What a fun movie! Dominic Monaghan (Meriadoc Brandybuck) came on board to be our wonderful narrator! Actually this film is a time capsule of many decades of pop culture history — giving us the full story on how the world has embraced Tolkien’s masterpiece THE LORD OF THE RINGS over 50 years and more!
Winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival, RINGERS was produced in association with TheOneRing.net — this remarkable little film was forged BY fans and FOR fans, just like our website, with the production/writing talent of Clifford “Quickbeam” Broadway (who hosts TORn TUESDAY every week), Jeff Marchelletta, and supercool director Carlene Cordova. It was executive produced by X-Men/Transformers guru Tom DeSanto.
With a wonderful rock-driven score and detailing all the outpouring of love bestowed on Tolkien over many generations, this film is a must-have for your digital collection! Get it on iTunes now for only $9.99!
From the original Sony Press Release:
“RINGERS is comprehensive, entertaining and informative pop culture history.” – The Toronto Star
“…Will always be a salient part of ‘LORD OF THE RINGS’ history…
See it, absorb it, love it.” – FilmThreat
Winner of “Outstanding Achievement” Award at the
Newport Beach Film Festival
FASCINATING DOCUMENTARY CAPTURES THE HISTORY, INFLUENCE AND PHENOMENON THAT IS LORD OF THE RINGS
CULVER CITY, Calif. (September 12, 2005) – Sony invites you to return to the Shirewith the release of the feature-length documentary RINGERS: LORD OF THE FANS,direct to DVD.In association with the popular fan-site TheOneRing.net, Carlene Cordova produced, directed and wrote this award-winning film with executive producer Tom DeSanto(X-Men, X2: X-Men United and Transformers), which charts the incredible influence and ripple-effect that Lord of the Rings has had on worldwide pop culture over the past five decades.Whether you are a fan or first timer, critics agree, RINGERS, stands as the most comprehensive film documenting the ongoing impact of J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary achievement.
Dominic Monaghan (star of ABC’s Lost and the Academy Award® winning Lord of the Rings trilogy) narrates the documentary as it looks behind the curtain between Lord of the Rings andhow it inspired so many artists of different mediums.The film moves beyond “cult classic” and through different generations unearthing the way legendary rock musicians, filmmakers, professors, actors and authors all unite under the banner of ‘Ringer.’Interviewees included in the film are Lord of the Rings trilogy filmmaker Peter Jackson as well as Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Sean Astin and David Carradine.Infused with a dynamic rock-driven score, irreverent cut-out animation (á la Terry Gilliam), and a centerpiece audience sing-a-long, RINGERS is a genre-busting documentary that shows how a single literary work continues to spark the minds and hearts of millions.
RINGERS continues the momentum of the motion picture trilogy Lord of the Rings, a winner of 17 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director for Peter Jackson, who made history as the first person to direct three major feature films simultaneously.
From the official synopsis:
Ringers: Lord of the Fans is a feature-length documentary that reveals the ongoing cultural phenomenon created by The Lord of the Rings. Very funny and often moving, Ringers shows the hidden power behind Tolkien’s books — and how after 50 years a single literary work continues to spark the minds and hearts of millions, across cultures and across time.
Shot with groundbreaking new digital technology in 24P, Ringers explores the real foundations of Middle-earth; a community of true fans who share a common bond. Moving beyond “cult classic” and over several different generations, the film unearths academics, musicians, authors, filmmakers, and a plethora of pop junkies — the people gathered under the banner of ‘Ringer.’ From the hippie counter-culture to the electronic age; from the Bakshi animated film to Jackson’s epic trilogy; this documentary brings together extensive footage from across the globe. With units in Los Angeles, San Diego, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Bonn, Germany, Wellington, New Zealand, and Oxford, England, our cameras capture the most fascinating “Ringers” and Lord of the Rings events.
What began as the private amusement of a tweedy Oxford professor has now become a new mythology for the 21st century. Ringers: Lord of the Fans shows how an adventure story published in 1954 has had dynamic ripple-effects through Western pop-culture. Ringers carefully pulls away the veil between Tolkien’s book and the creations of art, music, and community that have been inspired by it.
Welcome Ringers to the latest installment of our LIVE show TORn TUESDAY, with host Clifford “Quickbeam” Broadway. Today’s show will investigate and celebrate the community building effort that was the #votebilbo campaign that lit the fires of Tolkien fandom around the globe. You can pop into our Barliman’s Chat Room that is built-into our Live Event page here, bring your questions and comments during our webcast! The fun begins at approx 5:00pm Pacific Daylight Time right here – we’ll see you there! Follow Cliff on Twitter at @Quickbeam2000!
Welcome Ringer to the most innovative and fun live webcast this side of the River Bruinen! Our live show TORn TUESDAY, which starts in half an hour, features Clifford “Quickbeam” Broadway and special guest actor Matt Musgrove (who stormed the stage during our Oscar Party), covering all the recent news in the world of Tolkien fandom. We will revisit the wonderment of WonderCon from this past weekend, dish the dirt on the stunning DVD Hobbit sales this week, and offer a glimpse into the future of how dragons may appear (or not appear) in future advertising for THE HOBBIT Trilogy! You can pop into our Barliman’s Chat Room that is built-into our Live Event page here, bring your questions and comments during our webcast! The fun begins at 5:00pm Pacific Daylight Time (that’s in about half an hour, folks) right here – we’ll see you there! Follow Cliff on Twitter at @Quickbeam2000 and you can follow Matt at @MUSGROVIA
If you missed the Live Sneak Peek at The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on March 24, and you can now access the archived version of the event at http://thehobbit.com/sneak if you have an access code from purchasing one of several versions of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. But for those of you who have not yet had the opportunity to get your hands on a copy of the film (perhaps you’re holding out for the Extended Edition, or you are in a country that it hasn’t been released in yet), don’t despair! Peter Jackson has released an excerpt from the live event on YouTube. The 6-minute clip includes Peter answering several “fan” questions, including those from Stephen Colbert and Billy Boyd.
Peter Jackson says, “Warner Bros have kindly let me post a six-minute excerpt of the Live Event we did to preview The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, to give anyone who missed it a sense of what it was like.”
From the HollywoodReporter.com: Warner Home Video easily snagged the top spot on both national home video sales charts the week ending March 24 with New Line’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
The fantasy flick, which earned $302.7 million in U.S. theaters and was directed by Lord of the Rings helmer Peter Jackson, easily outsold several other high-profile theatrical features that also bowed on disc the same week.
Demand was high for all three titles, but Hobbit was clearly the cream of the crop. Nielsen figures show Les Miserables sold just 33.8 percent as many units as Hobbit, while Zero Dark Thirty trailed with 21.4 percent. (To be fair, Les Mis came out on a Friday, so it didn’t have a full week of sales in the tracking period.)
If you missed the Peter Jackson hosted first look at The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, or just want to watch it over again, a modified version is now available and archived on the Trilogy’s official website: www.thehobbit.com/sneak. To access the footage, use your UltraViolet code on your copy The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack or 2-Disc Special Edition DVD. Please note, you will only be able to access the footage three times per code. So make good use of your opportunities! You will also notice the footage is now twenty minutes shorter than the live counterpart. And of course, if you want to geek out a bit celebrating the teasing of Smaug (aka Peter’s Dragon) check out our latest T-Shirt in our Emporium! [Hobbit Sneak] [T-Shirt]
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!
This afternoon many of us spent an hour with Peter Jackson (well, virtually, anyway!) as he chatted about making The Hobbit movies, and gave us some tantalising glimpses of what may be to come in the second film, The Desolation of Smaug. We’ve already posted some detailed commentary on what was shown; here below are some of the things which made TORn staffers geek out, as they watched their computer screens – and some speculation on what these things might mean!
Greendragon: Of course I would be excited about something to do with a dragon! It seemed to me that we saw Smaug’s ‘laser eyes’ in part of the footage – a scene was shown where Martin Freeman was playing around with putting the ring on, in Smaug’s lair. The lighting was red, shining on a specific area and then moving across the pile of gold – suggesting the ‘piercing ray of red from under the drooping lid of Smaug’s left eye.’ It was nice to see this glimpse of the power of Smaug’s eyes – the danger of the dragon-spell!
Demosthenes: The actual extended scene we were shown from The Desolation of Smaug was of Gandalf and Radagast visiting the Nazgûl tombs. Okay, this has me excited because there’s a heap of spoiler analysis and guesswork that we can all play with. Who built the tombs? If they were built by the Dúnedain of Arnor (the selfsame Dúnedain who never make an appearance in the film of the Lord of the Rings, I might say!), then why does Radagast call the sigils on the walls foul? [In the clip, we see engraving on the walls above a door of a tomb, the bars of which have been wrenched or blasted open.] Is that an implication that they were built by the Dúnedain of Rhudaur who fell into evil with the realm of Angmar? And what do the Tengwar letters — for they are a type of Tengwar – say? Do they bind? Do they nurture? Is it a transliteration to English? Or is it in Adûnaic, Quenya or Sindarin?
Why are they in the high fells (of Rhudaur)? What could have possibly prompted both Gandalf and Radagast to travel back over the Misty Mountains to investigate? Lots of questions — lots of opportunity to guess stuff! Moreover, I’m buzzed that Gandalf says there are NINE tombs. It’s what I guessed when I first saw this sequence last year, and I also felt that the bars indicated that whoever was in there broke out, and that there were letters over those doorways.
Rasputin the Evil Balrog: The boat scene got me excited [where we saw the dwarves, Bilbo and Bard on a boat, together with a collection of barrels], combined with what Peter had to say about the character of Bard being enigmatic – we don’t know if he’s good or bad. It reminded me of the way they chose to create Faramir’s character in The Two Towers, giving him much more depth and motivation than I feel he has in the books. A lot of book purists disagree with me because they like the fact that Faramir is presented as the archetype of the ever-noble hero, but I thought the way they played him was much more modern and interesting. I think we’re going to see something similar with Bard. In the book, he’s set in opposition to the debauched, corrupt master of Lake-town, but it seems like Peter is implying that we’ll get a few more twists and turns to our Bard story!
Deej: In the various glimpses of scenes between Thranduil and his son Legolas, it was interesting to see that there might be a conflict between father and son regarding the way the dwarves are treated. Although he’s not in the book, I had expected Legolas to go along with his father – it would explain why he and Gimli aren’t on friendly terms when the Fellowship is first formed. Could this difference of opinion lead Legolas (and Tauriel?) to help the dwarves and Bilbo escape Mirkwood?
Grammaboodawg: To see Legolas with his father, Thranduil, is incredible! After years of imagining Legolas in Mirkwood and in a relationship with his father, this shot has had a profound impact on me. Like seeing the White Council… it’s exciting to have the imagined moments of this story finally becoming real. Also, in one of the moments where we saw Bilbo in Smaug’s lair, there was an interesting glow at Bilbo’s right hand. Could it be the Arkenstone??
Kelvarhin: The thing I was most excited about was seeing the concept drawings of Mirkwood, by WETA artist Gus Hunter. I’ve always envisaged it as being all twisted trees, dark and very menacing, and those images nailed it perfectly. Can’t wait to see the finished images on the big screen.
Demosthenes: The beautiful concept artwork by John Howe which we were shown, for the entrance to Thranduil’s realm in Mirkwood, is almost identical to Alan Lee’s painting of Menegroth – which can be seen here . This is particularly cool because, for Tolkien, Menegroth was probably a template of sorts for the Halls of the Elven King as first described in The Hobbit. I’m pretty sure that if you go back as far as the Book of Lost Tales there is some description of the halls of Tinwelint the elf/gnome king that has a similarity to The Hobbit — that bridge over the river particularly.
Kili: Glimpsing Tauriel was a pleasant surprise. She comes across as a panther whose mask of calm will shred at the slightest provocation. In comparison to fellow Elven warriors Legolas and Elrond, it was refreshing to see what a hot-blooded captain of the guard might be like. There is a lot of tension in the fandom surrounding her character, but if this glimpse is anything to go by, then she can stand proudly alongside Éowyn, Arwen, and Galadriel. Tolkien’s dearth of female characters is troublesome, and I applaud Jackson and his team for taking the risk of inventing a bold new character who not only feels authentic to her culture and circumstances, but whose ferocity will have a special resonance with her fellow woman warriors in the audience.
Quickbeam: I was completely surprised at how Peter Jackson himself appears so relaxed, playful, and at-ease. Notwithstanding all the visual surprises and exciting bits of sets/ characters/ and effects work we are treated to glimpsing, I am honestly more blown away at his casual confidence. You must understand that P.J. is under tremendous amounts of pressure and a work-load that defies description. Yet there he is, making light jokes about Colbert’s coffee cups or showing us his favorite vintage movie one-sheets as if we, the live camera, were just old friends visiting on a relaxed weekend and he has all the leisure time in the world. It’s a remarkable illusion, because he is the one man on Middle-earth who DOES NOT have leisure time or anything going “easy” for him — while juggling huge budgets, scheduling all the re-shoots, editing a movie with higher standards upon it than anything, yammering phone calls from the studio’s lawyers, incessant fans chirping and tweeting about the appropriateness of Azog, Tauriel, Nazgûl tombs, etc. etc. etc. Imagine how delightful it is for us to see this creative powerhouse of a director just as cool as a cucumber. His light-hearted spirit shines through even though he carries a special burden… and that makes me VERY confident that he’s the Master of his own Destiny like no other filmmaker, and has a good handle on everything that needs doing.
And a final thought: I was surprised to NOT see our shape-shifting ursine friend, Beorn. We see just one axe chopping a piece of wood outside Beorn’s Hall, and another shot of the Company of Dwarves running into his doorway (excellent sense of scale there between the Dwarves and Beorn’s furnishings)… but certainly no Mikael Persbrandt to be seen. That’s curious, given the recent news stories confirming his role will be expanded in The Desolation of Smaug. So we are treated to lots of Luke Evans as Bard, which is grand, but nothing of Beorn. We shall wait and see.
Garfeimao: Lake-town interests me, with the dichotomy of what appears to be close to a shanty town on the exterior, but has much richer interiors. Or maybe it’s just like that for the Master of the Lake-town and his home. Since Lake-town is on the water, the wooden buildings all have a decayed and somewhat tilting appearance to them. But the Master’s bedroom is very lush looking, with dark wood paneled floors, walls and ceilings, a four poster bed, a giant oil painting (of himself, no less) and lovely windows on both sides. And from one of the group shots of the citizens of the town, they are in dark clothing and do not appear to be richly dressed. Last year at San Diego Comic Con, the sneak peek included a scene with the Master running into a home, one I assume is his own, and throwing back a carpet and opening a trap door beneath to reveal a horde of treasure comprised of what appears to be brass, gold and silver pots, candlesticks, dishes and the like. It is clear he is wealthy, and somewhat miserly and actually has a rather smarmy, slimy appearance to him. The fact that his servant is rather Gríma like in appearance just adds to the rather distasteful vibe he gives off. I also found it interesting they decided to give Bard a bit of a duality to him as well, so that Bilbo and the dwarves are left wondering if they can trust anyone in Lake-town.
Oh, and can I get a shout out for the wicked cool War Moose-antlered Throne that Thranduil is lounging in when the Company of Dwarves, as prisoners, are brought into his Halls? The epitome of the rather haughty Elf described in the book, to be sure.
But what I most appreciated from this hour long glimpse into The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was the insight into Peter Jackson’s command of his mis-en-scène. This means his complete control of everything in front of the camera, from costumes and colors, hair and make up, set design and lighting to the angle of the cameras and the distance of the shot and the movement of the actors and props in frame. The example of the boat and the range of shots perfectly exemplifies how a storyteller can frame the action and use a variety of shots to tell the exact story they want because they truly have selected every frame you are seeing. Some of the quick sequences of shots shown at the very end only hint at the story to come, but it has intrigued me the way any good trailer grabs and audience.
Elessar: I was excited to see more of Mirkwood, Legolas, Thranduil, and Tauriel. Today’s event gave us plenty of that to look at, and while it wasn’t finished you can start to put that mental image together. I’ve had a mental image of what I thought Mirkwood looked like and what we saw felt like it was pulled directly from my brain! I loved seeing Legolas in action, and I love the look he has in this movie - mostly because it’s going to show the giant leap Legolas makes from The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings. Seeing Thranduil in all his glory was fantastic, and I loved the scene of him getting in Thorin’s face, adding more to why Elves and Dwarves don’t like each other. Tauriel also looked awesome and I think I’m going to really like this character. A scene with her, Legolas, Thranduil, and an Orc looks like it will be really good. I did enjoy the Gandalf/Radagast sequence and am eager to see how the continued addition of this plot line runs. Mostly, I just loved spending an hour watching things to come. Is it December yet??
So much excitement – and we haven’t even seen a proper trailer yet!!
If you missed the Peter Jackson hosted first look at The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, or just want to watch it over again, a modified version will be archived on the Trilogy’s official website: www.thehobbit.com/sneak. To access the footage, use your UltraViolet code on your copy The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack or 2-Disc Special Edition DVD.
Want to relive what you saw this afternoon? Reflecting on some of the moments, and trying to remember what was what? Well, don’t forget that, if you missed the Peter Jackson hosted first look at The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, or just want to watch it over again, a modified version will be archived on the Trilogy’s official website www.thehobbit.com/sneak To access the footage, use your UltraViolet code on your copy The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack or 2-Disc Special Edition DVD.
Meanwhile, staffer Rasputin the Evil Balrog shares with us some commentary on the footage:
Welcome friends to our innovative streaming video webcast TORn TUESDAY, starting in about an hour at 5pm Pacific Time right here on our Live Event page. We heard that Ian McKellen is officiating over Patrick Stewart’s wedding, and we have the scoop! Also today, as the wind reversed from the West, the ravens were seen flying back to The Mountain, and the Home Video Gods were pleased with our morning sacrifice, and lo! WE HAVE THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY out now on DVD and Blu-Ray Combo Pack (at least in North America)!!!! Your amiable host Clifford “Quickbeam” Broadway, with producer Justin “I Love Jar-Jar” Sewell will review the home video versions and discuss all the new packaging & content. Let us guide you to making the right choice! Don’t be confused by all those many packages and review sites. The fun begins *live* at 5:00pm Pacific with our built-in Barliman’s Chat Room right here [Live Event Page], where you can chat and bring your questions.
Are you like us? Bouncing with joy to receive your copy of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey‘ on Blu-Ray or DVD? Okay, maybe you aren’t physically bouncing, but the release here in the US has made this boring Tuesday in March a lot more exciting!
To help capture that excitement, we’ve just opened up a special Flickr gallery just for this purpose. The only rules for the gallery are that you, your family, your pet or something Middle-earth-esque is featured in the photo WITH a copy of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey‘ on Blu-Ray or DVD. Well, and of course keep it family friendly Follow the break to see folks who have already submitted their photos and join in – as and when the home entertainment release of An Unexpected Journey reaches your corner of the world! [Flickr Gallery] (more…)
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a re-post that we thought might be helpful to consumers today, the street date of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” for home use. We also have a series of excellent interviews about the film and Blu-ray further down our page. Don’t miss them!
Consumers will have a lot of choices when it comes to which version of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” they decide to have at home. There will definitely be an extended edition in time for the holidays confirmed by a press release from Warner Bros., but the choices are greater than just to get the theatrical version or the extended version.
Those in the U.S. can buy the film March 19, but with a variety of versions, all of which we will detail here. Besides the several formats it will be available in, there are exclusive editions at Target, Best Buy and Wal-Mart. But have no fear busy potential consumer, we will make everything clear below, detailing all the versions, the available covers and the in-store exclusives. Interestingly, many theaters are still showing the film which crossed the $1 billion earnings mark over the weekend.
When the “Lord of the Rings,” films were hitting the home video market, many users were also making the late jump from VHS to DVD and those films, for many, were the incentive needed to jump to a new format. This is true now with DVD and Blu-ray although there seems to be much less push from the industry to make that happen, perhaps because of the growing all digital download market. Amazon has versions of all these films and we have the choices below linked if you wish to pre-order there. Doing so earns us a commission so support your friendly not-for-profit website if you are going to buy online. Prices range all over the place, but Amazon seems to be very competitive. Below are all the versions available supplied to us by the studio along with the official box art. Way down we provide the non-U.S. release dates as well as a link to a useful message board page with further information. Unfortunately for some, “Return of the King,” was the last Middle-earth movie to be released on VHS!
2-disc DVD edition of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”
Still watching films old school style? Then the 2-disc special edition DVD is probably for you. It comes with both a DVD of the film and an Ultraviolet copy, which is useful for using the computer on laptops or down the road when it seems likely we will never deal with discs at all. The official information is as follows:
2-disc Blu-ray edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
For those who enjoy the superior picture of Blu-ray, and have invested in a player, the combo pack for that format might be the way to go. But, those who will eventually watch Blu-rays, this version also comes with a DVD copy of the film. Personally, I wouldn’t touch the old format, even for the nostalgia of having all the Middle-earth movies lined up together in one packaging line, but including the DVD here makes it a non-choice. WB’s Blu-ray releases are region free, meaning they will play world-wide and aren’t specially coded for regional players. Eventually we will download and watch all movies and rarely bother with discs but for now this is the best format available and I still like to hold a product and packaging in my hands.
3D Blu-ray combo pack of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
If you are really forward thinking or an early adopter of technology the 3D version of the film will also be available now on Blu-ray as well. You need a 3D television to actually use this version but what do you know, it also comes with a regular Blu-ray copy, a DVD copy and an Ultraviolet copy while the bonus material is the same. This is the one Peter Jackson wants you to buy, or at least watch, to see his personal version of the film. 3D TVs will be more and more affordable and more common. For me the best thing about this version is the fantastic lenticular Gandalf cover. Fortunately there aren’t individual lenticular editions with Thorin, Bilbo, Bombur and the rest of the company on them. 3D Blu-ray™ Combo Pack
o 3D Blu-ray copy of the film
o Blu-ray copy of the film
o DVD copy of the film
o Ultraviolet copy of the film
o Bonus content includes 10 production videos
But the choices are not over. Three big box retailers also have ways to tempt you to buy from their outlet and each definitely has its appeal. Collectors, start giving plasma now because some will want all three. Each version is for the Blu-ray combo pack, which means if you are buying the 3D Blu-ray combo pack, where you buy can be determined solely by price.
The Best Buy exclusive version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Best Buy’s exclusive comes with a documentary titled: “A Hobbit’s Tale Part 1: The Journey Begins,” and a flip lenticular with Bilbo and Gollum. No word on who produced this documentary but I have a completely unconfirmed, baseless guess (that I believe to be true) that it comes from the same folks who produced the video blogs, which means they will be excellent. Please don’t base any purchase on my hunches, and you may not blame me or anybody else if that is wrong. TheOneRing will post a review of that content when available. The Best Buy cover is also interesting.
Best Buy – Blu-ray™ Combo Pack with Exclusive Documentary A Hobbit’s Tale Part 1: The Journey Begins and Flip Lenticular
o Blu-ray copy of the film
o DVD copy of the film
o Ultraviolet copy of the film
o Bonus content includes 10 production videos, as well as exclusive bonus documentary A Hobbit’s Tale Part 1: The Journey Begins
o Includes exclusive Bilbo/Gollum flip lenticular packaging
Target’s exclusive is LEGO-centric and while I am not a “LEGO guy” and didn’t play with them as a child, these sets have won me over completely and the included Bilbo Baggins minifigure is pretty sweet booty. Those figure characters are absurdly cute but it also contains the exclusive featureete: “LEGO The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” Target probably hopes to sell Hobbit LEGO sets as well as the Blu-ray and for some this will be another no-hesitation choice. It also features unique art that I haven’t seen anywhere else.
Target – Blu-ray™ Combo Pack with Exclusive LEGO® Bilbo Minifigure and behind-the-scenes LEGO Featurette
o Blu-ray copy of the film
o DVD copy of the film
o Ultraviolet copy of the film
o Bonus content includes 10 production videos, as well as exclusive bonus behind-the-scenes featurette LEGO THE HOBBIT: An Unexpected Journey
o Includes exclusive LEGO Bilbo Baggins Minifigure
The Wal-Mart exclusive version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Finally, Wal-Mart weighs in with a third tempting exclusive edition that contains four bonus featurettes (titles below) and a 64-page book, “The World of Hobbits.” Unlike a LEGO figure, it is impossible to know the quality of the book and extra extras until seeing them but just a stab in the dark (a dark, underground cave) but they are probably quite good and may (MAY!) be from the behind-the-scenes team. Wal-Mart is offering a real incentive for those hungry for more information about this film. Fans of Thorin Oakenshield will appreciate him on the cover and again, like the Target edition, the art here is unique as far as I know. From the art provided it looks as if the book is the size of the Blu-ray packaging.
Wal-Mart – Blu-ray™ Book Combo Pack with 64-Page The World of Hobbits Book and Exclusive Digital Featurettes
o Blu-ray copy of the film
o DVD copy of the film
o Ultraviolet copy of the film
o Bonus content includes 10 production videos, as well as 4 exclusive bonus featurettes entitled The Journey Back to Middle-earth, Bilbo and The Riddle Game, Gandalf and the White Council, and Thorin and the “Song of the Lonely Mountain” accessible digitally through Vudu
o Includes 64-page The World of Hobbits book within the Blu-ray packaging
The WBshop.com exclusive comes with a panoramic poster that features combat ready dwarves. Pretty cool! Canadians can get it in French with the same cover as Best Buy, except, you know, in French.
Thanks to message board user TheHutt, we also have a fair bit of information about foreign editions of The Hobbit. I was going to copy it all here, but he has done such a good job presenting it all, that I suggest you simply click here. Again, collectors, beware, because there are some pretty cool versions listed, like the UK’s Amazon-exclusive Steelbook edition with a lenticular Bilbo / Gollum. Yes, I want it and it would be precious to me.
Some foreign dates are as follows:
UK – April 8
Germany – April 19
Russia – April 11
France – April 19
Italy – April 9
Czech Republic – April 19
The 1977 animated version of The Hobbit by Rankin and Bass.
All these choices certainly are nice for the consumer unless there are completests out there who feel like they need to own them all. (But I confess to wanting some of the non-U.S. versions too!) Also, some will accuse the studio of “double dipping” by having a theatrical edition and later, an extended edition with extra content. We disagree with that notion because Warner Bros. has been upfront about the eventual release of both. A true double dip, and the feeling of being ripped off, doesn’t stem from having more than one choice but from a consumer thinking she has purchased the definitive version only to find out later there is another even more definitive version. (Yes Star Wars, we are looking at you but you have plenty of company.) In this case, we have plenty of advance knowledge of our choices. Further, there will be very likely be a rich supply of quality extras on the extended editions from Pellerin Media, the group that defined what DVD extras should be with the LOTR EEs. That extra content, hopefully wide and deep, will add value to that later release. Does the studio want to maximize its earnings? Of course, but they are being transparent with consumers. Those wishing only to buy one version will have Netflix or Redbox or neighbors or friends to watch it with in the meantime.
Finally, some will question using the video blogs from Peter Jackson’s Facebook page as extra materials. TheOneRing doesn’t have an official position about it, but as I said and wrote to anybody who would listen as they were released, they are better quality features than most DVD extras anyway. And, chasing them down on Facebook or YouTube is a lot less satisfying for me than watching them in my man cave will be. And, I just think they are that good. I look forward to having them presented on a disc in an organized fashion where I can, if I want, watch them consecutively and really get a good feeling for the shooting of the film.
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