Sunday, 6 December 2009

Tolkein, The Fellowship Dr Paolo Baldi, The Colour of Magic

12.00 19 March 2008 I decide to write a prologue for my Blog of yesterday and then make the changes and corrections as well as checking up on certain facts which takes all of two hours. However I feel it begins to convey something of my response to the individual extended film, the DVD additions and to the rest of the 24 hours of experience. It is now time to begin this first of three parts and which will dominate this week, having completed the viewing of the two DVD’s with their seven hours of descriptions and explanations and thousands of stills. Which make up the set of 4 with the first two the films and the four commentaries. This is very much a film maker’s edition and a tribute to the talent of the New Zealand film industry, so it does not surprise that when the film opened in Wellington, the whole of the city lined the streets to celebrate the making of the enterprise and the kudos it would bring to their country. Yesterday I was enthusiastic and impressed while today I am awe of the vision and the execution of the Lord of the Rings as film.

In the first extras DVD there is systematic analysis of the of how the various components were brought together. the actors, the locations, the sets, the make up and costumes, the photography, the music and the sound, and the post production work, finishing with something of the immediate public response. The second DVD, also has its own rational structure commencing with Tolkien and his creation over 15 years of actual writing and a lifetime thinking about and English mythology that was taken away when the French came over in 1066. He purpose was to create an intellectually coherent believable epic of immense detail, often beautiful detail despite its blood thirsty battles, and the long periods when darkness controlled the known universe of those involved, He created an essentially English and Celtic prehistory a world of Hobbits, Dwarves, Elves, Goblins and Trolls, Orcs and Men, and while his writing may have been influenced by the events and culture of his generation and while the work covers fundamental aspects of behaviour and interaction, it was not written to communicate messages, other than we have past, as well as a present and a future.

He allowed his story to unfold without any master plan or design other than the experience, the knowledge and the imagination accumulated in his lifetime. The books are about The Ring and its power, posing the question. Does the Ring stand alone with its power independent of the control by creatures in which instance it can be said to represent forces in nature which beings can never control as it inevitably take possession and control of them, or does control depend on the strength of character and will of beings who take possession? How ever unintended does Tolkien pose the conflict all human beings face between the good and evil within and that whatever the good intention or good intrinsic values of objects, there is always also the potential for evil and destruction, which it is within beings to control or not.

14.00 Time to get myself up for the day ahead and then have some food and then go for some shopping as the cupboards are getting bare, comparatively. A simple salad with one slice left of Leerdammer, a banana and a coffee, after washing me and washing up. I also washed and dried clothing must be two days ago still waiting to be ironed which I will combine with a vacuum and dusting but when? Must be this week though.

15.00 Change of plan about going out mainly because I became interested in a radio detective mystery play set in Ireland and involving a Dr Paolo Baldi, a Franciscan Priest, philosopher and amateur sleuth, friend of a police detective and which followed on from the Archers, the farming country life soap which I first heard as a child after World War 2, and where I some times listen to the Sunday repeat of the weekday programmes. The radio Detective mysteries are challenges because there are only audio clues. In this episode it was evident who were the main suspects when an aging environmentalist is found dead in suspicious circumstances. There were several red hearing to confuse but the outcome was predictable but a stayed listening to confirm my predictions.. This is one of six plays by Peter Devlin(?)

16.00 After publishing yesterdays writing there was one longish communication to make for MySpace and an E mail about what happened to my great grand mother and great grandfather. My aunt visited what has become the now beautiful white building mountainside village about 30k from Ronda in Andalusia and from where I recently received confirmation that records had been destroyed during the Spanish Civil War. My aunt visited her when she was said to have lived in a cave like dwelling and seeking confirmation that these existed is still to be obtained. She made the journey by train and then partly on foot and using a donkey but there is no memory of who she made the visit with or when although the circumstantial evidence is that it was sometime in the mid 1920is when my aunt would have been a teenager. Later she came to England with her elder sister to look after her sister’s two boys, returning when her mother died. She then returned to England living close to another sister but again had to return to Gibraltar when her father died. She then came to England in 1939, after I was born, because of the British Government requirement for all those not directly involved with the port, airfield and military base to leave, never to return because of the discovery of my existence and the requirement that my mother should not go back. The location of the burial place and date of my great grandfather is also a mystery with no record so far despite his being a Royal Hospital Chelsea Pensioner and having to confirm his identity and whereabouts to be able to received his pension. My care mother believed he had come to England after going blind. He was not admitted to the hospital at Chelsea as been believed but he may have been accepted at a specialist facility for the blind and this is still to be checked. The couple were married in Gibraltar and one area of interest is whether her father owned or managed a riding establishment there or in Spain.

16.45 Having checked the closing times of Supermarkets today and the blizzard stopped again I have decided to go for a shop but take the car hoping it will not be too crowded still being late in the day. The car park was emptish and store quiet with an hour to shop I could relax. However I did forget something, I always forget some things and I have now forgotten what I forgot. This irritates me.

18.00 The second part of Terry Pritchett’s the Colour of Magic was enjoyable, especially as the Conen the Barbarian is an old man in his early eighties who pulls an attractive young woman in her twenties. The Troll is the films could have created from Lord of the Rings. I make progress with learning about the new phone but am doing so slowly. Tonight I registered on line and enquired if with transferring the phone to the new one I could still claim the free extras when I topped up. I drank a glass of red wine with 7p worth of peanuts. I note that I have not listened again to the Chris Barber Lost and Found DVD’s or completed the Classical music programme planned for Easter, the Completer Finisher within my nature demands that I do so before moving onto something knew. I should have realised the nature of what would be involved with the decision to re experience the Tolkien and the Peter Jackson and it is significant that Peter introduces his films under the banner of Tolkien rather than himself. After seeing a stage production of Gormenghast, I was in contact with one of his sons, who had attended the same school and whose home I had once visited when a young man and it is evident that there is rivalry between the supporters of the two works and the two film works, with the difference the conceptual imagination of Peter Jackson and the commercial and artistic vision of New Line compared with that of Miramax.

20.00 I continued to watch the final part of the 4th Fellowship of the Ring DVD and enjoyed a cheap curry sauce using the rest of the chicken breast joint from yesterday with some steamed long and slender basmati rice with sundered tomatoes passata and red pesto followed by some green grapes and strong coffee without sugar Peter saw the 1978 Cartoon version which only dealt with part of the story and where finance was not made available for the story to be completed much to the disappointment of many a teenager and their parents, although it lead to acquiring the books and the audio tapes. Peter assumed that someone would someday make the films which he would go along to experience with everyone else, and this expectation increased as cinema techniques developed with the use of electronic graphics to replace the traditional twenty four hand drawings and paintings to create the standard second of on screen film, 86400 for each hour length feature. Creating fewer frames or more creating special effects. In the instances of Lord of eh Rings when Peter decided that as no one else had or was contemplating making the film he approached those holding the screen rights to the books and obtained the funding from the distributors, Miramax to develop a script and treatment. On the basis only of what is said in the DVD’s and Wikipedia my understanding is that he developed the usual one scene per paragraph note book of how the books could be brought to screen, with the usual 25-30 page treatment extended to 90. Usually this process will include visual work. Peter uses the story board approach where individual scenes are hand drawn and then brought together cartoon style to create a treatment which can often then form the shooting script, although the order of shooting is often dictated by production questions as the availability of actors, locations, scenery and props. I am not sure if it was at this stage or later that he visited the Star Wars set up in the USA and was generously shown the latest technology which enables electronic three dimensional representations to be created but when he, his partner and other co writer went to see Miramax with their proposal for two films they are said to have spent 15 million dollars in pre production work only to find that Miramax only were willing/able to fund a one film production cost which the presented scripts were then estimated to total $150 million. It is then my understanding he was given a limited amount of time to find another distributor. And at this point New Line stepped in and suggested a three film approach in accordance with the structure of the books and then found the funds to commence the project in the way it was put into effect. Whether it was the New Line management or Peter or a combination of both they had the brilliant foresight to understand that only bringing together the best people at all levels and using the latest technology together with the tried and tested and setting the highest standards would do justice to a work which had become part of the psyche of many people. Peter also had the foresight to assemble production heads with whom he ahd already worked and who knew the strengths and talents of those available in New Zealand or where to go and get them as many who became involved in the 300 strong creative design and production teams had not worked previously on film. When their co writer could not proceeds because of together commitments, with Peter having the visual abilities and his partner the words, they were joined by Phillipa Boynes, previously a playwright but with an long term interest in Tolkien’s work. They not only re wrote the script to make three films were constantly reworking on a daily basis, incorporating not only their own ideas as the shooting progressed but those of the actors and production crews. Because of the number of location used and the shooting of tall three films at the same time over 275 days and 15 months of chronological time, several units had to be established with 3000 individuals involved. As the pre production work of creative design, shooting location, scenery creation, costume design, the armour the weapons and creature construction got underway. Peter decided that it would enhance the project if he could involve the two world regarded illustrators of the Tolkien books. Alan Lee and John Howe. Alan who lived in England where there was no phone number known but an address, soy Peter and his partner arranged a special delivery of his two recent films he had made, plus his intentions for the films, and they were able to track its delivery to the time when their package was signed for with a covering letter, I am Peter Jackson a film maker in New Zealand, I attach copies of my most recent films and I am making a trilogy of Lord of The Rings. They now know that he immediately sat down and watched both films and then rang Peter to say yes please. It was in the middle of the night that John Howe received a telephone call from New Zealand and he said he sat there waiting for Peter and his partner to reach the end of the end of the selling pitch so he could also say yes please. They would become creative concept artists ho became involved with every aspect of the production such was their enthusiasm matched by the commitment of everyone. Another example of the sense of mission to create something Tolkien would have been proud to have been associated with is the appointment of Richard Taylor to lead the workshop of young New Zealand talent, many who never worked on a film, to create objects from the 1800 pairs of the Hobbit feet, to 500 bows and 10000 arrows, to 18000 facials and over 1000 body suits the large to scale models and full size art works which totalled some 48000 items. The quality of the weapons tailored to the individual users, with the delight of the sword maker able to go beyond his previous dreams and imagination to the chain mail maker, joining tens of thousands of light weight rings all coming forward to talk about their experience of a lifetime and the life long friendships that were established. The second DVD includes and interactive map which video clips to remind of what the location looked like on film as well as interactive index of content and where the stills are arranged according to actors and places.

22.00 I catch up with the Test match. Alas Strauss was only able to get 10 177 but England continued for a short while longer closing 552 runs ahead and the last is that New Zealand are 101 for 1.

23.00 I watch a Douglas Family Films with Kirk Michael, Cameron and Diana, It runs the Family. There is a great finale as Kirk persuades his estranged son Michael, in giving his brother a Viking Funeral on the nearby Lake. Grandson Asher is then busted for growing pot in his flat and his young brother, skips out of the school dance with a girl wearing Gothic Black and a ring through her nose for his first kick and a fight with lads twice his size. There is a great moment when the three generations go fishing on the day of the funeral of Michael mother, Diana Douglas, Three men in a boat. The film was made after Kirk suffered a real life stroke which he also carries into the film character.

0.50. Glass of orange juice and some chess, although must be careful as up to game 57.

02.10 win game 60 in un of 520 with ten draws and bed

07.21 I wake after a longer than usual sleeping session

08.45 I get up and remember that my first task is to put the bin out, It is very cold and I have great difficult in closing the garage door which suggests that either the cold is having its effect or more likely I have a problem which is going to cost money!

09.30 I am ready for the day as it possible the first of the two Staples deliveries will arrive today, I then decide to reconsider the work on The Two Towers and discover the amount of information on filmmaking on Wikipedia and become engaged with this, although then decide to postpone a full study until later. I add Peter Jackson’s films to my DVD subscription but this does not include Heavenly Creatures which I think I have seen but I am not certain. I plan the rest of the day.

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