“I feel like I’ve reached the end of the journey, to have finally finished the job,” says the director of The Lord of the Rings.
As Amazon invests millions in a TV series adapted from Tolkien, the two trilogies of Lord of the Rings and you Hobbit will be reissued on December 16, in boxes with the long and cinema versions of the films. And in 4K HDR version with Dolby Atmos sound: a remaster supervised by Peter Jackson himself. “We were able to remaster our six films in 4K, and they look sharper than they did then, for sure!”Peter rejoices in a video. “I realized how inconsistent they were with each other. The first Lord of the Rings was shot twenty years ago, in 35mm. The colorimetry was done the old fashioned way, photomechanically, for the first film. . And then we switched to digital color grading from negative for the next two films. Twenty years ago, we couldn’t do it the same way for all three films. “
Peter Jackson wanted to make his two Middle-earth trilogies consistent with each other, both in sound and image: “Although these six films tell the same great story, they lacked visual and aural consistency. It’s not just about making things sharper, you have to preserve the cinema look. It’s great that the films finally look like they were shot at the same time. From the first film, An Unexpected Journey, on the sixth, The king’s return, the six films look alike, they have the same image and the same sound. “ The filmmaker believes that the first trilogy even looked like it got old: “The imperfections of special effects were starting to show … technology has changed a lot in twenty years. By converting to 4K HDR, we realized that effects did not age very well. We were able to replay and eliminate flaws. . We haven’t changed the effects, but they now give the impression of having been made today and not twenty years ago. “
The remaster also did not spare the trilogy of the Hobbit, although more recent: “Ten years ago, for The Hobbit, we shot with 4K digital cameras. The color technology was completely different. It’s a real battle to make material shot over such a long period of time consistent.” Note that Jackson does not mention at all the fact that the three The Hobbit films were shot using Red Epic cameras, at 5K resolution, so that they could then be projected at 48 frames per second (and in 3D, but that’s another story): an ultra high definition which made the talk at the time, but whose visionary aspect remained without a future (the Gemini Man Ang Lee with Will Smith, projected in 120 or 60 images / second, is the last and undoubtedly ultimate avatar of this progress).
“This process is not to make the film different, it is to take a film from twenty years ago and give it the feel of a modern film”, summarizes Jackson. “I feel like I’ve reached the end of the trip, finally finished the job.” But wasn’t the job done twenty years ago? The movie was not enough modern? Is Jackson transforming into George Lucas during the Star Wars Special Edition era? We reserve our judgment while waiting to take a look at the 4K versions of the films. Either way, there is something moving about seeing Peter Jackson, in the half-light of the study room, evoking the “old days” and the “good old days”. Peter has become Bilbo, ready to go to Gray Havens?