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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon February 10, 2002
Perhaps the best movie I've ever seen is the movie adaptation of "Lord of the Rings." This book by Brian Sibley is a gold mine of info on the production and background of the movie -- and the exquisite care taken with every part of it.
The book begins with background information on, well, "Lord of the Rings" the novel; it then proceeds to the events leading up to Peter Jackson getting the budget and green light to make a movie trilogy - the bulk of which was shot in one big lump, not spaced a few years apart. Then a chapter on the choosing of New Zealand as an ideal shooting country, and the artists they hired to help them; then to the cast of characters and how they were hired. (Elijah Wood's story is particularly memorable)
We then have a one-page brief bio, filmography, and clips of interviews for each cast member (even Marton Csokas, even though he has one line in the whole movie). Then it's an extended talk on the stunning special effects -- including how they shrunk 5'6" actors down to child-size, and Orlando Bloom's memorable description of fighting a CGI troll; about how they made Hobbiton and the Shire look like hobbits had lived there for hundreds of years; the weaponry and armor of Middle-Earth, including the stunning Elf plate armor; costuming, why Frodo's outfit is different from the other hobbits, the nightmares of costuming Gandalf, and why Legolas and Gimli are polar opposites; the effects of wizard beards and hobbit feet, and a great deal more!
There are utterly delightful pictures sprinkled throughout it -- some never made it to the screen, though (Galadriel lecturing Arwen in Lothlorien, hobbits herding sheep, and Frodo sitting in a tree with a pipe). Most of the best pictures include Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortenson and, of course, the man at the helm. One particularly memorable pic has Jackson sprawled in front of the four laughing hobbits.
This is overall a warm and insightful movie guide, a must-read to know anything about what happened behind the scenes!
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on November 28, 2001
Quite a few long term Tolkien readers were ill at ease at the thought of putting his masterpiece on film. How could a work of such majesty ever translate to film? Would it not inevitably be a shallow and weak travesty? Brian Sibley's Official Movie Guide will go a long way towards setting such fears at rest.
My first emotion as I read the Guide was relief that so much care had been taken by the designers and director. Hobbiton was built a year before it was needed in order to let the paths and plants settle in for a more natural look. Copies of the books were read to pieces as each scene was planned, and Tolkien's own words were used in many cases.
Secondly, I was happy to see that the actors were mostly long time Tolkien fans themselves. These are people who love The Lord of the Rings almost as much as I do, apparently. They care about their characters and the story. Their pictures and interviews reassure me that this is not just another part in another film, but something which demands their best work.
While I will still watch the film with some concern that some of Tolkien's magic will be missing, at least this book lets me know that Peter Jackson and his cast and crew have done their utmost to catch it all.
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on December 4, 2001
This book is well-researched and well-written; the author interviewed most of the people who were important to the production of Peter Jackson's film of "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring." However, I suspect that much of the information in the book will already be familiar to regular readers of the websites devoted to the production of Jackson's LOTR trilogy. For those who are first being introduced to J.R.R. Tolkien's world by the release of "Fellowship" in movie theaters, however, this book will provide a fascinating, detailed look at how Jackson and company brought Tolkien's book to life on the screen. The photographs in the book are also very nice; I'm especially fond of those of Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, which show that the movie's hairstylists have superbly captured Tolkien's textual descriptions of Galadriel's lustrous, golden hair. I also love the title-page photo, a two-page, moody closeup of a thoughtful Peter Jackson.
One slight annoyance is the book's title, since it covers the production of the first film, "The Fellowship of the Ring," not the entire trilogy, "The Lord of the Rings"; apparently, similar books will be published for each of the two subsequent films.
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on April 2, 2002
Peter Jackson has created one of the most amazing feats in motion picture history. He simultaneously filmed 3 major motion pictures at the same time, and when he is done, will have created at least a 10 hour magnificent movie extravanganza unequaled by any other filmaker in all time.
I really hoped that this book would give me some feel of that.
It didn't.
If you know NOTHING about the books, the actors, the characters, the scenes, the sites, or the creators, you will like this book. If you know ANYTHING about LOTR (read interviews online, etc,) you will be VERY disappointed. There is nothing here that I didn't already know. This is thin, trite, candy. There is nothing of substance here.
However, being a huge LOTR fan, I had to own this book. There are a couple of decent photos, one being a hand drawn description of the differences in height of the all the characters (trolls, hobbits, elves, etc). I have not seen this anywhere else. Also, descriptions of Sir Ian McKellan's complaints, and then modifications, to his costume, were enthralling. Again, this is the only place I've seen this kind of honesty. Otherwise, all information can be found in other places.
To sum up, if you are a total Middle Earth newby, or a total Middle Earth die hard, buy it. If not, skip it.
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on April 3, 2002
"The Lord of the Rings Official Movie Guide" is a book that covers the making of the motion picture trilogy based on the wonderful books by J.R.R. Tolkien from A to Z. This is the first book of this kind that I have read from cover to cover an I found this work to be thouroughly enjoyable. Brian Sibley, the author of this great guide, did a great job of finding and researching all of this information and did an even greater job by writing it all up in fun, easy to read articles next to gorgeous photographs.
The articles presented in this work cover everything from a biography of Peter Jackson, the director of the trilogy, and how he was inspired as a young boy to one day be a moviemaker. There is also a biography of J.R.R. Tolkien. The book then delves into information about the sets chosen for these films and why and how New Zealand was such a great choice to do the filming of the pictures at. Then there are biographies of each actor that had a main part in "The Lord of the Rings" motion picture trilogy. Then we learn about costumes, make-up, prosthetics, swords, props, and many more things that made up his film. Within all of this information there are great quotes from the actors that were received from interviews by Brian Sibley. The photographs in this book are gorgeous and Brian Sibley was also able to get some original drawings of Middle Earth from artists like John Howe and Alan Lee put into the book.
"The Lord of the Rings Official Movie Guide" is great for a lover of "The Lord of the Rings" movies or books. With great writing and pictures this is fun to look at and read. This book can be read very quickly and easily while being enjoyed. All in all, this is a great book that a fan of the movie or books would enjoy. Purchase this book and you'll experience the motion picture trilogy that you have seen and loved.
Happy Reading!
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on December 10, 2003
The first thing I would like to say is a slight warning. This book is focused on The Fellowship of the Ring and contains basically no information concerning the last two films. Do not be deceived by the title. If you are interested in the other films, there are visual guides for each seperate one, including The Fellowship...
Other than that, this is an incredible book, with STUNNING pictures and lots of information concerning the actors and the process involved in making the film. The paperback copy is extremely sturdy, and unless you are going to read it to death, I would purchase it instead of the hardcover.
Although my two young siblings (ages 7 and 9) love to look through the book at all the incredible pictures, it isn't a children's book and would probably interest only those who are really interested in the process of making such a film. For me, reading books like this increases my appreciation of the film itself--how much work goes into these things for only three hours of entertainment.
In summary--a great buy!
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on November 6, 2001
As a long time fan of Tolkien's magnificent novel and as one highly anticipating the upcoming Peter Jackson trilogy, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book. And, I would have to say, I was not disappointed! This amazing book offers an extensive and informative background to the making of the trilogy - with specific emphasis on the first film, "The Fellowship of the Ring."
Brian Sibley's book has 120 glossy pages and includes beautiful colored pictures that gives us behind-the-scenes glimpses as well as shots from the film itself. The many topics covered include: "From Book to Script" which covers the process of adapting the complex novel into a series of 3 films; "Speaking the Languages of Middle Earth" - incorporating Tolkien's different languages in the film; "From the Director's Chair" - Peter Jackson's perspective; "The One Ring" and "Of Wizard Beards and Elf Ears" - a look at the props and costumes; "A Workshop of the Fantastic" - WETA's special effects role; "Seeing Tolkien's World" and "Fantasy to Reality" - artists Alan Lee and John Howe's significant contributions to the film visuals, characters and sets as well as the role of the art department; and, most significantly, "The Fellowship, Friends and Foes" - casting info and an introduction to the principal actors of the first film.
I do have to point out that Tolkien's notable creatures - such as the Balrog and Gollum - are not shown anywhere in the book. I'm sure they were purposely (understandably) omitted to preserve the element of surprise for the first film. It also appears that this book may just be the first of a series by Brian Sibley, primarily since it only covers topics relevant to the first film (for instance, pictures of Bernard Hill who plays "Theoden," Miranda Otto who plays "Eowyn" and other actors and locations from the 2nd and 3rd books are absent in this book). Though it is not explicitly mentioned, I would have to assume that there will be similar movie guides released in 2002 and 2003.
These points noted, I have to stress that this is a thoroughly enjoyable and informative book and I could not recommend it highly enough. This is a book that any Lord of the Rings or film fan should be without!
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on January 7, 2002
For all parents who have taken your children to the newly released "Lord of the Rings", now it is time to pick up Tolkein's four-book series and read them aloud to your children. Start with "The Hobbit". Read a page or two every night at bedtime. I've read through "The Hobbit" twice to our kids, and have read through "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy once to them. Our boys are all teenagers. We read every night for 20-30 minutes. We've also unplugged our TV and replace this time with reading in our home. Tolkein is an excellent storyteller, with vivid descriptions a cinematographer can only begin to play with. Your child's imagination is so much greater than that of any movie maker. Give them the gift of your time and Tolkein's genius writing: Read Tolkein Aloud to your Kids! Use Sibley's guide as a resource. The best resource for our kids though is our own active participation in their lives, taking the time to read to them regularly.
For two books filled with other creative ideas for parenting, take a look at "The Family Cloister" and "The Christian Family Toolbox", both written by David Robinson.
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on March 4, 2002
My family has been immersed in Ring lore for years. My mother & older brother read the Lord of the Rings books as they were being published back in the 50's. The movie, however, is obviously new. My husband gave me the guide for Christmas, and I have found it to be a wonderful addition to the material I have on the subject. It gave the movie another dimension and my appreciation of the movie was even greater than it would have been, knowing to what extent Peter Jackson had gone in order to make the movie and remain true to the spirit of the Ring.
After I saw the movie (twice, so far) I found myself going back to it again and again to review an actor, a set, a costume, an artist. It supplies the details - fills in the cracks, so to speak - of ever-expanding layers revealed with each viewing. For example, on the second viewing, I found myself intrigued with the character of Legolas. His expressions, thoughts, background, movements, mannerisms; this led me to want to re-read the guide which has a page devoted to Orlando Bloom.
The guide is not solid text nor does it profess to be an in-depth, blow-by-blow account of the Ring story beginning with Tolkien at age 0 and culminating in the movie. There are many (and I feel, wonderful) pictures. Although every aspect of the movie is covered, it is covered briefly, succinctly. The text is descriptive and readable. Most Ring fans will find it a valuable, and reasonable, addition to their libraries and collections.
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on January 5, 2002
This is the official movie guide to "The Lord of the Rings" and is a must own for any fan of the movie. This book includes 119 pages of interviews of the cast, quotes from Peter Jackson and the crew, lots of pictures (including some illustrations by Alan Lee and John Howe), and much more. some of the things included in the table of contents and more are:
~From Book to Script
~Seeing Tolkien's World
~Fantasy to Reality
~A Workshop of the
~The One Ring
~Of Wizard-beards and Elf-
~From the Director's chair
~Speaking the Languages of
~Cameras in Middle-earth
~Before the Cameras Rolled
~The Road Goes Ever On
These are just some of what is included in this book.

"I have a very, very strong affection and
respect for J.R.R Tolkien's The Lord of
the Rings, and the films we are making
really come from my vision of Tolkien's
world, created in callaboration with the
many other people working on this project."
~Peter Jackson
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