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Watching a movie is a linear experience-- you see a series of images in an order that the director prescribed, and you're on a guided tour of the world in which it takes place. You may wish you could loop back around and poke around The Shire some more after Frodo leaves it at the beginning of Fellowship of the Ring, but that's not how Peter Jackson wants it, buddy. But what if you want to experience the Lord of the Rings less like a movie, and more like the maps that Tolkien provides at the front of the book? Illustrator and mapmaker Andrew DeGraff has you covered. That image above may look like a bizarre treasure map taking you to some weird planets… but it's also the story of a very, very familiar movie.
OK, that first one is pretty easy-- you don't even have to be a Star Wars fanatic to see the AT-ATs and figure out that's The Empire Strikes Back. But how about some of the others? The Wired article on DeGraff's work featured 8 other maps and asked you to guess the movies they're based on. Like this suburban adventure:
Did you guess Shaun of the Dead? The Winchester kind of gives it away, I guess. And it's funny that DeGraff chose Shaun of the Dead, since the new collaboration between Nick Frost, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright is The World's End, centered around a pub crawl and featuring a map as part of the story. How about guessing something a little more adventurous?
It's the train and the cave at the very beginning that give this one away to me, reminding me immediately of River Phoenix at the opening of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I guess the temple built into the stone wall there at the end helps too.
Check out the entire collection over at Wired, and start hoping now that DeGraff puts these up for sale sometime soon. Sure, Mondo posters are all well and good, but do they completely transform the way you think of the movie? Yeah, didn't think so. DeGraff also has plans for maps based on The Princess Bride, The Wrath of Khan and, yes, The Lord of the Rings, so if nothing he's got so far piques your interest, stay tuned for more.
While we wait, you can purchase some other examples of DeGraff's work at his Etsy store.