Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

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Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by malickfan on Sun Dec 15, 2013 12:06 am

A short, if interesting article seems to suggest so:

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2013/12/the_hobbit_and_lord_of_the_rings_movies_new_zealand_was_the_wrong_filming.html

Other than Petty, anyone else agree?

Should Tolkien's books be seen as having European Landscapes, or do all you gus and gals see your own countries in you minds eye?

For me personally having seen LOTR films first, I see a bit of both-New Zeland's craggy mountains and ancient rivers, but England's weather, trees and green fields.

Thoughts?

On another note was the fact the films were made in a country without a solid film industry per se a good thing? Indepedant spirit and Enthusiam vs experience and better tech? (we have sadly seen how Hollywood has changed Jackson)

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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Dec 15, 2013 12:36 am

Other than Petty - Malick

Hey!  Evil or Very Mad Not my fault the person is spot on in their assessment!  Mad 

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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Eldorion on Sun Dec 15, 2013 1:45 am

I can't say the sunlight or vegetation parts have ever bothered me much. There are a couple of places that seem poorly chosen -- Rohan isn't green enough and the Pelennor is not farmland -- but I'm sure there are locations like that in New Zealand. The one possible exception is Rohan, since I don't think New Zealand has any steppes, but the action is never far from the White Mountains so it's not a huge deal. Sure, it's obvious that Edoras is filmed in a valley rather than foot hills if you know to look for it, but it doesn't leap out if you're just watching the film for the story. IMO.

As for New Zealand being too young ... I don't see it. The ruins and artifacts were all made for the films, so how old or young they were made to look had nothing to do with the location. And Middle-earth is supposed to the distant past of our own world, and depending on which version of the mythology you read some of those mountain ranges are only a few tens of thousands of years old. So I don't see how New Zealand's geography being "too young" is an issue, though to be honest I didn't really notice it one way or another in the films.

As for the industry, I don't think Hollywood has ruined PJ. He has more resources now, but he's still operating largely outside the normal constraints of Hollywood. Making the films in New Zealand deprived him of some resources he could have had, like truly massive sound stages. I know some people who hate the Gondor throne room set because it's "too small", but that was the biggest they could go since they were already in one of the largest warehouses in New Zealand and had cut holes in the wall to fit in the lighting equipment. Though I was never bothered by that set myself. And technically, Weta hit it out of the fucking park even back in 2001-03 and they've only gotten better since.
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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Radaghast on Sun Dec 15, 2013 1:59 am

I agree with the article for the most part, though I have to think NZ was chosen for economic reasons as much as anything else.

I didn't care for how some of the scenery was shot, particularly the helicopter footage.


Last edited by Radaghast on Sun Dec 15, 2013 2:01 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Eldorion on Sun Dec 15, 2013 2:00 am

You're probably right, Radaghast. Also, PJ had established relationships and new a lot of people in New Zealand (including in the government) who were able to help get the films made. And it allowed him freer reign since he was so far both physically and time zone-wise from California.
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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Dec 15, 2013 2:07 am

I have always said it make perfect sense for PJ to shoot it in NZ- its not something I hold against him in the sense that can see why he would personally want to, and for cash flow purposes.

But it doesnt change the fact if you were making your dream LotR's films Europe would be better.

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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Eldorion on Sun Dec 15, 2013 2:12 am

I more or less agree.  I think New Zealand ended up working out spectacularly, but it certainly wasn't destined to be Middle-earth and I'm sure they could have found better locations for many settings.  Although for a relatively small country, New Zealand has a tremendous variety of landscapes and a low enough population density that they could film in remote locations without too much travel time.
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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Carcharoth on Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:15 am

I must admit it does annoy me how NZ seems to have adopted Middle Earth as their own! It is a beautiful country no doubt. But it isnt M-E... Feels like an advert screaming VISIT US Please sometimes.

And I feel an English director would never have done to DoS what PJ has seen fit to do.
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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Dec 15, 2013 1:29 pm

I always thought Iceland would have been a good place for Mordor- quickly knocked a couple of pics up- fake sky and more smog added by me (sort of thing would happen in a modern film in post anyway) but the landscape is untampered, its just Iceland-




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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Ringdrotten on Sun Dec 15, 2013 1:33 pm

Somehow I never thought of that, but I get what you mean, it would have been perfect Very Happy

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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Mrs Figg on Sun Dec 15, 2013 2:43 pm

Weathertop - Devon


Lothlorien - Bavaria


Rivendell - Croatia


Tirol - Rohan


Dolomites - Misty Mountains

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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Radaghast on Sun Dec 15, 2013 2:49 pm

Wow, those are all great shots that certainly do invoke Middle-earth.
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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Norc on Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:03 pm

i think middle earth was a good choice. it feels ancient and untouched. although i can't really be bothered going into this discussion (again)..
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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Mrs Figg on Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:03 pm

Raddy we have a whole thread on this subject somewhere, its called places that look like Middle Earth or are just nice its got a lot of our photos and stuff, but its a pretty long thread, it could take days to read through it all.  Very Happy 

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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Norc on Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:04 pm

or even months..
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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Eldorion on Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:10 pm

Those are some great pics, Petty and Figgs. Smile The Iceland as Mordor and Croatia as Rivendell pics stood out to me especially.

I've thought for some time that the Great Hungarian Plain, especially Hortobagy National Park, would have been an interesting Rohan.

The Entwash:


Westfold near Fangorn:


Eastfold:


Foothills of the White Mountains:


Farmlands:


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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Ringdrotten on Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:12 pm

I wouldn't say NZ was wrong, I liked it a lot. But those are beautiful places that would also fit well as locations for the films. I'm going to pull a Petty and say the grass in Tirol is wrong for Rohan Smile

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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Radaghast on Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:13 pm

Mrs Figg wrote:Raddy we have a whole thread on this subject somewhere, its called places that look like Middle Earth or are just nice its got a lot of our photos and stuff, but its a pretty long thread, it could take days to read through it all.  Very Happy 
Yeah, I've seen a bit of that thread. This thread actually reminded me of it Very Happy
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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Norc on Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:15 pm

Eldo. the iceland? really?
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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Radaghast on Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:17 pm

Norc wrote:Eldo. the iceland? really?
Laughing
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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Bluebottle on Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:33 pm

I don't think you can answer that question either yes or no, really.

Yes and no maybe. You really need to look at each individual location and ask if they worked. There certainly was some great ones. While New Zealand being such a small country made some locations hard to do justice.

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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Eldorion on Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:46 pm

Norc wrote:Eldo. the iceland? really?

Did you stop reading after that word and begin chuckling to yourself over the "gotcha" moment, or did you keep reading and just not realize that the definite article referred to the word "pics" later in the sentence?
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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Radaghast on Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:53 pm

Eldorion wrote:
Norc wrote:Eldo. the iceland? really?

Did you stop reading after that word and begin chuckling to yourself over the "gotcha" moment, or did you keep reading and just not realize that the definite article referred to the word "pics" later in the sentence?
Whoops  Embarassed 
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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by halfwise on Sun Dec 15, 2013 5:03 pm

I think the craggy mountains and wild rivers that Malick mentioned were useful because they were unrecognizable to most people yet perfectly evocative. It added a bit of that tinge of untamed magic that middle earth needed.

But I didn't like weathertop, the eaves of Fangorn, or Rohan (except Edoras).

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Re: Was New Zeland wrong for Middle Earth?

Post by Norc on Sun Dec 15, 2013 5:17 pm

Radaghast wrote:
Eldorion wrote:
Norc wrote:Eldo. the iceland? really?

Did you stop reading after that word and begin chuckling to yourself over the "gotcha" moment, or did you keep reading and just not realize that the definite article referred to the word "pics" later in the sentence?
Whoops  Embarassed 

that's a terrible sentence Eldo, and you know it.
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