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Peter Jackson

Bad Taste * Peter Jackson (1987)

Peter Jackson did not always make hip and slick films like “Lord Of The Rings”. In fact, his debut is an over-the-top horror-scifi-comedy. “Bad Taste” is actually a zombie-slasher in which the zombies are replaced by aliens. The acting is bad, the special effects corney. Jackson obviously tried to make his special effects as dirty as possible. Replacing brains, heads split in two, bloodsplattering and large heaps of intestines. The result of a level of the average zombie slasher. Laughs and chuckles, but story- and acting-wise not too interesting.

The Lovely Bones * Peter Jackson (2009)

Peter “Heavenly Creatures” Jackson returns to the smaller film after a few blockbusters. “The Lovely Bones” is a nice film with several comparisons to “Heavenly Creatures”. It is about a youthfull girl (one this time) and is a drama with some heavier elements, but “The Lovely Bones” is not as heavy as “Heavenly Creatures”. The story is about Susie, a 14 year old girl that was murdered and we witness Susie in het “in between world” and her parents and all the people that stayed behind in the ‘real world’. Both worlds and somehow linked which is nicely worked out. Susie’s world is nicely given form and the story (based on a book) is quite originel. A nice film.

Lord Of The Rings

Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring * Peter Jackson * 2001
Lord Of The Rings: The Two Tower * Peter Jackson * 2002
Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The Ring * Peter Jackson * 2003

The bigger the hype, the less I want to see a film. There are other reasons why I didn’t watch these films earlier: I don’t read novels, so I never read the book and I particulary don’t like the fantasy genre. Still, now that the hype made room for new hypes and because I was curious about the (possible) Nordic mythology influences in the book / films ànd because the complete trilogy can now be bought on DVD for merely E 15,-, I decided to buy the box and watch the films afterall.
First, I don’t particularly like the story. As you all know, the “ring of power” has been discovered and in order to prevent evil to prevail, nine persons are appointed to destroy the ring, which adventure forms the core of the films. In the first film the ring is discovered and from the different inhabitents of “Middle Earth” (“Hobbits”, “Elves”, “Dwarves”, “Men”, etc.) representatives are chosen for the quest. In the second film, evil starts a campaign to take over Middle Earth and in the last film the last part of the quest is shown. Each film takes about three hours. The films are lauded for the brilliant effects. Indeed, sometimes they look nice, but sometimes they don’t! Also good for the big audience are the (to me) superfluous lengthy battle scenes which are not particularly impressive (maybe on the big screen they were).
So far for the films. The story is somewhat of a true epic myth with typical elements such as pride, endurance, adventure and (here very obvious) the battle between good and evil: a nice setting. As for the mythological influences, there are a few Northern elements, of course the name “Middle Earth” (from “Midgard”, the “middle garden or the realm of mankind) for the earth, only one time you get to see runes (I believe in the book the language of the elves is written in runes), here and there you get to see a glimpse of Northern ethics, such as in the scene where a hobbit has to tell a king his son is dead and offers his service instead. Then you have vague references to Northern gods, such as a description of a man with a long cloak and a big head (Odin), or the castle of Minas Ithil which could be a reference to Odin’s throne. There is also a scene in which the sword that had cut off the finger with the ring of power is reforged, which could remind of the story of Sigurd. “Isengard” reminds of “Niflheim”, the world of ice and a few other names could refer to myths of the North. On the other side, there is probably as much Greek and other mythology to be found, like the Argonauts, the statues of the ancestors in LOTR. Overall, I didn’t find too much Nordic myths in the film (at first sight at least).
Overal. I don’t know if the films where worth the hype. The books are probably better, the films are just a nice (but long) watch. Maybe the mythological style appeals to the minds of the masses, I don’t know, but I rather read them myself instead of reading them vaguely used in fantasy writing. Oh well, the films are an amusing watch, but don’t expect too much of it if you haven’t seen the films yet.

Heavenly Creatures * Peter Jackson * 1994

I have first seen this film quite a while ago, and I must have bought it on video before I started this film-section, because I can’t image having forgotten to review it! A wonderfull film and just one of the few that I found good enough to buy.

The story is not really original anymore, but “Heavenly Creatures” was one of the earlier coming up with it. Juliete (Kate Winslet) and Pauline (Melanie Lynskey) are young girls not quite in comfort with their surroundings. Juliete has been dragged all over the world by her rich parents, Pauline kicks against everything in her surroundings. Her school, her poor parents and especially her mother. Both rebels create their own dreamworlds. Having found out to have a very similar way of thinking and the girls become friends. Their friendship becomes so intense that the parents begin to think about homosexuality, a crime in the time the story plays (1953) and especially for girls their age (14/15).
Losing more and more touch with reality the girls build out their “forth world” with complete generations of royal inhabitents made up or also living in the real world. When the time comes the girls have to be separated, the two reach for extreme methods thought off by Pauline.

A great and very impressive/emotional film that is based on the real diaries of Pauline and which keeps the middle between drama, fantasy, thriller and a bit of horror. Later followed by similar films like “The Virgin Suicides” (which is also great) and less good films.