More actors from LOTR:FOTR have followed Craig Parker (Haldir) and will attend Ring*Con 2002 in Bonn, Germany. Recently the appearance of Mark Ferguson (Gil-Galad), Cameron Rhodes (Farmer Maggot) and Sarah McLeod (Rosie Cotton) has been confirmed, with a promise of more actors to follow! You can find out more about the Ring*Con 2002 here!Posted in Old Main News
Archive for June, 2002
I’ve got a nice pic of my own that I care to show you folks. Last night I was out with Caramia Kathy when we noticed our local Blockbuster (DDO, Montreal) had those really nice LOTR promo posters up! We snapped a picture (just before the manager shewed us away). Take a look! [More]Posted in Old Main News
Emma writes: I haven’t had a second to write anything up yet, but if you just wanted to say that there was a large continent of LOTR fans in attendance at the official Pride brunch honoring the grand marshalls and benefitting the Positive Resource center. Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf) was in fine form, he seemed to be having a great time, a full report (including tomorrow’s parade) will follow tomorrow! [More]
Emma writes: I haven’t had a second to write anything up yet, but if you just wanted to say that there was a large continent of LOTR fans in attendance at the official Pride brunch honoring the grand marshalls and benefitting the Positive Resource center. Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf) was in fine form, he seemed to be having a great time, a full report (including tomorrow’s parade) will follow tomorrow!
Melissa writes: I have these stills from a new movie Dominic Monaghan (Merry) recently did. The movie is called An Insomniac’s Nightmare and is a 30 minute indie flick (go indie filmmakers!! -Xo). [More]
I have these stills from a new movie Dominic Monaghan (Merry) recently did. The movie is called An Insomniac’s Nightmare and is a 30 minute indie flick. Dom plays a guy named Jack who is suffering from chronic insomnia. The movie details the delusions he has related to this insomnia. The movie was shot in NYC and is currently in postproduction. Those are the only details I have about it at this time. In a week or so I will have a direct link to a webpage for the movie I can send to you. The movie was written/directed and produced by Tess Nanavati.
Stevo sends along this article from Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph about David Wenham (Faramir). I love these in-depth article where they ask such hard hitting questions as ‘What won’t you eat?’ and ‘Have you ever gone to a psychic?’…CNN here we come. [More]Posted in Old Main News
Stevo sends along this article from Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph about David Wenham (Faramir). I love these in-depth article where they ask such hard hitting questions as ‘What won’t you eat?’ and ‘Have you ever gone to a psychic?’…CNN here we come.
The two most lucrative movies so far this summer concern the perilous adventures of male teenagers, one in contemporary New York and the other long ago in a galaxy far away, struggling with the moral and physical burdens of their special powers. [More]Posted in Old Main News
Written by A. O. Scott, NY Times
The two most lucrative movies so far this summer concern the perilous adventures of male teenagers, one in contemporary New York and the other long ago in a galaxy far away, struggling with the moral and physical burdens of their special powers. Over the winter, the box office was dominated by two rather similar young men, one at an English boarding school, the other in the meticulously mapped Anglo-Saxon dreamworld of Middle Earth. Together, these four movies, “Spider-Man,” ‘Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones,” “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” have earned more than $1 billion in ticket sales in the United States.
This is, needless to say, only a partial accounting. It leaves out overseas box office, DVD and video revenues, and the all-important merchandising of action figures, light sabers and round, black-framed eyeglasses. And, of course, none of these movies stands alone: “Attack of the Clones” is the fifth installment in a double trilogy that has been unfolding for 25 years; “Fellowship” is the first episode in a three-film sequence, the second part of which, “The Two Towers,” is to appear in December, and the Harry Potter and Spider-Man pictures have inaugurated franchises that will probably carry their heroes at least to the brink of adulthood.
Perhaps more than ever before, Hollywood is an empire of fantasy. But despite the popularity of these movies – and despite the unmatched power of the studios to blanket the real world with publicity, advertising and media hype – Hollywood is not the center of this empire. It is, rather, a colonial outpost whose conquest has been recent and remains incomplete.
The rapid evolution of digital technology has made it possible for filmmakers to summon up ever more plausible and richly imagined counterfeit worlds, free of clunky mechanical props and stagy costumes. But the origins of these worlds are, for the most part, to be found not on the screen but on the page. Of the four films mentioned, only “Star Wars” belongs solely to the world of movies. The rest are adapted from comic books and novels.
Twenty-five years ago, the first “Star Wars” helped to transform moviemaking and moviegoing. It gave birth to the current era of blockbuster serials, intensive special effects and wide-release, critic-resistant summer popcorn extravaganzas. But the true genius of that picture was the way it opened mainstream cinema to a vital strain in American popular culture that Hollywood had until then largely ignored or treated with condescension. “Star Wars” tapped into an impulse that had been flourishing at least since the end of World War II in the pages of comic books and pulp novels, on television and in the nascent subculture of role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. (Even today, the primary locus for fantasy scenarios in which lone heroes do battle with demons and bad guys in archaic or futuristic landscapes is not movies but video and computer games, which are open-ended and participatory in ways that even a boxed-set DVD version of a movie can never be.)
The film versions of “Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter” undoubtedly follow in the footsteps of Luke Skywalker. It’s also evident that the pop explosion that “Star Wars” set off in 1977 would not have occurred without the equally explosive success, a decade earlier, of the one-volume American paperback edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings,” and that the Harry Potter publishing phenomenon seized the fancies of late-’90s American schoolchildren much as “The Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars” had captivated their parents.
The juggernaut grows with each generation. Unlike virtually everything else in the irony-saturated, ready-to-recycle cosmos of postmodern pop culture, stories of this kind don’t seem to date.
Fantasy literature, which in the broadest sense includes modes of storytelling from novels to movies to video games, depends on patterns, motifs and archetypes. So it is hardly surprising that the most visible modern variants of the ancient genres of saga, romance and quest narrative are so richly cross-pollinated and resemble one another. The central characters show an especially close kinship. They are, following a convention so deep it seems to be encoded in the human storytelling gene, orphans, called out of obscurity to undertake a journey into the heart of evil that will also be a voyage of self-discovery. Frodo Baggins lives quietly in an obscure corner of the Shire, oblivious to the metaphysical storm brewing in distant Mordor. Luke Skywalker dwells, like Dorothy in Kansas, in a dusty hinterland far removed from the imperial center of things. Harry Potter, in his suburban Muggle exile, bides his time shut up in a closet under the stairs, a prisoner of his beastly aunt and uncle. Peter Parker (Spidey) occupies a more benign and familiar modern environment in Woodhaven, Queens, and is cared for by much nicer relatives.
All of these young men – and fantasy heroes are, overwhelmingly, men – discover themselves to be in possession of extraordinary gifts, and become, unexpectedly and sometimes reluctantly, the central figures in a struggle against absolute evil. Destiny has selected them for great things. Their episodic adventures lead them forward, toward a climactic confrontation with the enemy (foreshadowed in a series of battles with subsidiary forms of evil) and also backward into the mysteries of their own past and parentage.
For all their ancient and futuristic trappings, fantasy stories speak directly to the condition of contemporary male adolescence, and they offer a Utopian solution to the anxiety and dislocation that are part of the pyschic landscape of youth. Freaks become heroes. The confusing issue of sex is kept at a safe distance; romantic considerations are ancillary to the fight against evil, and to the camaraderie of warriors. But ultimately, whatever fellowship he may have found along the way, the hero’s quest is solitary, his triumph an allegory of the personal fulfillment that is, in the real world, both a birthright and a mirage. The structure of fantasy calls for episodes of increasingly perilous action connected by passages of exposition, in which the necessary facts of history, geography and genealogy are revealed to the hero and, over his shoulder, to the audience.
These moments, which often feature secondary characters in outlandish costumes delivering earnest, learned speeches – the Jedi elders in “Attack of the Clones”; the war council over at Cate Blanchett’s (Galadriel’s) place in “Fellowship of the Rings” – are routinely mocked by critics (not excluding this one) for their tedium and portentousness. Such derision, however, is precisely what separates the casual fan from the true adept (the latter being one who uses his esoteric powers to vanquish the former by means of angry e-mail).
Any Muggle can thrill to a sword fight or a computer-generated aerial battle, but true wizardry lies in the mastery of arcane detail. It is obvious that much of the appeal of these chronicles lies in the possibility of vicarious heroism, of identifying with the unprepossessing, marginal, nerdy guys who turn out to be indispensable to the survival of the universe. The way that identification is sealed is not through imitation of their feats of cunning or physical courage, but by mimicking their progress from innocence to mastery, by acquiring a body of esoteric knowledge for which the books and movies themselves provide the raw material.
In the United States today there are hundred of thousands, perhaps millions of people whose grasp of the history, politics and mythological traditions of entirely imaginary places could surely qualify them for an advanced degree. This learning is fed by quasi-official concordances, encyclopedias and other reference works, but these exist mainly to exploit a spontaneous process that takes place in classrooms and chat rooms around the world. The drive and discipline that leads 9-year-olds to school themselves in the institutional history of Hogwarts and college sophomores to analyze the diplomatic crises of the intergalactic empire might, it could be argued, be more profitably spent in learning something about the real world, but this criticism misses the point.
Like all knowledge, fantasy lore is acquired partly for its own sake and partly for the social privilege it confers, which in this case is membership in a select order, like the Wizards or the Jedi or the Fellowship of the Ring, of which the rest of the world is only dimly aware and whose codes and protocols it will never know.
The history of postwar American popular culture is to some degree a history of subcultures – communities of enthusiasts walking the fine line between ardor and obsession. These have come in all varieties: hot rodders, Barbie collectors, followers of the Grateful Dead. But the fantasy genres have been especially fertile breeding grounds for such communities of enthusiasm, from Trekkies to D&D players to the intrepid souls who camp out in front of the cineplexes where the next “Star Wars” movie will be showing. These fans see themselves not only as consumers of popular culture, but as participants in its making, which may be why the exemplary form of fantasy culture is not reading or movie-going but gaming, in which each player can be the hero of his own saga.
Posted in Old Special Reports
Lady Aredhel found this link about the rise of special edition DVDs that touches on PJ’s motiovations for produceing the FoTR extended DVD. [More]Posted in Old Main News
We’re used to seeing our stars hiding behind the tinted windows of limousines, surrounded by minders and demanding the kind of VIP treatment that ensures they’re put at the best table in that impossible-to-book restaurant. But not Cate Blanchett. [More]Posted in Old Main News