‘…There are Orcs, very many of them,’ he (Gandalf) said. `And some are large and evil: black Uruks of Mordor. For the moment they are hanging back, but there is something else there. A great cave-troll, I think, or more than one. There is no hope of escape that way…’

I think back on my relatively young life and can fondly recall a few events that I would consider highlights: My marriage to my beautiful wife; the birth of our daughter; TheOneRing.net Oscar Parties from 2002-2004; Finding my dream job with Sideshow; and that time I got to see 26 minutes of The Fellowship of the Ring at the Cannes Film Festival in 2001. As you can read in my original report, I was blown away by the revelation of Peter Jackson’s vision of The Lord of the Rings on the big screen, especially when it came to the infamous Mines of Moria. Sure it was different from the books, but visual execution seemed to transmit my own visions of Middle-earth and put them on the big screen. So many years later, it is now my privilege to relive some of that sequence through the ‘Mines of Moria’ LEGO® Set, now available at most retailers.

As a preface to my review, I need to remind you all that I am not a LEGO® Set expert. My first experience with LEGO® Sets in many years was building the ‘Shelob Attacks‘ set I reviewed last month. So if I get some terminology wrong, please don’t hold it against me :P.

There are a few obvious differences between the  ‘Shelob Attacks’ LEGO® Set and ‘The Mines of Moria.’ First, and most obvious, is that the set is much larger and more complex. Whether it is the ‘action’ elements in the gate and right side piece, or it is adding the detailing stickers just in the right place, you will find this set takes anywhere from 3-4 hours to piece together. Let me say…that is not a bad thing! I’m quickly finding myself addicted to the enjoyment and plain old fun of LEGO® Sets again! (After the break I’ve got 84 pictures of the set!)

Continue reading “Product Review: ‘Mines of Moria’ LEGO® Set”

…the most loathly shape that he had ever beheld…Most like a spider she was, but huger than the great hunting beasts…Great horns she had, and behind her short stalk-like neck was her huge swollen body, a vast bloated bag, swaying and sagging between her legs; its great bulk was black, blotched with livid marks, but the belly underneath was pale and luminous and gave forth a stench. Her legs were bent, with great knobbed joints high above her back, and hairs that stuck out like steel spines, and at each leg’s end there was a claw…

Shelob.

For every Tolkien fan, the name leaps from the pages (and screen) of Middle-earth to invade a commonly held fear in our everyday life – the fear of an impossibly large, eight-legged, creepy-crawly finding us in the dark. *shiver* According to Wikipedia, it is estimated that 55% of women and 18% of men are Arachnophobic. You can count me among those with a mild fear of spiders, which basically means I have to ‘act’ the role of father/husband when it comes disposing of them. I can’t very well unleash a high-pitched scream and run away now can I…

So when I first saw the ‘Shelob Attacks’ LEGO® Set at the 2012 Toy Fare, I have to admit…I was a bit creeped out. Yes, its LEGO® blocks, but the piece is still surprisingly life-like. In fact, one of the reporters getting the sneak peek at this set could not go within 5 feet of the display. Yes, he was that Arachnophobic!

Before we get to the meat of this review, I will warn you ahead of time, that I am in no way a LEGO® Set expert. To be honest, I haven’t touched the popular construction toys for possibly 10 years, so I’m a bit behind the times when it comes to the licensed themed sets. However, I can tell you, within 1 minute of opening the box, the wonderful memories of LEGO® set building came swooping back.

Continue reading “Product Review: ‘Shelob Attacks’ LEGO® Set”

Welcome to our collection of TORn’s hottest topics for the past week. If you’ve fallen behind on what’s happening on the Message Boards, here’s a great way to catch the highlights. Or if you’re new to TORn and want to enjoy some great conversations, just follow the links to some of our most popular discussions. Watch this space as every weekend we will spotlight the most popular buzz on TORn’s Message Boards. Everyone is welcome, so come on in and join in the fun!

Continue reading “TORn Message Boards Weekly Roundup – April 23, 2012”

Welcome to this months “Getting to know…” questions that need answering.

Julie and her daughter at Queenstown Feb 2012
Julie and her daughter at Queenstown Feb 2012 Tour

It’s based on the old Getting to know you threads that I used to post on the message boards here on TORn, so those familiar with them will know that the questions can be a little crazy and the answers even crazier.

This month we’re asking questions of Red Carpet Tours Julie James.

Continue reading “Getting to know Julie James of Red Carpet Tours”

The official Lord of the Rings online store, at WBShop.com, has just posted a brand new Gandalf themed shirt! The exclusive black t-shirt features the infamous scene from The Fellowship of the Ring, and the phrase “You shall not pass!” as Gandalf blocks the path of Balrog. The shirt is available in all sizes and ships internationally. You can also snag a version of the shirt with just the artwork. Check them both out ! [You Shall Not Pass T-Shirt] [Gandalf Artwork Shirt]

Our story so far: Peter Jackson made three Middle-earth movies and people loved them. Now he is making two more and people already love them too. MrCere, Senior Staff, Writer and Photographer at TheOneRing.net (around since 1999) went to NZ to see what he could see. Landed in Queenstown, found lots of LOTR stuff, drove north to see the people of the ring, visited Hobbiton visited Wellington, center of NZ’s cinematic empire, and will soon leave NZ. However, much more content will follow.

I haven’t seen an insect weta before in my travels (until this trip, but not this story) but I have plenty of experience with the folks who run and work at the special effects shop who identify themselves as “wetas”. Several Comic-Cons, (including the 2011 edition in San Diego) lots of emails and various TORn functions have made the crew at Weta Workshop friendly acquaintances if not just plain old friends.

My time in Wellington would need to include a visit of some kind with the very busy people who are working on The Hobbit, but as I have often joked (even though it is at least partially true) Weta’s second best talent is making special effects for movies. What they are really best at is keeping secrets from TheOneRing.net. I had no illusions that anybody was going to tour me around the workshop (I asked anyway, just in case) during the height of The Hobbit production, but they were kind enough to invite me along to a group they were hosting from a cruise ship that included one of our own message board members. (Her identity is her own to reveal.) Continue reading “Weta Cave big part of movie tourism in Wellington”