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: The Desolation of Smaug’ Category
Welcome to our collection of TORn’s hottest topics for the week ending December 9, 2013. If you’ve fallen behind on what’s happening on the Message Boards, here’s a great way to catch up on the highlights. Or if you’re new to TORn and want to enjoy some great conversations, just follow the link to some of our most popular discussions. Watch this space as every weekend we will spotlight the most popular buzz on TORn’s Message Boards. Everyone is welcome, so come on in and join the fun!Posted in Fans, Hobbit Movie, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, TheOneRing.net Community
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
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
[Editor's Note: Fear not, dear readers, TORn staffer Quickbeam presents our first official review of DOS *spoiler-free* until loudly noted in the later section (with plenty of buffer space) where inquisitive minds may read further with spoiler-iffic abandon.]
I know it’s been a long year to wait. Ringer fans are going into ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ with high hopes for another thrilling chapter in the ongoing saga adapted by our fellow fan, Peter Jackson. Indeed it is thrilling. And indeed it bears all the hallmarks of a P.J. film, replete with energetic action set pieces and gorgeously realized creatures and places that only cinema can properly provide to our senses.
There is so much to enjoy here from the technical side — the cinematography, music, effects, sound design. You know WETA has the Midas touch — and all that gold Bilbo walks around on within the halls of Erebor really indicates that Richard Taylor and artists such as Daniel Falconer have perfected their craft. The incredibly appealing atmosphere of Thranduil’s halls; the way shafts of light dance among “tree columns” while the rushing Forest River flows right under extended walkways; the noticeable difference between how Dwarves live underground (Moria) versus how Elves do it — these are the great aesthetic pleasures to be savored.
Clifford Broadway, contributor and Senior Staff to TheOneRing.net, co-hosts the weekly live webcast TORn TUESDAY, featuring live chat with stars, special guests, and fellow Ringer fans. Follow Quickbeam on Twitter @quickbeam2000
Follow TheOneRing.net @theoneringnet
Like us on www.facebook.com/theoneringnet
This ends the spoiler-free section of the review. Scroll down for more.
STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS.
*Last chance!* Do you want to enjoy the movie fresh on its own terms or not? ……. LAST WARNING BEFORE SPOILER CITY
Okay here we go. This is where I can really talk about some of the specific glories (and problems) that a Tolkien fan will encounter while watching ‘The Desolation of Smaug.’
Enter Lee Pace and his drop-dead gorgeous eyebrows. Actually more interesting is the how the art department came up with a feeling of breathable, hospitable, and artful surroundings in a subterranean area that has been molded by centuries of Elven craftsmanship married to the natural lay of the land. This ain’t your typical Dwarven underground hideout, that’s for sure. A strange thing happens to Thranduil’s face as he leans in close to interrogate / toy with Thorin — he describes his own familiarity with dragons as half of his face “seems to dissolve” showing a horrifying wound, as if half of his face were completely scarred and gaping, yet he seems to possess some kind of “glamour spell” that makes him look untouched.
The Barrels Out of Bond sequence is just the BEST THING. What a standout action sequence! Guaranteed gasps and laughs before it’s over. Go #TeamBombur! I notice how several “gentle and quiet” moments from the book have been transformed into heightened chase scenes with the Action Volume cranked way up. So many Orcs get killed / decapitated in such funny and innovative ways. The excitement is only somewhat curbed by the fact none of our heroes die. Again a difference between LOTR and these Hobbit films is the lack of any single character facing mortality.
This is a word-for-word transcription of a press conference held for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” in a hotel in Los Angeles after the World Premiere of the film. Seated were: Philippa Boyens, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Armitage, Peter Jackson, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Aidan Turner and Dean O’Gorman.
Press were given microphones by moderators. Although TheOneRing.net attended, for which we thank Warner Bros., we did not have a chance to ask a question to the assembled group; we apologize for some that did. Transcribed by Twitter staffer @Saoirse_Loachlann (more…)Posted in Aidan Turner, Benedict Cumberbatch, Characters, Crew News, Dean O'Gorman, Director news, Evangeline Lilly, Headlines, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie FAQ, J.R.R. Tolkien, Luke Evans, Martin Freeman, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Richard Armitage, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien
As some of you may have noticed – something rather unexpected happened today.
While reviews for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug were expected to
begin getting published this coming Sunday – the embargo was lifted early and we began getting reviews today! TORN staffers, who have been lucky enough to see the film already, will be reviewing the film soon enough. First up will be our own Quickbeam, who is currently finalizing his thoughts. In the meantime, however, we thought we’d post a couple of the early reviews for your reading pleasure. (more…)
Experience ‘Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug’ red carpet with TORn; interviews with Martin, Lilly, Dean, Aidan and more!
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
At the press interviews for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in Los Angeles, Yahoo!’s Meriah Doty put Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly and Luke Evans through a quick quiz to see if they could ID their co-stars’ feet.
Because Peter Jackson thinks shoeless-ness is the new black, and Bilbo Baggins is also shoe-averse — The Hobbit is really a story about feet, right? (more…)Posted in Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Hobbit Movie, Lee Pace, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Here’s a story for the bean counters. BoxOffice.com offers the following analysis of what they believe is The Desolation of Smaug’s likely box office potential, supported by social media metrics and some insider industry tracking. My take, it looks good. Well, I think it’s good — I certainly wish I could write something that earned $75 million in a day in one small corner of the world. And if it’s underhyped, well we all know that it’s better to undersell and over-deliver than the converse.Posted in Headlines, Hobbit Movie, MGM, New Line Cinema, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Warner Bros.
This is a really nice short bio interview about Peter Jackson from CBS reporter John Blackstone. I don’t think there’s anything startling or new, except this one very interesting comment that TORn staffer Magpie noted that Jackson made in the context of discussing his early movies, and particularly Bad Taste. And it’s one that I hadn’t heard previously either, which makes me wonder if it’s the first time Jackson has floated this thought.
Hopefully this next year I’ll revisit my old movies and really just polish them up and release them on blu-ray. So I’m actually going to go back to that world again.
That might mean a blu-ray release for some of his early horror and horror-comedy efforts, Bad Taste, Braindead and maybe even Meet the Feebles. Cool. (more…)Posted in Director news, Hobbit Movie, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug