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Archive for the ‘Lord of the Rings’ 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

Kili’s Review of Tolkien’s Beowulf

Back at the start of the summer, staffer GreenDragon generously asked the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to send me a copy of Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf to review. While I started the book right away, this review has been delayed by producing Happy Hobbit and attending four conventions, along with writing two books and a script on top of daily life and work, which is a long-winded way to say that I apologize for my tardiness!

While still an undergrad, I took a course in Old English which was an introduction to the language, followed by a semester of translating Beowulf. A year isn’t enough time to master a dead language, and I was attempting to master two at once, for I was also taking Latin at the time (an alternate nickname for me could be Hermione), so I won’t be able to go into the nitty gritty mechanics of the language like Tolkien does in his notes, but I will offer what insight my education allows!

dead languages

This is what studying two dead languages looks like.

To offer some context, I will say that Old English is the name we have given to the Anglo Saxon language, for after a strong French influence after the Norman Conquest of 1066, Old English morphed into Modern English. It is important to note, as well, that Anglo Saxon is the language of our (even if you aren’t of English descent, you’re reading this in English) conquerors, for the Nordic tribes of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes invaded England after the withdrawal of the Roman Empire around 410 CE. They renamed the island Angle-Land. England. So while Beowulf is attributed as being the first great epic in English, it is significant that it is a story from the culture that conquered the island and that its setting is in the conquering nation’s homeland in the north, not England, even though the manuscript was recorded and found in an English monastery, hidden beneath pages of religious text. All of this would have been known to J.R.R. Tolkien at the time of his translation in the 1920s.

Firstly, I will say that my reason for taking Old English was driven by my obsession with Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings. I was first exposed to Beowulf in seventh grade when I read a version of the poem for one of my classes. Enamored with the culture and the exciting, heroic tale, it lingered in my mind in a way that few stories read for school had. In the Humanities Honors Program in college, we were exposed to the literature that laid the foundations for Western civilization and I once again read a translation of Beowulf (picturing Aragorn as Beowulf this time around, of course) and while in my proceeding English courses I avoided the works I had already read, Beowulf was the one text I would read every time I was asked. As such, I have been exposed to three or four translations, including my own.

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Posted in J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Uncategorized

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.

Where is the money in Middle-earth?

the_hobbit_the_desolation_of_smaug_sneak_peek_hd_mp_4_21 Just the other day, I was pondering the 12 silver pennies that Barliman Butterbur uses to buy Bill the Pony for Our Heroes in Bree. That, and the coins that he gives Merry as recompense for the ponies that fled Prancing Pony stables and eventually made their way back to Tom Bombadil.

It’s interesting because this is one of the very few times a unit of currency is directly mentioned in the main text of The Lord of the Rings. In fact, the further we get from The Shire, the less money (and economics) becomes a factor within the story.

But how do economies work in Middle-earth? We know that, at least in the Third Age, trade of a sort occurs. Tobacco and other goods make their way to Isengard from The Shire. Bilbo purchases goods from Dale and Erebor for his farewell party. And the elves of Mirkwood do business with Lake-town and the mysterious region of Dorwinion. (more…)

Posted in Fellowship of the Ring, Green Books, Hobbit Book, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Other Tolkien books, Silmarillion, The Hobbit

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

Dain Ironfoot: Hints, clues & looks at one of the final ‘Hobbit’ mysteries

dain2One of the big visual secrets of the final Middle-earth movie from Peter Jackson, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” is Dain Ironfoot. Played by Billy Connoly, Dain is a character that is essential to the story but isn’t incredibly fleshed out in J.R.R. Tolkien source material that was originally intended for children.

Our own Demosthenes has this excellent analysis of Connolly as Dain complete with quotes and descriptions of the character. It has long been reported that Dain will arrive on the scene riding a war boar but clearly Jackson’s team has been careful not to reveal this in any teaser trailers so far, and, lets hope it stays that way.

But, visuals of the character have started to seep into the public eye. With giant franchise films like The Hobbit, it’s impossible to put a lid on too much because merchandise and toys need to start selling before the film hits theaters (and before it is finished!) and that means that at the very least, clues are out in the wild.

The image at the top of this story, for example, clearly displays Lego Dain and it jives with the descriptions that are out there including this one from Connolly via Yahoo Australia:

“They’re basically broadening me, making me wider. But let me say, this guy will terrify the life out of you. I have a Mohawk and tattoos on my head. You’ve got to see it.”

The Lego character appears to be a ginger and is wearing a red chest piece as part of his armor, giving him a distinct look that will visually set him apart in cinemas so viewers will know instantly that he isn’t like the dwarves we have spent so much time with so far. He is a new element with a distinct mount, armor and will be immediately recognizable and unique.

DainThe Lego Dain even evokes a little bit of Connolly to me visually, although it could be a previous bias.

The concept art here seems to really compliment the Lego image as something close to Dain’s final design. The helms certainly seem similar in shape and color and the beards seem the same in shape and color. There are differences however in the color of the breastplate, although details on a Lego toy are only meant to be a representation and not a literal translation. In fact the looking and speculation from still images of a toy and a concept art is fun because of how different the motion picture experience is from a still image. In the day of CGI, what is filmed may or may not even resemble what ends up on screen.

UPDATE EDIT: Readers have correctly pointed out the below image is of Dwalin. The writer has been sacked.


Dain Mohawk

Posted in Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, Make Up, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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.

Today in Middle-earth, October 20

Flight to the FordThe following event(s) took place in Middle-earth on October 20:

  • Bilbo and the Dwarves sit around and begin to think of what to do next at the Hidden Door (1341)
  • Escape across the Ford of Bruinen (1418)
  • Gandalf and Elrond perceive the Black Riders at the Ford of Bruinen (1418)
  • Frodo is brought to Rivendell (1418)
  • Return of the King is published (1955)

(more…)

Posted in Calendar, Hobbit Book, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, The Hobbit, Today in Middle-earth

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.

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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

It Comes in Print? I’m Getting One.

Middle-earth MadnessYou asked for it. We listened.

When TORn’s new book, Middle-earth Madness, came out last month for Kindle and Nook, some fans were delighted, like Elizabeth Trogden who gives the books five stars at Amazon saying, “Just as the movies led me to the books, TheOneRing.net informed me of the many fans and their activities. This book wonderfully complements all of them.”

But there were others lit up Facebook and message boards with a clear request: “We want a printed version!” As Ithilwen commented, “I hope for printed version as well, it just seems way more fitting to read about Middle-earth from a paper book. Or maybe I’m just a bit old fashioned.”

Well, here it is. Real pages packed with hobbity goodness for you to hold in your hand and set on the shelf with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings movies the book is all about. It’s a little piece of TORn you can keep as a collector’s item and look back on as the years go by.

Get yours today to find out…

Middle-earth Madness- Which creature design in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey the filmmakers weren’t satisfied with and secretly changed for the extended edition DVD
- Which Hobbit movie includes an item with J.R.R. Tolkien’s name written on it
- Which item Bilbo takes from Beorn’s house and takes home
- How Peter Jackson could make an adaptation of The Silmarillion without obtaining the rights from the Tolkien Estate
- and lots more, including interviews with Richard Armitage (Thorin), Sylvester McCoy (Radagast), Richard Taylor (Weta Workshop), Mark Ordesky (LOTR Exec) and many more of your favorites.

Want to read a sample chapter and see what all the fuss is about? Here you go!

Update: thanks to DanielLB on our discussion boards for pointing out that the book is also available on some Amazon sites for countries other than the U.S. (amazon.uk, amazon.fr). So check out your country’s site in case you can save on some shipping.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Collectibles, Graham McTavish, Happy Hobbit, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie FAQ, Lord of the Rings, Richard Armitage, Sylvester McCoy, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien, William Kircher

EXCLUSIVE – Jed Brophy talks to TORn: Part Three

JedAsNoriAt the start of the summer, TORn staffer greendragon had the chance to continue her series ‘Inside the Middle-earth actor’s studio’ - discussing the craft of acting (and other things!) with cast members from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings movies. This time she sat down with an actor who has been involved since the beginning of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth films – the fabulous Jed Brophy. To celebrate the release of TORn’s new book Middle-earth Madness, which features this and other interviews, here’s your chance to read what Brophy had to say.

This is the third and final part of a long interview; you can find Part One here and Part Two here.

(more…)

Posted in Fans, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Jed Brophy, Lord of the Rings, LotR Cast News, LotR Movies, The Hobbit