Lord of the Rings, a novel-based film released in 2001, is first mentioned in chapter ten, “Digitization”, of Understanding Media Industries. The development of high-quality digital recording that has emerged with digital editing has created an entirely new type of storytelling. The growing development of various digital technologies is responsible for the shifts in aesthetics of television. Much of movies these days are created on a computer rather than in front of a camera. One film that fits in this category is Lord of the Rings, which used computer animation for 1,000 separate shots that made up seventy percent of the film (211).
In order to review Lord of the Rings, I took out a copy from the school library. Because the main aspect of the movie is that it’s based in a fantasy world, I never had enough interest in watching any of the movies in the trilogy. From the trailers of the movie I had watched many years back, I remember thinking right off the bat how much computer animation had to be done in order for the movie to be created. I have to say that overall I was very happy with the movie despite it not belonging to the genre that I usually watch. The movie is about a hobbit named Frodo Baggins who begins his journey to destroy a powerful ring by returning it to Mount Doom. The setting of Mount Doom is one of the best computer animations I have ever seen. Mount Doom consists of a tall tower surrounded by lava and inhabited by creatures called orcs. I am guessing that a majority of this film was shot using a blue screen, despite many of the scenes that were actually shot outside in New Zealand. Along with the feature film I decided to watch the special feature “The Making of Lord of the Rings”. This special feature showed how some locations were created with fifty-eight miniature sets, into which blue screen and digital characters were composited. The scenes that were created largely with computer graphics were the scenes in the Mines of Moria and the battlefields of Mordor. When I first saw an orc on screen I assumed that it was computer animation but after watching the special feature I found out that they were really just people with makeup (The Lord of the Rings). I have to say that Lord of the Rings was very pleasing and interesting to watch and I plan on watching the rest of the trilogy when I can.
I believe that the computer animation in this film can be very much credited for the films success. Whether a movie is a large Hollywood production or a smaller Bollywood film, computer animation allows movies to tell impressive stories in a completely new way. Especially seen in Lord of the Rings, the digital process utilizes various computer software to enhance images of a moving picture. Easily the most amazing part of Lord of the Rings was the battle scenes. In the special feature it talked about software called MASSIVE (Multiple Agent Simulation System in Virtual Environment). This particular software enables thousands of digital characters to act and react independently to the characters around them. To my understanding, this software provides the framework for the twenty-minute battle scenes. After viewing Lord of the Rings I can honestly say that I have a much deeper understanding and more respect for computer animation.