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Old 02-18-2008, 03:26 AM   #1
Araréiel
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Sting Weaponry

The bows (specifically Legolas') and swords - rubber or real? We are especially curious about Legolas' bow, and I'm finding contradictory information online. Thanks.
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Old 02-18-2008, 07:43 AM   #2
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You mean the props used in the movie scenes? They were real. I once saw the website of a professional fletcher who was amazed to see that the bows and arrows of the LOTR films were hand-made using old-fashined techniques.
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Old 02-18-2008, 08:21 AM   #3
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Araréiel, I find it highly unlikely they'd have used rubber weapons. Where did you hear that?
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Old 02-18-2008, 01:52 PM   #4
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Araréiel, I find it highly unlikely they'd have used rubber weapons. Where did you hear that?
A couple of websites I found via a Google search. Being a few years past the last movie, it seems that many of the excellent sites that once were are no more. Rubber in the fighting scenes sounds odd, and I know there's no way they could make rubber look so real for the up-close shots. But by only seeing rubber, rubber, rubber, I wondered if I had lost my marbles.
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Old 02-18-2008, 01:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zxcvbn View Post
You mean the props used in the movie scenes? They were real. I once saw the website of a professional fletcher who was amazed to see that the bows and arrows of the LOTR films were hand-made using old-fashined techniques.
This is what I thought. Too bad a lot of the websites that used to be around aren't anymore. Would you happen to recall the URL of the site? I'd love to see it.
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Old 02-21-2008, 03:43 AM   #6
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There were various versions of weapons - painted rubber (not the wobbly kind, obviously) for the background fighters, so that they wouldn't be in danger of getting hurt; however, those weapons wouldn't have looked right close up. For that reason there were versions of "hero weapons" that were made exactly like their historical counterparts, and fighting scenes with main characters had to be well-coordinated and choreographed. Even of those there were two versions, if I remember the movie commentaries, depending on how (and how close) they were filmed.

That refers more to swords than to bows - I'm not sure I remember whether there were various versions of bows, aside from the fact that the main characters who were filmed close-up had more elaborately made weapons, of course. I do remember hearing that the arrows were inserted by CGI - real arrows would have been dangerous even if blunt.
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Old 02-21-2008, 06:26 AM   #7
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Originally posted by Estelyn Telcontar:
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Even of those there were two versions, if I remember the movie commentaries, depending on how (and how close) they were filmed.
I seem to recall Bernard Hill complaining about the weight of his sword in Return of the King. As the Rohirrim were preparing to charge down onto the Pelennor and Theoden gallops along the front line, ringing his drawn sword on the spears of the Riders. He is left-handed, but had to hold his sword in his right hand, and because it was hitting all the spears, he had to use the heavy (real) sword. Apparently, the light-weight version crumpled with all those spear-hits on the first take. I can't quote him exactly, as my DVDs are tucked away at the moment.
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Old 02-25-2008, 10:27 AM   #8
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The bows (specifically Legolas') and swords - rubber or real? We are especially curious about Legolas' bow, and I'm finding contradictory information online. Thanks.
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Old 02-25-2008, 01:10 PM   #9
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They generally made multiples- real bona-fide weapons ("hero weapons") for closeups, and lighter, safer copies made of aluminum or rubber for fights and action scenes. I understand they went through a *lot* of aluminum swords! Also, apparently, they had to keep talking Viggo out of using his Hero Sword in fights, lest he injure somebody.
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Old 05-30-2008, 07:28 PM   #10
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Eye

The staff at Weta made original "hero" weapons, then cast them and mass-produced polyurethane replicas that were lighter weight, for action shots, stunt and riding doubles, and to reduce fatigue in long running shots. They padded the blade handles with a shock-absorbing rubber (the kind used in skateboard wheels) which prevented them from having a high level of stunt sword casualties, as was notorious in other productions.

Viggo Mortenson, true to form for his dedication to the rest of the film, preferred to use the hero sword as often as possible, even carrying around in the sheath, even if it made him more tired because, he reasoned, what would be true for him as an actor would be true for Aragorn. It was even his idea to have a sharpening stone among his possessions. (You see him using it when Sam is reciting his humble poem about Gandalf's fireworks in Lothlorien - extended edition only.)

According to "The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy" by Brian Sibly, they made bows of wood, but that didn't work well because of the "dry" firing required for CGI arrows. (Sometimes, you can see Orlando Bloom as Legolas feinting to draw arrows but not really, because his hand motions don't match what they actually would be if he were holding and notching an arrow...a pet peeve of mine is the extended scene on the Pelennor fields where orcs rush at him, and he basically kind of throws his hand back to the quiver, then drops it - open-handed! - to the bow and kind of twangs the string, never aiming, never even looking half-realistic, and the orc falls anyway.) The energy of the swing acts on the wood instead of the arrow in a dry fire, and the wood quickly broke. So the bows were injection-molded in rubber. They were, however, still functional to the point of being lethal.

Sometimes they did use real arrows for close-ups (I believe Legolas firing the arrow into the Uruk's exposed back at Amon Hen was real, and I know that the arrow he fired at Wormtongue was real...Bloom simply fired into a target mounted off-camera.)

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I seem to recall Bernard Hill complaining about the weight of his sword in Return of the King.
I was amazed by the weight of that sword. I've held several of the official replicas, and own several unofficial (IE, less expensive) weapons from the film, but Herugrim's weight astounded me. And I'm no weakling at the wrist.
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Old 05-30-2008, 09:29 PM   #11
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That's one thing you have to love about Viggo - more power to him for wanting to use the hero sword! I would have done the same. I heard he also strolled the woods by himself in Aragorn garb to get into character better.

I have the official replica of Herugrim but haven't lifted it in awhile. I do remember that it wasn't any heavier than the sword of Boromir (which is also official), though.
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Old 05-30-2008, 09:46 PM   #12
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I have not seen the sword of Boromir. As a weapon, I wasn't too fond of its make. The handle was only a one-and-a-half hands. I liked the two + hands on some of the other weapons.

Viggo also learning Elvish showed the spirit he had towards the movie.
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