One of the most beautiful pieces at Comic-Con 2013 came to us from our friends at Weta Workshop. This statue is a real eye catcher with a great likeness, amazing detail, and a fantastic mix of grace/power. The character that Weta created that mixes all of these together is the King of the Mirkwood Elves Thranduil. This was also a special release granted by Warner Brothers so fans could see the character and start getting pumped for the awesomeness that is to come in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, ComicCon, Conventions, Events, Hobbit Movie, Lee Pace, Merchandise, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop
Archive for the ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Category
United Cutlery has announced several new products that are some of the coolest looking prop-replicas you will find for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. These prop replicas range from the Bow of Tauriel to the Mace of Azog all of which allow you, the fan, to rip Middle-earth off the big screen and bring it into your collection. All of these items are currently up for pre-order so make sure to hint to your loved ones to get a last minute holiday gift added to your list.Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Games Workshop produces little mini-figures that you can buy, put together, and paint yourself. These little figures are really cool when done up and painted by someone who knows how to handle a brush. Today, we’re pleased to bring you their wave of figures for the second of The Hobbit Trilogy. These figures range in price from $20 for a single figure to $65 for a set of the Dwarves in their barrels. This wave contains 11 new figures which can be pre-ordered by visiting the Games Workshop website.Posted in Collectibles, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again
In expanding on Professor Tolkien’s text in his film adaptation, director Peter Jackson allows us to follow Gandalf the Grey into areas that remain secret to us within the text of The Hobbit. As we look forward seeing these events unfold before our eyes next month, this essay by Tedoras examines Gandalf’s journey into the dark fortress of Dol Guldur, what he found there, and the impact that this event had on the fate of Middle-earth. (more…)Posted in Books, Characters, Christopher Tolkien, Green Books, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, MGM, Miscellaneous, New Line Cinema, Other Tolkien books, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, Tolkien, Warner Bros.
Dolby Laboratories sent TheOneRing.net a press release today that might rank among the least surprising press releases ever. Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” will resoundingly ring out at its world premiere in Dolby Atmos. Some of here at TORn are big fans of the Atmos sound experience with its ceiling mounted speakers that allows sound engineers the ability to create a sound landscape, a step beyond surround systems.If you want to find a Dolby Atmos theater, you can just CLICK HERE and find one near you. If you live in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota or South Dakota, enjoy your road trip.
Most people go to films and are happy just to make it through previews, “clever” ways to tell viewers to shut their phones off and then watch Dolby’s promotion for what audiences are about to hear. But being the movie nerds we are around here, some of us celebrate motion picture sound and the chance to be further transported out of the theater and into a three dimensional auditory experience. No surprise, Peter Jackson embraces new technology and never misses a chance to tell the most vibrant story possible. So, just as with “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” DOS will have the newest, best sound experience at the premiere and select theaters.
For those readers who aren’t sound nerds, Atmos allows technicians to create sounds anywhere in the theater, not just where speakers are. This sounds too good to be true, and we can’t explain it here, but in the right theater you can listen carefully to the Radagast sequence where he is dashing through the undergrowth and spiders crawl on his house to appreciate it. You will hear it. Anyway, this is great news even if it surprised nobody. Not paid anything by Dolby (but hey Dolby, feel free) I intentionally seek out the Atmos theater in my city whenever possible.
Dolby also has this page dedicated to Atmos and AUJ if you want to do a little home work. And below is a video of director Guillermo del Toro talking about the sound. Below that, the full press release from today. (more…)Posted in Director news, Guillermo Del Toro, Hobbit Movie, MGM, New Line Cinema, Peter Jackson, Production, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Warner Bros.
Late last night our friends at Weta Workshop sent out a special email with information regarding the details on the final new collectible from Comic-Con 2013. The last of the characters fans will be able to get their hands on is the loveable Wizard himself Radagast the Brown. Radagast was sculpted by the amazing Steven Saunders who has already turned out multiple winners from both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The Wizard comes in with a price of $275 and an edition size of only 1,000 pieces worldwide, with expected shipping in February 2014. Having seen this in person at Comic-Con this past July I really think fans are going to love having this in their collections. Its a superb looking statue.Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, ComicCon, Conventions, Events, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise, Shop, Sylvester McCoy, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop
Shakespeare, performance capture and getting back on stage – Richard Armitage talks to TheOneRing.net
As readers will know from this post last week, Richard Armitage recently took the time to chat with TORn staffer greendragon. As ever, Armitage was gracious and erudite. His respect for his fans is evident, and he seems always ready to acknowledge their support, and share some time with them if possible.
The interview covered the topic of getting ready for the upcoming release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and whether there might be even MORE pick ups next year in New Zealand. Also discussed at length was Armitage’s theatre training, and his approaches to the craft of acting. His first love, it seems, is classical theatre; and fans can expect to see him back treading the boards sometime in the not too distant future. Here are the highlights of what he had to say.Posted in Characters, Headlines, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Peter Jackson, Production, Richard Armitage, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
A flood of trailers, interviews and TV spots have raised all sorts of questions over exactly how events will pan out across The Desolation of Smaug. Here, Captain Salt takes a long hard look at the implications for character development among our beardy friends who are so keen to reclaim their heritage, and the lost treasures of Erebor.
Needless to say, lots of speculation and lots of potential movie spoilers. If you’re avoiding these, look away now! (more…)Posted in Adam Brown, Aidan Turner, Billy Connolly, Characters, Dean O'Gorman, Ed Sheeran, Evangeline Lilly, Graham McTavish, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, James Nesbitt, Jed Brophy, John Callen, Ken Stott, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Mark Hadlow, Martin Freeman, Peter Hambleton, Richard Armitage, Stephen Hunter, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, William Kircher
One of the last remaining products from Comic-Con 2013 and one of the Dwarves I’ve been most looking forward to, has finally come up for order. As we know, Gimli Son of Gloin was a member of The Fellowship and had his own statue during The Lord of the Rings statue line. Now, after more than a decade fans of Gimli can add his dad Gloin, who is one of Thorin’s companions in his quest to take back Erebor. Gloin is a limited edition statue of only 1,000 pieces worldwide and comes with a price of $249. You can order him now and expect him to ship in December/January according to his product page. Also, if you’re a fan of Black Friday here in the United States stay tuned to the Weta website for deals starting from November 29th at 12am.Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, ComicCon, Conventions, Events, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop
Last week, TORn staffer greendragon caught up with Thorin himself, for a chat about topics including what he is planning post Middle-earth, the upcoming release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and whether to go dressed as Sally Bowles to the Berlin premiere of said movie. (Answer: it seems unlikely that either greendragon or Richard Armitage will be at the premiere in stockings and a bowler hat…)
Look for most of the interview in a post later this week. Meanwhile, we here at TheOneRing.net have been pondering the division in fandom which seems to be being created by the Hobbit movies; and this interview seemed like a great opportunity to get Armitage’s thoughts on the subject.Posted in Hobbit Book, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Peter Jackson, Richard Armitage, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien
The home video market is dead or dying — so they say. The digital age has brought on massive changes on how we view movies and in a relatively short time. The ways we consumed the “Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy is vastly different from how we tackle “The Hobbit.”
Many consumers actually jumped to the DVD format from VHS tapes with “Fellowship of the Ring.” But in the digital revolution, that was ages ago, back when everybody bought movies for home use and there was seemingly ever growing stacks of money to be made from that market.
Studios once had a cash cow in DVDs but the milk has dried up now. Once, extravagant DVDs and box sets ruled store shelves while today we visit Red Box and Netflix.
So when a Blu-ray like “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Extended Edition,” comes to market it is going against the grain, against conventional wisdom and against market trends. It’s also the best home release of 2013.
The film is still the film. If you loved it you will love it more. If you had problems with it, you will still have problems with it. The added time didn’t fix what people say is broken. But if you haven’t seen the film, for the home experience, I do recommend the Extended Edition. The length includes some character moments that make the film more a little more satisfying but not in a major way. A bathroom break is close to mandatory and while you can’t pause a theater, its easy from your own couch.
But while many think about the movie, make no mistake, the real prize here are The Appendicies content; Those who are only looking at this for the film are missing the point entirely. In fact, this collection, is itself a tremendous film that would be worth buying even without the cinema release. The movie itself is essential in the package, but what launches these discs into rare air is everything else that comes with it.
Prone to exercise laudatory caution because I write for TheOneRing, and I realize too much praise causes readers to become dismissive and classify the writer as a fan boy, I still proclaim with no hesitation that this is among the finest home video releases in history. It sits on a shelf in rarefied air with a very few discs that can even compare. Among those are the Extended LOTR editions, of which this is a companion piece.
While we are here talking credentials, let me fully disclose that I was on set to witness “The Hobbit,” being filmed for five weeks and I know (and like) many on all sides of the camera. More than that, I also interned for a couple of weeks with the producers of the behind-the-scenes content. I am even credited for extra interviews, so take my perceptions as you wish.
Even if you didn’t love the movie, the exploration of the process is a wonder to behold and the whole is a triumph. And, this triumph comes with WB and MGM financing this content behind-the-scenes content. This level of excellence doesn’t just happen and it isn’t cheap. It takes financial commitment, planning and time. With rumors of late delivery circulating, creating a shortage of discs in some places, I believe I speak for many fans who emphatically say, “So what? The wait is worth it.”
Despite all the greatness on the discs, there are a few things that are disappointing, so lets start with those.
There is nothing about these covers that are exceptional or especially tasteful to tell consumers that these aren’t just another release on a store shelf. For some reason, with few exceptions, the marketing at Warner Bros. insists on slapping a bunch of floating character mugshots in a college for these films at every opportunity. More isn’t better and especially when even the casual audience knows what “The Hobbit,” is. Nobody is saying, “What? Gandalf is also in this movie?!”
A cover with a central visual idea would be a vast improvement and for these discs, there should be a graceful, classic cover, not a garish collection of floating heads. Better still would have been a style match with the LOTR EEs. The back of the 3-disc Blu-ray is actually great and would serve as a nice cover.
While we are here, the Bilbo in front of Erebor “Desolation of Smaug,” poster was infinitely more powerful that the nightmare LSD trip of Middle-earth’s usual suspects in the latest one. Boo. Very much related, if the Hobbit home video release couldn’t be a stylized match with the LOTR releases, at least we could have had a strong central character instead of a collection of them that says nothing.
Gollum and Bilbo exchanging riddles in the dark might be a place to start. The film’s strongest sequence, virtually perfect even, highlights a key moment in Middle-earth, sells us a familiar character and gives us an absolute iconic moment from literature. If things were right in the world, WB would issue an inexpensive replacement slip cover for a couple of dollars that ties this release back to the LOTR EEs. Seriously.
The art on the discs are quite good.
The commentaries with Philippa Boyens (writer, producer) and Peter Jackson (writer, director, producer) are good, but again, this is meant to be a companion disc and viewers really want more commentary perspectives as they were given in the LOTR discs. Obviously the filmmaker’s take are essential but including cast or key figures like Dan Hennah or Richard Taylor might be expensive, and not financially viable by the studios, but they are sorely missed. An unrealistic dream commentary might be to have all 13 main dwarf actors on one track or two tracks with half on each. Careful sound editing would be needed but Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Graham McTavish, John Callen and William Kircher and all the rest, would be brilliant. There are two movies left to get this right.
I am sure there are many who will take exception to comparing the discs but for certain, many consumers are doing it. These are intellectually built to go together.
But, lets move on to the good (great) with a look at what is included on most versions of the film. It is worth noting that there is a Wal-Mart version of the Extended Editions available with minimal extras. (Hate to call them extras because they are main featured content.) Even if consumers think they want to save a few dollars and get that version, they actually don’t. There is no circumstance where that option is a wise choice. Any viewer willing to commit to a three-hour Extended Edition deserves to have the story of the film as well for a few dollars difference. Friends don’t let friends buy foolishly.
Extended Edition of the film with filmmakers’ commentary and
“New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth”
The commentary is mentioned above but the video feature sounds like it might be a commercial for New Zealand. It is actually, with celebrity endorsements. Newsflash: New Zealand is amazing.
The Appendices Part 7: A Long-Expected Journey -
This is a timeline of the movie that breaks down into parts how it was made, more or less, following the chronology of the film. Of course films aren’t made chronologically, but following the organization of the film is helpful. And the docs aren’t strictly about “how we did this,” as much as they highlight interesting stories from a particular segment of the production.
The beefiest is the first, “The Journey Back to Middle-earth,” which also happens to be excellent. It follows the almost absurd series of roadblocks that threatened to keep this film from being made. Viewers who followed TheOneRing will recall those days when it seemed time and again, fate had conspired to kill the film. This is excellent content that wouldn’t be included on many DVDs of other films.
The studios bravely allowed the team to tackle subjects like the financial problems that almost derailed the films and the hiring and departure of Guillermo del Toro.
It would have been much safer to sanitize these events and it happens on many Hollywood “extras” projects but here they are addressed head on — an impressive inclusion. That first documentary is a definite highlight but every single one of them holds up high standards of storytelling and visuals that feel as though the essential moments were not only talked about but captured.
It is in fact the best big-story view on this topic available in either print or film. To better understand sitting down and watching “The Hobbit,” in the cinema, this is essential viewing. It is also great not to start with the first day of pre-production but to have a wider view of the whole works.
One of the best segments, perhaps my favorite, is “A Short Rest: Rivendell and London.” The fact that the production went to London to film Sir Christopher Lee and Ian Holm is common knowledge. A lesser documentary might spend its time making just the fact of traveling from New Zealand to London to shoot the focus of the story. Instead, that is established and then the focus is placed on something far more interesting than it just happening: Lee and Holm.
Jackson and Lee are on camera holding up production so those gathered around can listen to Lee remember parts of his life that are legendary on the silver screen. He also gives Jackson some good-natured crap and it is respectfully returned. Graham McTavish and Adam Brown are also on hand, despite not filming, to listen to Lee and help the storytelling by putting his presence in perspective. It is gold and in fact, it is a pity somebody doesn’t produce an entire film based on the man behind Saruman.
Included in the same section is a pretty incredible give-and-take between Jackson, Cate Blanchett, Fran Walsh on a telephone and Ian McKellen. They discussed character motivations and all the bigger questions behind the dialog on the script page. It is pretty incredible. There are some excellent moments with Hugo Weaving. It all felt intimate, rare and was fascinating.
There are a lot of bright spots here and in fact they are more or less all bright spots, or will be to somebody. The producers and director Michael Pellerin seemingly pushed for excellence and achieved it.
- The Journey Back to Middle-earth
- Riddles in the Dark: Gollum’s Cave
- An Unexpected Party: Bag End
- Roast Mutton: Trollshaws Forest
- Bastion of the Greenwood: Rhosgobel
- A Short Rest: Rivendell and London
- Over Hill: The Misty Mountains
- Under Hill: Goblin Town
- Out of the Frying Pan: The Forest Ledge
- Return to Hobbiton: The Shire
- The Epic of Scene 88: Strath Taieri
- The Battle of Moria: Azanulbizar
- Edge of the Wilderland: Pick-ups and the Carrock
- Home Is Behind, the World Is Ahead
Jackson also appears on an introduction to promise more extended editions with DOS and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again.”
This disc delivers production details, some conspicuously missing from the film. For example:
The Company of Thorin -
The families of the dwarves are grouped together to give us more details and insights into these characters and actors. These associations are pretty tough to pick out on screen but are well presented here. Knowing more about these characters will likely enhance view of “The Desolation of Smaug.” Pity some of this wasn’t woven into the narrative. If you aren’t keeping score the chapters are, by family:
- Assembling the Dwarves
- Thorin, Fili & Kili
- Balin & Dwalin
- Oin & Gloin
- Dori, Nori & Ori
- Bifur, Bofur & Bombur
Martin Freeman enjoys telling the behind-the-scenes cameras they are number one, always with his middle finger or fingers. Here is another case of content many studios would shy away from, but a short collection of Freeman giving the one-fingered salute is part of the reveal of who this Martin Freeman is.
So in the next segment, and perhaps my favorite on this disc, we meet:
Mr. Baggins: The 14th Member
Next we get more tasty features:
- Durin’s Folk: Creating the Dwarves
- The Peoples and Denizens of Middle-earth
- These are broken into chapters:
- The Stone Trolls
- Radagast the Brown
- Azog the Defiler
Realms of the Third Age: From Bag End to Goblin Town — We spend an hour with locations, time well spent.
- The Misty Mountains
- Goblin Town
The Songs of The Hobbit – A look at the realization of Tolkien’s songs in An Unexpected Journey.
This last item is another of my favorites. It demonstrates that despite being last, it isn’t any less interesting that what came before. There isn’t fat here to pad out the disc but instead highly polished, carefully produced, interesting, quality content.
The movie looks and sounds great, showing off how good Andrew Lesnie and his team are at shooting moving pictures. How great does it look? If you go to the audio, visual, home theater or electronics stores, bring the Blu-ray version of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” with you to test out the things you might buy. The picture is lovely with great details in blacks (Riddles in the Dark) excellent color and all the rich details coming to life. Hate to sound hyperbolic, but when it comes to audio and visual excellence, this disc is leading the industry.
The sound comes in 7.1 surround, meaning it can send seven sounds to seven speakers to create a sound atmosphere, if you home is equipped, showing off the genuine excellence in sound design through out the film. This is a noisy movie with loud characters, loud animals and orcs, some dragon scenes, deep rumbling stone giants and lots of general chaos.
But, the dialog is always ready and easy to hear, including some pretty subtle Ian McKellen lines that come through just fine. In fact, if you have the proper system in your home, sitting in the middle of the sound environment, closing your eyes and just listening is a real pleasure.
This movie is worth owning a Blu-ray player for. The film, no matter how much you like it or don’t, is technically amazing. The extra scenes improve it slightly but just as importantly, there is a wealth of documentaries that are collectively and individually great and paint an excellent picture of what made “The Hobbit,” happen. I meant it when I said it above, this is among the finest home video releases in history. Minor quibbles aside, MGM and Warner Bros. did right by fans and this does stand alongside its LOTR EE predecessors. While this film doesn’t extended as much or as importantly, its extras are as good and perhaps better.
Posted in Blu-Ray, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Director news, DVDs, Fran Walsh, Guillermo Del Toro, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hugo Weaving, Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Merchandise, MGM, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Production, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Warner Bros.
A difficult time on the set of Bag End – or rather a duplicate green screen version – left Sir Ian McKellen to consider that perhaps he would rather not continue on with the shooting of The Hobbit Trilogy. However, what soon followed reacquainted him with the joy he had come to experience during his previous journey to Middle-earth. It was a reaffirmation that even with the massive scale of the production, and all the complicated technology used to craft these cinematic stories – at the end of the day, there was a family dynamic at work on this journey, as there so often has been on Peter Jackson’s many films.
For those who have not yet heard this tale on the Extended Edition release of An Unexpected Journey, it goes a bit like this (bring the kleenex). Director Peter Jackson and his crew had developed a new technique on this trilogy for showing the actors in different sizes. While the proportions for actor Martin Freeman and the dwarf actors worked well enough for them to act in the same room, Sir Ian was required to be in a completely different area for his part of the scenes. (more…)Posted in Hobbit Movie, Ian McKellen, Peter Jackson, Production, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey