Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Privileged View (January 30 & 31, 2010)

This picture, which I took in January in New Zealand, cycled by in my wallpaper backdrops the other day; I am struck by it every time. I think it's probably that it looks like a scene from The Lord of the Rings, and was indeed taken in a forest where a number of segments of those movies were filmed. I suppose it's the evergreens framing that mountain in the distance; you could be peering out from the thickness of Fangorn--looking to spot the next roving band of orcs. Like in the photo below, which was taken on the Te Anau-Milford highway on the way to Milford Sound; it would have seemed fitting if a white horse had appeared in the distance, galloping along the line where the forest meets the grass.

In reality how those films were made was of course a combination of "straight shooting" (heh) and the of collaging different shots taken from here and there to create the right look for the locations described in the books. Isengard is an example--what I didn't know what that the mountains in the picture below (another I took in Mt. Aspiring National Park) were used as the backdrop for Saruman's stronghold--while the foreground, including the river you can see here, was replaced with Orthanc and its surroundings.

I think having grown up in New Zealand it wasn't much of a leap for me to associate the familiarities of our landscape with the one described by Tolkien...the translation into film was only the last and more specific step of that imaginative process, which is probably why--no matter how much I dislike some aspects of them--I'll always love those movies.

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