it has something that has been present in human culture beginning from prehistoric times, from when human consciousness first entered the world. It is also something that transcends definition and intertwines with our play of life and the meaning of humanity. Art is an expression of feeling in its most ethereal meaning and "for fun" at its most basic.

Personally, as an Art History minor, art has been a dimension of life for me that I have explored deeply and holds a lot of meaning. Painting is a huge outlet and way to deal with stress for me, and appreciating fine art teaches me about the aspect of history and how all of history is tied together throughout paintings, sculptures, and photographs. It helps me center myself and remind me of the place I hold in this world and the curious aspect personal experience of history. However, art doesn't need to be the stereotypical idea of art: it can be expressed through dance, the learning of a new language, or the coloring of mandalas to ease stress.

The exploration of art and the artistic side of human nature is something that everyone has in them: it's written in our psychology. We have an entire side of our brain that is inclined toward feeling and abstract interpretation, so it's natural to assume that emotion and expression of art are intrinsically intertwined. Thus, experiencing art is a way to personally develop yourself, and can be an unfound way of finding out things about yourself.

Different ways to explore your artistic side can be very easy: as easy as 3rd-grade coloring books, coloring mandalas, or finger-painting. Recently, I participated in a lantern festival and being able to paint a small lantern was an amazing outlet from a stress-filled week and allowed me to express myself through something besides just communication. Writing is also another good way to express emotion and create art: many books are just art pieces, and can be another way to further develop yourself. Additionally, other small fun things like carving pumpkins (spooky season!) or even curating the perfect Instagram profile can be another way to express yourself.

Appreciating the small things in your life as art and self-expression help put you more in touch with yourself, which is easy to lose throughout the mundane cycles of college, work, and life in general. Keeping yourself in harmony and balance might seem like an earthy-crunchy concept, but self-care and self-love are vital in keeping the rest of your life ordered. Being mindful of yourself and your goals is something that I have always have had difficulty with, but working toward learning more about yourself is taking the first step.

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