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The Hunt for Gollum: Frodo’s Fishy Friend fetched by fanciful fans (Chris Bouchard interview).

In a world where Tolkien fandom meets an epic dose of DIY, The Hunt for Gollum emerges as a film that proves you don’t need Hollywood budgets to wander through Middle-earth—you just need a few quid and a dream. This 2009 gem is the quintessential British bootleg of the fan-made fantasy genre, whipping up a storm with a wallet that’s seen fuller days and a spirit as plucky as a hobbit on second breakfast. Sit down and enjoy the lads’ interview with ace creator Chris Bouchard.

Filmed with the hearty sum of £3,000 and shot across the UK’s own mystical realms of North Wales, Epping Forest, and Hampstead Heath, the film is a testament to the ‘can-do’ spirit. Yes, Peter Jackson had millions and Weta Digital, but did he have the charm of a tight-knit crew fuelled by tea and sheer determination? Perhaps not. Plot-wise, “The Hunt for Gollum” is delightfully straightforward. Gandalf, sporting a grey beard that could outfluff a werewolf, fears that Gollum, that slippery little former hobbit, might have a chinwag with Sauron about some jewellery-related matters. So, he sends Aragorn, a ranger who can track a flea across Middle-earth, on a mission to nab the chatty creature before he can spill the beans.

Aragorn’s journey is a romp through a series of budget-conscious set pieces, including a quaint cameo of Gollum snatching fish—because even a creature corrupted by the darkest magic can’t resist a good kipper. Our hero encounters orcs (in surprisingly good makeup for the money), tangles with a Nazgul, and has a romantic vision of Arwen—because what’s a quest without a bit of elvish eye candy?

The actors? Adrian Webster’s Aragorn could easily be mistaken for Viggo Mortensen’s long-lost cousin twice removed on his mother’s side, and the rest of the cast deliver their lines with the earnestness of community theatre stalwarts who’ve just been given their big break. As for the visuals, let’s just say they did wonders with what they had. Who needs CGI when you have the real rolling hills of Britain and a fog machine? And the audio? Well, it’s mostly audible, which is quite an achievement given the budget.

“The Hunt for Gollum” is a scrappy little indie that punches well above its weight, showing what fans can achieve with a dash of creativity and a dollop of love for Middle-earth. It premiered to the excitement of Tolkien enthusiasts everywhere, clocking up over 15 million views by 2020. The film festival circuit gobbled it up faster than Bilbo bagged the Ring.

So, if you’re yearning for a bit of that old ring magic but your wallet feels more like Mordor than the Shire, give The Hunt for Gollum a go. It’s charming, cheeky, and chock-full of the kind of earnest enthusiasm that could only come from the most devoted of fans. Just remember—while you can take the film out of the budget, you can’t take the budget out of the film. And really, isn’t that part of the charm?


Colonel Frog is a long time science fiction and fantasy fan. He loves reading novels in the field, and he also enjoys watching movies (as well as reading lots of other genre books).

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