Peter Jackson Movies

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 7:17 am

Peter Jackson Movies

Like a kid in a cinematic candy store, New Zealand director Peter Jackson never misses an opportunity to sprinkle his films with fantastical elements and often a healthy dose of black humor. He’s best known for his big-screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series, but he also made a few of gross-out horror movies before landing on the shores of Hollywood.

With no formal training, Jackson learned through trial and error by using a Super 8 camera given to him by a family friend. The techniques of editing and special effects would also be learned in time, and after leaving school he proceeded to take his passion for movies to the next level. His first feature, the splatter comedy Bad Taste, was shot mainly on the weekends during a four year period. When his movie Heavenly Creatures (which also launched the career of Kate Winslet) earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay, it was only a matter of time before his unique brand of filmmaking would be exposed to a wider audience.

The following list details all the Peter Jackson feature films made to this point, but you can bet that there will be more to follow. In fact, his version of The Hobbit is scheduled to hit theatres in either 2012 or 2013. In the meantime, you can enjoy all his previous works by becoming a member of Netflix. They carry every Peter Jackson movie, plus over 100,000 films by other folks.

Bad Taste (1987) – Featuring Jackson and his friends and co-workers, Bad Taste was a low-budget gross-out film that has since been elevated to the rank of cult movie. Aliens show up in a New Zealand town to harvest the locals for their intergalactic fast food franchise, but they have to contend with a paramilitary force intent on stopping them. Brains and vomit are eaten, chainsaws are wielded, and a ridiculous amount of blood (both human and alien) is spilled. If you’re looking for a good–and definitely goofy–time, be sure to give this one a try.

Meet the Feebles (1989) – Jackson uses puppets to create a dark satire about money, sex, death, disease, drug use, and almost any other unpleasant or controversial topic you can think of. The result is a movie that’s seriously demented, subversive in the extreme, and one that will make damn sure that you never look at Kermit and his pals in the same light.

Braindead (1992) – Released in the U.S. as Dead Alive, this Peter Jackson zombie movie takes gore to a whole new level. When a rat-monkey from Sumatra ends up biting his mother at the zoo, mild-mannered Lionel Cosgrove (Timothy Balme) is forced to cover up her undead nature and all the corpses that spring forth as a result. A lawnmower is wielded as an effective weapons against the undead, a zombie gives birth after engaging in post-mortem sex, and a priest kicks ass in the name of Jesus. One of the first movies to be considered part of the splatstick genre, Braindead mixes whacked out comedy with an unbelievable amount of blood and guts. You’ll either be offended, grossed out, or wind up laughing your ass off (maybe all three).

Heavenly Creatures (1994) – Kate Winslet first gained exposure by starring in this Peter Jackson film about two teenage girls (Winslet and Melanie Lynskey) who resort to murder in 1954 New Zealand. Based on a true story and co-written by Jackson and his wife, Heavenly Creatures marked a major departure in style for the filmmaker. Instead of off-color humor and endless bloodshed, audiences were treated to a sophisticated tale of two lonely girls who would do anything to stay together.

The Frighteners (1996) – The first Peter Jackson movie to be given a wide release in the United States, The Frighteners stars Michael J. Fox as a lonely widower who uses his ability to communicate with the dead as a means to scam the residents of his hometown. But when a number of bodies start piling up, he’s forced to step up his game in order to clear his name and stop the real killer. It’s a hard movie to define, as it blends elements of the supernatural with both horror and comedy. A lot of audience members were downright confused by the film’s ambition, leading it to lose money at the box office. Luckily, Jackson would rebound in a major way with his next three movies.

Click here to become a member of Netflix

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) – The greatest fantasy movie ever made, the first installment of the trilogy sets the stage for an epic adventure that future generations of filmmakers will have trouble matching. When the evil Sauron returns to conquer Middle Earth, it’s up to a youthful Hobbit named Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) to stop him by throwing a magical ring into the fires of Mount Doom. He gets plenty of help from the titular Fellowship of the Ring, including wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), future king Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), gruff dwarf Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), and skilled archer Legolas (Orlando Bloom). McKellen is especially entertaining as Gandalf, a larger-than-life figure who acts as both friend and mentor to the residents of the Shire. The rest of the impressive cast includes Sean Astin, Liv Tyler, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Ian Holm, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, and Hugo Weaving. My favorite scenes come in the depths of the Mines of Moria, a dwarven stronghold filled with all manner of perils.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) – The epic series continues, this time adding a massive battle at Helm’s Deep, as well as the presence of the ring-obsessed Gollum (Andy Serkis). Additions to the cast include Mirando Otto, Karl Urban, Brad Dourif, and Bernard Hill. The Battle of Helm’s Deep is now considered one of the greatest battle sequences ever filmed, although I felt the overall film was letdown compared to the previous installment. But I suppose that’s to be expected when following a masterpiece like The Fellowship of the Ring.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) – The trilogy reaches its conclusion, and the Academy Awards recognized this event by awarding The Return of the King all 11 Oscars it was nominated for (including Best Picture and Best Director). There’s another major battle–this time at Minas Tirith–and Frodo, Sam, and Gollum near the end of their perilous journey to Mount Doom. Don’t worry about being left hanging, though, as the film takes great pains to make sure every thread is wrapped up. A fitting conclusion to the series, and the only fantasy movie to ever be awarded the highest honor from the Academy Awards.

King Kong (2005) – Jackson had his pick of the cinematic litter following the blockbuster success of his Lord of the Rings trilogy. He chose to remake the classic RKO giant ape movie, and fans around the globe hoped he could at least surpass the 1976 stinker starring Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange. He managed to do just that, although the film’s three hour runtime makes for a somewhat bloated experience. Naomi Watts is perfect as the blonde beauty who captures the heart of the gigantic beast, and the CGI effects manage to imbue Kong (based on the movements of Andy Serkis) with more personality and expression than ever before. But Adrien Brody is hardly a match for Kong in the romance department, and Jack Black seems out of place as greedy filmmaker Carl Denham. Things finally get cooking once Kong arrives on Broadway, and the showdown atop the Empire State Building surpasses any version to date. Despite its box office and critical success, it’s one that will hardly be remembered in a decade.

The Lovely Bones (2009) – After working on a number of consecutive large-scale films, Jackson eased back a bit and chose a project that focused more on personal themes. After she’s murdered by a neighbor (Stanley Tucci), 14-year-old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) finds herself dwelling in place between Heaven and Earth. Unable to let go of her former life, she looks on from this limbo as the fortunes of her loved ones rise and fall. While it ends on a note of hope, this adaptation of the best-selling novel from Alice Sebold is a tear-jerker from start to finish. Co-starring Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, and Michael Imperioli.

There will undoubtedly be more Peter Jackson movies in the future, so check back with Only Good Movies for all the latest in the world of film. You can also get all the movies listed above from Netflix, the leading online rental service in the United States. We do get a small commission from Netflix if you sign up via our website, but it doesn’t cost you anything extra and ensures that we can continue to keep bringing you articles like the one above.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 16th, 2011 at 7:17 am and is filed under Good Movies, Thoughts on Film. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *