On December 18, 2001, TheOneRing.net introduced a new feature on our site: Ringer Reviews – “A database of reviews from Tolkien fans all over the world, whether you loved, liked or hated the film this is where you can express your feelings in words and celebrate with your fellow fans the release of the first installment in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.” Twenty-four hours later, fans had posted 3,000 reviews. By Christmas the count was up to 6,700 and on January 19, 2002, a month after FOTR opened, over 10,000 reviews had been submitted.
Today the count stands at 15,084 reviews. Unfortunately, the individual reviews reside on our old site and have been archived. But, we thought it might be fun to revisit some of the overall results, more of which can be found at the Ringer Reviews link above.
A number of other sites around the internet are also celebrating the 15th anniversary of the opening of The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring this week, and/or The Lord of the Rings movie franchise in general. For the convenience of our readers, we put together this one-stop shop for a stroll down memory lane. We’ll bring more to you during the week as we find them. Enjoy!
As you know, last week a select group of fans in London were treated to a screening of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition. Some pretty special guests were in attendance – we hope many of you were able to watch via the live stream!
The organisers behind the event have sent us along this report:
“On Saturday, 7th November 2015, a number of the world’s biggest and most passionate fans of TheHobbitfilm trilogy assembled in London for a very special screening event, where they were joined by a host of special guests, to celebrate the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital release, and to commemorate the one-year anniversary of last year’s incredible The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest competition. The Warner Bros. Home Entertainment release is the final film in the globally popular The Hobbit Trilogy, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures.
Kyle Pedley of (A)musings Media, who was among the UK-based winners of the global fan competition, organised and hosted the event along with fellow members of The Hobbit Fan Fellowship, with help from Warner Bros. Pictures UK and Tourism New Zealand. International winners flew in from all over the globe – from as far afield as the United States, Mexico and Eastern Europe – to take part in an evening full of surprises and special appearances.
Guests were not only treated to an exclusive UK screening of the Extended Edition of The Hobbit Trilogy’s epic conclusion at Warner Bros. Pictures’ own private screening theatre ahead of its home entertainment release, but were also treated to surprises including a video message from director Sir Peter Jackson all the way from New Zealand, and a Q&A session with a panel of distinguished guests.
These included Royd Tolkien, great-grandson of author J.R.R. Tolkien and long-time advocate and supporter of the film adaptations (who made a cameo appearance in 2003’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), and writer / broadcaster Brian Sibley, who has long been involved in the community celebrating the author’s legacy, having been jointly responsible for the acclaimed 1981 BBC Radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings and penning a number of official behind-the-scenes books and guides for both of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth trilogies. Finally, to the excitement and disbelief of fans – met with an uproarious standing ovation – came the surprise appearance of film, theatre and television icon Sir Ian McKellen, known and beloved around the world for his defining portrayal of the Wizard Gandalf in Jackson’s Middle-earth and the only principle cast member to appear in all six films across both celebrated film trilogies.
Other special guests in attendance included a contingent of Middle-earth ‘cosplayers’ – The Galactic Knights, who showcased some of their terrific Hobbit- and Rings-inspired costumes and replicas; Chairman of The Tolkien Society, Shaun Gunner; and Rachel Sprackett of Tourism New Zealand.
Kyle Pedley, The Hobbit Fan Fellowship member and host of the event, said:
“This was an incredible, unprecedented celebration of the impact both these films and also last year’s incredible competition have had on people from all corners of the globe. To have such a dedicated group of fans, who last year formed their own genuine fellowship over the course of a magical week in New Zealand, reunite for this special occasion was just an absolute joy to behold and be part of. To be joined by the likes of Royd Tolkien, Brian Sibley and Sir Ian McKellen, and have such a fantastic personal video message from Sir Peter Jackson over in New Zealand, was an absolute thrill and honour. The guests were not aware or expecting any of it, and their reactions to not only the surprises, but also getting to see one another again, were a moving reminder of how indelible and genuine the bonds of fellowship formed in New Zealand really were.”
The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest was an international search conducted in 2014 by Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand and Warner Bros. to find 75 of the world’s biggest Hobbit fans. Over 140,000 people registered for the competition, and over a two month period were required to complete a series of tasks and challenges, including testing their knowledge of New Zealand as the cinematic Middle-earth, designing a postcard for Peter Jackson, and also producing their own two-minute videos detailing their favourite memories of Middle-earth and demonstrating why they were the biggest fans of the franchise.
The winners and their +1s were then flown to New Zealand for an incredible, all-expenses paid trip which spanned both Islands and included visits to the actual filming locations from the movies, a special tour of the Hobbiton Set itself in Matamata, a special Maori Cultural welcome ceremony and Hangi Banquet, a visit to Weta Workshop where all of the creatures, costumes, weapons and special effects of the Middle Earth films were made, and finally a private screening of the final film, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, in the company of Peter Jackson himself, over a month before its theatrical release.”
Those of you lucky enough to live in the L.A. area can catch an appearance by Sir Ian McKellen at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica on Tuesday, November 17th at 7:30 p.m. He will be appearing before a special showing of Mr Holmes, in which he portrays an aging Sherlock Holmes struggling to put closure on his last case from thirty years earlier. As we all know, our favorite wizard from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies is always entertaining and gracious to his fans, and may even discuss or take questions on his role as Gandalf, so get thee to the Aero on November 17th if you can! Tickets can be purchased here.
The extended edition of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies DVDs are now available for pre-order in the U.S. from Amazon. Formats include DVD, Blu-ray, and 3-D/Blu-ray and range in price from $34.99 for the DVD to $54.98 for the 3-D/Blu-ray version. The extras appear to be the same with all three, described as “hours of fascinating, in-depth looks at the production,” including:
– Commentary with Peter Jackson, Director/Producer/Screenwriter and Philippa Boyens, Co-Producer/Screenwriter
– The Appendices – The Appendices Parts XI and XII showcase a chronological history of the filming of The Battle of the Five Armies, documenting the work done on set chronologically through the three shooting blocks and in the world of its digital effects
– New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth – Part 3
Digital HD UltraViolet is also available which must be redeemed by November 17, 2018.
The cover art on Amazon’s site differs for each version. Following is a discussion of each, and links at which you can pre-order your copy.
The DVD version cover features Bilbo (Martin Freeman) with Sting drawn, overlooking the evil armies amassing, and the battle raging below him. The border, which is the same for all three formats, is a steel-gray color with a design reminiscent of dwarf-runes seemingly carved into it which adds a nice touch to these last extended editions of the series. One of the carved dwarven sentinels of Erebor watches over all on the right while the ramparts of Erebor and the burning remnants of Lake-town are visible in the background on the left.
The Blu-ray cover is more character-centric than the DVD cover. Our hero Bilbo is front and center, again with Sting drawn. A thoughtful, but stern, Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) is on Bilbo’s right, while a very stubborn, impatient and disturbed-looking Thorin (Richard Armitage) is on his left. The Elves are well-represented on this cover with three of the four smaller figures in front of Bilbo being comprised of Thranduil (Lee Pace), Tauriel (Evangeline Lily) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom). Last, but not least, stands Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) with the glow of the fire of Smaug and the burning Lake-town behind him.
The 3-D/Blu-ray cover is striking, with just the characters of Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) standing behind him protectively. As with the DVD cover, the sentinel of Dale is just off to the right, only this time with a great battle-troll below, and the ramparts of Erebor and vestiges of a burning Lake-town are off the the left, with the battle raging behind all. As if to emphasize that this is *the* battle, Bilbo again has Sting drawn and ready to do battle with the enemies. A nice touch with this cover is that Bilbo’s mithril shirt is clearly visible underneath his plainer clothes.
Definitely stay tuned, as we will bring you more BotFA analysis as details become available (e.g., releases in other countries, releases in other retail outlets, special incentives). Note that we did check Amazon’s sites for other countries but didn’t find the EE available yet. If you don’t live in the U.S., definitely let us know if and when it becomes available in your corner of the world and whether the amenities are the same, and we’ll add it to future updates.
Fathom Events has come out with a trailer for the special showings of all three Hobbit extended editions in early October. The trailer, which is 2 minutes, 19 seconds long, contains shots from all three EEs, including The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Needless to say… spoilers ahead!
The Fathom Events trailer shows only a few seconds of new material sandwiched in between familiar scenes from the theatrical release. However, a quick eye can catch some tantalizing hints about some of the new material. Some of what the sharp-eyed members of our Hobbit Movie discussion forum are buzzing about are listed below (spoiler warning!):
After weeks of rumors (and some nail biting), it’s official! The DVD and Blu-ray editions of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, will be available on Tuesday, November 17. Those who prefer a digital copy can own it four weeks earlier, on Tuesday, October 17. The official press release follows:
THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES
A PRODUCTION OF NEW LINE CINEMA AND
METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER PICTURES, THE FINAL FILM IN THE EPIC THE HOBBIT TRILOGY, ARRIVES ON BLU-RAY™, DVD AND DIGITAL HD FROM WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT GROUP
EXTENDED EDITION FEATURES A 20-MINUTE LONGER CUT AND
MORE THAN NINE HOURS OF NEW SPECIAL FEATURES
The Hobbit Trilogy Extended EditionAlso Available on
Blu-ray 3D™, Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital HD
Burbank, CA, August 25, 2015 – The adventures of Bilbo Baggins come to an epic conclusion when “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” from Academy Award®-winning* filmmaker Peter Jackson, is released as an Extended Edition on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group. A production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), the extended cut of the final film in The Hobbit Trilogy includes 20 minutes of extra footage and more than 9 hours of bonus features that will complete every Hobbit fan’s collection. The film, the third in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on November 17 and will be available early on Digital HD on October 20.
Clear your calendars this coming October! Extended editions of all three Hobbit movies are set to show in theaters over three nights and, of course, you’ll want to see them all! From FarAwayEntertainment.com:
Fathom Events and Warner Bros. are partnering to present the extended editions of all three Hobbit movies. Shown over three nights, the epic Peter Jackson trilogy will be the first time the extended editions have ever been released in theatres. Also included will be an exclusive introduction by director Peter Jackson. First night showing starts Monday, October 5th, 2015 at 7:30pm local. Tickets will be regular admission prices for each movie.
It’s not clear whether the three nights will be consecutive nights, as the AMC Theater website has The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies billed for October 13th. It’s also not clear if other theater chains other than AMC will be carrying the movies. Look for updates here as we get them and if you hear anything from your local theaters, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update-2 (8/4/15): the Celebration Cinema chain (mid-Michigan) has confirmed that they’ll be participating, but no dates are available yet. We’ve also had confirmation that the AMC 14 in Tustin, CA will be showing all three movies on the following schedule:
The Hobbit: AUJ Extended – Monday, October 5th, 2015 @ 7:30 PM
The Hobbit: DOS Extended – Wednesday, October 7th, 2015 @ 7:30 PM
The Hobbit: BOTFA Extended – Tuesday, October 13th. 2015 @ 7:30 PM
So, it looks like a tentative schedule is starting to materialize: two movies the week of October 5th with the final showing of BOTFA the following week. Exciting news! Thanks to gramma and Ryan for the updates! We’ll continue to report updates here as we get them.
There’s a lot going on in the next week or so for Ian McKellen fans. This Wednesday, July 15th, he’ll be taking part in a Q&A session on reddit’s “AMA” (Ask me Anything). The session runs from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST, so be sure to collect your questions for him and ask them here. The Q&A comes two days before the opening of Sir Ian’s new movie Mr. Holmes on Friday, July 17th. Adapted from Mitch Cullin’s 2005 novel “A Slight Trick of the Mind,” Mr Holmes has Sir Ian playing a 93 year-old, retired Sherlock Holmes, trying to piece together what happened during his last unsolved case, 30 years in the past. If you live in the L.A. area, Sir Ian and fellow Mr. Holmes actor Laura Linney will be appearing in person after the 7:15 showing at The Landmark theater, Westwood Blvd. Los Angeles. Tickets can be purchased here, and you can watch the trailer at the Mr Holmes official site.
After hitting so many different parts of popular culture, Martin Freeman, forever known around these parts as Bilbo Baggins, will now invade the Marvel Universe, which also means Disney. Just in case he wasn’t popular enough for works in Middle-earth and in the world of Sherlock Holmes, he will jump into Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War.”
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