Coolest Visual Effect
Och! In such a visually stunning movie as The Lord of the Rings it is ridiculously difficult to think of one single effect that impressed you the most. The whole thing is a feast for the eyes, and the CGI is so beautifully integrated into each scene, that you just take it for granted. Oddly enough, it is the less flashy effects that end up impressing me - the forced perspective, for example, which makes Gandalf, sitting at the table at Bag End, look enormous, and Bilbo, pouring tea, look proper Hobbit sized. Or the rain of those perfect autumn leaves falling like gold all over Rivendell. There are two scenes in particular that I can't decided between, so... you're getting them both.
The first involves Boromir's death scene. I am not sure how, exactly, I thought one goes about filming a scene in which a character is repeatedly shot in the chest with arrows. I rather supposed that it involved a clever combination of make up, judiciously placed props, and quick cuts between the characters' actions to suggest the motion of the arrows, and a bit of delicate tweaking via computer animation. I was incredibly taken aback, then, when I watched the behind the scenes footage of that scene. A great big Uruk Hai approaches Sean Bean, lays the bolt upon his bow, pulls the string back.... and a real arrows goes flying off, hits Sean right in the chest, and sticks there, very realistically. I was astonished. Somehow, the idea of actually shooting the actor never occurred to me. Not fancy, but definitely effective.
And the second... Well, it is very, very silly, but the scene in which Denethor drags Pippin out of the Halls of the Dead, when he is trying to save Faramir's life. Depending on the angle, you can tell when it is Billy Boyd they are filming, and when it is the size double. It is the size double whom Denethor throws out the door, and you can see him roll once, twice, and never entirely leave the frame, and yet, at the end of the sequence, up pops Billy Boyd's face, looking extremely put out with the man to whom he has sworn fealty. Obviously, I am easily impressed.
And that is all. If you are interested in finding out more about the Middle Earth Challenge, click here.