January 2003 $9.50
This monthly magazine is a must for special-effects buffs and is usually chock full of articles about how various films have been put together. This issue is no exception, but of its 148 pages half are dedicated to one film only The Two Towers.
The cover features Gollum in close up, and throughout the 70 odd pages on
the how of the making of the film there are 54 photos; either film stills
or shots of the effects and design crew at work. The article itself is a précis
of the film taking the reader through the different scenes where effects were
used, with lengthy commentaries on the design, sculpting or manufacture of
physical effects such as the Treebeard Merry & Pippin 'rode', as well
as detailed studies of the computer work. Please note this is more an industry
than general interest magazine as can be seen from the various adverts (and
there are at least three thanking the film & Weta crews from New Line,
Peter Jackson and the head of Weta, Richard Taylor) including some Oscar suggestions
which are the adverts saying
for your consideration.
The article is quite lengthy, so its no quick read, unless you skip all the interesting detail and anecdotes by reading only the photo captions; one way of doing it but you miss so much. The details of the work involved in the filmed sequences are often fascinating, but there are moments for the general reader when the amount of computer programme names, or just film-maker speak or acronyms becomes a little too much. So take this a bit at a time, some bits only make sense if you think 'plate' means the glass thing used in the earliest days of photography. The anecdotes mentioned though are fascinating to read, one example being the trials of getting Gollum on screen from a mix of Andy Serkis in a unitard and computer effects, and modelling from a sculpted design of Gollum, with much running back and forth between studios, workshops and offices to get a result which according to Andy Serkis is scarily like a cross between his father and his own son. We also get the inside skinny on the shooting of a Deagol & Smeagol fishing scene which will be in RotK. In the list of acknowledgements at the end of the article a Helen Armstrong is mentioned, anyone we know?
Cinefex is an American magazine, so the dollar price above is correct, local conversions will vary it somewhat. As it is a specialist magazine its not always easy to find but issues can be purchased online. In the UK Borders tend to hike the price up, so if you can find it in a shop like Comic Showcase (or c.£6.50) or any specialist comic shop that can order it in buy it.