Battle of Waterloo vs. Charge at Pelennor Fields

by talkbackty on Jun 28, 2011

A couple of weeks ago I talked about how great it was watching Lord of the Rings.  One thing I mentioned specifically was Peter Jackson's intro to the movie and how he felt really welcoming and appreciative of my (our) patronage.

Well this week I went to go see Return of the King and Jackson described something particularly interesting, at least to me.

He described how when he was a boy he read a lot about the Battle of Waterloo and the French Calvary charge on English foot soldiers.  He said that he was amazed by the size of Napoleon's Calvary, 6,000 men strong.  Jackson wished he could see what 6,000 men charging on horses looked like, but since the advent of technology- tanks, cars, planes, and the like- there was no need for countries to keep training Calvary.  Jackson would have to make due with artist images, which look like this...

Then Jackson got the chance to make Lord of the Rings.  He directed most, if not all, the battle scenes and Pelennor Fields was one he was really excited about.  Why?  Well, Tolkien specifically said that the battle included exactly 6,000 Rohirrim.  Suddenly Jackson would get to see a life long dream and see what 6,000 men charging into foot soldiers looked like.  In  fact, he would get to create it.  He did this...

I just think this is awesome.  Think of all the childhood fantasies we have.  How often do we get to see those things come to life?  Not only did Peter Jackson get to see (and create) history, but then he shared that story with others.

When I saw the charge during the movie suddenly it became much more important.  I related it to Waterloo, and was reminded that those were real men charging into battle.  Through that connection, everything on screen felt more real, more emotional.  It was a great bit of film making.  

If you don't believe me, look at that picture again.

And if that doesn't do it for you...

Pretend it is in French, just like Waterloo.