Autumn had finally arrived in northern California when I boarded a plane to head into spring on the other side of the planet in New Zealand. To say I wasn’t frightened would be a lie. I felt very much like Frodo heading out into the wide world, for I was about to be away from my family and my continent for longer than I ever had. The weather in Wellington had been pleasant until I arrived, or so I’m told, and as more and more cold rainstorms blew into the bay off the Pacific, my co-workers at Weta Workshop teased that I had brought winter with me to their beautiful island nation.
The flight from Auckland to Wellington, NZ
Like most fans of the TheLord of the Rings films, I had long dreamed of visiting New Zealand and seeing as much of its Middle-earth landscape as I could. However, also like most fans, the cost of such an adventure always held me back. As such, if someone had told me that I would have gone to Aotearoa twice in 2015, I would’ve thought they were as full of tall tales as old mad Baggins! But step out my front door I did, each time with a little nudge.
We all love to love the male characters of the Lord of the Rings movies. Who’s heart doesn’t go out to Frodo and Sam? Who doesn’t cheer at Gandalf and Aragorn’s strength or cringe at the sheer evilness of Saruman and the Witch King? These and other male characters are front and center in terms of movie screen-time, and rightly so, but it also makes the appearance of the women of the movies that much more special.
Over at Bustle, the women of The Lord of the Rings movies get the limelight in this article that ranks nine of The Lord of the Rings women in terms of character development. Rosie Cotton, Galadriel and even Shelob get a mention! Read more…
TORn’s staff and our readers know from experience that Tolkien fans can sometimes be found in surprising places. So, imagine our delight when we learned through this Washington Post story that there aren’t just Tolkien fans on the Washington D.C NFL team, quotes from The Lord of the Rings are regularly heard in the locker room and even on the playing field!
The board was set, the pieces were moving, and victory was in hand, but Kirk Cousins needed a little help with his lines.
“Is it the third day or the fifth day you’ve got to look to the East?” Cousins asked teammate Tom Compton on the FedEx Field sidelines, as the clock counted down Washington’s triumph over the Bills.
Compton grimaced at the memory, still aghast that his quarterback would need to ask.
“I was like, ‘It’s the fifth day, bro,” Compton recalled. “Like, c’mon.”
Information secured, Cousins delivered the lines that welcomed the world into his team’s growing “Lord of the Rings” fascination.
“Today, the gray became the white,” Cousins announced, as they closed in on a division championship. “We look to the East.” Read more…
Note: out of respect for our Native American readers (and non-readers) a word that is viewed by many as a racial slur has been removed from the headline and body of this article. We overlooked that in our attempt to reword the headline of the source article. We’d like to apologize to any of our readers who might have been offended, and encourage everyone to focus on the true intent of linking to the story which was to highlight how Tolkien fandom helps us all transcend labels and brings us together as a community, sometimes in the most unlooked for ways.
Check out this wonderful Entertainment Weekly interview with Peter Jackson about his experiences with, and memories of, the actor who brought J.R.R. Tolkien’s wizard Saruman to life for millions of loving fans. You’ll chuckle at PJ recalling some comical moments, but have a box of tissues ready because you just might shed a tear too. Read more…
The long-rumored movie museum for Wellington took a step toward realization after the team behind the dream presented its vision to the Wellington City Council.
Fans of the cinematic versions of Middle-earth will rejoice that the team behind the proposal is led by none other than Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor. The company, The Movie Museum Limited, or TMML, hopes to bring together material from the duo’s many film projects as well as their own “world-renowned movie collections,” according to a release after the meeting this week.
“There is a vast collection of incredible material from the world-famous movies that have been worked on by the companies in Miramar,” said project director George Hickton. “What is less well-known is that Peter and Fran (Walsh), Richard and Tania (Rodger) also have their own personal collections of film and television memorabilia which is one of the best in the world.”
Richard Taylor and Peter with team on King Kong.
It is expected that the museum will offer both permanent and temporary exhibition spaces, a cafe, offices and a retail shop.
The presentation, according to the release, was part of considering a new site proposed for the museum that will also include a space for gatherings, such as conventions.
Hickton said Wellington has been known for world-class film making for two decades.
“For much of that time, the driving force behind Wellington’s success has been Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor and their partners Fran Walsh and Tania Rodger as well as the Weta Group of companies they established on the Miramar Peninsula.
“From small beginnings, Wellington is today a thriving centre of film-making creativity and excellence, creating thousands of jobs for New Zealanders and attracting major film and television productions and some of the best directors, producers, actors, artists and technicians from around the world.”
Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor and their team on Heavenly Creatures
The concept means the Wellington City Council will provide TMML with a long-term lease of a building built with a museum in mind, constructed and owned by the council. The movie museum organization, if the proposal is accepted, would be responsible for setting up the museum, day-to-day operation and maintenance of the facility.
The hope would be to give Wellington a tourism draw, both to New Zealand and internationally. Readers of of TORn can probably imagine the appeal.
A three-story building is expected, with top floor dedicated to a meeting space for 1100 with the bottom two floors to house the museum with 10,000 square meters of space. The museum is near Te Papa, Wellington’s world-class museum and sit between Wakefield and Cable Streets.
More details, the release said, would be released once the council decides on the proposal and planning and construction begins.
TORn will update this story with more details as they are available. Click on any of the photos for a larger version. (Cinema fans, this is highly recommended.)
Peter Jackson’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car
Richard Taylor and Peter Jackson on Heavenly Creatures
Calling all Ringers in New Zealand and those planning on heading to New Zealand in March 2016. The team over at Welly-moot are arranging an event of special magnificence, assisted by the lovely crew at Roxy Theatre Wellington.
Black Friday comes to Middle-earth today at HobbitShop.com, the official online shop of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies! The shop is offering savings of up to 60% on officially licensed jewelry, phone cases, chess sets, collectibles, and more, plus Buy One, Get One 50% Off all shirts! Check it out at http://www.hobbitshop.com !
For fans who have been waiting to get their hands on actual disks before watching The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five ArmiesExtended Edition, today is the day when releases begin! The Blu-ray and DVD sets are available today in America, Nov 18th in New Zealand (so almost today already in NZ!), and across Europe and the rest of the world in the coming days. (Read our International Shopping Guide for further details.)
This is the Home Entertainment release which completes the set for all fans of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies. Many have written how the extra footage in the extended cut makes this the version of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies that they wanted to see. (You can read some staffers’ thoughts here.) Others have commented that they had hoped for the full extra 30 minutes Peter Jackson had said would be in this cut, not just the 20 minutes we got. There are certainly more scenes I had hoped to see – but that is where the Appendices come in…
At last we have parts Eleven and Twelve of The Appendices; parts One and Two came out with the Extended Edition of The Fellowship of the Ring, so this has been a long time coming! It’s great – if sad – to see the end of this journey. The tales from the set, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and memories from cast and crew are wonderful, and give us some insight into moments we perhaps wish had made it into a cut of the movie. Have tissues ready for the filmmakers’ ’emotional farewell to Middle-earth’!
There are over NINE hours of bonus features included in this Home Entertainment release, so it really is an essential part of your The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie collection. In the 2D version, the disc with the film also includes Part 3 of ‘New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth’; Disc 2 contains The Appendices Part 11: The Gathering Storm, The Chronicles of The Hobbit – Part 3; and Disc 3 is The Appendices Part 12: Here at Journey’s End. There is also audio commentary on the film, with Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens; I haven’t had a chance to watch with the commentary yet, but I’m sure it’s fascinating. I’d still like, at some point, to have some commentary from the cast – maybe that will come with the ‘super mega all-six-films’ box set….? (For the completists amongst us, you can already purchase the Extended Edition Box Set, also available today.)
Whether you prefer the Theatrical or Extended cuts of these films (and I think most of us come down on the side of the Extended Editions), it is really the bonus features which make this Home Entertainment release a ‘must have’. If you are patient enough to wait, maybe it’s one for your Holiday Gift wish list? (Look out for TORn’s Holiday Gift Guide, coming soon!)
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to watching those nine hours of extras….
For those of you who have been lucky enough to visit the Hobbiton set (like me!), you know how magical it is to wander among the well-tended gardens and Hobbit-home facades, to rest in the shade of the magnificent party tree, and to enjoy a pint at the Green Dragon Inn. However, as most of us are aware, the Hobbiton set is surrounded by a 560 hectare (approximately 1,400 acre) working sheep and cattle farm owned and operated by the Alexander family.
Stuff.co.nz recently recounted a bit of the history of the Hobbiton and how Hobbit holes and sheep continue to coexist nicely in a quiet corner of the New Zealand countryside:
“Right alongside the tourism business is their sheep and beef operation, on probably the country’s most-visited farm. While not many of the tourists see the whole farm, the stock is still very much in the public eye, meaning Craig [Alexander] has to be strategic in where he farms stock because of the occasional gate left open by an unsuspecting tourist. Hobbiton is also ring-fenced with paddocks for stock on either side. “If we’re driving a mob of 1500-2000 ewes down the main track and there is a [tourist] bus going through that can be pretty frustrating.”
While the farm is family-owned and operated, Hobbiton is a 50/50 partnership between the family and Peter Jackson. “Today, the tourism venture has about 70 permanent staff and twice that number over the busy summer season. It’s given the Matamata district a huge boost in earnings and the region is now thriving.”
Peter Jackson delivered the images and Howard Shore’s delivered the unforgettable musical score for “The Lord of the Rings.” Music and film lovers haven’t forgotten, voting in the favorite film score fro the sixth consecutive year at Classic FM.
The site, that calls itself the world’s biggest classical music radio station in the world, plays such music including film and video game scores. It is said to be the UK’s only 100 percent classical music radio station that includes radio on all platforms including streaming world wide on the web.
After thousands of votes, Shore’s score edged John Williams’ effort for Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List,” and Hans Zimmer’s music for Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator.”
Those who have been with TORn from the early days will remember that a Burger King tie-in commercial was the first time Shore’s score was heard by the masses, as the “Fellowship” theme showed off flame-broiled goodness along with the miracle of in-scale Men, Hobbits, with a pony, a Dwarf and Wizard.
The score carried themes from “Fellowship” into the following movies, earning an Academy Award for “Return of the King,” after a snub of even an nomination for “The Two Towers.”
There are many highlights, and different fans would have different favorite moments.
You can read Classic FM’s story here and find more links to more of the top 100.
Doug Adams’ book, “The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films,” stands as the definitive word on the score but is also one of the finest books written on musical scores anywhere. You can read our review of it here.
Today, Sir Peter Jackson turned 54 years old! We here at TORN hope he had a most wonderful day and wish him many happy returns. (May the hair on his toes never fall out!)
Thank you, Peter, for all you’ve gifted us with – from the very first online preview for The Lord of the Rings to the Extended Cut of The Battle of the Five Armies. May the coming year, and those after, be most prosperous for you. (more…)
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