Rings Party Brings Middle-earth to Cannes

Jackson's approach — a kind of heightened realism — seems inspired, but he gives credit wholly to the author. "Tolkien loved the mythology of Greece and Scandinavia and mourned that England didn't have one," the filmmaker said. "He spent his entire life creating a myth and we treated it as a historical film, much less as a fantasy. You come to believe in it so much it feels real. That was the tone of the movie. Not a fantasy movie but like a piece of prehistory when giants and trolls and elves used to exist. It directed every design and style decision we did."

Jackson is proud that readers will now hear for the first time the languages Tolkien created. As if to bear this out, Liv Tyler, who plays the 3,000-year-old elf Arwen, sweetly recited a line in Elvish which, truth be told, sounded fairly close to Gaelic.

Concluded Jackson, "I love films to take you somewhere you'd normally never go. Alfred Hitchcock once said, 'Some people's movies are slices of life, mine are slices of cake.' Rings is the ultimate cinematic trip."

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