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Summary

The definitive history of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth saga, Anything You Can Imagine takes us on a cinematic journey across all six films, featuring brand-new interviews with Peter, his cast and his crew. From the early days of daring to dream it could be done, through the highs and lows of making the films, to fan adoration and, finally, Oscar glory.

Lights

A nine-year-old boy in New Zealand’s Pukerua Bay stays up late and is spellbound by a 60-year-old vision of a giant ape on an island full of dinosaurs. This is true magic. And the boy knows that he wants to be a magician.

Camera

Fast-forward 20 years, and the boy has begun to cast a spell over the filmgoing audience, conjuring gore-splattered romps with bravura skill that will lead to Academy recognition, with an Oscar nomination for Heavenly Creatures. The boy from Pukerua Bay with monsters reflected in his eyes has arrived, and Hollywood comes calling. What would he like to do next? 'How about a fantasy film, something like The Lord of the Rings?'

Action

The greatest work of fantasy in modern literature, and the biggest, with rights ownership so complex it will baffle a wizard. Vast. Complex. Unfilmable. One does not simply walk into Mordor - unless you are Peter Jackson.

Anything You Can Imagine tells the full dramatic story of how Jackson and his trusty fellowship of Kiwi filmmakers dared take on a quest every bit as daunting as Frodo’s and transformed JRR Tolkien’s epic tale of adventure into cinematic magic, and then did it again with The Hobbit. Enriched with brand-new interviews with Jackson, his fellow filmmakers and many of the films’ stars, Ian Nathan’s mesmerising narrative whisks us to Middle-earth, to gaze over the shoulder of the director as he creates the impossible, the unforgettable, and proves that filmmaking really is 'anything you can imagine'.

©2018 Ian Nathan, 2018 Andy Serkis - foreword (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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The extended extended documentaries

As a huge lover of the lord of the rings ESPECIALLY the documentaries provided in the extended edition DVDs, this book brought me more knowledge about the making of LOTR, the cast and crew and the difficulties they faced that were only hinted at in the documentaries. I have always had a huge respect for Peter Jackson and his team’s work and during the book’s progression I found myself ping-ponging between thinking of them as ordinary people doing extraordinary things and thinking of them as godly. What they did with middle earth is amazing.

TL;DR I really enjoyed this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Middle Earth revealed

This painstaking account of the Kiwi director's journey from satirical schlock meister to ostensibly the Ruler of Middle Earth will delight Tolkein fans, but is also a fascinating description of the film process, and a small travel guide to the wonders of New Zealand.

From discussions and arguments about where the money's going to come from to make the first film, to the final post production flourishes, every twist and turn of the making of six extraordinary films is outlined in Nathan's relaxed and amusing prose, and read brilliantly by Tristram Wymark, who gets ALL the accents and voices right. The only tiny quibble I have is that Nathan confuses the actors Luke Evans and Lee Pace, but that's the only hiccup in a long and complex piece.

I've always found the film making process fascinating, but even if listeners don't share my interest, it's a highly entertaining and intelligent book, well worth the monthly credit.

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An epic account

Thoroughly enjoyable and an amazing detailed account of the creation of Middle Earth. A must for fans. I’m a big fan of the films, and still learnt loads of new information! I also got the need to witness the acting and creative skills of many of the actors and the holy trinity writing team so bought a few post rings Viggo films, and the wondrous ‘The Lovely Bones’.

What I’m most thankful for, is more insight into the integrity of Peter Jackson. I’m so pleased he doesn’t care much for adulation or awards. A man of heart & in his work it shows. I didn’t go to the cinema until the LOTR films came out as I generally don’t like the machine of Hollywood & it’s tedious repetitive formulaic movies. You know, I loved that dirt under the finger nails in the trilogy.

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My respect grows ever on and on

Jackson introduced me to the world of middle
Earth with the fellowship of the ring, before the Two Towers came out I had absorbed the rest of the trilogy, the hobbit and was making decent headway into the Silmarilion.

This “behind the scenes” look at the journey of the ring and it’s trials and tribulations, garnered even more respect I had for PJ.

I thoroughly recommend this to anyone who enjoys understanding how a story came to be or even just a Tolkienite so you can understand the amount of love and respect that the director and his team put into the films.

An excellent book!

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Simply brilliant

I listened - then watched all the Movies again! Excellent! So well written and read! A great find

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Great

I’d highly recommend this. It contains new information that will surprise even the most knowledgeable lord of the rings and Peter Jackson fan. I’ve finished the whole book in about three days.

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Behind the curtain

Brilliant peak into the making of LOTR. It sets up all the pieces, from directors,producers, studio heads right down to stunt people. Then lovingly traces each of these people's origin story right up to the point where they start to work on the films. Even though I loved the extended edition documentaries, I didn't think that they were a little bit sanitized and a little overproduced. This account is the perfect balance to that, the trials and tribulations about how this story made it to the big screen is laid out in full.

Apart from all this it's just a fascinating look into the inner workings of the business of movie making.

Two thumbs way up!

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enjoyable

an excellent book, really well read. highly recommended for anyone with a love of film writing.

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Outstanding

A deep and facinating look at the world behind middle earth. Some great sections linking to stories already told in the behind the scenes dvd release but with more detail and explination.
Tristrams narration is excellent, with voice changers for actors and staff which are great

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  • Andrew Smith-Fatten
  • 01-11-18

Great Read

Great story about Peter Jackson's early works and of course the epics The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The narration was incredibly rich and satisfying!

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  • Nicholas Newsad
  • 26-05-18

Fantastic

This is a great story for aspiring creative and entrepreneurial people. Big projects do take years, and LOTR was the largest independent film project of all time. Peter Jackson is a great role model for those independent types who want to beat their own drum, on their own terms.