While Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy has been the subject of an enormous amount of publications, the three books discussed here are particularly interesting because they address from different methodological perspectives the topics at stake in state-of-the-art global research on contemporary American cinema. If Kristin Thompson (The Frodo Franchise, University of California Press) chose to closely follow the (post)production process, Martin Barker and Ernest Mathijs (Watching the Lord of the Rings, Peter Lang) instead analysed the response of world audiences, and the research group led by Sean Cubitt, Harriet Margolis, Barry King and Thierry Jutel (Studying the Event Film, Manchester University Press) focused on the relationship between the films and the place where they were produced, New Zealand. Therefore, the complexity of the LOTR phenomenon is analysed in all its components. Thompson's book is the most documented of the three, providing relevant insights into the production process of the film; Barker and Mathijs address important issues about the reception of contemporary cinema, but their analyses are often arguable because of some theoretical and methodological weaknesses; finally, mixing both points of view, Cubitt's team seems to achieve a greater understanding of its subject. The need for an interdisciplinary and comparative approach is in fact the first important suggestion we can draw from their comparison. The adoption of a critical point of view, mostly evident in Studying the Event Film, proves to be necessary when discussing the political economy and the cultural significance of Hollywood blockbusters. The centrality of globalisation as a crucial category for contemporary film studies is revealed by all the books, which offer an American, a New Zealand and a global point of view on this worldwide successful saga. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.
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