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5 Modern Movie Trends That Were Started By Peter Jackson

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  • Anonymous

    Could not agree more! It really is a testament to Jackson’s vision that LOTR is just so amazing, in the end.

  • gia manry

    Hm…I’m a little iffy on the trilogy front. Trilogies are an old (old old old old) tradition dating back to the Greeks, and it’s gone kind of in and out of favor over the history of cinema (see also: ).

    Other than that though? I’m all in. ESPECIALLY on movie lengths. Nice feature!

  • Nikki Lincoln

    Fair point on the movie lengths…. except with Avengers and DKR. Don’t you dare take away one minute from me that could have Batman in it!!! 

  • Sabrina

    Indeed. I don’t mind long movies as long as they’re entertaining. I didn’t even notice  how long Avengers was (still a lot shorter than any of the LotR movies!) and it was over so fast! D:

  • John Robey

    Yeah, everything was a trilogy before. I think you’re onto something with the others, tho!

  • Val K.

    I don’t mind long movies (especially fantasy movies!!), but I wish they’d bring back intermissions! Three hours is a long time to wait for a bathroom break after a large drink. I remember going to a small indie theatre when Return of the King came out and it had a ten minute intermission at the halfway point. Perfect amount of time to stretch your legs without adding too much extra time to your theatre experience.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t agree on the first one. Titanic, Independence Day, Braveheart, Schindler’s List, Apollo 13, Pulp Fiction, True Lies, Clear & Present Danger, The English Patient, Casino, The Green Mile, Saving Private Ryan, Armageddon, A Time To Kill, Forrest Gump, As Good As It Gets, The Firm, The Pelican Brief, A Few Good Men, Jerry Maguire, Scent of a Woman, Contact and more were over or around 2 1/2 hours, many critically successful, and all were commercial successes just a few years before Fellowship came out. I don’t think we can blame Epic Length Syndrome on Jackson’s shoulders in recent cinemas.

    Nor can I agree that LotR started the ensemble cast phenomenon, because… well, look at some of the examples above. Same for the trilogy: the Star Wars trilogy was rereleased in the late ’90s, and the first of the prequel trilogy in 1998. Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone was out before Fellowship too.

  • Alex T

    Actually, I would wait three hours to watch Pirates of the Caribbean Four. But not because I’ve got will power of steel or anything like that (admittedly, the movie was no where near as good as the others) but I just really like Jack Sparrow. I’m pretty sure at least half of the people going to see that movie were just going to see him (and the stunts. The stunts are awesome too) But to be honest, I’d wait three hours for any Fantasy movie (with the exception of Ergon, that gets 30 minutes at best) Fantasy movies are just awesome!

  • Eregyrn

    I’m iffy on the trilogy thing just because hey, I remember the 80s.  

    The Star Wars Trilogy

    The Indiana Jones Trilogy

    The Back to the Future Trilogy

    You wanna blame something for trilogy-fever, I’d start there, really.  The point stands that LOTR was a film trilogy because it was a book trilogy (although of course as we all know, that doesn’t mean people didn’t think about, or try, to make it as less than 3 movies).  The three Indy movies (shhh) are more serialized installments than a single story, but those other two examples above fit the bill.  

    Even if Hollywood “forgot” about the trilogy for a while, it had already resurrected the idea with The Matrix just before LOTR made it big.

  • Angelica Brenner

    Oo, intermissions would rock! Not only would it be a savior for people who struggle between using the bathroom and potentially missing a funny/awesome moment, it might also help cut down on the massive lines that spring up after every showing.

    Plus, I’m sure the theatres wouldn’t mind another spot for ads. Just put a “Part 2 in 10:00 . . . 09:59 . . . 09:58 . . .” banner over that Pepsi commercial so people know how much they have to hustle, and bam!

  • Will

    But the concept of trilogy was in our public consciousness at the end of the 90s with Episode 1 beginning the prequels. 

    I think that the special effects of LOTR tend to hold the spotlight over the prequels, because the latter obviously suffered from bad word of mouth, but also didn’t spend tons of money on oscar bait PR hype on their effects.  As wonderful as those DVD features were, they were also very self-satisfied and ridiculous.  They were more successful than any hype campaign that Harvey Weinstein could ever dream up.

    But I thought it was pretty common knowledge at this point that ILM was doing crowd effects and mo cap right alongside WETA.  And that the amount of practical effects and model work on any one prequel exceeded all of the practical and model work in the original SW trilogy together.  It’s simply not true that CGI was used as a handwave to solving every production problem on those movies.  And as far as the CG and mo-cap is concerned, I thought that Rob Coleman’s team never got enough credit for creating an incredibly effective digital Yoda performance without the crutch of a mocap actor, or even a digital double.

  • Scott Hill

    I think what everyone’s missing about the “Things Were Trilogies Before” conversation is that, yes, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Back to the Future were trilogies, but not until AFTER the FIRST movie did well.  The thinking was “well, if the first movie’s successful, we’ll do a sequel.  If the sequel does well, we’ll do a third and call it a trilogy.”

    What The Lord of the Rings gave rise to was executives planning a trilogy BEFORE the first movie did well (like The Golden Compass), or trying to retro-actively make it seem like making a trilogy was their plan all along (Pirates of the Caribbean).  This pre-planning of a saga, as opposed to becoming a saga by circumstance, is what the article is getting at.

  • Jeremiah Lewis

    You missed one: Massive crowd scenes (notably, battle sequences) managed by insanely powerful computing power look incredible (if not entirely realistic). Use of MASSIVE system to coordinate this type of shot is now being used on TV shows as well as big budget movies.

  • Nikki Lincoln

    Yea, I agree. My friends and I decided to have a Star Wars Trilogy night and had so much fun we figured we could go through and watch all of the famous trilogies so I made a list and it was long. This was even not counting stupid movies. Trilogies definitely aren’t a new thing. 

  • Lindalawen

    I think you missed one: he invented the concept of “extended version”.

    Also, I think the “too long movies” really started with Titanic.

  • Emma Salter

    I wish I could just walk up to whoever is in charge of making Mockingjay into two movies, take them by the shoulders, give them a good shake, and shout “NO!” I don’t want to sit through two and a half hours of the first half of the book (boring) and I don’t want to sit through two and a half hours of the second half (people dying in grotesque ways and then a spectacular anticlimax). I cannot agree with the very last point more. Just because Harry Potter did it… not every book can be spread out into two parts.

    But it means twice the money, so I don’t think anyone will listen.

  • Peter Thomas

    Pretty poorly researched piece here. 

    Long movies have been around for ever but you got intermisssions. 
    Ensemble casts, go to the seventies and start watching disaster movies. 
    Trilogys, err Star Wars anyone? 

    So you’ve got DVD special features and motion capture. Really that’s your article?

  • Adam Whitley

    they also used to make movies that were 9+ hours or more like ben-hur which they don’t do anymore

  • Kate

    I would also include the artbooks they released for each movie that showed the design process. That was pretty uncommon before LOTR and now loads of big features or animated movies release a book to detail their designs.

  • Rusty Patti

    We made it to Trilogy Tuesday in 2003. 12+ hours in the theater to see extended versions of the 1st two movies and the premiere of ROTK. Best geek day of my life.

  • Anonymous

    What I’d wish that they’d bring back is the roadshow theatrical release, which would have allowed movies like The Lord Of The Rings trilogy to be shown with the overture, the first act, the intermission, the entr’acte, the second act, and the exit music. That might work, and be amazing, although it could only be done at big single screen theaters-the ones that the exhibitor chains tore down

  • Madeleine Odowichuk

    I’ve seen that in some older films, especially musicals. I think it’s partly so they could make the movies feel like a theatre experience, maybe make use of the entr’acte music. It would be nice to bring back with some movies. I treat the disc swap in any of the LotR films as an intermission when I watch them.


    peter jackson would be embarrassed by this…  i’m no film scholar, but having given a cursory glimpse to turner classic movies i find this article at once insulting and amusing…

  • Jill Pantozzi

    You, sir or madame, are hilarious.

  • Nessa Velez

    None of these trends are new. Especially the trilogy and length thing. Movies used to be really long and have intermission. Hollywood’s simply come full circle. I also don’t see the problem with movies being long(er), it takes time for a long and complex story to unfold.

  • jsmith0552

    I think you’re really coming across like the tabula rasa on this one.  Except for the mo-cap, and that one is iffy, LoTR did not begin any of the trends you’re attributing to it.  Trilogies, for example were first ushered in with Star Wars, and then Back to the Future, which may have been the first trilogy to film its 2nd and 3rd parts simultaneously.  I will give Jackson credit that his is the only trilogy that feels like it was actually planned that way from film one.

    Movies have been getting longer for some time.  Long before the first LoTR, movies were starting to regularly clock in at 2 hours +.  If anyone is to be given credit for beginning the trend of long movie running times, it should probably go to James Cameron who can’t seem to make a short film.  Beginning with the Abyss 171 min. sp ed. followed by Titanic 194 min, he has proven that people will not only sit through a long film, they will pay to come back and do it again.

    Ensemble casts again nothing new.  Especially when you’re talking epics.  You can go back to How the West Was Won, perhaps even further.  Hollywood has long known the benefits of huge pictures with large casts.

    The rest is meh. Maybe so maybe no,  There aren’t that many DvD’s that warrant super special eds.  We knew Jackson hadn’t included everything in the theatrical release so we wanted those edited minutes!  Most films don’t cut out that much stuff, so I wouldn’t say it’s a trend that you’re necessarily seeing a lot of. 

    It’s not that I don’t feel the Jackson love, but I really love movies in general, and I think it’s a bit sad when we don’t give credit to and forget the people who have moved the industry forward because we forget the history with each new goldenboy.

  • Katrinna Simbaku

    I can totally forgive TDKR for being lengthy.

  • Chris Hartwick

    You’re ignoring that it went away for a reason. And that Tarantino’s attempt to revive the intermission format- hell, the double feature format in Grindhouse (if you used the trailers as an intermission). He failed. But he wouldn’t have even attempted it before movies got that long.

    Yes, Hollywood is returning to roots. She isn’t saying that Peter Jackson INVENTED anything (except the DVD extras). But he is inventing it for a new generation. Who cares that people did this in the ’30s, and it’s not new for people that are in their 80s? How many people in their 80s are comparing the resurgence of trends they knew before?

    In short, yeah, it was done before. But if you’re saying that bringing back trends that have been dead for longer than most people that have been alive is NOT groundbreaking, then you’re also saying it wouldn’t be groundbreaking/new for a new TV or Movie to do blackface and racist depictions of black people (mammy, etc.) in a racist, non-spike lee production.

  • Chris Hartwick

    She’s talking about TRENDS. Yes, there has been David Lynch, and been “artsy” people that have been making long films. Those were Avante Garde people, not blockbusters. Avante Garde film trends becoming part of blockbuster trends? I’m sorry, that is significant. 

    Did she ever say that Peter Jackson INVENTED the trends? The fact that intermissions for movies ended DECADES ago (seriously: I dare you to find someone who remembers movies that HAD intermissions) proves that long blockbuster movies were not a CURRENT trend before LOTR. And again, ignoring Avante Garde, tell me the mainstream examples of the other trends that were not flops in RECENT history.

  • Chris Hartwick

    TBH, I thought Mockingjay the book sucked. The book ITSELF needed to be 2 books. Trying to wrap up a plot that had been set up and expanded in 2 books in a single book (the last HALF of Mockingjay!) was way too quick. I mean, setting up Snow as the main villain through 2 books, then District 13 woman is the most evil, even though I just met her? 

    I agree the movie is gonna suck from their choices. But I also said that after I saw Hunger Games and realized that Battle Royale will be closer to the books than any of these mainstream hollywood blockbusters can ever be.

  • Chris Hartwick

    Unfortunately, after Grindhouse, any hope of your opinion catching sway in hollywood went down in the flames that led them to split it into 2 separate movies.

  • Chester

    Half of these were George Lucas’s innovations. Mo-cap? First mo-cap character was Jar Jar Binks. Hate to break it to you, but that’s fact. Jar Jar came first. You may have the performance, you may hate the character – but it did everything Gollum did and more, and all about five years earlier.

    Trilogies? GTFO with that. Tolkien himself basically invented the trilogy, though C.S. Lewis certainly had some influence, and others that I just don’t know about, I’m sure. But in movies? The trilogy thing kind of came out organically with the massive franchises of the 70′s and 80′s. Godfather, Star Wars, Indiana Jones are the obvious ones, and I doubt that even THEY were the first. Again, Tolkien’s books were the “original” trilogy, and anything after that is following suit.

    Ensemble casts? Jesus, ever heard of Kevin Smith? Or…jeeze, I don’t know. I can’t even begin to list the number of ensemble casts out there that have blown audiences away. Jackson was in no way the first and will not be the last to do this well. I mean, hell, go back to Lucas – he was one of the first moviemakers to make a multi-plot storyline in American Graffiti. That was an ensemble movie. That was a movie about multiple plots coming together. That was a far better movie than anything Jackson could ever vomit up.

    Good DVD features? Meh.

    Long movies? Two words: David Lean. One more word: Patton. A few more words: Seven Samurai. Long movies are old hat, and Jackson was not the first one to make them. Now, if you said, “Peter Jackson is the first person to make movies way longer than they need to be with poorly-written crap,” then, yes. He is a revolutionary in that. Jesus Christ is he a revolutionary in long, drawn-out, poorly-written crap.

    Peter Jackson makes horrible movies. That is a fact. Unfortunately, he was not the first, and won’t be the last, to make horrible movies.

  • Chester

    This is 100% correct. Jar Jar came years before Gollum and was executed just as well as Gollum.

    You can say that Jar Jar was terrible – I don’t entirely disagree. BUT – he achieved every goal that was set for him. He was exactly what he was supposed to be. Jar Jar was a complete success – it may have been a success at something horrible, but it was success.

  • Chester

    Um. No. I think Blade Runner has the title for the inventor of the “extended version.” Director’s cut is an old, old concept. Jackson actually needed the extended version because he is a horrible writer that couldn’t figure out how to make the movie work the first time. “Oh, I fucked all that up. Um…extended version to the rescue!” Funny thing, the extended version is JUST as horrible and stupid as the original.

  • Chester

    That’s not because of Jackson, though. That’s because of the nature of Tolkien’s work. TOLKIEN’S success is what got the studio to plan a trilogy. Jackson had little to do with that.

  • Chester

    No, that doesn’t justify the article’s premise. Jackson didn’t start recent trends, or invent new ideas – he’s simply ONE person following OLDER trends that OTHERS started. He hasn’t started any trends, he’s just hung onto the coattails of better people who came before him. The article is still wrong, even if you justify that way.

  • Brad

    So what you’re saying is that Peter Jackson should be put on trial for his crimes against humanity.