Brian Sibley - The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy

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The Lord of The Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy Go Behind the Scenes

Oct 21, 2003 (Updated Dec 24, 2003)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Interviews with cast and crew. Pictures. Behind the scenes information.

Cons:None

The Bottom Line: The Lord of The Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy by Brian Sibley is a wonderful companion to the movies. Fans of the movies will probably enjoy it.


In 2001, the movie version of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring opened. At that point, I didn’t know much about The Lord of the Rings. Then I saw the movie and became hooked. I’ve seen the movie several times and have the extended version of the movie on DVD. After seeing the movie for the first time, I got The Lord of the Rings Official Movie Guide, a book that was full of information about The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. In December of 2002, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
was released, along with some more books that tied into the movie. I picked up one of them, The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy by Brain Sibley.

The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy is an oversize paperback book. It is about the same size as a magazine. The book was published in 2002. I found my copy of the book on a display with other Lord of the Rings books by the register in the local bookstore. I’ve also seen copies of the book in a section of that bookstore that has books that tie in with movies.

The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy is longer and contains more information than The Lord of the Rings: The Official Movie Guide. That book really focused in on things from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The Lord of the Ring: The Making of the Movie Trilogy discussed things from all three of the movies. Brian Sibley wrote both of the books. This book was written in the first person point of view, unlike the other book which was written in third person point of view. It seemed like there was more of the author’s thoughts about the movies in this book. There were interviews with cast and crew members from the movies throughout the book. Ian McKellen wrote the foreword for the book.

The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy has a prologue, twelve chapters, and an epilogue. The chapters had at least one section within them. Some chapters had more sections. Each chapter focused in on a different aspect of the making of The Lord of the Rings movies. The premiere for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was also discussed. Brian Sibley interviewed many people involved in the making of the movies. He was also able to tour locations and sets. He vividly described what he saw. I think that the book was well written and very interesting.

There was no plot to The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy. The book didn’t really discuss the plot of the movies, but it did briefly mention some things that happened in the movies when explaining how some things were done. Those things could be spoilers for people who haven’t read the books or seen the movies yet. There were things from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King mentioned in the book. There really wasn’t a lot mentioned about the plot of that movie, but I did consider one thing that was mentioned a spoiler. I did know a bit about what would be going on in that movie because of previews I have seen, but I hadn’t known about one thing that was briefly mentioned in this book. People who have read the books would already know about that event, unless it was something that was changed for the movie. There really weren’t a lot of plot details shared about any of the three movies. There were no plot summaries. This book is meant for people who have seen the movies and enjoyed them. It is a companion to the movies.

The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy discussed many things related to the making of the movies including locations, props, sets, miniatures, costumes, hair, make up, special effects, sounds, and music. There were pictures included throughout the book. The pictures were somehow connected to the text on the page they were located. Some of the pictures showed scenes from the movies. Some showed crew members working on some part of the movies. There were also shots of crew members when they weren’t working on part of the movie. Most of the pictures were small, but there were some full page pictures. Those turned up at the beginning of each chapter.

There was a lot of information about Weta Workshop in The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy. Weta Workshop is a company in New Zealand that did the effects, makeup, sets, miniatures, costumes, and everything else for the movies. The owners, Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger, had worked on previous movies with Peter Jackson before starting the company. When Peter Jackson decided to make The Lord of the Rings, he went to Richard and Tania and asked them what they wanted to do for the movie. They were able to decide how much they would do for the movies. They made the decision to do everything so there would be consistency to the movies.

Scattered throughout the chapters of The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy were interviews with different people associated with the making of the movies. Brian Sibley was able to tour different places and see a lot of behind the scenes things for the movies. Some crew members shared their thoughts about working on the movie. There were some conversations with actors included, but the book wasn’t loaded down with them. There were more with different crew members. I thought those were very interesting.

The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy did illustrate how dedicated Peter Jackson was to making these movies and how hard he worked on them. He was involved in every aspect of making the movies. It seems like everyone who worked on the movies worked very hard and was dedicated. A lot of care was taken in creating the locations for the movie. Special care was taken to make sure that the locations weren’t damaged by the filming. Elaborate sets, like those used for Rohan, were built, used for a few weeks, and then taken down. No trace of the sets was left. The Helm’s Deep set was taken down after filming was complete and that location was used for a set for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy talked about how different locations around New Zealand were picked to be locations for the movie. The people of New Zealand were very proud that their country was selected to be Middle-Earth for the movies. Officials were very enthusiastic. One time, the grass in a location was freshly mowed when Peter Jackson wanted the grass longer and uncut. There were interviews with different people in New Zealand, especially from the city of Wellington, that were somehow involved in the making of the movies. Some sets, like for Rohan, were built in different areas of the country. It was difficult for the crew to work on some of the locations because of the weather locations. It was explained how accommodations were set up for the cast and crew when they were filming in more remote locations. The cast and crew was very careful when filming in those locations.

The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy explained how some things in the movies were done. Miniatures were used many times throughout the movies. Some of them were very large. All of them were very detailed. Computers were used for a lot of effects. A computer program was created for the movies. The program was used for large battles. I thought it was interesting how the program worked. There were a few pages of the book dedicated just to Gollum and how he was created. It was discussed how Peter Jackson cast an actor to play the part of Gollum, but had the character created with computers. It took a lot of work to being Gollum to life. I was really interested in reading about how that was done.

The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy described how the makeup artists created prosthetics for characters. Many characters had some kind of makeup. The process for making a mask for a certain actor to play an Uruk-hai was explained. I learned that the Ringwraiths were created with makeup effects. I had thought before that they were created with computer effects of some kind. It was explained why different characters looked a certain way. Many characters had to wear wigs and that was discussed. The wigs were hand made for the movie. Some characters, like Gandalf and Gimli, wore beards as well. Those were also discussed. Peter Jackson originally wanted Gandalf’s beard to be longer and bushier. Tests were done with a beard like that and the beard was modified into the form that turned up in the movies. The beards were also hand made. Costume choices for different characters were also talked about. Some characters, like Arwen, started off one way and then evolved into the form that was in the movies. The process that was used to forge the armor was also discussed. I was amazed at the amount of work that went into the costumes and armor. I still don’t understand why the first two movies didn’t win more Oscars.

The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy talked about how the different sounds were created for the movie. Some were created with computers and others with different items. Howard Shore talked about writing the score for all three movies. Brian Sibley sat in on a recording session for some of the music and described it.

At the end of The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy, Brian Sibley talked about writing the book. He also talked a bit about the first book, The Lord of the Rings: The Official Movie Guide. One picture in that section showed the cover of the first book in many different languages. Sibley also thanked a lot of people. The last page of the book was one of the posters for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

I really enjoyed The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy. I thought it was very interesting. I liked reading about how the movie was made. I liked that there were interviews with crew members instead of just with the actors. Several people did mention how impressed they were with Viggo Mortensen. He joined the cast just days before his first scene was shot because someone else was originally cast as Aragorn. There were two pages devoted to Aragorn and Viggo shared his thoughts about the character. He really did become Aragorn. I can’t imagine anyone else playing that part now. I enjoyed reading more about how he approached playing the part and his thoughts on the character.

The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy was very descriptive. I enjoyed reading the author’s impressions about what he was seeing while he toured sets, locations, and interviewed people. The descriptions really came to life to me. It was fascinating to me to read about what went into the making of the movies, and to read descriptions of how things were done. Brian Sibley shared his own thoughts about what he was seeing as well, and I think that made the book better.

The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy is a wonderful companion to The Lord of the Rings movies. People who are interested in learning more about how the movies were made will probably enjoy the book. People who aren’t fans of The Lord of the Rings will have no interest in this book.

Other Lord of the Rings Reviews
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring ~ The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers ~ The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ~ The Lord of the Rings Official Movie Guide ~


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