Saturday, 10 December 2011

Lord of the crickets

First there was William Golding's Lord of the Flies -- quite spooky in its own way -- then Peter Brook's film version in atmospheric black and white. Can it be true... no screenplay? Yes, with amateur cast Brook worked directly from the pages of the novel.... a tough call, but I heard it from Golding's own lips in the flesh.

And the singers and dancers among you will register the name Lord of the Dance... rather impiously used by Michael Flatley for his own company after he parted from Riverdance. That's Chicago Irish for you.

But we're not talking of any of those. As I blog, New Zealand looks to have a slight upper hand in their second innings in Hobart at cricket (where the heck is THIS going?) and a New Zealand native bush cricket is a wee animal called, on its home turf, a WETA. It gave its name to Richard Taylor's Weta Workshop, in Wellington, which did most of the incredible models and sets and creature-prosthetics and (rea!) armour for those three amazing Lord of the Rings movies, directed by Peter Jackson (and co-produced and co-written) from J.R.R. Tolkien's epic tales.

Are we there yet?

 Here's the hook. In good company I've been viewing those films again, along with their informative DVD special features. Wonderful trivia. Who would have thought that the flying Fell Beast's swishing tail is there in the film as a sound effect created by a cheese-grater whirled on a piece of string. If that kind of thing interests you, then you're my kind of film fan.

And though it's now a decade since the movies were released, their re-watchability is a sign of a classic job.
Stand-out for me is composer Howard Shore's music. Trivium: for the second film, The Two Towers, only 12% of the music soundtrack from The Fellowship of the Ring was used; the rest was all new. Similar stats for the last, The Return of the King. 'Nother - and last - bit of trivia: Tolkien always objected to the dividing of his monster novel into three parts, each given its own title. Rayner Unwin did that, and good on 'im. JRRT especially didn't like the title The Return of the King... because it "gave away the ending." :)

Now back to the cricket.

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