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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
When George Lucas visited LotR set...

Registered User

Mar 23 2013, 8:37pm

Post #1 of 13 (2099 views)
When George Lucas visited LotR set... Can't Post

I remember reading about George Lucas visiting the set of LotR during filming and asking PJ why they didn't just CGI the sets, but I haven't been able to turn up that article/interview/news bit through search because any mention of George Lucas just brings up people's complaints about The Hobbit. Does anyone remember where I might find that?

Tol Eressea

Mar 24 2013, 2:16am

Post #2 of 13 (1719 views)
I remember something like that from the extras [In reply to] Can't Post

In one of the behind-the-scenes extras, Jackson talks about Lucas sharing a computer program that allowed PJ's team to do computerized storyboarding. They even show an example of how it worked using one of the scenes in Moria (if I remember correctly) I think that bit was with the EE of LOTR.

"The question isn't where, Constable, but when." - Inspector Spacetime


Mar 24 2013, 12:42pm

Post #3 of 13 (1641 views)
Pre viz [In reply to] Can't Post

It might what you were thinking about. It's an entire chapter in the fellowship EE extras.

But yeah, I'm guessing Peter argumented that the real thing always looks better. Kind of ironic now, just being done with The Hobbit. Just proves that after more than 10 years, the real thing DOES look better.

Registered User

Mar 24 2013, 4:19pm

Post #4 of 13 (1622 views)
CGI vs physical [In reply to] Can't Post

That sounds right. I've always remembered that and thought PJ was one of the best fantasy directors (in part) because of that but he really sold out to CGI with The Hobbit. It's not that most of the CGI isn't good (although Rhadaghast's bunnies were terrible) but it was just so much better when the orcs were real actors and the sets were actually built.


Mar 24 2013, 4:42pm

Post #5 of 13 (1603 views)
Completely agree [In reply to] Can't Post

Don't even get me started on Rivendell in The Hobbit. Or Azog, for that matter. CGI is all nice and dandy but if I want to watch a computer game surface I'll just go out and buy a game.
There's a reason I backed out of the new Star Wars movies after episode two. I've never seen part three and I doubt I ever will. It just looks... well, "stupid", but in a bad way not in the fun, ridiculous way I regard the 70ies Star Wars movies as "stupid".

(This post was edited by Misto on Mar 24 2013, 4:43pm)

Runk Snusgrop

Mar 24 2013, 5:46pm

Post #6 of 13 (1566 views)
Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm thinking working on Tintin did more to sway him towards digital than Lucas ever did.

Registered User

Mar 24 2013, 6:36pm

Post #7 of 13 (1674 views)
Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

I wonder if Avatar had anything to do with it too. I loved Avatar, but in that case the all-CGI world served its own purpose in pulling you into an alien world. The transitions back to live action were where it felt oddest to me. But The Hobbit and LotR are supposed to be more Earth-like and match the world we live in and The Hobbit felt alien.


Mar 25 2013, 7:18pm

Post #8 of 13 (1573 views)
I think their reasoning goes.... [In reply to] Can't Post

... that digital sets and models look better in 3D 48fps as standard models and sets look fake. But I think they're wrong, a real set will always look better than greenscreen.

In their defence though the CGI for Avatar was created by WETA so they had plenty of practice and had built themselves up into a powerhouse so I guess Jackson didn't want to downscale the digital department.

"A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities."


Mar 27 2013, 1:18am

Post #9 of 13 (1475 views)
There were enough physical sets in AUJ [In reply to] Can't Post

It doesn't come close to the sheer fakeness of Attack of the Clones or Revenge of the Sith, and neither do you get the feeling of a full CGI Avatar-like world, though it obviously IS like that for a few sequences like the Azanulbizar flashback and the tree hanging over the edge at the end.

Though 90% of AUJ is on decent-sized physical sets (or locations, obviously).

Intergalactic Lawman

Mar 29 2013, 10:31pm

Post #10 of 13 (1436 views)
I don't think I will ever LOVE the Hobbit... [In reply to] Can't Post

...because of the cgi!

It destroys films. It really take syou out of the scene Mad


Mar 30 2013, 11:20pm

Post #11 of 13 (1401 views)
Sold out? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hm. I don't entirely get this criticism, though it comes up often.

I think perhaps people forget how much CGI was used in LotR. In addition, it's not a great exaggeration to say that nearly every other close up shot in RotK, for instance, is greenscreen, often jarringly so. Rivendell in LotR was a model and yet often integrated poorly with the live action elements. Also, I've yet to meet anyone who could identify the model work in scenes like Rivendell as models--if you don't know that's what they are, there's little to indiciate that they aren't traditional mattes or CGI; I'd argue that at the end of the day the models weren't terribly more realistic than the CGI in such scenes.

Conversely, I think people don't realize or forget the sheet scale and number of sets that were in fact built for the Hobbit. They're massive and intricate as anything in LotR.

I know we rebel against CGI, but I have to think that's because we are attached to what came before. A CGI mask is no less real, I would argue, than a physical one, and both have their dramatic onscreen weaknesses. Azog has heft and presence, in my opinion, and the fact that you can see he's CGI is no different than seeing that other orcs have masks. Obviously everyone's mileage varies, though.

I don't know. I feel where you're coming from, and I've had the same criticisms myself. However, if I step back and look at the work itself objectively, I have to think that both approaches are valuable and not actually terribly different from each other afterall.

(This post was edited by Osskil on Mar 30 2013, 11:23pm)

Registered User

Mar 31 2013, 4:15am

Post #12 of 13 (1397 views)
... [In reply to] Can't Post

I realize there was a lot of CGI in LotR, some good and some not so much (the warg battle) but I never felt that it was used excessively or uneccesarily. Yes, I could tell the wide shots of Rivendell were CGI but I thought they were done well enough not to be distracting. Legolas' heroics in RotK were pushing the limits but were brief enough to forgive. Azog was distractingly animated, and as the primary villain he didn't pull his weight. He always felt awkward on screen to me and I was more worried about that than about his threat to the dwarves. Gollum on the other hand was exceptionally outstanding and the highlight of the film. I really don't see any reason Azog needed to be a CGI character to begin with, and that along with terrible bunny chases and uneccesary stone giants was just too much for me. Still holding out hope for DoS though.


Apr 6 2013, 11:25pm

Post #13 of 13 (1400 views)
Influence of HD and Blu-ray? [In reply to] Can't Post


If you watch the LOTR on blu-ray on a biggish full HD screen (42", standard domestic large ), the HD does make the minatures, models and matte screens look fake. In fact when LOTR as released there weren't even HD screens in cinemas. let alone at home, forget 48FPs, I am talking what is now standard HD.

Modern CGi, good well done CGI, I would add, looks far crisper, and less fake on a decent sized domestic HD TV than many pre-HD SFX and that does include LOTR. CGi, is just another way to create a set, and all sets are fake.


Azog has heft and presence, in my opinion, and the fact that you can see he's CGI is no different than seeing that other orcs have masks

Exactly. I would also add, that it's interesting that few if any, are criticising the use of CGI to create Gollum, motion or performance capture as Serkis prefers to call it, uses CGI to give Gollum his appearance, the same technology was used to create Azog.

I know we rebel against CGI, but I have to think that's because we are attached to what came before

Often that was bad acting, an awful lot of CGI based films fail because the performers come from a movie background where sets can be interacted with as they are tangible. Whereas in CGI the sets are not even present when the actor performs, which requires different skills from a thesbian perpective. Check out the wikipedia entries for the Hobbit actors, especially the dwarves and you will see most, if not all have professional shakespearean stage experience, and a lot of Shakespeare is performed with minimal sets, and few props, plays where actors have to imagine the battle going on behind them and convince the audience that it is too, not too dissimilar to acting for CGI.

Lucas, bless his cotton socks, has never been a director interested in acting, of getting the performance from his cast, he's far too interested in the scenery to be distracted by such things, unfortunately as the Star Wars prequels proved, this approach does distract the audience especially when such a quality cast looks so wooden. PJ on the other hand appears to take the other approach, CGi is just another way of creating a set, another world upon which the actors most importantly have to perform and become their characters


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