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Archive for the ‘Production’ Category

Middle-earth filmmakers set their sights on stop motion ‘Birds’

BirdsCatching up with some of our friends from New Zealand, we learned about a project that involves the efforts of a lot of Kiwis, including Sylvester McCoy of Hobbit fame and Lord of the Rings’ Alex Funke. For good measure New Zealand’s Grammy winner Kimbra (Somebody That I Used To Know) is supporting the project with her voice.

In the age of computer generated effects, the film “Birds” is a throwback. A friend to TORn, Horst Sarubin, who worked on visual effects for the three Hobbit films, is behind the project that uses puppets, shot one frame at a time with incremental movements between frames to create a motion picture. The film, about the struggles of George the bird in the primordial forests of Zealandia (pre-historic New Zealand) to carry on.

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEYMcCoy is well known for his bird whistles and humor, which Hobbit director Peter Jackson definitely brought through the former Dr. Who’s Radagast into cinematic Middle-earth. In the film’s kickstarter campaign McCoy presents those whistles and gets a little bird treat in return. In the same video Funke, who is best know for helping make the LOTR bigatures look amazing on screen, explains his role is to make the cinematography great.

The stop-motion technique is being employed to give the filmmakers a hands-on experience and a final project they claim will be alive and organic. Tying closely with the passions of Peter Jackson, these are the same techniques used by Ray Harryhausen and Willis H. O’Brien. The original King Kong movie was made in this fashion, inspiring a generation of filmmakers.

With a team of grass-roots talent with a Middle-earth cinematic legacy efforting the film and a universal appealing story, but set in the ancient human-free land that would eventually become New Zealand, TORn readers may want to know further information is available at georgethebird.com. The grass-roots effort is seeking fan support via the kickstarter campaign above.

Posted in Alex Funke, Crew News, Lord of the Rings, Models, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, Sylvester McCoy, The Hobbit

Peter Jackson’s Battle Plans – SPOILERS!

battle-dwarvesEntertainment Weekly posted this fascinating article, giving some insight into Peter Jackson’s plans for what must surely be the epic battle to end all epic battles. Just how do you stage the fight which is the title of your final movie in Middle-earth?

“There’s a lot of logistics that have to be thought through,” says Jackson. “We have dwarves and men and elves and orcs, all with different cultures, with different weapons, and different shields and patterns and tactics.”

The EW article contains a particularly interesting ‘map’, showing the different groups and their positioning in the battle at the gate of Erebor. Exactly what/who those five armies will be in Jackson’s movie has been a subject of speculation – and if you’re avoiding spoilers, now would be a good time to stop reading!

Tolkien wrote, ‘Upon one side were the Goblins and the Wild Wolves, and upon the other were Elves and Men and Dwarves.’ Readers have often wondered, however, why the Eagles don’t count as an army; Douglas A Anderson notes, in The Annotated Hobbit, that ‘in the 1977 Rankin/Bass animated television program of The Hobbit, the Five Armies specifically include the Eagles instead of the Wolves.’

Some TORn staffers have suggested that, having experienced battle in the First World War, when flight was still in its infancy and the idea of an air force was new, Tolkien perhaps didn’t consider battles as taking place in the air. It could, however, be a simple question of semantics: the word ‘army’ actually means ‘the military land forces of a nation’ (according to Collins English Dictionary). The Professor, being a stickler for precise meaning, perhaps dismissed as too clumsy ‘The Battle of Five Armies and Two Air Forces’ (if we include the ‘bat-cloud’) – so his ‘five armies’ would only refer to the land forces involved.

None of this necessarily means anything when it comes to Peter Jackson’s movie! He’s already strayed from Tolkien’s outline of the battle participants; the official synopsis for The Battle of the Five Armies states, ‘Sauron, the Dark Lord, has sent forth legions of Orcs in a stealth attack upon the Lonely Mountain’. In the book it is the goblins from the Misty Mountains who instigate the war, gathering forces with their kin at Gundabad, and coming down from the North led by Bolg (Azog, his father, having been slain at the Battle of Azanulbizar) – Sauron isn’t involved at all.

The map in EW’s article shows six different colour-coded groups – goblins and wargs are one colour, with eagles, elves, men and dwarves each having a different colour. This would seem to confirm what we at TORn have speculated in our panel presentations at various conventions – that Jackson’s five armies will in fact be men, dwarves, elves, orcs and eagles, with the wolves/wargs being a part of the orc army. The sixth colour on the diagram is for Beorn and Thorin – perhaps to highlight the key players of the battle (although Bard, though having his own spot on the schematic, does not share this orange colour – and it’s interesting to note that Dain, surely a key player, is not mentioned by name on this map; nor is Azog).

There’s much food for thought in this simple diagram. It appears that Bard leads men attacking from the East (from Dale, whither Lake-town refugees have fled after Smaug’s attack?). Elves come in from the West – presumably direct from Mirkwood. Beorn is coming up from the South, and the Eagles down from the North. There are also numbers on the chart – and Jackson is quoted as saying, ‘We could then start drawing the arrows on the schematics’, suggesting this is just one of several. Perhaps these numbers indicate a sequence of events? Beorn is the highest number on this image – meaning he arrives late in the battle, as in the book?

Lonely-Mountain_990x385Also in the article is a wonderful piece of artwork, showing a mighty battle outside Erebor – if you click on the image (at EW’s site), it links to a bigger version. This picture seems to include cave trolls and other strange, giant creatures – and siege towers? Is this just an artist’s vision of the battle, or does it offer more insight into what we will see on the big screen?

Questions still to be answered include: when/how does Dain arrive from the North? Will Tauriel fight with the dwarves or with her Mirkwood kin? We’ve seen, in the trailer, Legolas in Dale with Bard; will he fight alongside men? The newly released Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition contains dialogue between Thrain and Gandalf, emphasizing an alliance between Smaug and the Necromancer – is it even possible that Smaug’s death will be delayed until the start of the battle, so we see him helping the attacking orcs??

And a final question – is it December yet….?

[Read the Entertainment Weekly article here]

 

Posted in Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien

Is Elijah Wood actually in The Hobbit 3? Warner Bros.’ latest presser adds new uncertainty.

 

FrodoBilboNewHobbitMovie

Late last month, Warner Bros. put out a new, updated one-pager press release for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

Within it was a new cast list with one interesting, and very obscure, addition, and one even more interesting exclusion.

I’ll quote the listed cast from the Warner Bros. presser below in full. (more…)

Posted in Casting Rumors, Elijah Wood, Green Books, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Ian Holm, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Warner Bros.

Air New Zealand unveils the Most Epic Safety Video ever made

ANZ This adorable video makes an excellent addition to Air New Zealand’s more lighthearted and fun approach to safety videos shown at the beginning of every flight.

Kiwi filmmaker Taika Waititi has taken two Middle-earth fans and placed them in the middle of an Epic Journey, surrounded by Hobbits, Dwarves, Orcs and Elves, and some of them are the actual actors from the films. All the bases are covered, seat belts, electronic devices, life vests, etc, but there is a very definite Middle-earth vibe going on. (more…)

Posted in Dean O'Gorman, Elijah Wood, Fans, Locations Sets, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, Sylvester McCoy, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Special Extended Edition buyer’s guide

DoSEE3D-236x300 If you’re in the market for a physical (BluRay or DVD) copy of The Desolation of Smaug Special Extended Edition, we think you may appreciate this handy buyer’s guide that Ringer TheHutt has laboriously assembled. It covers a number of markets (not just the USA and Canada): United Kingdom, France, Spain and Germany.

 


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Special Extended Edition buyer’s guide

By Ringer TheHutt

Like last year, there are a great many versions of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition out there. In the USA, there are exclusive releases (for certain chains only), whereas in Europe there are some interesting designs not released elsewhere. (more…)

Posted in Blu-Ray, Collectibles, DVDs, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Warner Bros.

Jackson talks with Total Film about The Battle of the Five Armies

Playing a bit of catch-up. This isn’t exactly new anymore, but in case you missed it, Total Film features an interview with Peter Jackson in the November issue of their magazine talking about how the The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is coming together.
(more…)

Posted in Director news, Hobbit Movie, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Hobbits films’ production costs head north of US $745 million

warner_bros Hollywood movie studio accounts are famously opaque, but in New Zealand Warner Bros. is obliged to file detailed accounts of production spending on Peter Jackson’s films of The Hobbit.

Associated Press reports the latest filings reveal that, as of March this year, total production costs had reached 934 million New Zealand dollars — the equivalent of US $745 million. AP reports it is unclear whether the documents factor in worldwide marketing and distribution costs into this figure.

(more…)

Posted in Director news, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Peter Jackson, Studios, The Hobbit, Warner Bros.

Our final trip to Middle-earth to finish with ‘The Last Goodbye’ sung by Billy Boyd

Billy nbffWe finally know Billy Boyd (Pippin from The Lord of the Rings trilogy) will be performing the end credits song for the final film set in Peter Jackson’s cinematic Middle-earth. Warner Bros. have posted their ‘For Your Consideration’ list for “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies” listing all the people and categories they want Hollywood to pay attention to come Awards Season. On that list for ‘Best Original Song’ is “The Last Goodbye” written by Billy Boyd, Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh, and performed by Billy Boyd. It now seems that the use of Pippin’s song “The Edge of Night” in the recently released teaser for the film was a bit of foreshadowing. That song, with the lyrics coming from the last stanza of Tolkien’s ‘A Walking Song’ and the melody written by Billy Boyd himself, demonstrates a great level of empathy on the part of Billy for the melancholic feeling at that point of “The Return of the King”. It seems almost too perfect that Billy should be called upon again to deliver what promises to be a very emotional and fitting ending to all things Middle-earth. And because it’s fun to speculate, you will notice 15 other categories listed ‘For Your Consideration’ on that list, many names familiar to us all. Who do you think might get a nomination this Awards Season?

Posted in Billy Boyd, Fran Walsh, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie FAQ, Hobbit Movie Rumors, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, LotR Production, Movie Return of the King, Music, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, soundtrack, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien, Warner Bros.

Collecting The Precious – 20 Years of Weta Contest Winner

wetabook20SlipCasealrg6Over the last week, in conjunction with New York Comic-Con, we teamed up with our friends at Weta Workshop to give away a signed copy of their The Art of Film Magic: 20 Years of Weta. Through our Instagram account and Weta Workshop’s Instagram account we received a lot of great pictures that fans have sent to us of their favorite Middle-earth collectible made by Weta or their favorite Middle-earth moment.

We are very pleased to announce that the winner is Heather H. of Florida! Thank you to everyone who took the time to send us your wonderful entries and thank you to Weta Workshop for allowing us to give away such a fantastic item.

Posted in Books, Books Publications, Collectibles, Collectibles, Conventions, Events, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, NYCC, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop

Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop’s New York Comic-Con Reveals

BolgLast weekend at New York Comic-Con fans got a look at three new items among the many that Weta Workshop brought with them. Two of the new items are from The Hobbit Trilogy, while the third is from The Lord of the Rings.

Joining his father Azog we can now look forward to adding Bolg to our collections. This massive statue comes in at 15″ tall with a base width of 11.22″ and has an arrival date during the first quarter of next year.

One prop I have been looking forward to being made after seeing The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, was the Black Arrow that we see Bard bring out of storage. This has become a reality with Weta having this on show at New York Comic-Con. Due out in the fourth quarter of this year this awesome looking prop comes in at an impressive 82.6″ long. Also due out during the fourth quarter of this year is Saruman the White’s staff. This joins the staffs of Gandalf the Grey and Radagast the Brown.

(more…)

Posted in Collectibles, Conventions, Events, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, NYCC, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop

Collecting The Precious – Enter our 20 Years of Weta Contest

WetaNew York Comic-Con starts tomorrow and we’ve teamed up with our friends at Weta Workshop to do a pretty awesome giveaway. The prize for this give away is Weta’s amazing The Art of Film Magic – 20 Years of Weta!

The winner’s copy of this amazing book (easily the coolest art book in my own collection) will come signed by Richard Taylor and several other of the super cool folks who work for Weta Workshop as well as Weta Digital.

(more…)

Posted in Books, Collectibles, Collectibles, Conventions, Events, Merchandise, NYCC, Shop, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s beautiful new box set

Hobbit LOTR boxed setNew York ComicCon is almost upon us, and as you know, TheOneRing.net will be there, at booth 3040, at our panel Saturday at 9pm, and at our party with Weta Workshop on Thursday evening. (More details here - two more tickets just became available for the party, so snap ‘em up before they’re gone!)

One of our generous sponsors for New York ComicCon is Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - publishers of Tolkien in the United States. They have given us some wonderful items for the party goody bags, as well as some lovely prizes for giveaways. One such item is a SNEAK PREVIEW - this beautiful ‘pocket boxed set’ of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings will not be available to buy until October 21st, but we have two sets to give away to some lucky folks at ComicCon!

Here’s what Houghton Mifflin Harcourt say about this new set:

‘This four-volume, deluxe pocket boxed set contains J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic masterworks The Hobbit and the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King). Each book features a leatherette cover with stamped title and all  four books are held in a leatherette bound box with gold foil stamping.’

The books are roughly 7 inches tall, and are therefore an ideal size to take with you whenever you want to have the Professor’s words to hand! If you aren’t lucky enough to win a set from us at New York ComicCon, you can order from HMH here. Our thanks to them for their continued support of TheOneRing.net!

 

Posted in Books, Books Publications, Conventions, Events, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Merchandise, NYCC, Return of the King, Shop, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien, WETA Workshop