The following is a small editorial from co-owner and staffer Calisuri. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of TheOneRing.net:
CNN.com writer Tom Charity has posted his ‘The 10 worst movies of 2012‘ and decided to controversially include ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ on the list. It should be noted, he specifically calls out the 48fps experience as being the ‘worst’ – not the actual film itself. Though he does take a dig at the length of the latest Middle-earth tome. The facts about ‘The Hobbit’ seem to paint a different picture: RottenTomatoes Critic index of 65%; RottenTomatoes audience rating of 81%; CinemaScore rating of ‘A;’ Ringer Review average of 4.5/5; Three week lead at the international box office; and breaking multiple December box office records. Looking at Mr. Charity’s other films on the list, most have a RottenTomatoes.com rating of < 30% and only one breaks the 50% mark.
So what made Mr. Charity put ‘The Hobbit’ on his list? The easiest explanation is he really didn’t like the 48fps experience as he states in the article. Hey, I didn’t either (my review) – but I wouldn’t put it on any kind of ‘worst list.’
His true intention is even more transparent. He simply wants more eyeballs and a bit of controversy. Afterall, he only continues to get paid if he remains interesting. (The quote from Zoolander comes to mind…’Dance Monkey, Dance!’) So including a popular film on his ‘worst of’ list on a major outlet like CNN.com is sure to do just that. It will definitely cause some discussion.
Would you put ‘The Hobbit’ on your own worst list of 2012? Is Mr. Charity totally off base? Tell us what you think!
‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey‘ is a fulfilling and entertaining adventure that is sure to please most Middle-earth enthusiasts. Filled with direct book-to-screen moments and some unique new additions, the film stands as a strong first installment of a three-year adventure. If you think of it as a fine art masterpiece in a beautiful museum, it can sit proudly next to its LOTR siblings. Well, sorta. You see, someone chose an overly busy frame with bright colors and fancy patterns that distracts from the essential content. Luckily, in your experience, you can easily swap out the frame.
As you’ll read later, this reviewer suggests this may be the wisest course first-up.
As an adaptation and expansion on Tolkien’s 75-year-old children literature classic — emphasis on children — this film is more fantastic and at times more ‘cartoony’ than its trilogy predecessor. A quick example… while in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring we see the four Hobbits trying to escape Farmer Maggot and falling down a long slope with nothing but a broken carrot, in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey we see the Company of Thorin falling down a 1000-foot crevasse (multiple times) and simply dusting themselves off.
That theme permeates the film. The ‘bad guys’ are not quite horrible monstrosities that cause death and destruction but instead are similar to villains in an episode of the A-Team. You know, where no matter how many times they shoot at our heroes, they never actually hit their mark. It ultimately makes for exciting confrontations, but no real concern the heroes will meet their doom. Some who are not familiar with the childish nature of The Hobbit might find this a bit odd when they compare the drama to the LOTR films.
The acting by the core cast was astoundingly good. Martin Freeman IS Bilbo Baggins and as expected delivers an amazing performance with true emotion, humor and feeling. Ian McKellen is a less serious version of his LOTR-self and in many ways a lot more likable. His sense of humor comes across more in the performance and it is very endearing. Richard Armitage delivers a dead-on performance of Thorin. For those of us who know what the future holds for Thorin, I can clearly state the casting was perfect. Andy Serkis returns as Gollum and provides yet another amazing performance. ‘Riddles in the Dark’ will be one of your favorite scenes – guaranteed!
The dwarves were always a bit of a concern for me because I thought we’d be spending a lot of time getting to know each and dealing with lot of childish humor. This is not the case. They do all get introductions and each has their own distinct and unique contribution to the film. There is of course some ‘potty’ humor, but nothing that is overdone or inconsistent. Ken Stott as Balin delivers a stand-out performance — one that does not go unnoticed and puts him on par with the other key players.
The rest of the cast provide strong performances but some are a bit constrained by the visual performance that accompanies their acting. If you are looking for the awesomeness of The Goblin King from Rankin/Bass, I fear you will be a bit disappointed. And Radagast, while semi-interesting and fun in a childish sense (which is okay!), seems to be just thrown in to have another wizard.
Some of the folks I saw the film with had issues with the ‘slowness’ of the story, but I did not. I was surprised how fast the film felt – when it ended I was surprised at the time.
To avoid major spoilers, I’ll just say that there were definitely a few points where I felt the small things were ‘overdone.’ Take Elrond’s reading of the moon-letters on the map.
The book: …The moon was shining in a broad silver crescent. He held up the map and the white light shone through it. “What is this?” he said. “There are moon-letters here…
In the movie it’s not nearly so simple. You see, apparently the Elves in Rivendell have painstakingly built a ledge on a massive cliff-face complete with a special moon-table. To read moon-letters, you must gather around this table and place the suspected moon-letter document on the table. The table then glows with moon-light and reveals what is on it. I can’t imagine this ledge gets much use — typical of the wealthy elves to be so wasteful with space and function. Heh — yeah, I had a bit of a chuckle at that point.
There is one BIG negative from my viewing of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It has nothing to do with the plot, acting, score or any other aspect of the actual content of the film. It has to do with wrapping this masterpiece in the inappropriate frame of HFR 3D. It was quite simply unnecessary to saddle this film with this presentational wizardry.
And it’s something I had hoped that was not going to be the case.
In fact, I was very excited to see this new technology and experience the ‘future of film.’ I was ready for it! Even with the uproar from those crusty cinema owners last year, I figured that was a bunch of old fogeys who simply didn’t want to update their equipment. I was fully expecting to be blown away and fall in love with this next evolution in film. I felt this way right up until the opening scenes of the movie. Then it happened…
I told myself: ‘Oh Chris, your eyes will get used to it… just a bit longer.‘
Nope — never got used to it. I couldn’t help but think, ‘Why does this look like some highly produced BBC TV drama?‘ In fact, about every 10 minutes or so (or maybe whenever something was particularly bright on screen) I found myself being literally drawn out of Middle-earth and back into the present — the theater. And therein lies the issue. I was constantly taken out of the story and performance because my brain was distracted by the ‘bells and whistles’ on screen. I was jolted out of the content of the film and noticed the tech behind it. That is unfortunate.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a great movie that is saddled with this unnecessary mission to advance the future of film. So here’s my slightly controversial suggestion: Watch this film first in good ole fashioned 24fps. Then, for your second viewing, go and see it in HFR. This way your initial experience won’t be compromised by the tech and second-time-round you may actually be able to enjoy the high frame rate as well!
As an aside, I did consider that I’m simply too old for this type of presentation. I’m 38. I don’t play video games and don’t run out to see IMAX or 3D viewings of films on a regular basis. So maybe the thirteen-year-olds of the world will love it.
To summarize, rush out and see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and enjoy the ride! As long as you bring along your inner child you’ll have a wonderful time. If you have a choice, DO NOT see it in 48fps for your first viewing.
Thanks to Ringer David H from Auckland NZ, we have this link to a wonderfully revealing and in-depth PDF from The Department of Welfare and Housing Te Tari Kaupapa Whare. The document is titled: Compliance of barriers to a bridge located on a former film set at 501 Buckland Road, Matamata. You see, the bridge made famous in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit was considered to be not complying with Clause F4 Safety from falling of the Building Code, and and as a result seemed to ultimately be required to make some adjustments to allow public use. However, after a lot of discussion, notes and analysis, you’ll see that Manager Determinations John Gardiner has reversed a previous decision and decided the bridge, in its current form, qualifies for code compliance! Hobbits of Hobbiton rejoice! The bridge will remain open! [PDF]
One can always count on Entertainment Weekly to compose some intriguing ‘Top’ lists. Their latest is the ‘Top 50 Most Vile Movie Villains,’ and sure enough, many classic villains are well represented. Among the top 50, only one Tolkien ‘villain‘ makes the list at No. 10:
He may only be a CGI character, but the conflicted, bipolar Gollum managed to be both cute and scary — a feat we hadn’t seen accomplished since Gremlins. Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that his tendency to break out into cheerful song in between ruthlessly chasing the ring of power was, well, precious. Plus, he bit off Frodo’s fingers. And that’s pretty bad-ass. —Kate Ward
This reporter never really saw Gollum as a ‘villain’ per se, but hey, to each their own! For the complete list, jump on over to EW.com today! [Read More]
After receiving multiple requests, we are finally making our Comic-Con 2012 ‘OBEY’ shirts available for online purchase. The popularity of this shirt was a surprise to us all! After selling out last Thursday, we begged our shirt producer to rush another 100+ shirts to arrive at Comic-Con by Saturday afternoon. Those sold out just as quickly by Sunday and ultimately left a lot of con-goers empty-handed. So we are happy to offer them to our entire online audience for a limited time. The shirt comes in three colors: Black, Blue and Red. We are also now offering Women’s V-Neck options. Shirts are $20US with flat rate shipping of $5 US and $15 International. In case you were wondering, proceeds from our shirt sales go directly to site expenses and our events. TheOneRing.net is not for profit with a 100% volunteer staff. We regularly donate any excess monies to international literacy charities. Please help support TheOneRing.net and our efforts by snagging yourself a cool shirt! (And yes, our other shirts should be online shortly!) [Place your Order]
‘…There are Orcs, very many of them,’ he (Gandalf) said. `And some are large and evil: black Uruks of Mordor. For the moment they are hanging back, but there is something else there. A great cave-troll, I think, or more than one. There is no hope of escape that way…’
I think back on my relatively young life and can fondly recall a few events that I would consider highlights: My marriage to my beautiful wife; the birth of our daughter; TheOneRing.net Oscar Parties from 2002-2004; Finding my dream job with Sideshow; and that time I got to see 26 minutes of The Fellowship of the Ring at the Cannes Film Festival in 2001. As you can read in my original report, I was blown away by the revelation of Peter Jackson’s vision of The Lord of the Rings on the big screen, especially when it came to the infamous Mines of Moria. Sure it was different from the books, but visual execution seemed to transmit my own visions of Middle-earth and put them on the big screen. So many years later, it is now my privilege to relive some of that sequence through the ‘Mines of Moria’ LEGO® Set, now available at most retailers.
As a preface to my review, I need to remind you all that I am not a LEGO® Set expert. My first experience with LEGO® Sets in many years was building the ‘Shelob Attacks‘ set I reviewed last month. So if I get some terminology wrong, please don’t hold it against me .
There are a few obvious differences between the ’Shelob Attacks’ LEGO® Set and ‘The Mines of Moria.’ First, and most obvious, is that the set is much larger and more complex. Whether it is the ‘action’ elements in the gate and right side piece, or it is adding the detailing stickers just in the right place, you will find this set takes anywhere from 3-4 hours to piece together. Let me say…that is not a bad thing! I’m quickly finding myself addicted to the enjoyment and plain old fun of LEGO® Sets again! (After the break I’ve got 84 pictures of the set!)
So now for the spoiler…highlight the text to read the details: (or if for some reason you can see text below, stop reading!)
“Kili’s part has been expanded from the novel; as well as chasing treasure, he’s also pursuing female elf Tauriel. But is he setting his sights too high? ‘I guess he knows nothing can ever happen,’ he explains. ‘She’s about 20ft tall and he’s only two!’”
So there you have it – at least one hint at how romance may play a part in The Hobbit! [TotalFilm]
I live near Allentown, PA and rarely have an opportunity to partake in any special events that would interest the Tolkien community locally. Today was a bit different. You see, the Allentown Art Museum is currently exhibiting ’At the Edge: Art of the Fantastic,’ the most comprehensive and largest exhibition of fantastic art to date in the United States. When I saw an ad featuring Donato Giancola’s The Hobbit, I just knew I had to go! The presentation is quite impressive – showcase fantasy art from hundreds of years ago to present. If you ever wanted to see works in person, but really didn’t want deal with going to a convention convention, this showcase is a perfect opportunity. Tolkien themed works on exhibit: The Hildebrandt Brother’s Smaug and The Gift of Galadriel, Ruth Sanderson’s Galadriel, Mark Zug’s The Sands of Gorgoroth, Matthew Stewart’s Battle of Five Armies, Stephen Hickman’s Siege of Minas Tirith (triple WOW factor in person), Darrell Sweet’s The Slaying of Glaurung, and last but not least, Donato Giancola’s The Hobbit (Absolutely stunning in person – and gigantic!). The exhibit runs through September 9th 2012 in Allentown, PA. [Allentown Art Museum]
The folks over at Super Power Beat Down are obviously trying to tick off Tolkien fans. In the recent match-up of ‘Darth Vader vs. Gandalf,’ they’ve managed to make an amazing technical presentation of a battle between these two pop culture icons (well worth the watch!), but failed when it came down to making an educated decision on who could actually win a battle between the two. Ultimately if the competition comes down to a vote of the pop culture masses, we can always count on the slavish drones of Lucasites feverishly voting for anything that has the moniker of ‘Star Wars.’ Yea, I’m all kinds of sour grapes. Enjoy the video for the technical prowess and presentation. And, I may mention, the guy in the Darth Vader outfit is actually good TORn friend David Baxter (aka Treebeard)! He’s really tall, but next time I see him, I’ll try to send a collective slap for the Tolkien community. (P.S. – the views in this story of those of Calisuri, and not TheOneRing.net ) [Super Power Beat Down] [Direct YouTube Link]
…the most loathly shape that he had ever beheld…Most like a spider she was, but huger than the great hunting beasts…Great horns she had, and behind her short stalk-like neck was her huge swollen body, a vast bloated bag, swaying and sagging between her legs; its great bulk was black, blotched with livid marks, but the belly underneath was pale and luminous and gave forth a stench. Her legs were bent, with great knobbed joints high above her back, and hairs that stuck out like steel spines, and at each leg’s end there was a claw…
For every Tolkien fan, the name leaps from the pages (and screen) of Middle-earth to invade a commonly held fear in our everyday life – the fear of an impossibly large, eight-legged, creepy-crawly finding us in the dark. *shiver* According to Wikipedia, it is estimated that 55% of women and 18% of men are Arachnophobic. You can count me among those with a mild fear of spiders, which basically means I have to ‘act’ the role of father/husband when it comes disposing of them. I can’t very well unleash a high-pitched scream and run away now can I…
So when I first saw the ‘Shelob Attacks’ LEGO® Set at the 2012 Toy Fare, I have to admit…I was a bit creeped out. Yes, its LEGO® blocks, but the piece is still surprisingly life-like. In fact, one of the reporters getting the sneak peek at this set could not go within 5 feet of the display. Yes, he was that Arachnophobic!
Before we get to the meat of this review, I will warn you ahead of time, that I am in no way a LEGO® Set expert. To be honest, I haven’t touched the popular construction toys for possibly 10 years, so I’m a bit behind the times when it comes to the licensed themed sets. However, I can tell you, within 1 minute of opening the box, the wonderful memories of LEGO® set building came swooping back.
In preparation for a product review, I found myself last night eagerly unboxing one of two upcoming The Lord of the Rings LEGO® Sets. I was pleasantly surprised to find this mini-teaser in the back of the instruction pack for the ‘Shelob Attacks’ Set and thought I should share it quickly…so I posted it on our official TheOneRing.net Facebook. Well, it has gotten quite a stir over there, so I figured I should share it with you this morning. The ad confirms the long assumed notion that we would see a The Lord of the Rings LEGO® Video Game from long-time LEGO game producers Traveler’s Tales. So let this been 100% confirmation of the games existence, and I’d be willing to bet we’ll see a The Hobbit game in the future as well. As for my quickie review of the ‘Shelob Attacks’ LEGO Set: Building a gigantic realistic LEGO spider, complete with shooting string and eight extremely posable legs, was one of the most fun activities I’ve had in years! (Full review with pics will be coming soon!)
TheOneRing.net, along with 150 of our closest friends from the media and collector world, were granted access to a special Collector’s Party today at the International Toy Fare. Taking place at the Javits Center in New York City, this event showcased the entire 2012 line-up for LEGO, including their newly announced Marvel, DC and, of course, Lord of the Rings licenses. All we can tell you is…prepare for a hit on your bank account. Not because of cost, but simply because of the depth and breadth of the collection for Tolkien fans. Even more exciting…The Hobbit LEGOs have yet to be revealed!! Since we are reporting from NYC with limited time, I’m attaching the LEGO gallery below, and leaving you with some quick info. I’ll post a full report on each set later this week.
The Battle of Helm’s Deep and Attach at Weatherop sets mark the first time LEGO has created an articulated horse!
These sets will start hitting stores in June 2012
Hobbit sets/info will start hitting in the Fall with expected release of Nov/Dec 2012
Shelob Attacks is the first spider LEGO to feature a web function.
This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law.