There is a large stirring in Middle Earth as Lord of The Rings/Hobbit fans eagerly await the December 17 release of Peter Jackson’s final instalment of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
One of the many spectacular things about all The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings films, are in fact the battle scenes. Along with the use of CGI, motion-capture technology and green screens, the action, like any fight scene, has to be worked out prior to shooting. With the final scene being a whopping 45mins long there is a lot to manage; not the least being keeping everyone interested!
Jackson recently said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly said that the epic 45minute battle sequence that culminates at the end of the final instalment was in fact like planning an actual full scale assault. I can see him now in front of one of those table sized maps moving figures around to create the battle… or rather this much simpler way.
“There’s a lot of logistics that have to be thought through,” says Jackson. “We have dwarves and men and elves and orcs, all with different cultures, with different weapons, and different shields and patterns and tactics.”
A lengthy scene like that runs the risk of being like the obligatory drum solo at a rock concert, good for a while then rather mindless and making you wonder if ‘now is a good time for a bathroom break?’ in addressing this he said “We have a rule that we’re not allowed to go more than two or three shots of anonymous people fighting without cutting back to our principal characters, otherwise the audience just ends up with battle fatigue.”
As well as the actual logistics of the fighting, the director needed to work out just how big things would be in relation to the surrounding landscape they created. “Before we could loose the first arrow, we had to design the landscape itself and figure out, ‘Okay, if we have 10,000 orcs, how much room are they going to take up?’ ” Jackson said. “ ‘Are they going to fill up the valley or look like a speck?’ Then we could start drawing the arrows on the schematics.”
This incredible attention to detail is probably part of the reason why The Hobbit trilogy has also been has been named as the most expensive film production of all time, at 934m New Zealand dollars (£464m).
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens December 17.
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