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Son of Arathorn and Gilraen
April 10, 2010 8:02 PM   Subscribe

Born Of Hope is a 71 minute fan-made prequel film available for online viewing. In the spirit of The Hunt For Gollum (previously), it fleshes out the Lord Of The Rings universe written about by J.R.R. Tolkien and depicted in the Peter Jackson films. The story here is that of the meeting of Aragorn's parents and his birth and early childhood, many decades before the events involving Frodo and the Fellowship.
posted by hippybear (36 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Precious.
posted by humannaire at 8:15 PM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I saw a bit of it. Obviously it's a production of very high quality, but there is something in the image that still has the tell-tell signs of an amateur production. Anybody know exactly what? The whole thing is treated with after effects and that helps a lot. My best guess is that comercial productions have a lot more options when it comes to lighting rigs. Im not knocking the thing btw, I'm just curious.
posted by Omon Ra at 8:26 PM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Acting, I think is what differentiates it.
posted by stbalbach at 8:45 PM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


IMHO, while I agree it looks to be of high quality, some the difference you mention is due to the fact that the individual parts of the montage aren't as focused or dramatic, just from an acting/directing/script/cinematographic point of view.

Here, you see people running around, in different settings, with emotion and movement, hinting at the story but not giving a lot of detail about the emotional situation. One could perhaps argue that this might be deliberate, but in a more funded movie trailer, each individual part would likely communicate more, maybe with (for one example) a closer focus on one actor, or a gesture or physical relationship that would be laser-focused in what it conveyed, and how.
posted by amtho at 8:47 PM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Which meshes with what stbalbach says (on no preview, sorry) - if the acting's just good, but not exquisite, the moments I'd expect in a more high-budget trailer might not exist. This might not be the actors' fault; it could have to do with the script not giving them what they need, or the director not being able to take in information, formulate an approach, or communicate it with the actors, or the cinematographer not knowing the best angles, or the lighting not being exactly right, or whatever -- and any of these might be related to a lack of time (or experience) for the whole project.
posted by amtho at 8:50 PM on April 10, 2010


stbalbach: “Acting, I think is what differentiates it.”

You mean they can actually act in this one?
posted by koeselitz at 9:03 PM on April 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also framerate. It looks like they filmed it at 30 or so FPS, and movies are generally around 24.
posted by spiderskull at 9:08 PM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes spiderskull that's more like what I meant. Obviously the acting, etc. is not that sharp, but if you saw it with the sound off, the image would still look a notch below what one expects even on a network tv drama.
posted by Omon Ra at 9:50 PM on April 10, 2010


Another thing is that the clothes by the secondary actors look like new. It reminds me of a doco on Kubrick's Barry Lyndon, where the costume person talks about getting original period costumes because of how the light reflected off them.
posted by Omon Ra at 9:55 PM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I felt everything was at least slightly OFF (script, lighting, blocking, acting, stunts, effects, makeup, editing -- you name it). This incrementally adds up to the whole being very much OFF (to an embarrassing extent) ... and ultimately a huge tribute to what Peter Jackson (and a hundred plus million bucks) managed to accomplish.
posted by philip-random at 10:53 PM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Watching the trailer, I wonder:

What was the budget? Where does one get the money to take on a project like this? Alternately how do you get that many volunteers to put in that many hours of work? What is the motivation to put this kind of time and money into something which is based on someone else's IP (in other words they are lucky if this does not get legally quarantined, especially if they try to recoup any of their investment).

Would something like this make a better impression if they hung a lampshade on the budget by asking a bit more of the viewer's imagination?
posted by idiopath at 12:21 AM on April 11, 2010


According to this page, they have received the blessing of many people involved with the Peter Jackson project, and they go out of their way to make it clear that 1) they are not expecting to make direct money off this project (no DVD sales, etc), and 2) that they intend not to infringe on any existing rights with this production. This page mentions that their budget for the project was £25,000.

It seems to be a fan project, nothing more or less. They do ask for donations on their website, but I don't see anywhere mentioned that they expected it to be a commercial project.
posted by hippybear at 12:40 AM on April 11, 2010


I don't really believe that fps has as much effect on feeling as commonly claimed. What was a bit off in some of the outdoor scenes was the shutter angle (or equivalent speed) -- the shallow depth of field also brings in lots of light, so shooting outside at f/2.8 and ISO100 can still require 1/1000 shutter. This gives it much more of a "Gladiator" effect than the 180 degree or 1/48th shutter used for most films.

(I like to shoot at 24 FPS for the better quality: it gives me 25% more bits/frame at 48 Mbs compared to 30 FPS)
posted by autopilot at 5:02 AM on April 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is it just me, or is there a disproportionate amount of punching in that trailer?
posted by specialagentwebb at 5:08 AM on April 11, 2010


but there is something in the image that still has the tell-tell signs of an amateur production.

Comparing the logo of this vs original, the former just looks like someone did a copy without actually putting in the "feel" of that time and place and making it look like a touchy feely watercolor as opposed to harsh and gritty symbol etched out in stone.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:40 AM on April 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why are you guys just talking about the trailer, the whole movie is online....

I'm a few minutes into it, it's not bad.
posted by empath at 6:30 AM on April 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


What was the budget?

25,000 pounds
posted by empath at 6:39 AM on April 11, 2010


Because we're more interested in the idea of a 70-minute fan-made LOTR prequel than the reality of it? I think fan film is awesome, and I'm curious enough to sample what they came up with (which seems very impressive indeed). But I also have ironing to do.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:46 AM on April 11, 2010


omonra, I know you meant visuals, but the voice-over done by the guy who learned his British accent by watching Monty Python doesn't help.
posted by argybarg at 7:38 AM on April 11, 2010


Watching the first few minutes, the major difference is the lack of grand scale that was in the originals. Jackson would have had a sweeping vista as the camera traveled to the village, flying through the vast army of orcs then doing a reverse angle as they attacked the village or something like that.

Here, there's just extreme closeups of an orc face and something being set on fire, a very static camera obviously using tricks to hide the fact that it's low budget.

That and the long, overly dramatic voiceover that reads like 12 graders fan fic marks at as amateur. It's not completely bad, but the fast that it's competing against Jackson's skill and huge budget means it's going stick out like a sore thumb at almost every turn and level. But to tom the biggest thing is the comparatively static camera, especially in the action scenes.

And OMG, having watched a painful half hour of it, the voice over narration with the badly written flowery language is just completely kills it for me.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:08 AM on April 11, 2010


I feel exactly how I felt on watching Darkon -- guilty. Well I know these are my people, the pasty ones from the land of Geek; but god damn.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:01 AM on April 11, 2010


the voice-over done by the guy who learned his British accent by watching Monty Python

You mean, someone from the entirely British cast?
posted by hippybear at 9:20 AM on April 11, 2010


Seriously? I thought I could tell a phony British accent when I heard one, but I must be wrong.
posted by argybarg at 9:23 AM on April 11, 2010


Seriously? I thought I could tell a phony British accent when I heard one, but I must be wrong.

I didn't see the trailer, just the first 10 minutes or so of the movie. If that woman narrating is actually English, then all I can think is she was trying so hard to do a Cate Blanchett that she forgot where she's from.
posted by philip-random at 9:41 AM on April 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


That and the long, overly dramatic voiceover that reads like 12 graders fan fic marks at as amateur.

Have you ever actually read Tolkien?
posted by empath at 9:46 AM on April 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh good. The Lord of the Rings universe needed some fleshing out.
posted by Cookiebastard at 9:46 AM on April 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


I didn't see the trailer, just the first 10 minutes or so of the movie. If that woman narrating is actually English, then all I can think is she was trying so hard to do a Cate Blanchett that she forgot where she's from.


And for me the narrator brought to mind Drusilla, the mad vampire from Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, who talks in the same affected way (though it took me a few minutes to figure out who the narrator reminded me of).

Thought the movie was decent, at least the first 10 minutes until I got bored.
posted by arnicae at 10:05 AM on April 11, 2010


I really think this is pretty good for what it is. The script problems are mostly structural. The acting isn't terrible. The costumes are pretty great. I'm pretty stunned at the quality of film-making that's possible with a low budget, actually.

How many people do you think sit around and say they want to do something like this? And how many actually do it and end up with a product that's half as good as this?

I hope they do more and go on to do original stuff.
posted by empath at 10:08 AM on April 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I asked about the image quality because I recently saw Louis Malle's Escalator to the Gallows, his first film, done with almost no budget, with a cheap camera, and almost no artificial lighting (Malle was 26 when he made it). It looks incredibly cinematic.

This fan film seems to have had a lot of resources (just look at the credits on the website). I bet they even recorded it with one of those fancy Red cameras, and obviously used a lot of post production to treat the image. But it still seems very digital and sort of flat in places.

I asked the question because I had the preconception that we were at an age where relatively cheap digital cameras were already superior to 16 mm film. I'm still not sure if this is the case or not.
posted by Omon Ra at 11:00 AM on April 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I bet they even recorded it with one of those fancy Red cameras

This page states that they used a Panasonic DVCHD camera and a JVC GY-HD101 camera.
posted by hippybear at 12:07 PM on April 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actor: Whats my motivation here?
Director: You have to throw a ring in a volcano. It's really important.

posted by Damienmce at 12:20 PM on April 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


I really think this is pretty good for what it is. The script problems are mostly structural. The acting isn't terrible. The costumes are pretty great. I'm pretty stunned at the quality of film-making that's possible with a low budget, actually.

How many people do you think sit around and say they want to do something like this? And how many actually do it and end up with a product that's half as good as this?


Yeah, color me impressed too. It seems like they had limited access to the types of resources a Hollywood movie would, so obviously it has a slightly amateur quality to it -- but really, this is a very well done film.
posted by spiderskull at 3:23 PM on April 11, 2010


FWIW, the Director/Producer Kate Madison also plays the second leading female role, the dark-haired girl who is jealous. This sort of female antagonism is common in fairy-tales, between the good girl and bad girl, and the bad girl dies for her sins. 19th C shlock but it sells. You'd think a fan-made film would try for something more since they have nothing to loose.
posted by stbalbach at 8:34 PM on April 11, 2010


Oh good. The Lord of the Rings universe needed some fleshing out.

It can never have enough. :)

I watched and enjoyed the entire movie. While it was not at the same production level as feature films, it was impressive -- and it possessed more care and attention to the details of Middle Earth than the entire Peter Jackson trilogy.
posted by Sand at 5:03 AM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was about to write out a vitriolic screed about how people criticizing the script and acting completely missed the boat. But then it occurred to me that the very fact that the critics are comparing this film to that of major motion pictures is a major success, since the proper comparison for a film bankrolled by the creators, with volunteer actors, and distributed for free is youtube fan-fic.

Having said all that, this movie still puts to shame 90% of the crap SyFy deems to air.
posted by forforf at 6:24 AM on April 12, 2010


Ok, I've just watched this, and I'm with empath: this is an excellent effort. The community that made this film for no monetary gain, just purely for the fun of it, came startlingly close to what Peter Jackson gave us - and for 0.1% of the budget.

Good show!
posted by Acey at 1:25 PM on April 14, 2010


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