At the start of August, we told you about NZ Post’s beautiful stamps which were being issued to celebrate 20 years since the release of Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring movie. Now NZ Post have shared with us EXCLUSIVE news about their next new release – a set of commemorative coins. Here’s what they tell us:

Presentation case for the 'Fellowship' coins, featuring Sacha Lees' artwork of Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf, and holding three NZ Post coins: Frodo, Gandalf and Boromir.
Continue reading “20th Anniversary celebrations continue with NZ Post – EXCLUSIVE”

Our friends at Weta Workshop have unveiled their next amazing statue, representing the 20th Anniversary of The Fellowship of the Ring. If you’re a fan of a certain White Wizard who ended up going bad, this one is for you! That’s right: fans will have until October 14th to place an order for Saruman the White on Throne. At midnight PST on the 14th the edition size of this collectible will be set. Saruman looks absolutely amazing, and will be a superb addition to anyone’s collection. The price for Saruman is $1,399 (US), with an expected shipping date in the third quarter of next year. This will give fans time to save up, if they decide not to use the payment plan system that the folks at Weta have available. If expanding your collection at a smaller price point is something you’re looking to do, fans can add these great options: Figures of Fandom Aragorn, Figures of Fandom Lurtz, Mini-Statue Gandalf the Grey, and Mini-Statue Gimli. All of these come in a price range of $99 for the Mini-Statues, to $119 for the Figures of Fandom.

Continue reading “Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop Saruman the White on Throne”

The awesome folks at Asmus Toys are up to some more fun with their 1:6 figure line from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. They’re very excited to announce that the next figure – or figures – is Gollum and Smeagol. Fans can get either of these very well done and seamless figures; or if you want both, you can get the luxury version. Either way you go, this is an absolute win for fans, as you’re getting what is the best version of Gollum we’ve seen done in a 1:6th scale figure. Fans ordering a single Gollum or Smeagol can expect to pay $130; or you can get the luxury version for $270. (This version also comes with a rock base.) This very well done figure will be shipping between April-June of next year; so you have time to save, or use Sideshow’s payment system to break down the price a little more.

Continue reading “Collecting The Precious – Asmus Toys Gollum/Smeagol Figures”

Our friends at Games Workshop sent us this incredible set from their Battle for Middle-earth strategy game, which is called The Battle of Pelennor Fields. In this set, you get to build and paint your characters to replicate what you saw on film. Then fans can use the rules book and strategy guide to play out a very D&D type game, involving our favorite characters. As you will see in this review and picture, you get a ton of stuff with the set, which comes in at $158. You also will need to buy the paint set, and that will cost you $45, but based on what you can do with these sets, even putting all the costs together, it’s still a pretty fair price for everything.

Continue reading “Collecting The Precious – Games Workshop: The Battle of Pelennor Fields”

Warner Bros Home Entertainment officially announces the massive 31-disc Middle-earth Ultimate Edition! For the first time ever, all of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth films are together in one massive box set, featuring new cast reunions and more.

Pic: WBHE

Pre-order at your favorite retailer; or here’s a link to the Amazon US pre order for LOTR Ultimate 4K set. All the details below:

MIDDLE-EARTH ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITION

31-Disc Set features the theatrical and extended versions of the six Middle-earth films in 4K
resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and on remastered Blu-ray.

Ultimate Collectors’ Edition also includes Bonus Content never before released for Home Entertainment, collectible packaging, art cards, and more!

BURBANK, CA, September 9, 2021 – Celebrate 20 years of adventure and friendship as Warner Bros. releases the Middle-Earth Ultimate Collector’s Edition, timed to the 20th anniversary of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The 31-disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth saga contains new special features along with the theatrical and extended versions of all six films in 4K Ultra HD and on Blu-ray discs remastered from the 4K master. The Ultimate Collector’s Edition will be released on October 26.

The Ultimate Collector’s Edition includes the theatrical and extended versions of the six films from New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures in 4K UHD with HDR – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The Ultimate Collector’s Edition comes in unique “Puzzle Box” collectible packaging and includes a 64-page booklet featuring costumes, photography and production notes from the film, and art cards featuring travel posters and images from iconic locations throughout Middle-earth including The Shire, Lake-Town, Erebor, Anduin, Rohan, Minas Trith, and Rivendell.

Also included are the original Cannes Film Festival presentation reel, and footage from the recent Alamo Drafthouse cast reunion featuring director Peter Jackson along with cast members Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Ian McKellan, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortenson, Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler, and Elijah Wood.

4K Ultra HD** showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper, and more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before.

The 4K remastering process was overseen by Peter Jackson.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King will feature Dolby Vision TM HDR that dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for every screen, frame by frame.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs will also feature a Dolby Atmos® soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead. To experience Dolby Atmos at home, a Dolby Atmos enabled AV receiver and additional speakers are required, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar. Dolby Atmos soundtracks are also fully backward compatible with traditional audio configurations and legacy home entertainment equipment.

Middle-Earth Ultimate Collector’s Edition contains the following special features:

  • Cannes Film Festival Presentation Reel
  • Alamo Drafthouse Cast Reunion
    • “The Fellowship of the Ring” – RT: 39:38​
      • (with Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Sean Astin and Elijah Wood)
    • “The Two Towers” – RT: 32:24​
      • (with Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Liv Tyler and Viggo Mortenson)​
    • “The Return of the King” – RT: 29:48​
      • (with Ian McKellan, Andy Serkis, and Peter Jackson)​

BASICS

PRODUCT SRP
Ultimate Collector’s Edition $249.99

Street Date: 10/26/2021

Ultra HD Blu-ray Languages: English, Latin Spanish, Canadian French, Brazilian Portuguese
Ultra HD Blu-ray Subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish, Canadian French, Brazilian Portuguese
Rating: All films rated PG-13 except for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition, which is Rated R for violence DOLBY ATMOS [CC]

THE CREDITS
About Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Inc.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment’s home video, digital distribution and interactive entertainment businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. An industry leader since its inception, WBHE oversees the global distribution of content through packaged goods (Blu-ray Disc™ and DVD) and digital media in the form of electronic sell-through and video-on-demand via cable, satellite, online and mobile channels, and is a significant developer and publisher for console and online video game titles worldwide. WBHE distributes its product through third party retail partners and licensees.

The Dragon has been sung back into its lair: DragonCon is over for another year. For five remarkable days, geekdom had a chance to gather again and celebrate together – and TORn staffers deej, Madeye Gamgee and greendragon were able to be with them. Read on, for greendragon’s thoughts on the event.

I’m sure the first question on many people’s minds will be, ‘How was the safety of the event?’ My overall impression was very good. At check in, everyone (be they attending fans, professionals, exhibitors, or guests) was required to show either proof of vaccination or of a negative Covid test, before receiving their pass. Masks were required at all venues – and from what I saw, this was carefully enforced. It must be said, I was not at the Con late at night; and some folks reported that ‘DragonCon after dark’, when perhaps drinks had been consumed, saw masks being discarded. But in the High Fantasy Track room, and at An Evening at Bree, I didn’t see anyone unmasked. Masks were even – gasp! – up over noses, as well as covering mouths. Many cosplayers had found fun and creative ways to coordinate their masks with their outfits – and of course masks are an integral part of many costumes anyway.

Numbers were restricted this year – fewer than half the usual attendees were allowed; and it has to be said, it was wonderful to be able to cross the skybridge between hotels, or get in an elevator, without waiting for half an hour. 35,000 is still plenty of people, so the con did not feel empty – and there were still long lines for An Evening at Bree, and full panels at many of the tracks. (Numbers in track rooms were also reduced, to allow more space; and no standing was allowed.) Rooms were carefully cleaned – each track room had an hour of deep cleaning during each day, as well as a deep clean overnight, and between panels mics were given new covers and surfaces sanitized. As Madeye Gamgee put it, ‘…all the pandemic mitigation standards were followed and seemed to work.’

On the downside, the parade seemed strange without the watchers along the street; that is perhaps something which didn’t work so well with reduced crowds. I know lots of folks missed the fan tables – and that’s a good opportunity for me to remind you that there is new TORn merchandise (shirts, socks, bags, masks, waterbottles, etc.) available online!

TORn's design, featuring quotations from Tolkien: 'Shadows are fleeing ... and merry our meeting. Be of good hope!' We see an image of a smoking pipe, and TORn's logo below. The bottom of the design features another quotation - 'Hope is Kindled' - and the date, 2021. The design is show on a pale grey t-shirt.

Do take a look at the various designs available at TORn’s online Spring store – and thanks for supporting the website!

As mentioned above, lines were long and the room (with the limited capacity allowed) full for Friday night’s An Evening at Bree. The Brobdingnagian Bards got us off to a great start, with toe tapping music playing from the very start, as guests arrived. We had wondered if we should try to limit dancing this year – but you just can’t keep the denizens of Middle-earth off their feet, and soon masked folks were swirling and skipping. Others enjoyed sitting in groups at tables, enjoying a drink from the Prancing Pony bar at the back of the room. After the Bards’ rousing set, the costume contest took place. It was a delight to see the usual extraordinary creativity and talent we’ve come to expect from this contest – big thanks to judges Constance and Laura, who had the unenviable task of selecting winners. Best in show was Lacey Santos’ amazing Smaug, Queen under the Mountain – complete with incredible embroidery, and Arkenstone in hand.

An amazing Smaug cosplay - a long, burgundy gown, with train edged with hand embroidered runes in gold. The dress includes scaled 'armour' epaulettes  in gold and burgundy, a flowing cloak, and  horned crown. The cosplayer has an illuminated Arkenstone in her hand, and long 'claw' fingernails.
Lacey Santos’ Best in Show winning costume (photograph by Geek Behind the Lens Photography)
The sash of the Smaug cosplay dress has Tolkien's own sketch of Smaug embroidered onto it. We also see rhinestones and beads hanging from the shoulders of the dress.
Embroidery detail (photograph by Lacey Santos)
Best in Show winner in her Smaug gown is shown with her plaque award from DragonCon. On either side of her are costume contest judges Laura (L) and Constance (R). All are wearing masks over nose and mouth.
Best in show with judges Laura and Constance (photograph by Geek Behind the Lens Photography)

Musician Beth Patterson was new to Bree this year, but we hope she’ll be back – her two sets were wonderful, and kept everyone in high spirits. We ended the night with some recorded music, allowing us to bring fan favourites Emerald Rose back to Bree. TORn is always very glad to host An Evening at Bree for DragonCon’s High Fantasy Track; as Madeye Gamgee said, ‘It felt like a joyful reunion of old friends and fellowships.’ We look forward to next year; meanwhile, you can check out DragonCon TV’s coverage of this year’s event in the video below.

For those of you who couldn’t attend this year – or who did attend, and want to keep the geeky fun going – there are all kinds of panels, geeky fun, and special guests, to be found at dragoncontv.com. You’ll need to pay $10 for access; and that will enable you to watch TORn’s panel celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring. You can find that under Fan Tracks (Saturday), at the 4’59 mark.

All in all, I think a good time was had by all, and I applaud the DragonCon organisers and many volunteers for all their hard work. Going back to that question of safety: I personally stayed away from big crowds, and was on the floor of the con much less than I would usually be, only going to specific events and otherwise staying out of the melee. When I was there, however – at Bree and for panels, as well as catching up with friends – I did not feel unsafe. Of course, when 35,000 people gather in one place, it seems inevitable that some, after the event, will test positive for Covid; but, to quote Madeye Gamgee again, ‘Assuming there aren’t any major super-spreader outbreaks connected to the weekend, DragonCon may have proven that a return to some form of a live convention is possible.’ And that is an encouraging thought.