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peter jackson chapter i: bad taste
peter jackson chapter ii: meet the feebles (footage missing)
peter jackson chapter iii: braindeadpeter jackson chapter iv: heavenly creatures
peter jackson chapter v: forgotten silver
a good few years before he would make his magnum opus and a good few months before he would begin his career in hollywood, peter jackson along with costa botes would work together to make a tv mockumentary called forgotten silver.
with this film, jackson would again switch gears completely and show the world, once again, another side of him and just what he was capable of. as far as i know, this is a little seen effort of his that was very popular in new zealand and not much anywhere else. it was also funded by and released on new zealand television.
this is what jackson chose do do after being nominated for an academy award for writing. a small one hour tv episode? strange choice and considering hollywood had come a knocking it seemed even stranger still.
trying to collect all things jackson (directed) i thought it would be rather difficult to find forgotten silver for cheap. it was pretty expensive online back in the days when i was looking for it. one day i walked into a local convenience store that sold new (and used) dvd's for five bucks a pop. i did the usual browse and suddenly i saw forgotten silver. i was shocked, i was happy, i was ecstatic, i purchased it asap.
it wasn't until yesterday though that i actually got to watch it. having just finished jackson's first three films, and being super stoked for his next one, i popped this into my player and although excited (as jackson doesn't usually disappoint) i was more excited for it to end.
and for no good cause as forgotten silver was amazing. it was just truly magical. it tells the story of colin mckenzie, a lost filmmaker from the early days of cinema and the innovations and trials and tribulations that he experienced through his life. it's also all fake.
mckenzie is the brainchild of botes and jackson and they tell his story straight and they do a marvellous job of making it seem real. most mockumentaries are out and out comedies, played for laughs. forgotten silver is played straight but knowing it is fake makes it very funny.
watching it i knew it was a faux doc and with scenes that showed mckenzie inventing colour film in odd ways years before it actually happened, making an automatic camera via a bicycle rig that created the first tracking shot, inventing sound 8 years before al jolson spoke and filming an airplane flying months before the wright brothers flew their plane for the first time you could see how this was fake.
but then it looked so real with the fake mckenzie footage looking exactly like it would of if it was actually made in the 1900's or 1910's or 1920's. and a story that seemed like it could be real. and special effects that did not look at all like special effects. and interviews with people like sam neill, leonard maltin and harvey weinstein all added to the realism which put doubts in my head. and then the end credits thanking the colin mckenzie family and trust. was this actually partially true?
no, not in the slightest and that makes this film very, very funny. i mean stan the man seemed so real, and was actually very funny in a sad way and the effects were to good for a mid-nineties one hour episode of a new zealand tv show that it did all seem very plausible. as did the war footage and the acting.
it was edited like a real documentary, it was narrated like a real documentary. it was filled with stills from mckenzie's past like a real documentary. it had thrilling and captivating music that held your attention and built up the mystery and suspense liek many a real documentary.
but like i said it was all fake and like i said i loved it. jackson, along with botes, has made another ingeniously constructed and executed film and as a whole is the best thing he has done to date. it is so well done that many a new zeleander believed the story and then got really upset when it was discovered they were lied to.
jackson started off doing comedy and horror, then he dropped the comdey and replaced it with drama. for forgotten silver he dropped the horror and brought back the comedy, but in a new way, shape and form. he has done something that not only has rarely been done before in such a way (the only other example i have of this is woody allen's zelig) but is even better than what he has done before.
never one to stay running on the same old circles, jackson would switch gears once again with his next picture which was a return to the feature film. it would also be his first hollywood produced film, which would allow him to go bigger than before. it would also, since hollywood came calling based on his past features, make him return to a somewhat similar genre he had worked on in the past rather than to do something completely different.
and so, with four films behind him, each one better than the last, and hollywood in front of him, peter jackson would go on to make the frighteners...
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