Watertower Music is really teasing everyone with Howard Shore’s sou8ndtrack for The Desolation of Smaug. We’ve had 30-second and 60-second samples, and recently they’ve gone and stretched it out to 90 seconds over on their SoundCloud. (more…)Posted in Hobbit Movie, Howard Shore, MGM, Music, New Line Cinema, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Warner Bros.
Archive for the ‘MGM’ Category
In expanding on Professor Tolkien’s text in his film adaptation, director Peter Jackson allows us to follow Gandalf the Grey into areas that remain secret to us within the text of The Hobbit. As we look forward seeing these events unfold before our eyes next month, this essay by Tedoras examines Gandalf’s journey into the dark fortress of Dol Guldur, what he found there, and the impact that this event had on the fate of Middle-earth. (more…)Posted in Books, Characters, Christopher Tolkien, Green Books, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, MGM, Miscellaneous, New Line Cinema, Other Tolkien books, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, Tolkien, Warner Bros.
The British Board of Film Classification has given The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug a 12A rating and revealed a running time of 2 hours and 41 minutes. This is in line with Philippa Boyens’ assertion, after the release of An Unexpected Journey, that the next film would run shorter than the first installment.Posted in Hobbit Movie, MGM, New Line Cinema, Peter Jackson, Production, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Warner Bros.
Dolby Laboratories sent TheOneRing.net a press release today that might rank among the least surprising press releases ever. Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” will resoundingly ring out at its world premiere in Dolby Atmos. Some of here at TORn are big fans of the Atmos sound experience with its ceiling mounted speakers that allows sound engineers the ability to create a sound landscape, a step beyond surround systems.If you want to find a Dolby Atmos theater, you can just CLICK HERE and find one near you. If you live in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota or South Dakota, enjoy your road trip.
Most people go to films and are happy just to make it through previews, “clever” ways to tell viewers to shut their phones off and then watch Dolby’s promotion for what audiences are about to hear. But being the movie nerds we are around here, some of us celebrate motion picture sound and the chance to be further transported out of the theater and into a three dimensional auditory experience. No surprise, Peter Jackson embraces new technology and never misses a chance to tell the most vibrant story possible. So, just as with “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” DOS will have the newest, best sound experience at the premiere and select theaters.
For those readers who aren’t sound nerds, Atmos allows technicians to create sounds anywhere in the theater, not just where speakers are. This sounds too good to be true, and we can’t explain it here, but in the right theater you can listen carefully to the Radagast sequence where he is dashing through the undergrowth and spiders crawl on his house to appreciate it. You will hear it. Anyway, this is great news even if it surprised nobody. Not paid anything by Dolby (but hey Dolby, feel free) I intentionally seek out the Atmos theater in my city whenever possible.
Dolby also has this page dedicated to Atmos and AUJ if you want to do a little home work. And below is a video of director Guillermo del Toro talking about the sound. Below that, the full press release from today. (more…)Posted in Director news, Guillermo Del Toro, Hobbit Movie, MGM, New Line Cinema, Peter Jackson, Production, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Warner Bros.
We have a slew of new pictures from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug for your viewing pleasure today, courtesy of Empire Online, Digital Spy, Mirror.co.uk, & Sky Movies. Thanks to Sander Postema for sending in the links!
These latest images give us a look at Bilbo, Gandalf, the dwarves, Bard and the Master of Laketown (more…)Posted in Aidan Turner, Dean O'Gorman, Hobbit Movie, Ian McKellen, James Nesbitt, John Callen, Ken Stott, Luke Evans, Mark Hadlow, Martin Freeman, MGM, Miscellaneous, New Line Cinema, Peter Hambleton, Peter Jackson, Richard Armitage, Stephen Fry, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Warner Bros., William Kircher
A new day, a new TV spot for The Desolation of Smaug. This one features some previously unseen footage of Bilbo making his way down into the depths of Erebor towards the lair of Smaug. Appropriately, Warner Bros. have titled it Dragon.
Movie spoilers, of course!
Thanks to Ringers Xpayne, Sander and Huan for the heads-up. (more…)Posted in Headlines, Hobbit Movie, MGM, New Line Cinema, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Warner Bros.
This evening saw the release of the latest TV Spot for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug! Tonight we get a spot focused primarily on the Elven warrior Tauriel, though we also get a couple new shots of our main characters as well (keep an eye out especially for the shot right at the end!).
Having a character devoted TV Spot reminds me of the original ads for The Fellowship of the Ring (there were ones focused on Frodo, Gandalf, Aragorn & Arwen). I very much hope that we see this trend continue in the coming weeks. (more…)Posted in Evangeline Lilly, Hobbit Movie, MGM, New Line Cinema, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Warner Bros.
Posted in Hobbit Movie, Howard Shore, MGM, Music, New Line Cinema, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Warner Bros.
Did you feel like you wanted more of a taste of Howard Shore’s
Desolation of Smaug music after hearing those 30 second samples last week? Well, WaterTower Music has now made available one minute samples from each track of the Special Edition Album on SoundCloud! (more…)
For those of us who have made a habit out of collecting the various tie-in books that have been released alongside Peter Jackson’s Tolkien adaptations – Jude Fisher is a name that springs instantly to mind. She is the author of the Visual Companion books that have come out with each (more…)Posted in Alan Lee, Barrie Osborne, Books Publications, Hobbit Movie, John Howe, LotR Production, MGM, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, New Line Cinema, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, Production, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Warner Bros.
Another night, another Desolation of Smaug TV Spot! This latest sneak peek offers a closer glimpse at Bilbo and the dragon Smaug – as well as a new shot of Gandalf and previously unseen battle footage. The video is up on Warner Brother’s YouTube page in HD, and we’ve got it available for your viewing right (more…)Posted in Benedict Cumberbatch, Hobbit Movie, Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, MGM, New Line Cinema, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Warner Bros.
German magazine CINEMA has devoted several pages of its December issue to the filming and post production of the second film in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Trilogy – The Desolation of Smaug. They offered a wealth of interesting tidbits – not the least of which was a glimpse at what could potentially be the opening prologue of film two.Posted in Aidan Turner, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Hobbit Movie, Locations Sets, MGM, New Line Cinema, Peter Hambleton, Peter Jackson, Production, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Warner Bros.
The home video market is dead or dying — so they say. The digital age has brought on massive changes on how we view movies and in a relatively short time. The ways we consumed the “Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy is vastly different from how we tackle “The Hobbit.”
Many consumers actually jumped to the DVD format from VHS tapes with “Fellowship of the Ring.” But in the digital revolution, that was ages ago, back when everybody bought movies for home use and there was seemingly ever growing stacks of money to be made from that market.
Studios once had a cash cow in DVDs but the milk has dried up now. Once, extravagant DVDs and box sets ruled store shelves while today we visit Red Box and Netflix.
So when a Blu-ray like “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Extended Edition,” comes to market it is going against the grain, against conventional wisdom and against market trends. It’s also the best home release of 2013.
The film is still the film. If you loved it you will love it more. If you had problems with it, you will still have problems with it. The added time didn’t fix what people say is broken. But if you haven’t seen the film, for the home experience, I do recommend the Extended Edition. The length includes some character moments that make the film more a little more satisfying but not in a major way. A bathroom break is close to mandatory and while you can’t pause a theater, its easy from your own couch.
But while many think about the movie, make no mistake, the real prize here are The Appendicies content; Those who are only looking at this for the film are missing the point entirely. In fact, this collection, is itself a tremendous film that would be worth buying even without the cinema release. The movie itself is essential in the package, but what launches these discs into rare air is everything else that comes with it.
Prone to exercise laudatory caution because I write for TheOneRing, and I realize too much praise causes readers to become dismissive and classify the writer as a fan boy, I still proclaim with no hesitation that this is among the finest home video releases in history. It sits on a shelf in rarefied air with a very few discs that can even compare. Among those are the Extended LOTR editions, of which this is a companion piece.
While we are here talking credentials, let me fully disclose that I was on set to witness “The Hobbit,” being filmed for five weeks and I know (and like) many on all sides of the camera. More than that, I also interned for a couple of weeks with the producers of the behind-the-scenes content. I am even credited for extra interviews, so take my perceptions as you wish.
Even if you didn’t love the movie, the exploration of the process is a wonder to behold and the whole is a triumph. And, this triumph comes with WB and MGM financing this content behind-the-scenes content. This level of excellence doesn’t just happen and it isn’t cheap. It takes financial commitment, planning and time. With rumors of late delivery circulating, creating a shortage of discs in some places, I believe I speak for many fans who emphatically say, “So what? The wait is worth it.”
Despite all the greatness on the discs, there are a few things that are disappointing, so lets start with those.
There is nothing about these covers that are exceptional or especially tasteful to tell consumers that these aren’t just another release on a store shelf. For some reason, with few exceptions, the marketing at Warner Bros. insists on slapping a bunch of floating character mugshots in a college for these films at every opportunity. More isn’t better and especially when even the casual audience knows what “The Hobbit,” is. Nobody is saying, “What? Gandalf is also in this movie?!”
A cover with a central visual idea would be a vast improvement and for these discs, there should be a graceful, classic cover, not a garish collection of floating heads. Better still would have been a style match with the LOTR EEs. The back of the 3-disc Blu-ray is actually great and would serve as a nice cover.
While we are here, the Bilbo in front of Erebor “Desolation of Smaug,” poster was infinitely more powerful that the nightmare LSD trip of Middle-earth’s usual suspects in the latest one. Boo. Very much related, if the Hobbit home video release couldn’t be a stylized match with the LOTR releases, at least we could have had a strong central character instead of a collection of them that says nothing.
Gollum and Bilbo exchanging riddles in the dark might be a place to start. The film’s strongest sequence, virtually perfect even, highlights a key moment in Middle-earth, sells us a familiar character and gives us an absolute iconic moment from literature. If things were right in the world, WB would issue an inexpensive replacement slip cover for a couple of dollars that ties this release back to the LOTR EEs. Seriously.
The art on the discs are quite good.
The commentaries with Philippa Boyens (writer, producer) and Peter Jackson (writer, director, producer) are good, but again, this is meant to be a companion disc and viewers really want more commentary perspectives as they were given in the LOTR discs. Obviously the filmmaker’s take are essential but including cast or key figures like Dan Hennah or Richard Taylor might be expensive, and not financially viable by the studios, but they are sorely missed. An unrealistic dream commentary might be to have all 13 main dwarf actors on one track or two tracks with half on each. Careful sound editing would be needed but Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Graham McTavish, John Callen and William Kircher and all the rest, would be brilliant. There are two movies left to get this right.
I am sure there are many who will take exception to comparing the discs but for certain, many consumers are doing it. These are intellectually built to go together.
But, lets move on to the good (great) with a look at what is included on most versions of the film. It is worth noting that there is a Wal-Mart version of the Extended Editions available with minimal extras. (Hate to call them extras because they are main featured content.) Even if consumers think they want to save a few dollars and get that version, they actually don’t. There is no circumstance where that option is a wise choice. Any viewer willing to commit to a three-hour Extended Edition deserves to have the story of the film as well for a few dollars difference. Friends don’t let friends buy foolishly.
Extended Edition of the film with filmmakers’ commentary and
“New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth”
The commentary is mentioned above but the video feature sounds like it might be a commercial for New Zealand. It is actually, with celebrity endorsements. Newsflash: New Zealand is amazing.
The Appendices Part 7: A Long-Expected Journey -
This is a timeline of the movie that breaks down into parts how it was made, more or less, following the chronology of the film. Of course films aren’t made chronologically, but following the organization of the film is helpful. And the docs aren’t strictly about “how we did this,” as much as they highlight interesting stories from a particular segment of the production.
The beefiest is the first, “The Journey Back to Middle-earth,” which also happens to be excellent. It follows the almost absurd series of roadblocks that threatened to keep this film from being made. Viewers who followed TheOneRing will recall those days when it seemed time and again, fate had conspired to kill the film. This is excellent content that wouldn’t be included on many DVDs of other films.
The studios bravely allowed the team to tackle subjects like the financial problems that almost derailed the films and the hiring and departure of Guillermo del Toro.
It would have been much safer to sanitize these events and it happens on many Hollywood “extras” projects but here they are addressed head on — an impressive inclusion. That first documentary is a definite highlight but every single one of them holds up high standards of storytelling and visuals that feel as though the essential moments were not only talked about but captured.
It is in fact the best big-story view on this topic available in either print or film. To better understand sitting down and watching “The Hobbit,” in the cinema, this is essential viewing. It is also great not to start with the first day of pre-production but to have a wider view of the whole works.
One of the best segments, perhaps my favorite, is “A Short Rest: Rivendell and London.” The fact that the production went to London to film Sir Christopher Lee and Ian Holm is common knowledge. A lesser documentary might spend its time making just the fact of traveling from New Zealand to London to shoot the focus of the story. Instead, that is established and then the focus is placed on something far more interesting than it just happening: Lee and Holm.
Jackson and Lee are on camera holding up production so those gathered around can listen to Lee remember parts of his life that are legendary on the silver screen. He also gives Jackson some good-natured crap and it is respectfully returned. Graham McTavish and Adam Brown are also on hand, despite not filming, to listen to Lee and help the storytelling by putting his presence in perspective. It is gold and in fact, it is a pity somebody doesn’t produce an entire film based on the man behind Saruman.
Included in the same section is a pretty incredible give-and-take between Jackson, Cate Blanchett, Fran Walsh on a telephone and Ian McKellen. They discussed character motivations and all the bigger questions behind the dialog on the script page. It is pretty incredible. There are some excellent moments with Hugo Weaving. It all felt intimate, rare and was fascinating.
There are a lot of bright spots here and in fact they are more or less all bright spots, or will be to somebody. The producers and director Michael Pellerin seemingly pushed for excellence and achieved it.
- The Journey Back to Middle-earth
- Riddles in the Dark: Gollum’s Cave
- An Unexpected Party: Bag End
- Roast Mutton: Trollshaws Forest
- Bastion of the Greenwood: Rhosgobel
- A Short Rest: Rivendell and London
- Over Hill: The Misty Mountains
- Under Hill: Goblin Town
- Out of the Frying Pan: The Forest Ledge
- Return to Hobbiton: The Shire
- The Epic of Scene 88: Strath Taieri
- The Battle of Moria: Azanulbizar
- Edge of the Wilderland: Pick-ups and the Carrock
- Home Is Behind, the World Is Ahead
Jackson also appears on an introduction to promise more extended editions with DOS and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again.”
This disc delivers production details, some conspicuously missing from the film. For example:
The Company of Thorin -
The families of the dwarves are grouped together to give us more details and insights into these characters and actors. These associations are pretty tough to pick out on screen but are well presented here. Knowing more about these characters will likely enhance view of “The Desolation of Smaug.” Pity some of this wasn’t woven into the narrative. If you aren’t keeping score the chapters are, by family:
- Assembling the Dwarves
- Thorin, Fili & Kili
- Balin & Dwalin
- Oin & Gloin
- Dori, Nori & Ori
- Bifur, Bofur & Bombur
Martin Freeman enjoys telling the behind-the-scenes cameras they are number one, always with his middle finger or fingers. Here is another case of content many studios would shy away from, but a short collection of Freeman giving the one-fingered salute is part of the reveal of who this Martin Freeman is.
So in the next segment, and perhaps my favorite on this disc, we meet:
Mr. Baggins: The 14th Member
Next we get more tasty features:
- Durin’s Folk: Creating the Dwarves
- The Peoples and Denizens of Middle-earth
- These are broken into chapters:
- The Stone Trolls
- Radagast the Brown
- Azog the Defiler
Realms of the Third Age: From Bag End to Goblin Town — We spend an hour with locations, time well spent.
- The Misty Mountains
- Goblin Town
The Songs of The Hobbit – A look at the realization of Tolkien’s songs in An Unexpected Journey.
This last item is another of my favorites. It demonstrates that despite being last, it isn’t any less interesting that what came before. There isn’t fat here to pad out the disc but instead highly polished, carefully produced, interesting, quality content.
The movie looks and sounds great, showing off how good Andrew Lesnie and his team are at shooting moving pictures. How great does it look? If you go to the audio, visual, home theater or electronics stores, bring the Blu-ray version of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” with you to test out the things you might buy. The picture is lovely with great details in blacks (Riddles in the Dark) excellent color and all the rich details coming to life. Hate to sound hyperbolic, but when it comes to audio and visual excellence, this disc is leading the industry.
The sound comes in 7.1 surround, meaning it can send seven sounds to seven speakers to create a sound atmosphere, if you home is equipped, showing off the genuine excellence in sound design through out the film. This is a noisy movie with loud characters, loud animals and orcs, some dragon scenes, deep rumbling stone giants and lots of general chaos.
But, the dialog is always ready and easy to hear, including some pretty subtle Ian McKellen lines that come through just fine. In fact, if you have the proper system in your home, sitting in the middle of the sound environment, closing your eyes and just listening is a real pleasure.
This movie is worth owning a Blu-ray player for. The film, no matter how much you like it or don’t, is technically amazing. The extra scenes improve it slightly but just as importantly, there is a wealth of documentaries that are collectively and individually great and paint an excellent picture of what made “The Hobbit,” happen. I meant it when I said it above, this is among the finest home video releases in history. Minor quibbles aside, MGM and Warner Bros. did right by fans and this does stand alongside its LOTR EE predecessors. While this film doesn’t extended as much or as importantly, its extras are as good and perhaps better.
Posted in Blu-Ray, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Director news, DVDs, Fran Walsh, Guillermo Del Toro, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hugo Weaving, Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Merchandise, MGM, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Production, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Warner Bros.