Archive for the ‘Film Screenings’ Category
Our third staff review comes from Sarumann, host of our LIVE Weekly Program ‘TORn Book Club.’ He will be hosting a special early discussion at 11am PST today (all timezones) at our LIVE event page as a follow-up to this review. Please note, the LIVE event will be spoiler-free and allow participants to ask those burning questions about the film. As for the review, he notes clearly where spoilers begin in the review:
Let me state for the record right away that I thoroughly enjoyed The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I found it to be a fun thrill ride with tons of spectacular visual and technical feats that go beyond anything we have seen thus far from these films. While there certainly are things I wish were done a little differently, my overall feeling as I left the theater was one of genuine satisfaction and excitement for the next film.
Having said that, I also feel that I fall within one of two “camps” that are likely going to arise among fans: Those who love it and accept the myriad alterations within it, and those who can’t stand it and feel that Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens have finally gone too far with their artistic license. I fully expect to meet as many fans who agree with my assessment of the film as I will fans who believe I am crazy and delusional. Hard lines will be drawn in the sand, and many a heated debate will rage for months and perhaps even years following the release.
I was asked, on a scale of 1-10, how much did Jackson and Company diverge from the text, and I can best put it this way. If the more controversial divergences from The Lord of the Rings (Faramir taking Frodo and Sam to Osgiliath, Frodo sending Sam away, etc.) were to rate a 5 or 6 on this scale, then The Desolation of Smaug clocks in at about an 8 or a 9. There are alterations, expansions, completely new plot threads and, of course, an entirely new main character. How fans react to this is going to be varied and loud. I can’t discuss those too much without getting into heavy spoilers, so I’ll save that for later. For now, I’ll focus on my general feelings without getting too specific.
Let’s begin with the few things that I didn’t care for. While An Unexpected Journey felt perhaps a bit bloated and padded at times, The Desolation of Smaug suffers most to me from the exact opposite problem. I felt that there were many pieces missing here. That isn’t to say that I wasn’t able to follow what was happening, but there were definitely a number of moments where I got the distinct impression that something that would have helped contextualize or round out a scene was cut.
Another thing that I felt was a drawback was a number of foreshadowing of moments in The Lord of the Rings that felt like very heavy-handed fan-service callbacks. While some were definitely there as actual plot points, there were more than a few that felt unnecessary, and may have been better suited for the Extended Edition. They never felt as overblown or pandering as moments like these felt in, say, the Star Wars prequels or Star Trek Into Darkness, but I wasn’t a huge fan of them overall.
The film did excel for me in many places, and in a few others, exceeded some already very high expectations. Smaug in particular is a wonder to behold, and will no doubt be one of the crowning achievements of this trilogy. There are amazing action sequences that are true thrill-ride quality, and many insights into the characters and the overall story that I never would have seen otherwise. Ultimately, this movie worked for me on many more levels than it didn’t, and next December can’t come soon enough.
From here on out, I’ll be going into mild spoiler territory. Consider yourself warned.
We’ll start with the barrel-riding sequence. While some may feel that this sequence is overdone, and feels more like a video game, I still enjoyed it immensely. It is action-packed and full of great visual comedy moments right along with some truly impressive stuntwork. Keeping spoilers to a minimum here, I will give a little tease and state for the record that Bombur is now my hero.
The big controversy among fans from the outset was the addition of Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), a Sylvan Elf character who was not in the book or any of Tolkien’s ancillary work. It seemed to me that fans warmed to her once we started to see her in action in the trailers, and continued to warm when Lilly spoke publicly about being a big Tolkien fan herself. Now that I’ve seen her fully realized and integrated into the story, I am 100% on board with her inclusion. Tauriel is a forward-thinking character who is able to see the bigger picture of what is happening more than her own King, and she is willing to put words into action without hesitation. Lilly’s performance is also some of the best I’ve seen from her (and this is coming from somebody who watched Lost all the way to the bitter end).
On the subject of her King, Lee Pace is pitch perfect as Thranduil, the King of the Greenwood. He is intimidating, regal and clearly stuck in his old ways. His conversation with Thorin brings some fantastic insight into why he abandoned the Dwarves of Erebor in their time of need. His cool elegance may be the best Elf performance I’ve seen since Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel in Fellowship.
The last Elf I will talk about is, of course, Legolas. While not specifically in the book himself, his inclusion is not something that feels wholly outside of the realm of possibility. Having said that, Orlando Bloom’s performance here felt somewhat lacking to me. Even though he is Thranduil’s son and a Prince of the Woodland Realm, he comes off feeling more like just another soldier in his army, albeit a high-ranking one. He is still able to pull off some incredible stunts, and he handles a bow and sword as well as he ever did in The Lord of the Rings, but this is also a very different Legolas from what we saw before. He is just as closed-minded as his father, and it seems to me that Tauriel will play a crucial role in his transformation from what he is now to what he will become in the future (or the past – it’s all wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey prequel stuff).
While I would love to go through all of the performances of the main characters in this, there just isn’t time. I’ll simply focus on some of the stand-outs for me. Richard Armitage and Martin Freeman both turn in exceptional performances as Thorin and Bilbo. The big theme with both of them in this movie is corruption – Thorin by the Arkenstone and Bilbo by the Ring. As the Company gets closer and closer to the Lonely Mountain, we see Thorin’s growing desperation to claim the Arkenstone. We also see Bilbo starting to slowly lose control of himself as he uses the Ring more and more. Both of them portray their individual slides with exceptional subtlety.
Ian McKellan, as always, is just the perfect Gandalf. This film dedicates more time to him and Radagast (Sylvester McCoy) investigating the possible dark power that was uncovered in the first movie. Without giving away too much, it does build up to a very intense and powerful reveal.
There is also the introduction of Luke Evans as Bard, and this movie does a fantastic job of fleshing out his character beyond what we see in the book. He is a man who holds the protection and preservation of Lake-town above all things. He also has an excellent backstory that helps emphasize why he is the way he is, and how his own family history is tied to Smaug.
Two characters that I felt received some short shrift in this movie were the Master of Lake-town (Stephen Fry) and Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt). Neither of them have as much screen time as I was hoping, especially when they both are portrayed so compellingly. I do hope that we see more of both of them in the Extended Edition.
Lastly, and most importantly, we come to the dragon Smaug. With nearly two full movies building up to his encounter with Bilbo, expectations for this character were undoubtedly very high. For me, these expectations were exceeded in the most glorious way. Smaug is so wonderfully designed and animated that he more than lives up to his reputation. Add to that the amazing voice of Benedict Cumberbatch, and you have a villain who is truly worthy of all the buildup. Smaug may be the best CG character I’ve seen in these movies since Gollum. His conversation with Bilbo is so breathtaking and sinister that I didn’t want it to end.
While this movie does diverge from the source more so than any other Lord of the Rings/Hobbit movie to date, I personally did not feel that it detracted from the story in any way. None of the movies have ever been slavishly faithful to Tolkien’s written word, but they have all made for compelling and entertaining movies that tell tremendous stories masterfully, and The Desolation of Smaug is no exception.
I can see, however, many fans walking away from this movie feeling that this franchise has gone off the rails and into the world of self-indulgence. We all have our opinions and expectations, but I personally do not hold to the idea that Jackson, Walsh and Boyens have gone too far. One thing that must be remembered overall is that this is just one interpretation of a 75-year-old story. Do I think it is a good interpretation? Absolutely! Can I see how others may not see it that way? Of course. Seeing another’s interpretation of a story is fascinating, and can oftentimes provide insight into the text you may never have seen yourself despite multiple readings. Interpretations can also provide insights that you may personally feel are incorrect, and I have no doubt that fans will discuss their own personal reactions to them at great length. And that’s as it should be. I’m much more pleased by a movie that sparks heated debate than I am one that just paints by numbers and leaves the audience shrugging in apathy.
For my part, I see the passion the filmmakers have for this project exploding off of every frame of these movies, and it draws me in every time. While we have a glut of movies that seem to be made by people who almost resent that they have to do it in first place – either through studio mandate or the promise of a big payout and reputation boost – it’s refreshing to see a big budget film made with love. Whatever else may be said about the cast and crew of these movies, their love for Tolkien and this world cannot be denied. And to those who will ultimately take to the internet decrying that this movie has ruined the book, I say this: Nobody is going to the publisher and forcing them to pulp all existing copies of The Hobbit and replace them with a new version based on these movies. The book is still there, and will always be there. Our imaginations create our own vision of what we read, and no movie is ever going to be the perfect match to that – unless you’re making it yourself, of course.
I won’t say how far into the story this film takes us by the end, but I will say that the year-long wait between this and the third installment, There and Back Again, is going to be interminable. Most second-part installments in trilogies have the problem of starting in mid-stream and ending on a particularly dark cliffhanger. While The Desolation of Smaug certainly does both, it is ultimately a thrilling ride that left me walking out of the theater fully satisfied and eager for more.
Posted in Film Screenings, Hobbit Movie, Media Reviews, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
We have just under a week until Tolkien fans around the world will pile into theaters for their first glimpse of the Chiefest of all Calamities, Smaug himself, along with Beorn, the giant spiders, and the treasures of Erebor. We set up Line Parties so that fans can arrange to see the movie with fellow fans, both friends known and friends yet to be met. But we’ve apparently had some Goblins get into our servers and create a bit of havoc with the Line Party pages, so we have a couple work around options.
Not all of the Lines are posting in the public ‘Community’ area set up for them, you are only seeing 10 events at a time. All current Lines will be listed at the end of this story. And instead of being interactive, people have not been able to select the ‘Join Now’ button, so we have been encouraging Line Party Leaders to include a Facebook Event page, but not everyone is on facebook. You can still use the program to create a new Line Party yourself, or if you encounter problems, email me at Garfeimao@TheOneRing.net and I’ll help you get started. If you email me to ask that I help create the line party for you, I will need the Full name and address of the theater, the start time and date of the event (is it Thursday midnight screening or on a Friday evening or Saturday matinee?). A Facebook Event link would also be really helpful.
Here comes the list of currently existing Line Parties. If you see one near you that you might like to attend, click the link to get the address and start time and hopefully there is a Facebook event page for you to reach out to your Line Party Leader. If you don’t see a Line Party near you, why not start one yourself? And while I am talking about that, where are our International Line Parties this year? Come on London, Germany, Spain, New Zealand and Australia, why not jump in and put up some Line Parties in your area? Current Line Party Leaders, if you need help editing or updating your Line listing, drop me a note.
List of Line Parties
TCL Chinese Theater, Hollywood CA – December 12, 6pm start
Arclight Hollywood, CA – Cinerama Dome – December 12, 7pm start
Happy Hobbit DOS Line Party, Scott’s Valley CineLux, CA – December 12, 5pm start
Portland area line party, Bridgeport Regal, Tigard OR – December 12, 7pm start
Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21, Irvine CA – December 12, 6pm start
AMC NorthPark 15, Dallas TX – December 12, 6pm start
AMC Concord Mills 24, Concord NC – December 12, 6pm start
AMC Empire 25, Times Square, New York NY – December 12, 11:59pm start
Superstition Springs 25, Mesa AZ – December 12, 11:59pm start
UEC Theaters 14, Cleveland TN – December 12, 11:59pm start
Galaxy Theatres, Tulare CA – December 13, 11:30am start (online giveaway)
Cinema West, Mason City IA – December 12, 11pm start
Regal Majestic Stadium 20 & IMAX, Silver Spring MD – December 12, 7pm start
Regal Atlantic Station Stadium 16, Atlanta GA – December 12, 8pm start
MGN Five Star Cinema, Glendale CA – December 12, 8pm
AMC Veterans 24, Town & Country FL – December 12, 8pm start
Ashland Street Cinema, Ashland OR – December 12, 8:30pm start
Cinemark Valley View, Valley View OH – December 12, 9pm start
AMC Loews, West Nyack NY- December 12, 9:15pm start
Boston AMC Loews Downtown, Boston MA – December 12, 10pm start
AMC Showplace 12, Bloomington IN – December 12, 10pm start
Rave Motion Pictures at Milford Post Mall, Milford CT – December 12, 10pm start
Posted in Events, Fans, Film Screenings, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Line Party, Meet Ups, Other Events, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien
At the Press Screening of The Desolation of Smaug
Editor Note: Our second staff review comes from staffer and author, Kili – Yes, half of the Happy Hobbit team. The Happy Hobbits were TheOneRing.net official representatives at the ‘black’ carpet premiere of ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ this past Monday in Hollywood, CA. (You can see the unedited video coverage in our uStream archive)
As a word of warning, Kili’s review is filled with SPOILERS from the very beginning. If you are avoiding spoilers of any type, please know — you have been warned!
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I have never been in more denial of a black screen than I was when Bilbo’s distraught face smashed to darkness. The seconds seemed to crawl by long enough for me to think it was a trick and that more footage was coming, but then the words “Directed by Peter Jackson” appeared on the screen, and the heart-wrenching truth was evident: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug had ended. I am still appalled that I have to wait a year to find out what happens next. None of the Lord of the Rings films ever came close to this type of cliff hanger. It’s like going on a roller coaster then when you reach the top of the biggest hill, you don’t get to go down, and I mean that in the best way possible.
Posted in Fans, Film Screenings, Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit, Tolkien
LOS ANGELES — TheOneRing.net covered all kinds of events this week surrounding the World Premiere of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” None was more exciting than the film’s red (black) carpet experience where the stars can greet fans and walk the press line to talk about the film.
Many clips end up on news and entertainment websites but we bring you an edited version with our own Happy Hobbits behind the microphones and in front of the stars including Martin Freeman, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, William Kircher, Dean O’Gorman, Aidan Turner, Philippa Boyens, Manu Bennett, Ryan Gage, Sean Astin, Ed Sheeran and the already-famous pinch from Benedict Cumberbatch.
Posted in Aidan Turner, Benedict Cumberbatch, Crew News, Dean O'Gorman, Ed Sheeran, Evangeline Lilly, Events, Fans, Film Screenings, Headlines, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Joe Letteri, Luke Evans, Manu Bennett, Martin Freeman, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Premieres, Ryan Gage, Sean Astin, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, TheOneRing.net Community, William Kircher
Further to our post last week about the Life Flight Hobbit Charity Screening, Niall Mackay from Life Flight has sent us information about an auction they’re running in the lead up to the film for two lucky fans to attend the event sitting next to Bifur himself
Posted in Events, Fans, Film Screenings, Headlines, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Premieres, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, William Kircher
photo credit to Ron Hall Photography
A few weeks back we reported about how The Grove in LA had been turned into Erebor, even selecting that location for our Pre-Premiere Moot on Sunday night. And then it was suddenly gone, just before The Hobbit and the Greatest of All Calamaties was set to descend upon Los Angeles. Today, the mystery of the vanishing Erebor was solved, it has been moved to the TCL Chinese Courtyard where all those famous footprints can usually be seen. So for those of you coming to LA for the premiere, you will still get to see the Erebor decor, huzzah. And if you have not yet RSVP’d for the Pre-Premiere Moot, here is the original Moot post
The weather forecast for this weekend looks to be pretty nice with mostly clear skies and sunshine. We will have plenty of reporting from the Premiere before, during and after, so stay tuned to TheOneRing.net for all your Hobbit: DOS news.
Posted in Events, Fans, Film Screenings, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Meet Ups, Premieres, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Women’s Health Magazine is currently running a sweepstakes for one lucky winner to receive a pair of tickets to the World Premiere of The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug on December 2 at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. They invite you to join some of the film’s stars, including Men’s Health Magazine December cover star Luke Evans and Women’s Health Magazine January/February cover star Evangeline Lilly. Simply go to the Magazine’s sweepstake page to enter. The Dolby Theater can hold up to 3400 people and is equipped with Dolby 3D and the Dolby Atmos sound system, so the winner will get an awesome movie going experience.
You have until midnight on December 1 to enter and they will contact the winner by phone on December 2. Since that is the same day as the actual premiere, you will probably want to already be in Southern California, or able to get here very quickly. The prize is just the tickets to the premiere, no flights or hotel or anything but the tickets. This contest it is open to all US and Canadian residents, with a few small exclusions, so make sure to read the rules before registering to win a chance to sit in one of the seats shown below. Personally, I’d shoot for a seat in the middle about half way back to get the full effect of the 3D and actually be able to see Smaug towering over above while hearing every single gold coin sliding all around you.
Good Luck to each and every one of you, and if you do win, make sure to tweet us @theoneringnet so we can look for you walking the Red Carpet.
Posted in Evangeline Lilly, Events, Fans, Film Screenings, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Luke Evans, Premieres, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Join the team from Life Flight at The Embassy on the opening weekend of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug for a special charity screening supporting Life Flight. Book here.
William Kircher (who plays Bilfur the Dwarf) and Joe Letteri ONZM (Weta Senior Visual Effects Supervisor for The Hobbit) will be attending and there’ll be an exclusive Q&A session with four-time Oscar winner Joe before the film.
Embassy Theatre, 10 Kent Terrace, Wellington
Friday 13 December 2013
Event begins 5.15pm. Film starts 6.05pm
Cost: $30 (includes 3D glasses)
Life Flight receives $9.50 from every ticket sold
The 3D film is the second in a trilogy of movies adapting the ever-popular masterpiece The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continues the adventure of Bilbo Baggins as he journeys with the wizard Gandalf and thirteen dwarves on an epic quest to reclaim the lost dwarf kingdom of Erebor.
Click here to book your tickets today
Please contact Niall Mackay firstname.lastname@example.org or 04 920 2237 if you have any questions.
Posted in Events, Film Screenings, Hobbit Movie, Joe Letteri, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, William Kircher
To wrap up the week that saw an unprecedented live fan event where fans gathered in theaters around the world with cast and crew, here is a list of things that stood out for TORn staff.
During the event, fans were treated to costume displays, live Q&As, a preview of the end credit music video, and most importantly, 20 minutes of nearly complete, previously unseen footage. As stated in previous posts, this means movie spoilers are coming, so feel free to stop reading now if you wish to spend the next four weeks without knowing what’s to come. (more…)
Posted in Andy Serkis, Ed Sheeran, Evangeline Lilly, Events, Fans, Film Screenings, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Howard Shore, Jed Brophy, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Martin Freeman, Meet Ups, New Zealand, Orlando Bloom, Other Events, Peter Jackson, Richard Armitage, soundtrack, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Trailer, Wellington
For all of you who love these things, here’s a complete transcript of todays Desolation of Smaug Live Fan Event. And for those who just can’t watch it enough we’ve included the video.
Posted in Events, Film Screenings, Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Other Events
As the live feed of the ‘Desolation of Smaug’ Fan Event ended, those of us who were lucky enough to be in a theater were treated to five extended scenes from the upcoming movie that totalled approximately 20 minutes of never-before-seen footage. And what we saw was truly spellbinding!
The theater-exclusive material began with a full music video for the new closing credits song, ‘I See Fire’. It was quite a good song, but it doesn’t quite capture the magic of, say, ‘May It Be’ or ‘Into the West’, but few songs can. It’s a folk/pop ballad about Thorin’s determination to win back Erebor at any cost. (more…)
Posted in Film Screenings, Hobbit Movie, Rumors Spy News, soundtrack, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Yes, this story will be riddled with spoilers in it, and some snark.
With less than 2 months to go before The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, we at TheOneRing.net thought you might like a little survival guide if you happen to be Arachnophobic or Drakonophobic. The Lord the Rings: The Return of the King was a little hard on many avowed Arachophobe Tolkien fans, this reporter’s sister being one of them. She watched the entire Shelob sequence from behind her purse every time she saw it on the big screen. It was only when she saw it on DVD that she could watch it unfettered.
Long before Tolkien conceived of Sam fighting off Shelob to try and save Frodo, he placed an entire Colony of giant Spiders in Mirkwood to trap the Company of Dwarves for Bilbo to rescue. This was Bilbo’s first real challenge to help the Company and he rose to the occasion. Here you can see the fear on Bilbo’s face, but he conquers it to save the Dwarves, and you can conquer your Arachnophobia too.
As for Drakonophobia, that may have been made up word, not quite sure, but better safe than sorry. Now, to be fair, there are probably more Arachnophobes than there are Drakonophobes in the world simply because there are more spiders in the world than there are dragons. We have all those Knights in Shining Armor to thank for that. Except in China, where the dragons settled in the Rivers and became good luck symbols and come out every Chinese New Year. Gung Hey Fat Choy!!!!
Dragons as seen in Tolkien’s Middle-earth can easily instill Drakonophobia in man and beast alike , and Smaug is the most famous of those dragons. There was fear, mixed with anger and sadness when Thorin told the story of Smaug’s attack on the Lonely mountain, killing so many and driving out the few survivors. Thranduil would not risk his own people to help and Dale was completely destroyed. The entire area around the Lonely Mountain was called the Desolation of Smaug while the Men of Lake-town built their town on stilts over the lake in the hopes of surviving future dragon attacks. Smaug has not been seen in 60 years, and yet Drakonophobia is still affecting the people of Lake-town to this day. But no one is really sure he is still really alive since it’s been so long since he was last seen, at least not until Bilbo makes his fateful first burgal attempt.
So, without further ado, here are a few helpful pointers on how to survive your inner phobias when spiders and dragons appear onscreen.
1) Read The Hobbit before the film opens, familiarity makes it easier to handle shocks of this nature, at least the chapters in Mirkwood through Bilbo entering the Lonely Mountain.
2) Go with a really tall friend and sit behind them. If you have no tall friend, find a tall person in the theater and sit behind them.
3) If you prefer to see the film unfettered, then bring a jacket or purse to put in front of your eyes during the spider or dragon scenes.
4) Failing a jacket or purse, buy a soda or popcorn to raise up, my preference would be popcorn, because if you spill it from fright, it is less messy and certainly not cold or sticky.
5) Bring Litzi (Red Envelope with money or gold in it) purely to use as a Chinese New Year gift/bribe
6) Put on your Ring of Power and hide
7) Hold hands with your best friend, try not to cut off the circulation.
8) Run out of the theater during the scary bits (works for children)
9) If running out of the theater seems to be a waste of money, just close your eyes, but you may need to hold your hands over years ears too, those spiders seem to make some creepy noises. Smaug, on the other hand has a rather awesome voice.
10) Wait for the film to come out on DVD/Blu-ray
Posted in Fans, Film Screenings, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, J.R.R. Tolkien, Line Party, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Meet Ups, Movie Return of the King, Premieres, Return of the King, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien, Trailer, Uncategorized