By Brian Sibley & Peter Jackson, HarperCollins, £20
If you feel battered into submission by the barrage of Peter Jackson bumph that’s been sputtered out since the Fellowship first embarked on their merry way five years ago, then hold on... For this authorised biography, forged from five years of ‘sit back and put yer feet up’ chinwags between author and subject, is a composed affair. Like Frodo Baggins’ life-changing long haul, it commences with tranquil and charmed beginnings, progressing to moments of sweaty-palmed adventure and mountain-like tasks to climb, before culminating with the unleash of his vision of King Kong – the film Jackson has cherished since boyhood.
It’s a well-rounded examination of the once-rotund director, with Brian Sibley delivering an enthralling dot-to-dot account of Jackson’s life and career so far, navigating well clear of celebrity fawning. Kudos to Jackson, too. His paw prints are all over the 567 pages (why should his all-encompassing approach to work be any different here?), including personally captioning the many private images scattered throughout.
You’ll be stunned by PJ’s recollection of his now long-buried Planet Of The Apes sequel, and awed by the Ray Harryhausen-inspired creations that he painstakingly bodged together as a youngster. But what screams out from first page to last, clearer than Kong’s banana-breathed roar, is that overwhelmingly endearing quality of Jackson: that he’s really just one of us, forever fascinated and hopelessly captivated by film.