A review is never late, fellow Ringers; it arrives precisely when it means to! Our friends at Asmus Toys sent us this awesome Gandalf the Grey Crown Series figure to review. The first thing we want to do is thank them! Gandalf is easily one of the coolest 1:6 figures I’ve owned. The headsculpt alone is worth the price ($350, if you want to know…), and when you add all the other detailing aspects you get one heck of a great figure. He’s out now, so you should be able to order him and have him quite quickly to your door, ready to invite you on an adventure.
We are now about halfway through the first Round of our Middle-earth March Madness, and some of the match ups are really close, while others have one contestant running away with the race. Because this year’s bracket has the newly added twist of featuring characters portrayed by the actors who brought our most beloved Middle-earth characters to life, this rundown will include a little about those non-Middle-earth characters.
The traditional match ups first: Boromir is facing off with Gimli in a close race, make sure you vote before the evening of March 22, this one is close enough that your vote will definitely matter. The contest between Samwise and Merry has the acclaimed gardener running away with nearly all the points on this one. Surprisingly, the other match up of Hobbits is unexpectedly close, with Frodo holding a slim lead over Pippin. To cap off the Fellowship match ups, Aragorn is soundly beating Legolas.
With the non-ME characters, there is just as much variety in vote percentages. Sean Bean’s portrayal of Eddard Stark in Game of Thrones has a narrow lead over Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner, from Pirates of the Caribbean. The next race is just as close, between Viggo’s portrayal of real life long distance, endurance horse racer Frank Hopkins with a slim lead over John Rhys Davies’ Sallah from Raiders of the Lost Ark. There is a neck and neck contest going on between Dom’s Charlie Pace, the recovering addict rock star from Lost has a very narrow lead over Billy Boyd’s Barrett Bonden, the coxswain on the HMS Surprise in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Not close is the fact that Sean Astin’s earnest performance of Rudy is decidedly running away with the race, leaving Elijah Wood’s Ryan Newman from Wilfred.
“You All Everybody” should get out and vote before 10pm et on March 22.
In this division, the ME match ups are as follows: Galadriel has firm control of the contest with Eomer, the Lady of Light is not easily taken out of events. Faramir has a small lead over Old Bilbo, so you may still be able to give a helping hand to the Hobbit that found the One Ring in the first place. Eowyn and Gollum are nearly neck and neck, can the Shieldmaiden of Rohan defeat the sneakiness of Smeagol? Her uncle Theoden, however, is wiping the floor with Denethor, who became tainted by his contact with the Palantir.
The non-ME roles are proving interesting as well: Cate Blanchett’s Hela, the Goddess of Death from Thor: Ragnarok has a decent lead over Andy Serkis’ Caesar, the ape leader from Planet of the Apes. At the same time, Karl Urban’s Dr. ‘Bones’ McCoy is soundly beating Sir Ian Holm’s Ash, the rather inhuman android from the original Alien movie, who admired the xenomorph just a little more than he valued human life. There are two battles that are very close and would benefit from a last fit of voting on your part. Those are between David Wenham’s Carl from Van Helsing just edging out Bernard Hill’s Captain Smith from Titanic, who did his duty and went down with the ship. The other close battle is between Miranda Otto’s Mary Ann from War of the World with a slim margin over John Noble’s brilliant, but crazy Walter Bishop from Fringe.
On the other side of the bracket, let’s see who is doing well for the traditional match ups: Believe it or not, Gandalf is stomping all over Young Bilbo, guess that is punishment for not telling the truth about finding the One Ring. Dwalin has a sizable lead over Radagast, but then, he does have a massive War Hammer, this is not surprising. Amongst the Dwarves from The Hobbit, Kili is slaying pick pocket Nori, while Thorin is not really faring well against Saruman. Feel free to give a boost to those you wish to support and share with your friends, it’s all in good fun.
The non-ME side of things has: Sir Ian McKellen’s Magneto soundly thrashing Richard Armitage’s John Thornton from North and South, the clever mutant is probably dismantling all of Thorton’s looms as this is written. Graham MacTavish’s Dougal from Outlander is all but finished at the hands of Martin Freeman’s Dr. Watson, it’s those modern Doctors he can’t handle, clearly. As expected, Christopher Lee’s Count Dooku from Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith is trouncing Jed Brophy’s Dagda More from the Shannara, this writer would love to see this battle realized on screen. A little less expected, but even cooler for that is that Sylvestor McCoy’s Doctor has the upper hand on Aiden Turner’s Ross Poldark, Time Lords really do know how to come out on top when needed.
Last division match ups, for the traditional segment: Elrond has a decent lead over Smaug, which is fascinating to see. The Master of Laketown is no match for Tauriel, she saw his selfishness and is leaving him to his own ruin. There is a relatively close match between Thranduil and Bard, with the Elven King of Mirkwood edging out the Bowman of Laketown. Bard’s son Bain is faring even worse in his match up with Azog. This calls for some voter help, Bain came to his father’s aid while the town was burning under the wrath of an angry dragon, the least we can do is vote for them and see how things play out.
Over on the final division of non-ME characters: Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is so soundly beating Stephen Fry’s Oscar Wilde, it’s almost as if something very large has been dropped on him. This writer’s favorite match up in this round is Luke Evan’s Gaston from Beauty and the Beast against Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith from the Matrix. A battle of the bragalicious Gaston up against the master manipulator within the Matrix is just something that should be onscreen. Right now, Agent Smith is defeating Gaston. A match that is all but over is that of Lee Pace’s Ronan from Guardians of the Galaxy wiping the floor with John Bell’s Young Iain from Outland, poor lad never stood a chance. And the very last match up to get coverage tonight see’s a near tie between Evangeline Lilly’s Kate Austen from Lost squaring off with Manu Bennet’s Deathstroke from Arrow, another match up I would love to see on screen.
Last chance to vote in Round 1 is 10pm et on Thursday, March 22. Round 2 will begin on Friday, March 23.
Ringer, Kiwifan, has sent us this lovely interview/conversation with Sir Ian McKellen at the SAGFoundation.
The extended edition of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies DVDs are now available for pre-order in the U.S. from Amazon. Formats include DVD, Blu-ray, and 3-D/Blu-ray and range in price from $34.99 for the DVD to $54.98 for the 3-D/Blu-ray version. The extras appear to be the same with all three, described as “hours of fascinating, in-depth looks at the production,” including:
– Commentary with Peter Jackson, Director/Producer/Screenwriter and Philippa Boyens, Co-Producer/Screenwriter
– The Appendices – The Appendices Parts XI and XII showcase a chronological history of the filming of The Battle of the Five Armies, documenting the work done on set chronologically through the three shooting blocks and in the world of its digital effects
– New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth – Part 3
Digital HD UltraViolet is also available which must be redeemed by November 17, 2018.
The cover art on Amazon’s site differs for each version. Following is a discussion of each, and links at which you can pre-order your copy.
DVD (price: $34.99. Pre-order here)
The DVD version cover features Bilbo (Martin Freeman) with Sting drawn, overlooking the evil armies amassing, and the battle raging below him. The border, which is the same for all three formats, is a steel-gray color with a design reminiscent of dwarf-runes seemingly carved into it which adds a nice touch to these last extended editions of the series. One of the carved dwarven sentinels of Erebor watches over all on the right while the ramparts of Erebor and the burning remnants of Lake-town are visible in the background on the left.
Blu-ray (price: $35.99. Pre-order here)
The Blu-ray cover is more character-centric than the DVD cover. Our hero Bilbo is front and center, again with Sting drawn. A thoughtful, but stern, Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) is on Bilbo’s right, while a very stubborn, impatient and disturbed-looking Thorin (Richard Armitage) is on his left. The Elves are well-represented on this cover with three of the four smaller figures in front of Bilbo being comprised of Thranduil (Lee Pace), Tauriel (Evangeline Lily) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom). Last, but not least, stands Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) with the glow of the fire of Smaug and the burning Lake-town behind him.
3-D/Blu-ray (price: $54.98. Pre-order here)
The 3-D/Blu-ray cover is striking, with just the characters of Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) standing behind him protectively. As with the DVD cover, the sentinel of Dale is just off to the right, only this time with a great battle-troll below, and the ramparts of Erebor and vestiges of a burning Lake-town are off the the left, with the battle raging behind all. As if to emphasize that this is *the* battle, Bilbo again has Sting drawn and ready to do battle with the enemies. A nice touch with this cover is that Bilbo’s mithril shirt is clearly visible underneath his plainer clothes.
Definitely stay tuned, as we will bring you more BotFA analysis as details become available (e.g., releases in other countries, releases in other retail outlets, special incentives). Note that we did check Amazon’s sites for other countries but didn’t find the EE available yet. If you don’t live in the U.S., definitely let us know if and when it becomes available in your corner of the world and whether the amenities are the same, and we’ll add it to future updates.
Fathom Events has come out with a trailer for the special showings of all three Hobbit extended editions in early October. The trailer, which is 2 minutes, 19 seconds long, contains shots from all three EEs, including The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Needless to say… spoilers ahead!
The Fathom Events trailer shows only a few seconds of new material sandwiched in between familiar scenes from the theatrical release. However, a quick eye can catch some tantalizing hints about some of the new material. Some of what the sharp-eyed members of our Hobbit Movie discussion forum are buzzing about are listed below (spoiler warning!):
There’s a lot going on in the next week or so for Ian McKellen fans. This Wednesday, July 15th, he’ll be taking part in a Q&A session on reddit’s “AMA” (Ask me Anything). The session runs from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST, so be sure to collect your questions for him and ask them here. The Q&A comes two days before the opening of Sir Ian’s new movie Mr. Holmes on Friday, July 17th. Adapted from Mitch Cullin’s 2005 novel “A Slight Trick of the Mind,” Mr Holmes has Sir Ian playing a 93 year-old, retired Sherlock Holmes, trying to piece together what happened during his last unsolved case, 30 years in the past. If you live in the L.A. area, Sir Ian and fellow Mr. Holmes actor Laura Linney will be appearing in person after the 7:15 showing at The Landmark theater, Westwood Blvd. Los Angeles. Tickets can be purchased here, and you can watch the trailer at the Mr Holmes official site.
With the opening of Mr Holmes, there are sure to be more interviews and appearances which we’ll bring to you as we hear about them. Here’s one with the Minneapolis Star Tribune to start them off: Ian McKellen talks ‘Mr. Holmes,’ Gandalf, Guthrie and gay marriage.