Archive for the ‘LotR Movies’ Category
As hard as it is to believe for many of us, this coming Monday, December 19th, marks the 15th anniversary of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring opening in theaters. To help celebrate, we’ll be looking back all this week at the news on TORN and other sites from before, during and after the release of this incredible movie that changed many of our lives and that, together with the other two films in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, has become a classic.
By this time in 2001, many of us had already purchased our tickets, some for the midnight shows. Many were preparing costumes and/or thinking up excuses not to go into work on the 20th (ahem). A precious few of us had even been lucky enough to have seen the movie before it opened (I wish). But, one thing we all had in common was the thrill and excitement of watching the trailers in the months leading up to the December release.
Re-watching some of the trailers again brought back a tinge of the excitement I felt when I spent hours watching the first trailer, on dial-up no less! Kids, you’ll have to ask your parents to explain. Yes, those were the days. To help all of you revisit that excitement, here’s a gem from 2014 posted by staffer Demosthenese: The ghosts of trailers past: revisiting The Lord of the Rings, complete with TORn staffers’ exclusive frame-by-frame analysis – well worth a re-visit even today.
The first teaser in theaters came out on January 12, 2001 and was only 1 min, 47 seconds long; but what a 1 min and 47 seconds! In it, we see the classic ‘money shot’ of each member of the Fellowship as they walk over the crown of a hill in the wild. Gandalf leads the way and as each of the others follow we see the titles appear: The Fellowship of the Ring – Christmas 2001; The Two Towers – Christmas 2002; The Return of the King – Christmas 2003. The sublime subtlety of The Return of the King title appearing as Aragorn topped the hill was lost on no one who had read the books.
The second trailer was released on May 25th and clocked in at a fulfilling 2 mins, 27 seconds. In it, we learned quite a bit about the One Ring and, oh my goodness, got our first glimpse of *gasp* Sauron! Oh, the rumors and hours of discussion that ensued, not to mention the hubbub caused by seeing Arwen for the first time!
The third trailer, which premiered on television in front of Angel in September, gave us our first, glorious glimpse of The Shire and Bag End. “Fate has chosen him…. a Fellowship will protect him… evil will hunt them ….This Christmas the legend comes to life.” How many of us had that memorized? The other biggie in this trailer was seeing the tip of the fiery foot of the Balrog; que more endless hours of rumors and discussion!
We hope you enjoy watching the trailers again, and taking a walk down memory lane with us this week!
Posted in Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Movie Fellowship of the Ring
One month on from New York ComicCon , we thought readers might enjoy a gallery of images from the event – to see the fun which unfolded in the Big Apple, and perhaps to reminisce, if you were there!
Big thanks to all who came and visited TORn’s booth this year. The convention was bigger than ever, and fighting one’s way around the show floor is no easy feat! It is always a delight to meet with fellow fans, and we loved chatting with all who came by – or who joined us at the ‘Fan Meet-up’ on Saturday night. And of course it was a joy to hang out with everyone who joined us on the Thursday evening for our annual ‘Ringers take Manhattan’ party. Special thanks to Graham McTavish for coming along, and being a true gent to all the partygoers. (more…)
Posted in Books Publications, Collectibles, Conventions, Events, Fans, Graham McTavish, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, NYCC, Stamps & Coins, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, TheOneRing.net Community, Toys, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop
Peter Jackson made a recent announcement on his facebook page that his next movie project will be adapting Philip Reeve’s book, Mortal Engines. The book is set in a post-apocalyptic future where cities move about on wheels, devouring smaller cities for their resources. The book is the first in a series of four books, presenting the opportunity for ‘sequels’ down the road.
The project will bring together many of the crew who worked on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchises, including Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens who adapted the Mortal Engines script. The movie will be directed by Christian Rivers, the VFX master of The Hobbit. From Deadline Hollywood:
“Christian is one of my closest collaborators,” says Jackson in a statement. “The combination of emotion and jaw-dropping visuals in Mortal Engines makes this the perfect movie for his move into feature directing. What Christian intends to do with Philip Reeve’s terrific story is going to result in an original and spectacular movie. I wish I could see it tomorrow!”
The text of PJ’s facbook post is below
OUR NEXT MOVIE!
It’s been a quiet few months, but I’m very happy to tell you that our next project is now underway.
WingNut Films be producing a feature film based on Philip Reeve’s book Mortal Engines, to be directed by Christian Rivers. The script has been written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and myself.
Some of you may recall that Christian was going to direct the Dambusters a few years back. Since then he’s kept himself busy, making short films, and directing Second Units on The Hobbit and Pete’s Dragon.
Our involvement in Mortal Engines actually pre-dates Dambusters (which is still happening) – Christian actually worked on Mortal Engines previs way back in 2009. It’s very exciting to finally get it underway!
We’ve had the rights to Philip’s book series for several years, but have had to wait for the right time to make it.
If you haven’t read the books, you should. They present a stunning look into the future, when all of Earth’s major cities are now mounted on wheels, roaming across the landscape as massive “Traction Cities”. Our society has build itself on the principals of Municipal Darwinism – this basically involves the bigger cities hunting down, and consuming, the smaller ones. And that’s only the backdrop to an original and emotional personal story.
Philip Reeve has created a range of intriguing characters, following their adventures in our strange future world through four books – “Mortal Engines”, “Predator’s Gold”, “Infernal Devices” and “A Darkling Plain”.
The moment we read these novels, we knew what exciting movies they’d make. I literally can’t wait to see them!
The movie will be financed by MRC and Universal, and shooting will get underway next March, in New Zealand. Producers Zane Weiner and Amanda Walker, who both worked on the Hobbit, will be spearheading the NZ based team, along with Deborah Forte in the US.
No casting to announce yet, but Weta Workshop and Weta Digital are both onboard.
With the wheels now rolling on Mortal Engines, I’ll bring you a lot of news and sneak peeks at what we’re doing over the coming months.
Posted in Crew News, Director news, Fran Walsh, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, PJ's Other Films, Production, The Hobbit
Staffers from TORn have started arriving in the Big Apple to set up our booth – that means New York ComicCon is almost upon us! The fun kicks off at 10am tomorrow morning; here are some of the highlights for Tolkien fans:
First of all, TORn’s booth this year is number 3164. This is NOT our usual corner spot – we could only get an ‘inline’ booth this year. But look for the usual ‘tent’ and you’ll find us! As ever, we’ll have t-shirts and buttons for sale, and we have some fabulous items for our ‘lucky dip’ giveaways! It’s an election year even in Middle-earth; here are the t-shirts we’ll have on sale this year: (more…)
Posted in Andy Serkis, Books Publications, Clothing, Collectibles, Conventions, Elijah Wood, Evangeline Lilly, Events, Fans, Graham McTavish, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, NYCC, Stamps & Coins, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, TheOneRing.net Announcements, TheOneRing.net Community, Toys, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop
It’s that time again – New York ComicCon is just around the corner! We’re looking forward to see our fellow fans in the Big Apple!
You can find us at the convention at Booth 3164 – please note, this is NOT where we have been before. (This year we could only get an ‘inline’ booth – so don’t look for us on a corner!) As ever, we’ll have t-shirts and buttons for sale, as well as the usual cool giveaways and fun stuff. This year is an election year even in Middle-earth! These are the shirts which will be available:
Shirt comes in regular cut, ‘Sports Grey’
Back of the Feel the Burn shirt (comes in ‘Sports Grey’)
Front only design, comes in regular cut ‘Metro Blue’ and fitted cut ‘Antique Cherry’
Posted in Clothing, Conventions, Evangeline Lilly, Events, Fans, Graham McTavish, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, NYCC, The Hobbit, TheOneRing.net Community
INVITE YOUR FRIENDS! SPREAD THE WORD! BRING FOOD & DRINK!
Southern California Tolkien fans are invited to join in the merriment of TORN’s Annual Baggins Birthday Bash, which will take place on Saturday, Sept 24, 2016 starting at noon in El Dorado Park in Long Beach, the Arbor Day Grove. Because this is a Regional Park, there is a $7 entrance fee, for parking. The advantage, there really is a lot of parking, the disadvantage, no in/out privileges so you may want to carpool.
Map and Directions Added Below!!!
We will be celebrating the Birthday of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, and rejoicing in each other’s fellowship. THIS IS NOT A POTLUCK ANYMORE. Bring food and drink for yourself and your party. If you wish to share something, no one will turn it down and it will go on a public table.
Costumes are encouraged, and we may have a prize or two for the most beautifully or most creatively attired lads and ladies. There will also be fun and games, as usual, depending on who wishes to participate.
Schedule – to be posted closer to the event on our Facebook Event Page.
Birthday Cake – A Creative Middle-earth Cake decorating contest open to anyone. So get creative, bake a cake or cupcakes and have fun decorating it in whatever Middle-earth style you prefer. This will actually be a Juried event with a prize for the Cake or Cupcakes deemed the most creative. Please know that heat may play havoc with your cake, so make plans for that eventuality. We will know better the week of the party. We will begin the Cake judging at 2pm to avoid the melting problem of last year.
RSVP by leaving a note on our Facebook Event Page, or send an email to Garfeimao@theonering.net.
Standard things everyone may want to bring to the picnic include: picnic blanket, lawn chairs, hat and sunscreen and a smile. Maybe a pop up tent as well, shade is always at a premium, although there are a lot more trees at this park.
We are no longer hosting this as a “Potluck”, but rather as a Bring your Own picnic, anything you wish to share, you can, but do make sure you have enough for your party.
There are a few items that would be nice to bring that could be shared, including the following:
Beverages, Ice and ice chests, Supplies – packs of paper plates, plastic cups, boxes of mixed flatware (plastic knives, forks and spoons), napkins, trash bags and table covers. Repeating Ice Chests and Ice.
PLEASE BE SURE TO POST WHAT YOU’RE BRINGING TO SHARE ON THE FACEBOOK WALL SO THAT EVERYBODY KNOWS WHAT’S BEING BROUGHT AND WHAT STILL NEEDS TO BE BROUGHT.
The official address given by the park is 7550 E. Spring Street, Long Beach CA 90815, but this is actually the address of the Nature Center that is across the street from the park. The park entrance is on the same side of the street as the Dog Park and the El Dorado Archers. It is at the corner of E. Spring Street and El Dorado Park Road. There is a guard gate just as you turn off Spring Street where you have to pay an entrance fee of $7.00 per car – CASH ONLY. This includes being able to park in the lot near the picnic site. Make sure you enter the Park NOT the Nature Center.
Please check your favorite Map app to confirm correct directions from your location. There are not enough Rangers to spare to send out search parties for lost picnic-goers 🙂
From the North taking the 405 South.
Take Exit 24 Studebaker Road in Long Beach.
Take a sharp left onto N. Studebaker Road.
Continue on N. Studebaker Road 1.8 miles.
Turn Right on E. Spring St. and drive .08 miles.
Turn LEFT into El Dorado Park
From the North taking the 605 South
Take Exit 2B and merge onto E Spring Street.
Destination is on your right
From the South take 405 North to the 605 North.
Exit 1B off the 605 toward Willow Street..
Continue on E. Willow St. .09 miles
Turn Right on N. Studebaker Rd. Drive .05 miles
Turn Right onto E. Spring St. Drive .08 miles
Posted in Baggins Birthday Bash, Events, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Meet Ups, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Other Tolkien books, Return of the King, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Two Towers, Tolkien
MAP (click for hi-res version)
New items are landing from our friends at Weta Workshop for Pre-Order.
We have the return of the 1:4 helm line that fans have been begging to have back. The new line leads off with the helm of Skully the Orc, who you may recall from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. This piece looked absolutely fantastic at Comic-Con, with the skull looking like the real bones from some poor soul. Skully’s helm can be had for $79 and is due to ship in quarter one of next year. (more…)
Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, ComicCon, Conventions, Events, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie Return of the King, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop
It’s that time of year again, when about half a million people converge on downtown Atlanta for the geekfest that is DragonCon. And TheOneRing.net will of course be there! We can’t wait to see all our friends and to enjoy Middle-earth fun together.
Some of the things which will be happening:
TheOneRing will have a ‘fan table’, as ever, where staffers deej and greendragon will be hard at work! We’ll be in our usual location in the Hyatt hotel, opposite the entrance to the Art Show. Come by and check out the new buttons and two new tshirt designs we’ll be unveiling this year!
Posted in Clothing, Conventions, Craig Parker, Dean O'Gorman, DragonCon, Events, Fans, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Oscar Parties, Ryan Gage, The Hobbit, TheOneRing.net Community
Not to sound as alarmist as Fredegar Bolger rousing the Hobbit-folk in the wee hours of a peaceful Shire morning, but perhaps the time has come for fans of Howard Shore’s scores to sit up and reconcile themselves to a very dismaying possibility – that the unheard music of Middle-earth might well in fact never be heard.
It’s Earl, your soundtrack-obsessed TORn-staffer, and the reason I’m venturing to make this statement is because of the recently announced Limited Collector’s Edition of the movies, which makes it almost excruciatingly clear that the Warner Bros studio is so very, very far removed from knowing what fans really, truly want, and are willing to pay for.
Posted in Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Howard Shore, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Music, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Warner Bros.
Greetings — Quickbeam here.
The forthcoming “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” 6-film Blu-ray set of both LOTR and HOBBIT has caused much consternation among Ringers, eliciting strong reactions across the board. Several of our Staff have published their excellent viewpoints (my op-ed is here) and our community feels energized like it was 15 years ago. (more…)
Posted in Blu-Ray, Director news, DVDs, Fans, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Other Merchandise, Peter Jackson, Studios, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, TheOneRing.net Community, TORn TUESDAYS Live!, Warner Bros.
No-one likes being taken for a sucker. And, frankly, the recent announcement of the Middle-earth blockbuster ka-pow edition (or whatever jargon-hype wording Warner Bros Home Entertainment is lobbing onto it) certainly has that feel.
It’s the same content repackaged into a bookcase that you or I might have thrown together in high-school woodworking. Yes the bookcase looks quite nice. And there’s a nice little booklet. Yes, all your discs come in nice faux-leather slipcases. Yes, it’s all in a big, glossy box created by professional designers (even if they’re using the same visual assets we’ve seen elventy-billion times).
But, ultimately, it’s still the same content.
And for eight hundred US dollars. Count them. (more…)
Posted in Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Studios, The Hobbit, Warner Bros.
Greetings, Quickbeam here.
What is all this business with a 30 disc Blu-ray “Ultimate” edition of LOTR and HOBBIT Trilogies? Why the heck is it priced at $800 when it contains nothing new from previous releases? If you’re curious to investigate the many details behind the sticker-shock; and the wave of fan outrage / bemusement that surrounds this story, then join me as we dig deeper to learn some interesting truths.
After the final Extended Edition of BOTFA came to us, most of the Tolkien fan community assumed it would get quieter around these parts. Ringers everywhere realized the #OneLastTime marketing hashtag epitomizing the theatrical run of the final Hobbit film had more truth to it than they wanted to admit. It was the realization that Peter Jackson’s uber-talented team of filmmakers and creative partners (including Michael Pellerin who created the glorious Appendices for both film trilogies) had, in truth, concluded their grand effort that began way back in 1999.
The “Middle-earth Saga” was now complete. No more films. No more Appendices.
But we still wanted more. And many times over the past 16+ years we heard from PJ himself, the writer/ producer/ director, that there *was* more! More fully-executed scenes that didn’t make the EE versions, more outtakes, more narrative threads tying the six films together, thousands of bloopers (this stuff has the quality of legend, since we have been waiting on it for so long), and always it was spoken of by the filmmakers with the feeling of: “Hold onto hope, fans, because someday I’m sure the studio will be interested in releasing this as a fuller, bigger, maxed-out Ultra Edition!”
Privately among our TORn Staff we have nicknamed this the “Unicorn Edition.” On the ROTK Extended Edition commentary track PJ refers to this many times as a possible “25th Anniversary Edition;” with a few laughs shared between Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens asking to “remind him” after all those years of several shots he had in mind.
My producer and co-host Justin has been talking about this for years on our livestream TORn Tuesday show. It’s aptly named: a Unicorn Edition that’s so ephemeral and seemingly out-of-reach. A version of these films where the unifying of all six would be complete; where that opening prologue of FOTR would see that single shot of Ian Holm finding the Ring replaced with a brief shot of Martin Freeman from AUJ. Where Saruman would actually find and hold a Palantir after the Battle of Dol Guldur in BOTFA. Where Tom Bombadil (!) would be referenced or appear in a cameo. Where we could see the outtakes of TTT where Arwen fights at Helm’s Deep – where Eowyn fiercely defends her kin as the Glittering Caves are attacked – reminding us how mercurial the filmmaking process actually is.
You’ll recall the Number One Rule of Show Business: “Always leave them wanting more.” That dusty adage perhaps holds clenching power over the weird situation we find ourselves in now. Or perhaps it’s because of the wrong-headed management by a strata of marketing people who have no business making such decisions. Perhaps it is the onus of financial reality that dictates everything that follows. Yeah, there’s millions of dollars at stake here.
Well, as you know by now: things are no longer quiet in the land of Ringers. We have a new controversy on our hands with the release of what Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has dubbed the “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” 6-film Blu-ray set.
Many of us are reacting with shock, and genuine SMH smack-my-head wide-eyed expressions of “THAT’S JUST RIDICULOUS!” (which I heard verbatim on the phone just now explaining to someone what was offered). Look at how people are responding on Amazon.com and right here on our Message Boards. You’d think rapturous applause would resound at the release of this supposed “Ultimate” package that unifies everything a Ringer could want. Except it clearly does not. It contains no new content, just very luxurious packaging. And it’s priced at U.S. $800 retail.
Someone on our Staff adroitly pointed out that you could get a ticket to New Zealand and get the real Middle-earth experience for that much. Another quipped: “Does Hobbit DNA come with this new set so we can clone our own Bilbo at home?”
So, hey, Warner Bros. are you listening? That’s not applause. Those are gasps. Mass shaking of heads in dismay doesn’t produce a sound but I can hear it quite clearly.
Bill Hunt over at The Digital Bits wrote an excellent op-ed piece [link here] that pretty much sums up how people are feeling. He, and others, had to check with WBHE to see if the price point was not a mistake. It isn’t.
Personally, I feel like the fans who have already spent their money double-dipping on Theatrical DVD’s and then Extended Editions in the early 2000’s (and *then* having to buy Blu-rays that made their advent later) are getting kicked in the teeth. I got to this point of indignation because I know what was really in store for us. But I also recognize the forces at work that brought us to this place.
The “physical disc” home video marketplace has been in decline for a long while. Consumers are shifting to their preference of streaming services, digitial downloads, etc. New tech has already arrived with 4K Ultra High-def televisions and content providers struggling to keep up. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality is the next wave of influence we shall be caught up with (Pokemon Go, anyone?).
While it was a long-held belief that adding Special Features, Behind-the-Scenes documentaries, and other “value added” content to a disc would improve sales by enticing buyers to get the goodies, the studios ran the numbers and discovered that, no, it didn’t make much difference. People would buy the stripped-down movie-only disc as much as the fancier version. The studios asserted then that after spending money on producers/ writers/ editors to make spiffy added content for discs they still didn’t see increased sales. It became a tougher prospect to get more added into a home video release of anything; as with all business they were watching their bottom line.
I’ve heard from many sources that Michael Pellerin himself had quite a fight on his hands with Warner Bros. to keep the same format of continuing “The Appendices” on the Extended Editions of HOBBIT. The studio didn’t want to match what was done years earlier for LOTR because it cost a pretty penny to make those beautiful extras, believe me. It took a lot of convincing to get the materials and coverage and do honor to the filmmakers’ efforts. It very nearly didn’t happen. We are all thankful that it did.
The studio has overspent themselves in the past with regard to a splashy home video release. Let me tell you a wee story:
Before Warner Bros. completely ‘absorbed’ them, the LOTR Trilogy VHS tapes and early DVDs were released by New Line Home Entertainment. On June 28, 2011, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment spent a ton of money on a special party in Los Angeles for the “Ultimate” LOTR Trilogy Blu-ray Extended Editions that was to the be single must-own item for Ringers. At this release event, staged at a Best Buy parking lot on the west side of L.A., they held a locked down parking lot disrupting the store for over 9 hours, caging off an area expecting about 2,000 fans or more to queue up and be part of the spectacle that included John Noble and Sala Baker as the special stars from the cast. The live-feed from New Zealand brought us Oscar-winner Sir Richard Taylor and our friend WETA artist/author Daniel Falconer together to livestream their review and judging of a highly-anticipated “Ultimate Fan Costume Contest” sponsored by Air New Zealand that was won by a super-creative fan for her saucy “Vegas Showgirl Balrog” outfit. I remember it so vividly because I’d been asked to M.C. the stage event – it was quite something. If you’d seen the Gollum-shaped fireworks display atop the Best Buy parking lot you would’ve sworn this was a million-dollar blowout party held by an indulgent Saudi Prince who happened to love Tolkien.
This spectacle was, from New Line’s perspective, a huge bust. 2,000 people didn’t show up. About 45, tops. The low turnout at that event stung New Line like nothing else. The fans didn’t show up simply because, as other Senior Staff at TheOneRing.net will recall, there were endless weeks of legal bickering (without agreement) between Best Buy’s legal arm and New Line, and the poor fan site sitting in the middle of this was TORn, not being allowed to disclose or promote to the wide world the Fan Costume Constest that was about to take place. All was frustrated, like the long-term plans of ‘Saruman of Many Colours.’
They also felt this would reflect on lower anticipation and thus lower sales of that Blu-ray set. I’m convinced *this* new 6-film “UCE” is suffering from that burden of association. WBHE, for lack of a better term, inhereted this property from New Line, and now they don’t want to spend another cent. Frugality is how they maximize profits.
I can understand the exigencies of getting the most bang for your buck, but seriously, the other side of this argument is that Warner Bros. seems woefully out of touch with what the fans really, REALLY want. Remember that stinging “open letter” published last week calling out their C.E.O. for mishandling many properties and losing the course of their ship? [link here] That sentiment reflects the feelings of many (including me, especially with respect to their D.C. Comics Extended Universe) but it should be said that Peter Jackson’s production and handling of HOBBIT was not indicative of problems at Warner Bros., that was MGM’s fault from way before.
Now it comes to it. All my thought is bent upon this. I have reached out to Warner Bros. and at the time of this posting they have offered no comment. Dutifully I reached out to Peter’s team at Wingnut Films in Wellington, and they immediately replied with: “We have no comment as this time, but if we do decide to in the future we will come to you.” To both entities I say: you’re always welcome to come onto our live show and discuss it with the fans around the world, or correspond with us so we can provide equal time. We would love to have their thoughts.
I’ve done a bit of investigative sleuthing and found out the facts that have me seeing red: Peter Jackson faithfully and very earnestly offered (almost a year and half ago, perhaps two years back) to make this current “UCE” into a true “Unicorn Edition.” Michael Pellerin and PJ together proposed to WBHE that this combination of all six movies would be the perfect opportunity to send-off the Middle-earth Saga with a comprehensive look back. It would allow them to do brand spanking new 2-hour documentaries for each of the films featuring those outtakes and bloopers I have extolled; with even more frank discussion about “hot button” issues they couldn’t talk about at the time but now with the ease of time passing could be elucidated.
Imagine – not just dragons – but imagine seeing all that footage from the past – the glorious warts-and-all approach of looking at their accomplishements with a 16 year difference of time! Imagine where we, the avid audience, are given the benefit of seeing so much creativity in a whole new light. It is not an understatement that PJ and Company rose to the heights of film history with LOTR, winning 11 out of 11 Academy Awards for ROTK, the biggest clean sweep in Oscar history; and setting a bewildering high-watermark for filmic storytelling that redifined what long format stories can do for the cinema.
The kicker: Warner Bros. refused to pay for this. They balked and said, “We would only do ONE two-hour documentary, not a whole bunch of them, so let’s scale this whole thing back.” I’ve been told by the most reliable sources that PJ decided he would rather not do a half-assed retrospective and it would not be in alignment with what he had been enthused about for so long (we’ve all heard him in the Director’s Commentaries mentioning this possible “Unicorn Edition” even though he didn’t use that exact term).
We now know his “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” has been on the table for quite a long time. The end result was not guided by the original plucky Kiwi director who had always loved Tolkien. Sadly it was goverened by a team of marketing people who are not Tolkien fans, people who have been tone-deaf to the worldwide audience by the very release of this “UCE,” and neglecting what we have been anticipating – and VOCALIZING – for damn near 17 years. Does anyone at the studio read message boards or social media streams to glean what kind of appetite we have? Did anyone bother to listen to Sir Peter Jackson all this time and note what he has always promised was waiting for us at the end of this journey? I mean really!
Who wants to spend $800 on a regurgitation of previous existing Blu-ray content anyone could acquire at a fraction of the cost? The wooden shelf is nice and the Red Book simulacrum with accompanying art prints is cute, but it’s not what we really wanted. It is not clear who among our fan community this release was intended for, knowing how avidly we have already bought the previous home video products.
We are standing up right now and telling you, Warner Bros., what we most passionately want.
If the guardians at WBHE would like to remedy this there is still a chance. The studio has not categorically said: “We will NOT ever do this Unicorn Edition with all the archives/ outtakes/ bloopers/ from 16 years ago.” I am willing to bet that the next wave of 4K Ultra High-def may see some possible movement on this in the future.
The content is there. It can be done! The outsized larger canvas of LOTR being Extended yet again is, by itself, enough to motivate potential buyers. The rest is just gravy. There are indeed costs involved with re-scanning the negatives from LOTR up to the highest resolution possible. HOBBIT was shot on the Red Epic cameras 48fps so we know that material is already at that state. The trasnfer of older DVD behind-the-scenes into upscaled resolution is also possible. The cost would be justified when they saw fans ferociously buying the new content.
And it would look amazing on 4K, I’m quite sure.
I’ve never believed in Unicorns (probably because Tolkien never wrote about one in his stories, and I hope Peter S. Beagle forgives me) but I’ve seen the hope they inspire. This far-away concept for a TRUE “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” doesn’t seem so far away as we watch the landscape of home entertainment evolving around us.
It is up to the fans themselves to send their thoughts and desires to Warner Bros. through every media and thread we have available. We must speak up and declare where we stand on this issue.
This 6-film release is not the end of the Middle-earth Saga. There’s much more to be discovered. With the will of the creative team, the support of the studio (which just needs a little more foresight in these matters), and by speaking with our dollars AS WELL AS with our keyboards, we can see this thing happen.
Instead of #OneLastTime we have a new hashtag: #OneMORETime
Much too hasty,
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Author’s Note: this article has been updated with corrected dates.
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