| Cate Blanchett and Elijah Wood in a scene from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. (Reuters)
London, Sept. 15 (Reuters): The Lord of the Rings creators today laid bare the high-tech movie tricks that earned them a string of Oscars.
The special effects were hailed as the most advanced ever seen on the silver screen and are now starring in their own right at London’s Science Museum.
The show, which mixes animatronics and interactive technology. is already the most successful in the museum’s history with 14,000 advance tickets sold before its opening to the public tomorrow.
“Without a doubt it was the biggest challenge of my career,” said New Zealander Richard Taylor, the special effects wizard whose vision was rewarded with two Academy Awards.
Make-up alone for the ghoulish stars took up to ten hours each and up to 15,000 extras were needed to bring author J.R.R Tolkien’s vision to life.
Taylor was quick to pay tribute to other science fiction fantasies like Star Wars and Star Trek. “We are proud to be considered in the same league. We learnt from them, we grew up with them, we were challenged by them,” he said.
“The advances in technology have allowed us to realise a world that comes closer to Tolkien’s immense vision. That would have been difficult to achieve 10 to 15 years earlier,” he said of the films which have so far won a total of six Oscars.
From Hobbit feet to Orc teeth, the exhibition shows how Taylor’s army of specialists helped to win millions of new fans around the world for the classic tale of good and evil in fantastical Middle Earth.
The last film is being released worldwide in mid-December which Taylor confessed would be a bittersweet moment for him after seven years of working on the movies. “I will feel great sadness as we have been on a great journey,” he said.
The films, one of the most ambitious projects in cinema history, were made back-to-back by director Peter Jackson in his native New Zealand with a budget of $300 million.