When The Lord of the Rings debuts in the Blu-ray high-definition home video format, you'll finally be able to see some of the fine detail that got lost in the big-screen releases, Oscar-winning makeup effects artist and creature supervisor Richard Taylor said in an exclusive phone interview on Thursday.
"It's probably more in the close detail in terms of the filigree and the surface of ribbons and buttons and elf clasps and belt buckles," he said.
Fans know that Taylor and his Weta Workshop team gave every costume a distinct look instead of making armies of identical uniforms. Those subtle differences will finally be revealed.
"It was going with the philosophy that in the period of the medieval age, it could be just as easy to make something look totally different or make something look completely the same," Taylor said. "There would not have been a huge amount of replicates of technology. Obviously, if you reproduce the same object, it might be easier at a mass-production level in the modern-day workshop, but we tried to give the feeling of a different quality to different elements. That's something that I look forward to seeing if it comes through."
The Blu-rays are not even out yet, but people are complimenting Taylor on new details they've seen in the films some nine years later.
"People have told me over the last couple of days that they have now seen the details that we had put in," Taylor said. "We had thought we had just been a bit fanatical, because they weren't apparent to the viewer. Now they are. That's a fantastic thing, to hear that. A lot of that very fine detail is now popping out."
Blu-ray was not yet on the horizon when Taylor began creating the creatures, makeup and costumes of The Lord of the Rings, so it's fortunate that the work was of such a high quality that it holds up in the hi-def format.
"You try and aim to produce the best work you possibly can, obviously," Taylor said. "I certainly didn't cast my mind forward going, 'Gosh, one day the world's audience will be watching these movies on cinema-screen-sized televisions in a level of clarity that we can only dream about today.' Thankfully, the work that was done back then was done with the greatest intent to make it as good as possible. So hopefully it holds up OK today. It's just exciting to think that the Blu-ray release offers an opportunity for the community of enthusiasts to enjoy them all afresh."
The Lord of the Rings Blu-ray trilogy debuts next Tuesday, April 6.