Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Lord of the Films

Today is the first day of the Toronto International Film Festival, an event that always makes me nostalgic for days gone by. Back before I had children, my best friend and I would take the week off and see 30 films at the TIFF, and every night we'd drag ourselves home after seeing as many as five films in one day, and we'd sit down and type up these HUGE emails -- that were essentially blog posts before people had blogs -- and email them out to all our friends. We talked about things we'd overheard people say in line, we'd bitch about the routines and the lineups and the stupid people who'd done stupid things to us during the day, and eventually we'd get around to reviewing the films. Friends would email us back the next day to tell us how much fun they were having reading through it, and how they enjoyed the overheard bits more than the reviews themselves, so we started eavesdropping more and focusing on those parts. By the end of the week, we'd have a 25,000-word document containing all our emails from the week (yes, that number is correct) and we'd print it up to save. Ah... memories.

The TIFF marks the beginning of the fall movie season for me, and what better time to post about another guidebook I think y'all should be buying for yourselves and for other people at Christmas. The book is Lord of the Films: The Unofficial Guide to Tolkien's Middle-earth on the Big Screen, and it's written by J.W. Braun. If you've been involved in the Lost rewatch at all, you'll know him as JW, a frequent poster there. Again, full disclosure: I was the editor on this book. I didn't acquire it for the press (I was on maternity leave when it came in) but the moment I sat down and read through the raw manuscript for the first time, I was in love with it instantly.

Lord of the Films is a guide to all of the movie adaptations of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings Trilogy, with the main focus, of course, being on the Peter Jackson films. There are sidebars and background stories on the animated versions (and what worked and what didn't in those) but for the most part, this book is a behind-the-scenes and fan-filled look at the Peter Jackson adaptations and how the Tolkien fans responded.

Braun breaks down each film into its major parts (mainly how the film is broken down on the DVD scene menus), and then for each of those parts he includes four different subsections: what some fans said out loud in theatres during the films (these range from the bizarre to the laugh-out-loud hilarious, like when one fan, shortly after the first film begins, shouts out, "Hey, you missed page 33!"); little details and important symbolism you may not have noticed in the films; nitpicks and bloopers; and behind-the-scenes stories of what was happening during filming and production. It's a brilliant book, and fans will love it. Complete with Q&As of some of the crew members who were in NZ for the three years it took to complete the trilogy, sidebars of some of the fandom-generated activities or merchandising or other fun bits, awesome photos of the landscapes, actors, and other fun LOTR-related Kodak moments, and early information about Jackson's much-anticipated Hobbit films, this book is the perfect compendium for fans.

This is one of those cases where the back-cover bumpf is actually true -- after reading this book, you'll go back and watch the trilogy again with a fresh pair of eyes, as if it's the first time you're watching it. The book is available now, and you can buy it here. Get your copy and then come back here and tell us what you thought. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

8 comments:

Beej said...

I'm curious. How does one get involved with editing and working with authors and books like this? I can't say it doesn't intrigue me as a potential future career.

Teebore said...

Cool, sounds like an awesome book. Thanks for the heads up; I'll definitely check it out, and might not have otherwise if you hadn't brought it up. :)

J.W. said...

Thank you, Nikki. I appreciate the plug. And thanks to those who bought it. If you like it, be sure to let other LOTR fans know!

SonshineMusic said...

Ah! I totally have to go buy this book! Thank you Nikki :)

Late to the Party said...

Wow, this sounds like required reading for all LOTR fans. I'm definitely buying the book soon, and I've just recommended it to a friend.

Gillian Whitfield said...

I'll definitely check it out! I am actually watching The Fellowship of the Ring right now. Two years ago today was the first time I saw The Fellowship of the Ring. I'm a HUGE Lord of the Rings fan.

Susan said...

I just got this today and am in the middle of reading it.

ROFL at the Ringwraiths stopping at the front desk to find out Frodo's room number!

Kevin Elwood said...

A wonderful collection of facts, anecdotes, interviews and trivia for LOTR fans. I really enjoyed it! I didn't realize there were so many things I STILL didn't know about the making of the films. Kudos to the author for what must have been a long and grueling process of researching this book.