It’s been six long years since the last Lord of the Rings (LOTR) film drew us to Middle Earth. And we’ve got another three years to wait for The Hobbit to take us back. What are rabid LOTR fans to do?
Hot: Adrian Webster as Aragon.
If you’re Chris Bouchard, you simply fill the gap by making a near-professional quality 40-minute film with volunteers, a budget of only £3,000 (around Rs2.25 lakh), and a lot of heart.
After a year of work, and lots of buzz thanks to two superb previews, The Hunt for Gollum can be viewed free at www.thehuntforgollum.com. Not only does it live up to the previews, it near well matches up to Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning films.
Taken from a story in one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s appendices to the trilogy, the film follows Aragon’s quest to find Gollum, an episode bypassed in the original films.
Of course, there are a few differences between Bouchard’s £3,000 production and Hollywood’s $270 million (around Rs1,350 crore) production. But if you disregard the slight amateur mishaps (Gollum trapped in a gunny sack goes from adult male size to tiny tot and back again in subsequent shots, for example), the film looks like an out-take of the originals.
Which is no accident. Bouchard tried to mimic the look and feel and sound of Jackson’s movie adaptations as best he could on a small budget and he nails it—even down to the lead actor, whose limpid stare makes him look just like Viggo Mortensen’s skinnier younger brother.
And what we love even more than the fabulous 40-minute LOTR indulgence is the pure passion that went into the project. Almost everyone on the film volunteered to keep the costs low, working on it in their spare time. On the movie’s blog, the film-makers continually talk about how much fun they had. And the final crew list runs for nearly 4 minutes, with some 160 names.
They even managed to convince the fiercely protective and litigation-happy Jackson and Tolkien estate to allow the release of the film without any legal repercussions. Passion projects like this tug at our heart strings. It’s moviemaking motivated by only the purest of motivations: entertaining fans.
Disclaimer: Truly fanatical LOTR fans may dislike some deviations from the original, made for the sake of timing. Quit whinging about the details, we say.