Welcome to our collection of TORn’s hottest topics for the past week. If you’ve fallen behind on what’s happening on the Message Boards, here’s a great way to catch the highlights. Or if you’re new to TORn and want to enjoy some great conversations, just follow the links 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 in the fun!Posted in Creations, Fans, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Parodies, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Trailer
Archive for the ‘Lord of the Rings’ Category
The Fellowship of the Ring is now complete. As you may know from following our news and reviews of this set, Weta Workshop created a three piece set of The Fellowship as they crest the hill from that memorable scene in The Fellowship of the Ring. You can still order Set 1 and Set 2 from Weta’s website. Tonight, we get to complete the trio of pieces with Set 3 going up for Pre-Order with this piece of the trio containing Samwise, Aragorn, and of course Bill the Pony. This set comes in at $200 like the other two sets and will be shipping in September/October of this year. Make sure to get your order in now to get yours in the Fall.
A couple of weekends ago, we dived into the big battle of The Two Towers as we discussed Helm’s Deep (Book III, Chapter VII) in Hall of Fire.
For those who couldn’t attend, here’s a log. And a reminder: tomorrow (Saturday June 15 at 6pm EDT) we’ll be moving onto the next chapter as we examine the events of The Road to Isengard. (more…)Posted in Barlimans, Green Books, Hall of Fire, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, The Two Towers, Tolkien
In the wake of the release of the Desolation of Smaug trailer last night (if you haven’t seen it yet, you can check it out here, read the reactions of our staff here, and see some new high-resolution stills here), here’s a few snippets of interesting news for everyone!
Some you might have already read, some may be an eye opener. (more…)Posted in Evangeline Lilly, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Lee Pace, MGM, New Line Cinema, Orlando Bloom, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Trailer, Warner Bros.
If you’re like me, you love your Tolkien. You’ve read all his books, you’ve seen all the film adaptations, and you’ve got a restraining order against you saying you can’t get within 200 feet of Liv Tyler. But hey, even if you’re not exactly like me, as a fan of TheOneRing.net you’ve probably heard a lot of things about the making of The Lord of the Rings movies. You know that Gandalf hitting his head on the rafters of Bag End was really an on-set accident, and that Sean Astin cut his foot on a piece of glass. You might have even heard that The Two Towers didn’t win the Academy Award for Best Score because it was ineligible. But, much like the idea that Salem, Massachusetts once held witch burnings, or that the U.S. has a national holiday named “President’s Day”, these things just aren’t true.
1. The myth: Peter Jackson discovered The Lord of the Rings when he bought a paperback copy to read on a train ride. He became an obsessive fan and later came up with the idea to make film adaptations.
Why we think it’s true: the publicity materials for film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit
But actually: According to Jackson himself in his authorized biography, he was introduced to The Lord of the Rings by Ralph Bakshi’s film adaptation. He then bought a copy of Tolkien’s book that was a tie-in to the film (with Bakshi’s art on the cover). While Jackson did enjoy the book, he hardly became an obsessive fan. After reading it once, he set it aside and never bothered to read the book again… until his wife suggested it might be a good source for a fantasy film in 1995.
2. The myth: New Line Cinema made three Lord of the Rings films because there are three books.
Why we think it’s true: Logic, the DVD bonus materials
But actually: The number of books didn’t factor into the decision.
You’ve probably heard the story: Jackson was preparing to make two The Lord of the Rings films for Miramax when he was asked to condense everything into one film to save money. Jackson went to New Line Cinema to plead with them to buy-out the project and make two films instead of one. Bob Shaye, head of New Line Cinema, replied:
“Why would I want to do two films? There are three books. Why not do three films?”
It’s a good story, but there’s one problem: Bob Shaye himself has said that it’s bunch of baloney. “I didn’t say, ‘Aren’t there three books’ or whatever,” Shaye later said in an interview for the book, Peter Jackson: A Film-Maker’s Journey. Shaye was thinking more in terms of business than in terms of Tolkien. “I was cognizant of my discussions with Michael Lynn about our need for sequels. I knew that, after conferring with Michael… we were going to make three films.”
“Bob was getting pretty excited,” New Line executive Mark Ordesky said about the meeting, “because he sees what Peter was saying artistically, but because he’s also seeing three video releases, three network television sales…”
Interestingly, turning The Lord of the Rings from two films to three films would turn out to be quite the challenge for the writers. (In retrospect, maybe four would have been better!) But regardless, New Line Cinema was having trouble making sequels to their more successful films, and when Shaye saw an opportunity, he pounced on it – regardless of how many books Tolkien used to tell the tale.
3. The myth: While shooting at the Bag End set, Ian McKellen accidentally hit his head on the rafters. Because it was a funny moment, and McKellen gamely kept going with the scene, Jackson decided to keep it.
Why we think it’s true: Jackson says so himself in the DVD commentary.
But actually: McKellen himself addresses the issue on his website, writing “Peter, for once, is wrong. The head-banging was my idea but I’m glad if it seemed spontaneous, the aim of all actors.”
4. The myth: Jackson pays homage to Ralph Bakshi’s animated Lord of the Rings with a scene where the hobbits hide under the roots of a tree.
But actually: The story is a little more complex.
It is true that this manner of hiding is not in Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring. Near the beginning of the book, the hobbits do hide from a “black rider” (twice). In their first encounter, Pippin and Sam hide in a hollow away from the road (Merry is not present) and Frodo hides next to a tree – though not under its roots:
“Just in time he threw himself down in a patch of long grass behind a tree that overshadowed the road. Then he lifted his head and peered cautiously above one of the great roots.”
The second encounter is similar (which is probably why both film adaptations condense it to one):
“They had no time to find any hiding-place better than the general darkness under the trees. Sam and Pippin crouched behind a large tree-bole, while Frodo crept back a few yards towards the lane.”
So the idea of the hobbits hiding under the roots of a tree with the Black Rider peering overhead, (and the iconic framing,) is an invention of Bakshi’s film. In 1985, a young artist by the name of John Howe used the scene as a basis for a painting. On his website, he says, “This painting was inspired by the Bakshi movie, where the Hobbits cower under a tree root as the Black Rider seeks them. I thought it was the best scene in the movie, and it must have trod a path in my subconscious, as it certainly is nowhere to be found in the Fellowship of the Ring. After a long hike on the West Coast Trail of Vancouver Island, I returned with exactly this photo – minus the hobbits and the Ringwraith, of course, and painted it for my own pleasure.”
The painting subsequently appeared in the 1987 J.R.R. Tolkien Calendar and caught the attention of Peter Jackson. Later, when Jackson was making his Lord of the Rings movies, he showed his people John Howe’s work: “Peter so enjoyed a beautiful painting that John Howe had done,” Richard Taylor later said, “that all of our brief and the Art Department’s brief was to try and generate the very feeling of this painting.” (In fact, Jackson even had a tree imported to the path just for the scene.)
And so in the end we actually have Jackson’s interpretation of Howe’s interpretation of Bakshi’s interpretation of Tolkien. And the best part is, the scene really works!
5. The myth: For the battle of Helm’s Deep in the animated Lord of the Rings, director Ralph Bakshi used footage from the 1938 historical drama Alexander Nevsky.
Why we think it’s true: The internet says it’s so.
But actually: It’s a mix-up of information.
Director Ralph Bakshi did indeed use footage of Alexander Nevsky (which wasn’t a legal issue, because the film is in the public domain) but not for The Lord of the Rings. He rotoscoped the footage for his 1977 film Wizards after 20th Century Fox refused to increase the film’s budget to allow him to animate the battles in a traditional way. The film was a success, and after this positive experience with rotoscoping, Bakshi decided to use it extensively his Lord of the Rings movie; but all the live action was shot by Bakshi himself in Spain. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the money to animate all the shots, so he resorted to posterizing some of the footage (mostly in the second half of the film) instead.
6. The myth: After Bakshi’s film failed at the box office preventing a “Part 2″, Rankin/Bass decided to finish up the story with their version of “The Return of the King”.
Why we think it’s true: The internet, the media, and common sense
But actually: This is one time common sense will work against you.
Heck, we all know critics and fans hated Bakshi’s film. We all know he didn’t make a Part 2 and that Rankin/Bass stepped up to the plate with their own sequel. It’s not hard to read between the lines and guess what happened.
But the truth is stranger than fiction.
To begin with, and this is going to be the opposite of what you’ve always heard, Bakshi’s film was actually a box office success.
“The theatrical release in 1978 had a domestic total gross of nearly $90 million at the box office,” said Amit Desai, WHV Vice President of Family, Animation & Partner Brands Marketing said in a press release to announce the film’s release on Blu-ray.
Actually, Amit, it was more like $30 million. But considering the film’s budget was $6 million and that the movie made some additional money overseas, it’s safe to say the film turned a healthy profit and was a success by 1978’s standards.
Whatever the case, “Part 2″ was never made, opening the door for Rankin/Bass… except that Rankin/Bass was already in the room, so to speak. A year before Bakshi’s LOTR film was finished, and before anyone had yet seen the Rankin/Bass adaptation of The Hobbit, Rankin/Bass was already hard at work on The Return of the King. From the November 27, 1977 edition of the New York Times:
“We will go on to complete our next Tolkien work, which will continue the characters we have established in ‘The Hobbit,’ and will be adapted from ‘The Hobbit’ and the last book in the Ring trilogy, ‘The Return of the King.’ At this point we are scripted, the music is composed and recorded, our backgrounds are painted, the sound track is partially completed, and new characters are designed-such as Frodo Baggins.”
It’s really bizarre when you think about: there were two different animation studios working on The Lord of the Rings at the same time, and for a period it looked like they were both going to be adapting the same material at the same time. Yet the movie that actually makes millions of dollars gets no sequel, and meanwhile the other guys do The Return of the King as a sequel to The Hobbit simply because it sounds like a good idea. If it seems like some crazy person was involved, I’ll remind you that the guy who held (and still holds) the film rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is the same guy who once sued John Fogerty for sounding too much like Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Whatever the case, the result is interesting: the independent choices of all parties involved coincidentally led to two animated Lord of the Rings movies by two different studios covering different ground, yet the two movies nearly dovetail and form a Part 1 and Part 2.
7. The myth: Cameron Rhodes plays Farmer Maggot in The Fellowship of the Ring movie.
But actually: someone else plays Farmer Maggot
It sounds like the ultimate imposter caper, something out of “Catch Me if You Can”: this guy, Cameron Rhodes, has fooled the media into believing he’s “Farmer Maggot” in the Lord of the Rings films, and now he’s able to work the convention circuit and sign autographs for $10 a pop.
Actually, this isn’t a case of someone who had nothing to do with The Lord of the Rings movies sponging off their success. (That’s my territory, darn it!) Rhodes, in fact, was bought on board the Lord of the Rings film project before Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, and most of the other actors. Early on, Jackson needed voice actors for a first pass at the script, and he had Cameron Rhodes (as well as Craig Parker and Peter Vere-Jones) record an audio version his Lord of the Rings. Rhodes was later cast as a hobbit in The Fellowship of the Ring, with a part that was derived from Farmer Maggot’s story in the book . Flanked by his dog, the character tells a Black Rider, “There’s no Bagginses around here. They’re all up in Hobbiton. That way!”
Here’s the problem: Rhodes’s character, which seems awfully young to be the curmudgeon, old farmer from the book, is never actually named in the film.
I can hear it now: “J.W, you’re being silly! Just because he’s not named doesn’t mean he hasn’t got a name. After all, Lurtz’s name is never spoken in the film either, but he’s still Lurtz.”
That is true, but there’s also this: later in the film, another character based on Farmer Maggot is introduced. He’s called Farmer Maggot, and he is a curmudgeon, old farmer, and he’s not played by Cameron Rhodes. He’s played by a scythe… and the voice of supervising sound editor Mike Hopkins (who sounds quite different than Rhodes). This is like the reverse of a composite character: we’ve taken a character from the book and given him two different parts! We could, perhaps, say that Hopkins is Farmer Maggot Senior and Rhodes is Farmer Maggot Junior (or just pretend they’re the same character) but there’s really nothing in the film to indicate this. Moreover, if there’s only to be one actor credited as Farmer Maggot, wouldn’t it be common sense to credit the guy who’s actually identified in the film as Farmer Maggot?
Well, there’s the catch. You see, credits don’t really exist for the sake of the audience (as this whole section illustrates: it’s unlikely anyone would say to themselves, “I wonder who plays that hobbit with the dog? Maybe he’s the son of that farmer hobbit and shares his name. Maybe I’ll just look for that other hobbit’s name, it will tell me who played his son.”) The real reason credits exist is because they are, along with monetary compensation, part of the agreement between a studio and the cast and crew. Simply put, New Line Cinema agreed to credit Rhodes as Farmer Maggot. This also allows him to credit himself as “Farmer Maggot” at appearances. And the truth is that Rhodes has a substantial enough part to deserve recognition. (Isn’t his contribution to the film fabulous?) Meanwhile, Mike Hopkins probably saw his voiceover in the film as part of his duties as Supervising Sound Editor, for which he’s given proper credit. So it all works out in the end. But that said, Mike Hopkins – who sadly died in a rafting accident in December – will always be Farmer Maggot to me.
8. The myth: While shooting a scene for the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, Sean Astin cut his foot on a shard of glass.
Why we think it’s true: It’s mentioned in all the bonus materials and you can read about it all over the internet.
But actually: While Astin did cut his foot, nobody was able to find the sharp object. (For those of you who live in New Zealand, what an opportunity this gives you! If you can find the object in question, you’ll have a great piece of film memorabilia. Maybe Mr. Astin will even sign it for you.) In his book, There and Back Again: An Actor’s Tale, Astin talks about what happened: “When the crew prepared the lake for this scene, they ran a rake along the bottom to smooth and make sure nothing was there. Unfortunately, they might have churned something up that was buried. Also, I was putting such force into the way I was marching into the water, while wearing just my hobbit feet, that anything with a sharp tip was going to do some damage.” While we’ll probably never know what the object really was, Astin has speculated that it might have been a branch – something the crewmembers might have overlooked before and after the accident in their search for a something sharp.
9. The myth: New Line Home Entertainment ripped off the fans by releasing two different DVD sets for each LOTR film.
Why we think it’s true: After we all bought the first DVD set, New Line released a better one.
But actually: New Line released the DVDs in a very fan friendly way
People are still mad about this one. The most popular review of The Hobbit on DVD and Blu-ray at amazon? A two star rating berating Warner Brothers: “As with the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Warner Bros. is trying to stick it to the consumer again by hoping people will buy both versions.”
Setting aside that Warner Brothers had nothing to do with The Lord of the Rings extended editions, let’s take a look at what actually happened:
Back in 2000 and 2001 two things happened simultaneously: DVD players began sweeping over the world, replacing video cassette recorders, and Jackson’s first Lord of the Rings film was taking shape. Jackson and New Line Cinema looked at the situation and, in an epiphany, realized that they were now going to be releasing The Lord of the Rings films into two different markets with two different sets of demands.
For the theater, pacing and running time are vital to success, because there’s no pause button and it’s important for the film to have a flow that keeps people into the story as it moves from scene to scene. It’s also important to remember that theatrical audiences are sitting in foreign chairs, sipping their sodas, waiting to eventually use the bathroom and go home. But maybe even more importantly, the shorter a film’s running time, the more opportunities it has to make money, since it can play more times each day.
For DVDs, it’s a different ballgame. Pacing is less of an issue, because people often watch them in parts, almost like reading a book, and people are watching from their comfy chair or couch, taking bathroom breaks whenever they like. With no pressures limiting the running time, the director can let his hair down and tell the story in a different way with more details and more character development: and fans love it. Just as importantly (and unlike video cassettes), DVDs offer a chance for commentaries and bonus features you could never have in theaters.
So in late 2001, New Line decided there would be two versions of The Fellowship of the Ring. Their first order of business was to manage the theatrical cut and theatrical run, so it wasn’t until 2002 that they mapped out a DVD strategy. But when they got around to it, their idea was impressive: the theatrical cut would be released on DVD along with all the bonus material they already had in the can (trailers, tv specials, and anything else that didn’t require any work) and an “extended edition” would be released with new scenes (requiring new effect shots) and new bonus material assembled specifically for the set. Because the theatrical set was basically just an assembly of ready material and the extended set was something that need to be developed nearly from scratch, the two sets were going to be ready at different times.
All fine and good, you might say, but why didn’t New Line Home Entertainment tell people about the extended edition before people ran out and bought the theatrical cut?
They issued a press release and personally shared the information with us here at TORN. It was exciting news! If you were a huge fan, you could get the theatrical set and the extended set, and you’d get both versions of the film and all that bonus material. The two sets worked well together, because they contained no overlapping material and gave you the most bang for your buck. On other hand, if you were just interested in the extended edition set, you could skip the theatrical set and save some money. And if you weren’t a big Lord of the Rings fan, but you liked the movie in theaters and just wanted to pick up a cheap DVD with the theatrical cut, you could buy the theatrical set. It seemed like New Line had covered all the bases and found a way to please everyone.
We posted all these exciting details on TheOneRing.net for the world to see, including a list of specific features on each DVD set, but the problem was the world didn’t see it.
Back from 2001 to 2003, before social media like Facebook and twitter, there was a definitive dichotomy for the public’s appetite for LOTR movie news: a season and an off season, so to speak. If we posted a story in December or January, it was big news. Fans would talk about it on message boards, the media would pick up the story and include it in newspapers, and everyone seemed to be in the loop. On the other hand, if we posted a story in May, June, or July, it was more likely to fly under the radar. People were out and about enjoying their summers (or winters in the southern hemisphere), and they certainly weren’t checking iPhones or iPads for the latest news. So the details of the DVDs went unnoticed (and unpublished by most newspapers, which didn’t really care), and after fans rushed out to buy the theatrical DVDs when they were released in August, they were quite angry when they found out there would be a better DVD set released later. (We could say that what we’ve got here is failure to communicate.)
As a postscript, it’s worth mentioning that the home video market has changed since the time of The Lord of the Rings movies. The emphasis now is to get the movies into stores as cheaply as possible, which is why The Lord of the Rings Blu-ray sets have no new bonus features. It’s interesting to note that if The Lord of the Rings had been released five years earlier or five years later, we probably wouldn’t have gotten the magnificent extras that are now part of posterity.
10. The myth: The Two Towers music wasn’t eligible for the Academy Award for Best Score
Why we think it’s true: The media widely reported it, and most fans still believe it today.
But actually: It was declared eligible.
The music of The Lord of the Rings is timeless and one of the greatest aspects of the stunning trilogy. The Fellowship of the Ring was nominated for and won the Academy Award for Best Original Score. The Return of the King was nominated for and won the same award. The Two Towers? Nothing. Not even a nomination. What the heck?
Ask a knowledgeable fan and he’ll tell you. “It wasn’t eligible because of a silly rule at the time.” In fact, it still says as much on Howard Shore’s Wikipedia page:
“Shore’s score for The Two Towers was deemed ineligible for submission to the Academy, due to a new rule that disallowed the submission of scores which contained themes from previous work.”
More accurately, Shore’s score was submitted but subsequently called into question due to the new rule; as TORN and newspapers throughout the world shared with everyone. Unfortunately, most people missed the follow-up story where the Academy said it was indeed eligible.
“The music branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences moved Friday to deflect a brewing controversy by postponing a ruling that would have disqualified for nomination a popular musical score. [Howard] Shore… was notified Friday afternoon that ‘The Two Towers’ will remain eligible after all for this year’s Oscar. Said Charles Bernstein, music-branch governor: ‘Due to the lateness of the date, and the crunch that takes place at the end of the year, the committee felt that it would be much more fair to leave this year alone and apply the rule in a more clearly articulated form next year.’”
Of course, The Two Towers was still not nominated, but that was due more to stupidity than rules.
So there you are. Ten myths cast into Mount Doom. Now I just have to find a way to start a TV show called “Middle-earth Mythbusters” where I do cool experiments to confirm or bust the things we’ve learned from The Lord of the Rings. Can you really reforge a sword? Is it really possible to toss a Dwarf 15 feet? Can you really forge a Ring that turns you invisible? Tune in next time and find out!Posted in DVDs, Lord of the Rings, LotR Cast News, LotR Movies, LotR Production, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers
Sometimes things just snowball.
So, in the name of procrastination and work avoidance, here’s another (our last, honest!) Tolkien-style parody of a Taylor Swift song. This time we’re riffing off a little tune (you may have heard of it) called We are never, ever getting back together.
This parody is 90% the sterling work of Barlichatter Elanesse — particularly the quite tricky verses. I just provided the backing vocals, as it were. (more…)Posted in Barlimans, Creations, Fans, Fool, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies
Hot on the heels of the poster release and trailer news, we’ve received word via Stuff.co.nz that Wellington will not host the premiere of the second Hobbit movie.
Posted in Headlines, Hobbit Movie, MGM, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, Premieres, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Warner Bros., Wellington
Part of a deal signed with Warner Bros and New Line Cinema said at least one of the world premieres had to be held in New Zealand.
Jackson’s spokesman Matt Dravitzki this morning confirmed the second premiere would not be held in New Zealand this year.
Welcome to our collection of TORn’s hottest topics for the past week. 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 links 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! (more…)Posted in Characters, Creations, Fans, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lectures & Education, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Other Tolkien books, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, TheOneRing.net Announcements, TheOneRing.net Community, Tolkien
“I made a promise, Mr Frodo. A promise! ‘Don’t you leave him Samwise Gamgee.’ And I don’t mean to! I don’t mean to.”
— Samwise Gamgee to Frodo
The Fellowship of the Ring
Last year at Comic-Con 2012 two Hobbits made an appearance as one of the newest entries to Sideshow Collectibles The Lord of the Rings statue line. The two Hobbits fans got a glimpse at were the Ringbearer himself and the most loyal friend you could ever have Samwise Gamgee. These two make their appearance in this line as we see them towards the end of The Return of the King in the Orc armor they get from Cirith Ungol. The regular release for this statue gets you two amazing head sculpts of Elijah Wood and Sean Astin, while the exclusive gets you these two headsculpts wearing the Orc helmets they find with the armor.
Graphically the box of the Frodo/Sam statue follows the same path as previous releases from this series. You have the front and back panels, which are black with The Lord of the Rings and Frodo/Sam done in a shade of Silver. While on the sides of the box you get an image of the statue from two different angles. The material on the outside of the box continues the matte finish we’ve seen with the last several boxes in this line. The Styrofoam on the inside has once again done its job of making sure the statue makes it intact, and to help with the multiple sculpts they’ve been wrapped separately in a cushion wrap.
Gabriel Marquez and the uber talented Trevor Grove were tasked with bringing Frodo/Sam to life. These are two of the best likenesses I’ve seen of either character in the years I’ve been collecting Middle-earth. What’s great about the Frodo sculpt besides the likeness is the pain/agony Frodo is going through by this point in the story. We know that the Ring has finally worn him down and this very much comes through in the final product. Samwise is loyal and loves Frodo. Its one of the best things about the character because he is willing to give his life to make sure Frodo succeeds. I think this comes through in spades with the Samwise sculpt. He has that look of protection on his face as if something is about to come at Frodo and keep him from finishing the task.
Sideshow has a great history of making the costumes the characters wore in the movies translate into polystone. This is another case where they were successful in making that happen. The Orc costumes have tons of leatherwork involved and not brand new leatherwork either. This comes across very nicely in the sculpt of both the leather and the chainmail with both having knicks, dents, and holes to make it look worn. One thing I love about the sculpt is the gloves. I love how they’re sculpted where the fingers do not fill the gloves. If you ordered the exclusive you get both sculpts wearing the Orc helms they steal from Cirith Ungol. These helms look worn and just like we saw on screen during the movie. You also don’t loose the likeness with the Sam helmeted sculpt nor the feeling of agony from Frodo’s eyes. You also get a couple of weapons with this statue with those being the Orc sword and of course Sting which Samwise carries. Finally, the base is really well done with the rocks giving you the feel that they’re crossing The Plains of Gorgoth.
As I said earlier the sculpts are really well done, but that can be lost if the paint is not done very good. That did not happen with this statue as the skin tone is fantastic and has the proper amount of dirt/ash to complete the look both characters had at that point. The eyes are also well done on both statues with Frodo being exceptional allowing the emotional rise/fall he’s going through to come through in the sculpt. Another great job was done on the outfit of the two characters with the worn looked sculpted being enhanced to look worn by the paint job. These outfits very much feel the way they looked on screen that some Orc has been living in for sometime. The same can be said for the Orc sword with it looking rusted and worn from years of just being out in the elements. You can say the same for the base with the look you see of Mordor coming through loud and clear.
Frodo and Sam come in with a price tag of $275 which for two statues in one is a really solid deal. The exclusive has an edition size set at only 500 pieces while the regular has an edition size of 1000 pieces world wide. Both items are currently in-stock but do not miss a chance to own this fantastic statue!
“I’m glad to be with you, Samwise Gamgee…here at the end of all things.”
- Frodo to Sam after the destruction of The One Ring
The Return of the King
Frodo and Sam have an edition size of 500 pieces World Wide for the Exclusive and 1000 pieces World Wide for the Regular. The dimensions for the Frodo/Sam are as followed: 14″ x 8.75″ x 8.5″ (H x W x D)
Of the three trips I took to New Zealand in 2003 and 2004 to conduct interviews for my book, only the first happened before the release of The Return of the King. I didn’t go thinking that I would suddenly be privy to spoilers and secrets. Shooting was over, I assumed (wrongly), and I figured my interviewees would not tell or show me anything confidential.
But at times they did. In my previous installment of this series, “Places Full of Magic,” I wrote about the facilities I visited. Now it’s time to reveal a few things I learned there—and kept quiet about. (more…)Posted in Daniel Falconer, Movie Return of the King, Other production, Wellington, WETA Digital, WETA Workshop
It’s a question many of us have asked, but none of us can answer: What would J.R.R. Tolkien have thought of Peter Jackson’s version of The Lord of the Rings?
Because I’ve read a lot and thought a lot about Tolkien and his invented world, and I’ve engaged in a lot of debates about the quality and accuracy of the movies, I feel entitled to say things like, “Well, there are parts he would have loved and parts he would have hated.” But that’s not Tolkien talking. That’s me. The author died long before The Fellowship of the Ring was released in 2001, so I’ll never know how he might have reacted to the Jackson films, and neither will anyone else.
The nearest we can come to Tolkien’s assessment might be that of his son, Christopher Tolkien, who did not give the Jackson movies a positive review. “They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25,” Christopher told the French newspaper Le Monde in July 2012.
There’s a good chance Christopher’s father would have agreed with his son’s (rather unfair, in my opinion) assessment. It’s well known that, of Tolkien’s four children, Christopher was the one most drawn to his father’s creation. “As strange as it may seem, I grew up in the world he created,” Christopher (who is 88) told Le Monde. “For me, the cities of The Silmarillion are more real than Babylon.”
As a boy, Christopher, “huddled for warmth by the study stove, would listen motionless while his father told him” tales from his imaginary world, Humphrey Carpenter wrote in his biography of Tolkien. In his teens and twenties, Christopher was “deeply involved with the writing of ‘The Lord of the Rings’. He had read the first chapters in manuscript, and had drawn maps and made fair copies of the text for his father,” Carpenter wrote in The Inklings. When Christopher eventually joined the Inklings (the informal literary group that included Tolkien and C.S. Lewis), “it grew to be the custom that he, rather than his father, should read aloud any new chapters of The Lord of the Rings to the company, for it was generally agreed that he made a better job of it than did Tolkien himself,” Carpenter wrote.
So Christopher, clearly, knows The Lord of the Rings and his father’s thoughts about it more intimately than anyone else alive. With that in mind, it may be safe to assume Tolkien’s view would have aligned with Christopher’s, and he would therefore have hated the Jackson movies.
Then again, father and son don’t seem to have shared the same opinion about whether or not the book should be turned into a movie – any movie – at all. Christopher seems to think that The Lord of the Rings is so layered and complex that no film version could do it justice. “My own position is that The Lord Of The Rings is peculiarly unsuitable to transformation into visual dramatic form,” Christopher stated in December 2001, just before the first Jackson movie hit theaters.
Tolkien himself, however, was quite willing to see his book turned into film – under the right circumstances. In fact, he sold the movie rights for The Lord of the Rings (along with The Hobbit) to United Artists in 1969, according to Le Monde.
Tolkien was first approached about a Lord of the Rings movie in 1957, when three American businessmen proposed an animated version, according to Carpenter’s biography. “I should welcome the idea of an animated motion picture, with all the risk of vulgarization; and that quite apart from the glint of money, though on the brink of retirement that is not an unpleasant possibility,” Tolkien wrote one of his publishers that year. (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter No. 198)
In regards to selling the film rights, Tolkien and his publishers came up with a “cash or kudos” policy, according to Carpenter. Tolkien put it this way: “Either very profitable terms indeed; or absolute author’s veto on objectionable features or alterations.” (Letter No. 202)
The 1957 proposal included some “really astonishingly good pictures (Rackham rather than Disney) and some remarkable colour photographs. They have apparently toured America shooting mountain and desert scenes that seem to fit the story,” Tolkien wrote (202). But the synopsis of the proposed film they gave him was “on a lower level. In fact bad,” Tolkien wrote (202). Carpenter summarized the problems: “A number of names were consistently mis-spelt (Boromir was rendered ‘Borimor’), virtually all walking was dispensed with in the story and the Company of the Ring were transported everywhere on the backs of eagles, and the elvish waybread lembas was described as a ‘food concentrate’.”
Tolkien’s overall problem with the script was that it was “a compression with resultant over-crowding and confusion, blurring of climaxes, and general degradation: a pull-back towards more conventional ‘fairy-stories’. People gallop about on Eagles at the least provocation; Lorien becomes a fairy-castle with ‘delicate minarets’, and all that sort of thing.” (Letter No. 201) But as bad as it was, he was still willing to “play ball, if they are open to advice.” (201)
In these letters, published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, we get a rare glimpse of Tolkien the (surprisingly shrewd) businessman. The book also gives extracts from Tolkien’s comments on the 1957 film synopsis (Letter No. 210). The synopsis itself isn’t included, but Tolkien’s “review” sheds some light on its contents – and is probably the closest we’ll come to his vision of how The Lord of the Rings should be filmed.
The author’s comments also give an indirect glimpse of what he might have thought of Peter Jackson’s films. Tolkien’s “review” of the 1957 synopsis dwelled on one scene, from The Fellowship of the Ring, in particular: the Weathertop confrontation of Aragorn and the four hobbits with the Black Riders. “I have spent some time on this passage,” he wrote, “as an example of what I find too frequent to give me ‘pleasure or satisfaction’: deliberate alteration of the story, in fact and significance, without any practical or artistic object.”
He gave examples of what displeased him:
“Strider does not ‘Whip out a sword’ in the book. Naturally not: his sword was broken … Why then make him do so here, in a contest that was explicitly not fought with weapons?”
“The Black Riders do not scream, but keep a more terrifying silence. Aragorn does not blanch. The riders draw slowly in on foot in darkness, and do not ‘spur’. There is no fight. Sam does not ‘sink his blade into the Ringwraith’s thigh’, nor does his thrust save Frodo’s life.”
“A scene of gloom lit by a small red fire, with the Wraiths slowly approaching as darker shadows – until the moment when Frodo puts on the Ring, and the King steps forward revealed – would seem to me far more impressive than yet one more scene of screams and rather meaningless slashings …”
I could spend a lot of time laying out the similarities and differences of the 1957 and 2001 versions of the Weathertop scene, but you’re probably replaying the Jackson version in your head right now, and you don’t need my help. I will say this: Aragorn is too much the beefcake in Jackson’s version of this scene, swinging his big sword and throwing his flaming torches at the Black Riders, who run away like screaming babies. But I’ll side with Jackson on one point: It was kind of strange for Aragorn to be carrying a broken sword, which he did at that point in the book. Besides being a priceless heirloom, the Sword that was Broken was rather useless in a fight (which Aragorn acknowledged). Why not leave it in Rivendell until it’s ready to be re-forged, and carry a workable sword in the meantime?
Tolkien also addressed the overuse of the Eagles in the 1957 version: “I feel this to be a wholly unacceptable tampering with the tale,” he wrote. “‘Nine Walkers’ and they immediately go up in the air! The intrusion achieves nothing but incredibility, and the staling of the device of the Eagles when at last they are really needed.” At least Jackson didn’t commit that unpardonable sin.
The 1957 synopsis leaves out a scene that Tolkien considered extremely important, a scene that Jackson left in: “The disappearance of the temptation of Galadriel is significant. Practically everything having moral import has vanished from the synopsis.”
Tolkien was, however, OK with cutting out some parts of the book, if necessary. He even suggested cutting out the battle of the Hornburg (Helm’s Deep), “which is incidental to the main story; and there would be this additional gain that we are going to have a big battle (of which as much should be made as possible), but battles tend to be too similar; the big one would gain by having no competitor.” (By the “big one”, the author must have been referring to the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in The Return of the King.)
Jackson didn’t cut the battle of Helm’s Deep. Oh no. It’s the big set piece of his second movie. Whether or not that diminished the big battle in his third movie is debatable.
Then there’s the handling of Saruman’s end. The 1957 synopsis cut out the “end of the book, including Saruman’s proper death. In that case I can see no good reason for making him die,” Tolkien wrote. “Saruman would never have committed suicide: to cling to life to its basest dregs is the way of the sort of person he had become.” If Saruman needed to be tidied up, Tolkien wrote, “Gandalf should say something to this effect: as Saruman collapses under the excommunication: ‘Since you will not come out and aid us, here in Orthanc you shall stay till you rot, Saruman. Let the Ents look to it!’”
Seems like Jackson’s shorter version of “The Return of the King”, the version that ran in theaters (as opposed to the extended edition), handled “Sharkey’s End” in a manner Tolkien would have preferred.
Despite his distaste for the 1957 synopsis, Tolkien was still willing to “play ball”, as he wrote. So why was that version never made into a movie?
In his biography, Carpenter gave an explanation: “There did not seem to be much prospect of kudos in this, and as there was not much cash either, negotiations were not continued.”
Like I said at the beginning, we’ll never know what Tolkien would have thought of the Jackson movies; but based on what we’ve just read, it’s safe to say he would have preferred them over the 1957 proposal. And not to sound too vulgar, but there probably would have been more cash involved as well…
Maedhros is a guest writer and his views do not necessarily reflect those of TheOneRing.net. Maedhros lives in Grand Rapids, MI. He’s been hooked on Tolkien since he was 11, when he opened the first page of “The Two Towers” and read about Aragorn tracking a hobbit; and Boromir’s death scene, of course.
Posted in Christopher Tolkien, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Other Tolkien books, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Uncategorized
We know; the compulsion people feel to compare works of fantasy – and in particular, A Song of Ice and Fire with Tolkien’s Middle-earth tales – can get annoying. As writer Anne Hobson herself admits, ‘comparing the two masterpieces is in many ways “as useless as nipples on a breastplate,” as Tyrion Lannister would say…’ Nonetheless, many readers are fans of both George R R Martin and J R R Tolkien, and as both worlds are being brought to life at the moment - in the realms of television and cinema respectively – it is inevitable that comparisons will be drawn.
Hobson’s blog in ‘The American Spectator’ is an interesting piece, giving the subject careful thought. She suggests that there are core differences between the two writers, both in the origins of their creations and in their perceptions of morality. You can see what she had to say – and perhaps draw your own conclusions – here.Posted in Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Miscellaneous, The Hobbit, Tolkien