It is hard to believe that 20 years ago today, we got our first collective tease at what would become the greatest film trilogy of all time. (Yea…I said it.)
Way back on March 31st, 2000 – New Line sent out an update for those folks subscribed to their newsletter…footage was going to be released officially on April 7th. (See our squee-worthy post from 2000)
The waiting game began. If you want to take a trip down memory lane, check out all of our headlines from that timeframe. The child-like exuberance of our staff in anticipation of the trailer was unmatched. One particular enthusiastic staffer – some guy named Calisuri – even kept a daily countdown that eventually went into an hourly countdown.
Then in the early hours of April 7th, the official website posted the trailer and our lifelong dream of seeing The Lord of the Rings on the big-screen become a reality. By the time Peter Jackson says ‘This is the time,’ and the screen fills with an army of Uruk-hai, we could barely contain our joy. The Ring Verse is read while Carmina Burana builds the tension, and we all couldn’t get enough of the magic.
TheOneRing.net staff immediately went to work on our Frame by Frame analysis, and as you will see on that page, we kept updating for days and months afterwards.
The ‘internet trailer’ for Lord of the Rings became the most downloaded preview in history and holds a special place in film history as a result.
Waaaayyy back in time in the late 20th Century, four creatives lurked about the wild frontier of the internet, pursuing their disparate interests, unknowingly united by a common passion. The internet was undiscovered country in that time, fertile ground for those with the right ingredients to plow, till and toil. This passion – a love of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien – brought together in an unlikely alliance a visionary, a musician, a server lord and a coder from three nations and two continents who would make history and launch the greatest gathering, collection and expression of Tolkien fandom as yet seen on this Earth.
Since TORn’s beginning early in 1999, Corvar (William R. Thomas) has been the mystery man behind the scenes working on TheOneRing.net’s server from where he lives in Wisconsin. A computer programming professional who, along with Calisuri (Chris Pirrotta), is the guy responsible for making sure that everything runs smoothly and the lights stay on. Corvar’s vast programming knowledge in the ever-changing computer field ensures that TheOneRing.net keeps clipping along without a hitch. But when we do hitch… he’s the one they call.
In a TORn exclusive, we’ve learned Amazon Prime intends to not just break new ground in its new Middle-earth TV show, but blow fantasy apart with a bold move in the offing.Viewers will be able to interact with the show and decide what choices key characters will make. The choose-your-own-adventure approach could provide up to five hours of viewing per episode in the 10-episode first season.
You may not know his name, but outside of being a co-investor in the LOTR films, Samuel Hadida through his Davis-Films production company and his Metropolitan FilmExport distribution company in France helped make or distribute numerous films you would have heard of, including the Resident Evil franchise, True Romance, and the Silent Hill films and this year’s Hunter Killer. This reporter first encountered Samuel Hadida at San Diego Comic con when he brought Solomon Kane to Hall H in 2009. He was a champion of indie and genre films, and without his output deal with New Line Cinema, Lionsgate and Dreamworks, we might not have ever gotten the LOTR or the Hunger Games films.
Mark Ordesky, Executive Producer on the Lord of the Rings films said of him;
“Shocked and saddened. Sammy was so dear and brimming with life. One of many memories is indelible: His company was a co-investor in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy and needless to say the stakes were high. After we premiered the first public footage in Cannes 2001, Sammy lifted me off the ground and kissed me in his excitement. He lived and bet his passions and I’ll miss him terribly. We should all aspire to love our lives and jobs as much as he did. My deepest sympathy to his brother, Victor, and all who loved him.”
We at TORn also send out a heartfelt ‘Thank You’ for his courage in being a financial partner on the LOTR film, and send our condolences to his family and friends on his passing at such a young age. You can read more on his work at Passing of French Distributor Samuel Hadida
Solomon Kane panel at SDCC 2009 with Samuel Hadida second from left, Director Michael J Bassett and actor James Purefoy on the right. AICN’s Quint was the moderator on the far left.
In addition to the many fans that posted their reviews on TORn (see yesterday’s article: 15,084 Reviews and Counting), many of our core staff chimed in with reviews soon after FOTR opened. In this article, we bring you reviews by such well-known names as Xoanon, Tehanu, Quickbeam and Ostadan. All of them capture the magic and excitement that we all experienced 15 years ago.
To begin, one lucky staffer, Tehanu, the envy of all of us, was lucky enough to attend the film’s premier in Wellington, New Zealand. Of course, Tehanu (a.k.a. Erica Challis) is one of TORn’s founders and served as our ‘feet on the ground’ and number one Ringer Spy during filming. Here are some of her impressions from the day:
“I’ve been in Wellington for a day or two and I have to tell you, the town is in a Rings uproar. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now. The streets are hung with LOTR banners, everything from the Town Hall to the Evening Post’s headquarters is renamed ‘Middle Earth’ (as is the airport, I believe, though I haven’t seen that myself.) The Rings is on every newspaper, every phone bill, every electricity company billboard, on the ads for Mastercard. There are funny billboards harping on LOTR themes everywhere (“Wellington: Full of orcs, hobbits and elves. …But enough about Parliament…..”). The monster cave troll dominates Courtenay Place from its perch on the awning of the Embassy Theatre, where the plasterers are working round the clock to finish the theatre in time for the Premiere.”
On December 18, 2001, TheOneRing.net introduced a new feature on our site: Ringer Reviews – “A database of reviews from Tolkien fans all over the world, whether you loved, liked or hated the film this is where you can express your feelings in words and celebrate with your fellow fans the release of the first installment in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.” Twenty-four hours later, fans had posted 3,000 reviews. By Christmas the count was up to 6,700 and on January 19, 2002, a month after FOTR opened, over 10,000 reviews had been submitted.
Today the count stands at 15,084 reviews. Unfortunately, the individual reviews reside on our old site and have been archived. But, we thought it might be fun to revisit some of the overall results, more of which can be found at the Ringer Reviews link above.
If you’ve been around TheOneRing.net for a while… correction: if you’ve been around TheOneRing.net for a really, really long time, you might remember the section of our site called GreenBooks. GreenBooks’ tag-line was: Exploring the Words and Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien, and that’s exactly what our staff and guest contributors did there for many years. Sections included Quickbeam’s Out on a Limb, Turgon’s Bookshelf, Anwyn’s Counterpoint, and others, and explored topics on everything Tolkien with some movie and Peter Jackson articles thrown in for good measure.
Unfortunately, the old TORn site crashed early in 2007, which turned out to be a good thing as it forced us into the 21st century, adopting a new format that allows our readers to comment directly to articles (what a concept). However, GreenBooks became relegated to our old archived site, and the cobwebs grew thick there. Some of us oldies who know the right paths to take, still delight in poking around the old place every now and then, and while doing so recently it occurred to me that there’s no reason to leave such literary gems languishing in the cobwebs. So, once a week or so, I thought I’d dust one off and re-post it.
We at TheOneRing.net want you all to join us in saying a proper ‘Fond Farewell’ and heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to all the hard working Cast and Crew of all six of the Middle-earth films. There will be a giant ‘Thank You’ card at our planned “The One Last party: There and Back Again” event on February 21, 2015 in Hollywood. We’ve done this before, back at the Return of the One Party in 2004, so we know how to do big cards.
Now we know that not everyone can join us at ‘The One Last Party” so we have a special Perk on our Indiegogo campaign just for you. In fact, every single Perk level includes your name on the card, but we did create the lowest level Perk just for those who can’t attend, but would like to be included in this special ‘one of a kind’ Thank you greeting. The images here are from 2004, but they give you an idea of what to expect from this year’s Epic card. And for those who do attend the party, you will have the opportunity to personalize your greeting a little bit more at the party. This ‘Thank You’ card will either be given to, or sent down to New Zealand to be delivered to Peter Jackson.
For the past decade and a half, Peter Jackson, his amazing cast and the equally amazing crew have handcrafted these magnificent cinematic representations of Middle-earth for all of us to enjoy. Along the way, we have created a vibrant fan community where we can be found chatting on the message boards, meeting up at theater Line Parties, attending conventions together, making pilgrimages to New Zealand, and attending Oscar parties. We are a very social fandom who celebrates both the creative and academic side of Middle-earth, where you can find people displaying amazing costume designs right next to people who can recite and translate all of Tolkien’s Elvish poetry, and each can call the other ‘friend’. So while we want to thank Peter and the rest of the cast and crew for making films we can all enjoy, we especially want to thank them for the much more important Fan Community that has been thriving in big cities and tiny little towns all around the world since 2001.
Please join us in sending out our thanks by supporting our campaign for The One Last Party: There and Back Again, or sharing it far and wide with all your friends and family. Let’s all enjoy each other’s company #OneLastTime.
Join us in Los Angeles in February at The One Last Party
We’re hosting a Party of Special Magnificence next February — a toast to all SIX movies, both LOTR trilogy and The Hobbit.
The date is almost upon us, when we open up our Pre-Oscar Party support campaign, which includes tickets to attend ‘The One Last Party: There and Back Again” on Saturday, February 21, 2015. The Campaign will be going live tomorrow on Indiegogo and will include numerous levels of support, including cost saving levels for those who can’t attend but would still like to support TheOneRing.net as we say One Last Goodbye to all things Middle-earth on the big screen.
In the first of a series of Scrapbook articles, we will be looking at brief moments from previous parties, some from the planning phase, the production phase, or reviews from fellow fans who have attended. While digging through some of our old photos, I came across something a little different. This was a story written in a small town paper by a woman who had decided to try and attend our Return of the One Party in 2004 and conveys her excitement at the prospect. With the tickets and support page opening up tomorrow, this seemed a very appropriate Scrapbook reminder. You can read her story from this below.
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 the fun!
This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings and the name and mark ONE RING is used under license from The Saul Zaentz Company, which hold the title thereto. We in no way claim rights in the artwork displayed herein. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, merchandise and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and our limited use of these materials is done by permission or is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Act.