So what did we learn from the first “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” trailer? We saw some new characters, the promise of favorite scenes from the book brought to life, and a few departures from existing text. Here is a little round up what was seen and what it all might mean.
It’s a question many of us have asked, but none of us can answer: What would J.R.R. Tolkien have thought of Peter Jackson’s version of The Lord of the Rings?
Because I’ve read a lot and thought a lot about Tolkien and his invented world, and I’ve engaged in a lot of debates about the quality and accuracy of the movies, I feel entitled to say things like, “Well, there are parts he would have loved and parts he would have hated.” But that’s not Tolkien talking. That’s me. The author died long before The Fellowship of the Ring was released in 2001, so I’ll never know how he might have reacted to the Jackson films, and neither will anyone else.
The nearest we can come to Tolkien’s assessment might be that of his son, Christopher Tolkien, who did not give the Jackson movies a positive review. “They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25,” Christopher told the French newspaper Le Monde in July 2012.
There’s a good chance Christopher’s father would have agreed with his son’s (rather unfair, in my opinion) assessment. It’s well known that, of Tolkien’s four children, Christopher was the one most drawn to his father’s creation. “As strange as it may seem, I grew up in the world he created,” Christopher (who is 88) told Le Monde. “For me, the cities of The Silmarillion are more real than Babylon.”
As a boy, Christopher, “huddled for warmth by the study stove, would listen motionless while his father told him” tales from his imaginary world, Humphrey Carpenter wrote in his biography of Tolkien. In his teens and twenties, Christopher was “deeply involved with the writing of ‘The Lord of the Rings’. He had read the first chapters in manuscript, and had drawn maps and made fair copies of the text for his father,” Carpenter wrote in The Inklings. When Christopher eventually joined the Inklings (the informal literary group that included Tolkien and C.S. Lewis), “it grew to be the custom that he, rather than his father, should read aloud any new chapters of The Lord of the Rings to the company, for it was generally agreed that he made a better job of it than did Tolkien himself,” Carpenter wrote.
So Christopher, clearly, knows The Lord of the Rings and his father’s thoughts about it more intimately than anyone else alive. With that in mind, it may be safe to assume Tolkien’s view would have aligned with Christopher’s, and he would therefore have hated the Jackson movies.
Then again, father and son don’t seem to have shared the same opinion about whether or not the book should be turned into a movie – any movie – at all. Christopher seems to think that The Lord of the Rings is so layered and complex that no film version could do it justice. “My own position is that The Lord Of The Rings is peculiarly unsuitable to transformation into visual dramatic form,” Christopher stated in December 2001, just before the first Jackson movie hit theaters.
Tolkien himself, however, was quite willing to see his book turned into film – under the right circumstances. In fact, he sold the movie rights for The Lord of the Rings (along with The Hobbit) to United Artists in 1969, according to Le Monde.
Tolkien was first approached about a Lord of the Rings movie in 1957, when three American businessmen proposed an animated version, according to Carpenter’s biography. “I should welcome the idea of an animated motion picture, with all the risk of vulgarization; and that quite apart from the glint of money, though on the brink of retirement that is not an unpleasant possibility,” Tolkien wrote one of his publishers that year. (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter No. 198)
In regards to selling the film rights, Tolkien and his publishers came up with a “cash or kudos” policy, according to Carpenter. Tolkien put it this way: “Either very profitable terms indeed; or absolute author’s veto on objectionable features or alterations.” (Letter No. 202)
The 1957 proposal included some “really astonishingly good pictures (Rackham rather than Disney) and some remarkable colour photographs. They have apparently toured America shooting mountain and desert scenes that seem to fit the story,” Tolkien wrote (202). But the synopsis of the proposed film they gave him was “on a lower level. In fact bad,” Tolkien wrote (202). Carpenter summarized the problems: “A number of names were consistently mis-spelt (Boromir was rendered ‘Borimor’), virtually all walking was dispensed with in the story and the Company of the Ring were transported everywhere on the backs of eagles, and the elvish waybread lembas was described as a ‘food concentrate’.”
Tolkien’s overall problem with the script was that it was “a compression with resultant over-crowding and confusion, blurring of climaxes, and general degradation: a pull-back towards more conventional ‘fairy-stories’. People gallop about on Eagles at the least provocation; Lorien becomes a fairy-castle with ‘delicate minarets’, and all that sort of thing.” (Letter No. 201) But as bad as it was, he was still willing to “play ball, if they are open to advice.” (201)
In these letters, published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, we get a rare glimpse of Tolkien the (surprisingly shrewd) businessman. The book also gives extracts from Tolkien’s comments on the 1957 film synopsis (Letter No. 210). The synopsis itself isn’t included, but Tolkien’s “review” sheds some light on its contents – and is probably the closest we’ll come to his vision of how The Lord of the Rings should be filmed.
The author’s comments also give an indirect glimpse of what he might have thought of Peter Jackson’s films. Tolkien’s “review” of the 1957 synopsis dwelled on one scene, from The Fellowship of the Ring, in particular: the Weathertop confrontation of Aragorn and the four hobbits with the Black Riders. “I have spent some time on this passage,” he wrote, “as an example of what I find too frequent to give me ‘pleasure or satisfaction’: deliberate alteration of the story, in fact and significance, without any practical or artistic object.”
He gave examples of what displeased him:
“Strider does not ‘Whip out a sword’ in the book. Naturally not: his sword was broken … Why then make him do so here, in a contest that was explicitly not fought with weapons?”
“The Black Riders do not scream, but keep a more terrifying silence. Aragorn does not blanch. The riders draw slowly in on foot in darkness, and do not ‘spur’. There is no fight. Sam does not ‘sink his blade into the Ringwraith’s thigh’, nor does his thrust save Frodo’s life.”
“A scene of gloom lit by a small red fire, with the Wraiths slowly approaching as darker shadows – until the moment when Frodo puts on the Ring, and the King steps forward revealed – would seem to me far more impressive than yet one more scene of screams and rather meaningless slashings …”
I could spend a lot of time laying out the similarities and differences of the 1957 and 2001 versions of the Weathertop scene, but you’re probably replaying the Jackson version in your head right now, and you don’t need my help. I will say this: Aragorn is too much the beefcake in Jackson’s version of this scene, swinging his big sword and throwing his flaming torches at the Black Riders, who run away like screaming babies. But I’ll side with Jackson on one point: It was kind of strange for Aragorn to be carrying a broken sword, which he did at that point in the book. Besides being a priceless heirloom, the Sword that was Broken was rather useless in a fight (which Aragorn acknowledged). Why not leave it in Rivendell until it’s ready to be re-forged, and carry a workable sword in the meantime?
Tolkien also addressed the overuse of the Eagles in the 1957 version: “I feel this to be a wholly unacceptable tampering with the tale,” he wrote. “‘Nine Walkers’ and they immediately go up in the air! The intrusion achieves nothing but incredibility, and the staling of the device of the Eagles when at last they are really needed.” At least Jackson didn’t commit that unpardonable sin.
The 1957 synopsis leaves out a scene that Tolkien considered extremely important, a scene that Jackson left in: “The disappearance of the temptation of Galadriel is significant. Practically everything having moral import has vanished from the synopsis.”
Tolkien was, however, OK with cutting out some parts of the book, if necessary. He even suggested cutting out the battle of the Hornburg (Helm’s Deep), “which is incidental to the main story; and there would be this additional gain that we are going to have a big battle (of which as much should be made as possible), but battles tend to be too similar; the big one would gain by having no competitor.” (By the “big one”, the author must have been referring to the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in The Return of the King.)
Jackson didn’t cut the battle of Helm’s Deep. Oh no. It’s the big set piece of his second movie. Whether or not that diminished the big battle in his third movie is debatable.
Then there’s the handling of Saruman’s end. The 1957 synopsis cut out the “end of the book, including Saruman’s proper death. In that case I can see no good reason for making him die,” Tolkien wrote. “Saruman would never have committed suicide: to cling to life to its basest dregs is the way of the sort of person he had become.” If Saruman needed to be tidied up, Tolkien wrote, “Gandalf should say something to this effect: as Saruman collapses under the excommunication: ‘Since you will not come out and aid us, here in Orthanc you shall stay till you rot, Saruman. Let the Ents look to it!’”
Seems like Jackson’s shorter version of “The Return of the King”, the version that ran in theaters (as opposed to the extended edition), handled “Sharkey’s End” in a manner Tolkien would have preferred.
Despite his distaste for the 1957 synopsis, Tolkien was still willing to “play ball”, as he wrote. So why was that version never made into a movie?
In his biography, Carpenter gave an explanation: “There did not seem to be much prospect of kudos in this, and as there was not much cash either, negotiations were not continued.”
Like I said at the beginning, we’ll never know what Tolkien would have thought of the Jackson movies; but based on what we’ve just read, it’s safe to say he would have preferred them over the 1957 proposal. And not to sound too vulgar, but there probably would have been more cash involved as well…
Maedhros is a guest writer and his views do not necessarily reflect those of TheOneRing.net. Maedhros lives in Grand Rapids, MI. He’s been hooked on Tolkien since he was 11, when he opened the first page of “The Two Towers” and read about Aragorn tracking a hobbit; and Boromir’s death scene, of course.
They have been holding casting sessions all over the country, including Seattle, Chicago, Dallas, Long Beach, and most recently in Phoenix at their Comicon, where this reporter caught up with them. There are two remaining events to earn a chance to be on “The Quest”. The first will be in New York on Wednesday, May 29 at 7pm at Times Scare NYC, located at 669 8th Ave., New York, NY. 10036. For more details and for a chance to attend, look at the flyer image posted with this article. The final casting session will be held at the Philadelphia Wizard Con taking place this coming weekend. For tickets and information about the con, please visit their website at: http://www.wizardworld.com/philadelphia.html
Not much else was mentioned at the Phoenix Comicon event that wasn’t already in the article, except to mention the time commitment. If chosen, you would be given a 5 week block of time to clear, but you would only need to be gone for 3 weeks. The filming will occur sometime during the summer, but not on where it would be, just that you would need a passport. The show will most likely air sometime in the early New Year. The interview process is pretty quick and painless, and the possible rewards endless, so if you live in either NYC or the Philly area, please do try to make it to one or the other.
There once was a little hashtag looking for a cause. Over the past eleven days, #VoteBilbo became a lightning rod of attention and excitement among Ringer fans the world over. In the words of another reporter: “it went beyond viral.” A resounding victory was pulled off by the unlikeliest fandom — an unorthodox lovefest — for an unexpected little hero. Here’s the story of how TheOneRing.net galvanized a remarkable fan audience to achieve a sweet victory!
It started when this year’s MTV Movie Awards announced their vote-in contest for the category “Best Hero” — allowing Instagram and Twitter users to employ hashtags like #VoteIronMan or #VoteHulk — and especially of interest to this phenomenon #VoteBilbo. A few days actually went by without us even noticing there was a contest. Over Easter weekend the staff of TheOneRing.net was working to deliver a great presentation before packed crowds (many hundreds in the standing-room-only hall) at WonderCon, happening right on the tail of a very successful April Fool’s Day prank — so no wonder we were looking elsewhere.
TheOneRing.net first brought attention to the contest on April 3rd with this tweet:
We saw that Kristen Stewart’s character Snow White (from that hunky HUNTSMAN movie) had a stunning 13,556 votes, far more than the other nominees… while poor Mr. Baggins was in very last place with only 226 votes. A pathetic showing that would have me old Gaffer shaking his head in shame.
By using Twitter to muster our troops, within a mere 24 hours we saw a mighty surge of thousands of votes — yes THOUSANDS — and it kept going strong from there. We hit the Twitterverse so hard that #VoteBilbo started trending, everyone outside of our community actually picked up on it, K.Stew quickly lost her lead (causing her fanbase to respond), and thus “The Great Battle of the Fandoms” was in full swing.
We realized that TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN fans were supporting their chosen actress, *not* the character she portrayed, a bit of irony not lost on us. The category “Best Hero” did not really mean “Best Actress You’re A Fan Of From Another Franchise Because You Didn’t Really Watch This Movie.” Their rigorous support for the actress rather than the character made the whole contest a bit of a sham, in that context. Rather unfair, in this Ent’s personal opinion, that a true statement of how we regard our heroes was being skewed so badly. Undoubtedly Twi-hards have been a huge segment of MTV’s target audience, and plenty of naysayers told us that we didn’t have a chance to tip the scales. We were glad to have a challenge: a task to show what genuine fan-love of a heroic character really looks like, with numbers not seen since the Muster of Rohan!
The meteoric trending of #VoteBilbo caught everyone’s attention. Warner Bros. Pictures officially supported the effort with this missive from their Twitter account ‘TheHobbitMovie’ on April 5th, which spurred tens of thousands of new votes:
Our burglar, Bilbo Baggins, is nominated for Best Hero atthe 2013 MTV Movie
The other nominees were floundering: Batman and Catwoman were left in the dust of a deserted Gotham City as Bilbo VS. Snow White became a runaway viral showdown. But the numbers were not quite right. Certain fake Twitter accounts (spam-style “bots”) were discovered processing blank-except-for-the-hashtag #VoteSnowWhite tweets, but they were reported and shut down. Our support for Mr. Baggins was quite organic, and the funny thing was that votes were not coming from some hardcore group of Martin Freeman supporters, though they exist, but rather from Tolkien-lovers who really wanted to make a true statement about Bilbo Baggins.
April 6th proved to be a huge day! The media-watch group WHO TRENDED IT? posted this tweet on April 6th, giving TORn proper credit:
Guess what ! #votebilbo trending in the US ? @theoneringnet did it ! Now, that’s badass. Even as a cold hearted robot, I’m impressed.
Within his wonderful vote-tracker page we could see exactly what was going on, relative to the timing of our announcements on TheOneRing.net (and our Facebook timeline and Twitter, of course). When there was doubt our votes were less than stellar, we rallied again!
Stars from the LOTR Film Trilogy and even newer actors from THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY jumped on board! Their timing was perfect — and because these actors are actually paying attention to what fans are saying on Twitter, it felt like a genuine grassroots effort was brewing. We had tweets from Dominic Monaghan (Meriadoc Brandybuck) and Dean O’Gorman (the dwarf Fili) on the same day Evangeline Lilly (upcoming new character Tauriel) retweeted our comments — pleased as we were to ultimately learn that retweets counted as full votes!):
More ambitious creative folks within our Ringer ranks started posting videos designed to bring a smile to your face as well as playfully jab at Bella Swan — and MTV reported on it, realizing that the race was getting quite aggressive between the two camps. ‘If you liked it then you shoulda put a Ring on it’ had a whole new meaning with Speigel Ei’s Vimeo clip:
“HOBBIT fans went straight for the gut of Team #VoteSnowWhite,
who have to watch as several of the characters from Middle-earth court
Kristen Stewart to their side over Edward Cullen,” declared the MTV blog, and we realized this was indeed a chance to show our resplendent fandom in a unique way. The fact that we have been in love with Tolkien’s HOBBIT characters for 75 years since the book was first published supported the sky-high numbers of votes.
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF VOTES POURED IN DAILY. When the final weekend of the Awards telecast began on April 13th, we broke 1 million votes. K.Stew voters were trying to keep up; sometimes we crossed above or below their high-end total. Fans started to create one-click Twitter vote buttons, and we supplied a host of #VOTEBILBO avatars and funny images to become viral memes. Fans started creating their own images (with familiar LOLcat fonts) and sharing them.
Our lovely lady friends Kili and Fili from our HAPPY HOBBIT video channel did a fun little P.S.A. style announcement asking Ringers to bring their votes to bear! We were really building momentum as a community. There was more spirited fun to be had with this contest than we first suspected!
Did we have crossover from other fantasy fans? You betcha! *wink* GAME OF THRONES featured our very own Sean Bean (Boromir) in the first season and of course it was appropriate for him to support his halfling friend.
We were not just sending empty or meaningless tweets with a hashtag in place — we wanted to make this relevant. In an effort to really bring our feelings and honest passion to the center stage, TORn decided to host a concentrated “Tweet Quest” on Sunday April 14th, the day of the MTV Movie Awards. During a tightly-concentrated 1-hour block, and then another encore 1-hour, we asked Ringers to declare why Bilbo should be named ‘Best Hero.’ So we put forward the call to arms.
Boy oh boy, did they respond with a flood of hobbity lovin’!
Fans declared things that mattered to us, that mattered to readers, and as lovers of Tolkien we could certainly relate: “#VoteBilbo because he was the one person who willingly let the Ring go, when no one else could,” was my personal favorite sentiment. We have an audience that included older-generation folks who had never used Twitter, so we gave quick and easy instructions to help guide our friends toward their goal. We provided everything we could — and most importantly we gave this effort true SPIRIT.
It was a phenomenal success. In the end the final tally was:
Giving our furry-footed reluctant adventurer a lead of well over 100,000 to claim the win! Although MTV broadcast the announcement of the winner as a throw-away commercial bumper for Axe body spray (indeed it was shown offstage, not really part of the “actual ceremony”), and although no cast member from THE HOBBIT film was present to receive the award, we here at TheOneRing.net were entirely thrilled to have succeeded with a kind of social networking wizardry that was fueled by you, dear readers.
Such a long way to go from only 226 votes! Such an outpouring of love!
One of our volunteer staffers, Magpie, had this to say: “It was like a flash mob. We did it for us (Wedefined as the greater Tolkien fan community with TORn functioning a major player in focusing that fan community). It was a community campaign that was an event in itself.”
Staffer Justin who produces our Live webcasts and our weekly show TORn TUESDAY had this to say: “Over 27,000 Bilbo pictures on
Instagram in one week! Take a look at all the comments and tweets we got, there is something for everyone to run with. Thank you all for making #votebilbo happen. I received several messages at the beginning saying I was ‘crazy’ and it was ‘Folly against Twi-hards,’ ‘Who cares about MTV,’ and ‘What’s the point of a stupid teenage online popularity contest?’ But this is why fans love being fans. Achieving something together. To Prove Their Quality.”
And that, my friends, is indeed the feeling I have at the end of the day. That we have stood up with a flag of unity once again. That we have proven our quality of thinking creatively and acting with great energy! It feels like it was months in the making but it happened over such a very short length of time (making it the more surprising).
The love that brings us together is our love of J.R.R. Tolkien and his works are evergreen. No separation of older to younger generations or access to technology can slant that. The truth will out!
Hulk sad. Too bad.
Batman gave up the ghost. Because we are the most.
Iron Man clad in shame. Shoulda played his own game.
Catwoman felt an itchy pox. Put kitty back in her smelly box.
Snow White drifted. Twi-hards were sifted (out).
But #BilbotheHero wins the day! We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Much too hasty,
Follow Cliff “Quickbeam” Broadway on Twitter: @quickbeam2000
ENCORE QUEST: The first hour was massively successful. So much so, we’re going to do it again at showtime, 8:30 pm Eastern, until the winner is named. Get ready to tweet!.
You’ve voted. And voted. And voted! But you haven’t given up, because Hobbit fans are heroes!
We’re down to the final hours of MTV’s “Best Hero” contest and we’re pulling out all the stops to put our favorite hobbit on top! How? We’re launching a VoteQuest!
Short explanation: From 12 noon to 1pm Eastern, we’re going to hit Twitter with a volley of tweets answering the important question: “Why is Bilbo the Best Hero?”
Why a VoteQuest? Because not only is it a great time for Hobbit fans to pull together, but a concentrated hour of tweeting will hopefully land #VoteBilbo in the trending list, getting the important message out to all Hobbit fans everywhere. Which will hopefully mean even more votes!
And it’s so much fun to see what fellow fans tweet.
Follow @theoneringnet and its great staff for updates and announcements.
Read on for all the information on this important event. Also what to do if you don’t have a Twitter account, how to schedule tweets, “Vote Bilbo” avatars & meme images to post to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and other social media places. AND MORE.
HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:
Beginning at 12 noon Eastern, start tweeting your reasons why Bilbo is the Best Hero, plus #VoteBilbo http://on.mtv.com/XhsEOV
Example: Can Snow White rescue 13 dwarves? I don’t think so! #VoteBilbo http://on.mtv.com/XhsEOV
Use no more than one hashtag per tweet. Only one #VoteBilbo per tweet will count; Using multiple hashtags affects Trending algorithms.
Avoid aggressively disparaging Snow White or K-Stew fans. It reflects poorly on the Tolkien fandom.
Respect your followers. We want to tweet a lot, but you also don’t want to turn people off. Use your best judgment. See below for information about dealing with complaints from followers.
Avoid “Twitter Jail!” If you tweet too much too quickly, Twitter will lock you out for an hour. Also if you write the same things over and over. Pace yourself.
Can’t think off-the-cuff? Pre-write your Tweets in a text editor & copy/paste during the event.
Won’t be around during that hour? Write your tweets in advance and schedule them! That’s another friendly feature in Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. More info on scheduling tweets below.
NOT ON TWITTER? HERE’S WHAT TO DO
If you don’t currently use Twitter, it’s easy enough to sign up for an account.
Visit http://www.twitter.com and fill out the “New to Twitter” box.
You’ll be asked to validate your account by responding to the email they send you. Then, voila, you have a Twitter account.
Simply start tweeting by writing your thoughts on “Why Bilbo is the best hero” and include these two things: #VoteBilbo http://on.mtv.com/XhsEOV
If you use the Twitter web page, it will load the tweets in that window. Click “All” at the top to see everything, rather than “Top”
If you use a desktop Twitter client such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, you can create a new column following that hashtag.
SCHEDULED TWEET INFO:
How to schedule tweets in Tweetdeck
1) Download Tweetdeck for Windows or Mac, or use the web version: https://www.tweetdeck.com/
2) To compose a tweet, click on blue box icon in top right corner of Tweetdeck.
3) Write your text and then click on the Clock icon at the bottom of the text box. In the calendar/time drop down, select the time you want to the tweet to publish, then click TWEET. The Tweet is now scheduled.
How to schedule tweets in Hootsuite:
1) Click on compose tweet icon
2) Write your text and click on “Schedule.” Select the date and time for the tweet to publish.
Use no more than one hashtag per tweet, or it will affect trending algorithms.
Respect your followers and don’t schedule hundreds of tweets.
Don’t write the same thing over and over again — get as creative as you can!
As much as we want to reach the widest audience possible, we don’t want to turn people against the #VoteBilbo campaign or TheOneRing.net . if you get complaints from followers, please suggest they mute our hashtag. It is important to respect your followers.
CHROME EXTENSION (works with Twitter web page): https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/proxlet-tweet-filter/kmelikmboobdcnfeaaapkfombnmmbcpc
TWEETDECK: Use the “Global Filter” feature found under “Settings” http://www.thinksplendid.com/2012/02/tip-for-muting-hashtags-on-twitter.html
Last weekend was the first really big Hobbit convention after the release of the film, and the perfect time for cosplayers to really show their quality. Ring*con normally holds a big convention in the Fall every year, but they decided to host a special HobbitCon in the Spring and invited the cast to join them, and join them they did. 9 major cast members from The Hobbit showed up in Germany to hang with the fans, and here is a little review from the event. (more…)
The Desolation of Smaug sneak peak just ended and those of us who were lucky enough to see it I think will agree it was fabulous! It started with a short tour by PJ and Jed Brophy of Stone Street Studios that ended in the editing room. There, we were treated to many clips, finished and unfinished, of various parts of the movie in response to fan’s questions. It ended with a finished, trailer-like excerpt of Gandalf and Radagast in Dol Guldur, and maybe a dozen other shorter clips from filming and from the movie itself. Fabulous!
For those of you who missed it, fear not! Our staff is busy compiling detailed commentary complete with screen caps!! So, stay tuned here for much, much more. It will be posted here on the Home Page soon. Our friends at Warner Bros. also remind us 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.
UPDATE: we’ve just been informed by Warner Bros. that we can post no screen caps of the sneak peek. We apologize for disappointing any of our loyal readers, especially those who weren’t able to see it. We *will*, however, be posting more details and commentary from our staff very soon!
Fictional Frontiers, a radio show specializing in genre entertainment and located on the east coast of the U.S., was part of the media assembled at The One Expected Party and checks in with an entertaining look at the weekend’s art show and Oscar night’s biggest geek celebration. It showcases each of the Oscar nominees, a few interviews, selections from the art show and a good representation of the musical showcase from the evening. Checking in under five minutes, it’s an excellent capture of the event.
Following on from MrCere’s excellent post yesterday, telling you all about the different formats tempting you to part with your cash and take home The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, here is a ‘mini-review’ of the Blu-ray 3D Combo pack which will be available in the United States. Staffer greendragon was fortunate enough to receive a copy of the Blu-ray/DVD pack in advance of a press junket taking place in London today; here are her thoughts on the precious!
First of all, the packaging is beautiful. The cardboard slip case has the lenticular image of Gandalf which we saw on one of Empire magazine’s covers. Underneath this slip case, the box has the same image on the front, with the back showing a small picture of Bilbo running off from the Shire, contract in hand, above the details of the contents.
This ‘combo pack’ is the five disc version: it contains the movie (over two discs) on 3D Blu-ray; one disc of the movie on 2D Blu-ray; one disc of the 2D DVD version; and one disc of ‘Special Features’. These features are, as MrCere mentioned, the ten Production Videos which Peter Jackson published on his facebook page during the making of the film. I agree with MrCere’s thought that, whilst this may not be adding anything new, it is very nice to have all these videos gathered in one place, where you can easily find them to watch them again and again. One word of caution, however: if you are purchasing a Blu-ray combo pack with the thought that you will get a Blu-ray player ‘one day’ and in the meantime will watch the film on the DVD which comes in the set, note that the Special Features disc is a Blu-ray, not a DVD.
As with all the different versions available for purchase, this pack also comes with details on how to access your ‘UltraViolet’ copy of the movie, so that you can download and stream the standard definition theatrical version of the film to your various devices.
Sitting at my laptop in London, I haven’t been able to try out the Blu-ray discs, but I did watch the DVD last night. The main menu shows footage from the film, playing on a loop; it starts with a zoom in on the map of Middle-earth, a shot of Bag End, and then the dwarves singing part of the Misty Mountains song. Following scenes include Bilbo running to join them on their journey, the trolls gathered around their fire, Radagast and his rabbits fleeing the orcs, and shots in Rivendell, Goblin Town and Gollum’s cave. The montage ends with Bilbo drawing Sting for the first time; and then the loop starts again.
The movie is divided into thirty-two scenes, and the scene selection menu has part of the map of Middle-earth in the background. The other menu choice from the main menu is for languages; the DVD can be played in English, French or Spanish, and has subtitles also in those languages. The background for this menu is a picture of a pensive-looking Gandalf, seated by a tree and smoking his pipe.
As for the film - well, of course I love the film. It thrills me to hear that opening melody and to know I can now watch this movie whenever I like! After all these years of waiting for The Hobbit, it seems even a little surreal to have these discs in my hands. I must confess, though, I rather wish that the home entertainment release could have been a little later; I’d like to have seen An Unexpected Journey in the cinema a few more times before I moved to a smaller screen!
The Blu-ray and DVD of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be available for you to take home in the US from March 19th; but if you just can’t wait that long, digital download (from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon and Vudu) will be available from March 12th. The hard copies (in whatever format you purchase) and digital downloads from ‘select digital retailers’ will come with a code which will enable viewers to watch the live stream of Peter Jackson’s sneak peek of the next movie, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. This will play live on March 24th at 3pm Eastern/noon Pacific time; so if you’re in the US and eager for a glimpse of the second part of the trilogy, (and let’s face it, if you’re reading TORn, you probably are eager for a glimpse!), be sure to get your copy of An Unexpected Journey before March 24th, so you’ll be ready to watch! (MrCere’s article lists the April release dates for the Blu-ray and DVD in some other parts of the world; I’m told by Warner Bros. that codes for the sneak peek will be available outside the US – for example, possibly given to those who preorder a Blu-ray or DVD – but as yet there’s no confirmation on details for that. We’ll let you know as soon as we hear!)
Finally – as MrCere mentioned yesterday, the press release which came with this Blu-ray pack from Warner Bros. confirmed that this ‘home entertainment release will be followed by an Extended Edition available just in time for the holidays’. Now THAT is something I can’t wait to see!
You can preorder this Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack here; or preorder the digital download here.
Ralph Bakshi, creator of the 1978 animated version of The Lord of the Rings, is using Kickstarter to raise funds for his latest film — Last Days of Coney Island. With 58 hours to go (at time of writing), the film is less than $4,000 short of its $165,000 target.
Bakshi describes it as an animated cop, mafia, horror movie set in the 1960s in Coney Island, with political overtones both realistic and outrageous. Actor Matthew Modine, himself a longtime Bakshi fan, has been cast in the film’s lead role.
In my films I have always discussed America: who we are, what we are, for better and worse, and the ridiculous. I’m here on Kickstarter asking for your support for my newest project, Last Days of Coney Island.
It takes place in a 1960s Coney Island populated with crooked cops, broken hearts, jaded strippers, and singers.
The stories take place on and around Coney’s garish, freaky midways and in it’s dark alleyways. They discuss America: Kennedy’s assassination, the mafia, Bobby Dylan, Vietnam, Dick Tracy, Miss America, and more.
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