It’s no secret the family of J.R.R. Tolkien think very little of Peter Jackson‘s films based on the Lord of the Rings series. What has been secret is how much and why son, Christopher Tolkien, despises Jackson’s adaptation. In his first ever press interview, Christopher doesn’t mince words when it comes to what he thinks of Jackson’s films. Here’s an excerpt,
“I could write a book on the idiotic requests I have received,” sighs Christopher Tolkien. He is trying to protect the literary work from the three-ring circus that has developed around it. In general, the Tolkien Estate refuses almost all requests. “Normally, the executors of the estate want to promote a work as much as they can,” notes Adam Tolkien, the son of Christopher and Baillie. “But we are just the opposite. We want to put the spotlight on that which is not Lord of the Rings.”
Invited to meet Peter Jackson, the Tolkien family preferred not to. Why? “They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25,” Christopher says regretfully. “And it seems that The Hobbit will be the same kind of film.”
This divorce has been systematically driven by the logic of Hollywood. “Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed into the absurdity of our time,” Christopher Tolkien observes sadly. “The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has overwhelmed me. The commercialization has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: to turn my head away.”
It seems the Tolkien estate, of which Christopher is the official executor, doesn’t like anything to do with the Lords of the Rings unless it’s simply the books themselves. Kind of makes me wonder how New Line Cinema and Jackson made those movies happen at all. Read the entirety of World Crunch’s interview as it has more from Christopher about his father’s work than how much he hates the movies.
Personally, I haven’t actually read the entire Lord of the Rings series – I know, many, many nerd demerits to me – but for those who have, what did you think of Jackson’s films? Did he eviscerate Tolkien’s books?
Rumor has it that Universal Studios is planning a Tolkien Middle-Earth theme park much like the Warner BrothersThe Wizarding World of Harry Potter. At this stage the word is that Universal, Warner Brothers and the Tolkien estate are in the beginning stages of talks. /Film reports:
Hypable picked up a post on the Orlando United forum from a reputable user, who claims that Universal Studios asked Warner Bros. to raise the topic with the Tolkien estate.
The Tolkien estate has always carefully guarded the LOTR rights and it is interesting that it is also being reported that the Tolkien estate representatives spoke with J.K. Rowling herself about the Warner Brothers theme park creation and her experiences protecting her vision for the project, and apparently liked what they heard. Universal then got in contact with the Tolkiens to discuss their ideas.
That’s pretty exciting news if accurate. Fans wouldn’t have to travel half way across the world to get that Tolkien itch scratched. What do you think, would a LOTR themed park work? Is it just a much more expensive Medieval Times Diner theater?
The first, second, and probably eighth word that comes to mind when thinking about, discussing, or writing about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Jackson‘s long-awaited return to the Middle Earth, is, to put it bluntly, “bloat.” Clocking in at two hours and fifty minutes, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey suffers from an under-motivated central character, poorly defined supporting characters, a meandering, unfocused first hour, and a sporadically engaging quest narrative in the second and third hours. The visual effects are variable and occasionally cheap-looking and they are made all the worse when viewed in Jackson’s preferred format of 48 FPS (frames per second), which is less a technological leap forward than it is a probable dead end.
Warning: Possible spoilers ahead.
Jackson gives us not one, not two, but three prologues, beginning with an elderly Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm), recounting the events that led to the fall of the dwarf kingdom at the center of the film before segueing to a pre-Lord of the Rings encounter between Bilbo and his nephew, Frodo (Elijah Wood), before segueing again to a younger Bilbo (the wisely chosen Martin Freeman).
The Bilbo we meet has little taste for adventure or risk. He prefers his materially comfortable life in Bag-End to the potential dangers of the outside world. It takes Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), an itinerant wizard primarily known for his fireworks displays, to spur Bilbo from his provincial complacency by forcefully introducing him to a company of twelve dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), the deposed heir of the dwarf kingdom. Thorin, of course, wants to reclaim his kingdom, but a dragon by the name of Smaug stands in his way.
Even after a reluctant Bilbo decides to join Gandalf, Thorin, and the other dwarves, the narrative pace doesn’t so much pick up as go sideways, filling the next hour with episodic encounters with, among others, Radegast the Brown, (Sylvester McCoy), a minor, forest- dwelling wizard who plays a marginal, tangential role. Naturally, he also encounters orcs, man-eating trolls, stone giants, and goblins — including a grotesque, repellent Goblin King whose singular design reflects Guillermo del Toro’s involvement in pre-production.
Familiar faces makes an appearance in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey thanks to a side trip (they’re all, ultimately, side trips) to Rivendell, the elf kingdom home to Elrond (Hugo Weaving) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), along with Saruman (Christopher Lee). familiar faces three, before not one, but two extended battles, one below ground and another above. Another familiar face, Gollum (Andy Serkis), appears as well. With more than a decade’s worth of motion-capture developments to draw from, the Gollum in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is noticeably more expressive than the Gollum moviegoers met eleven years ago. He’s also less the wretched, woeful creature we met a decade ago. He’s far more dangerous, far more treacherous, and far more unpredictable. This Gollum is a cunning, conflicted sociopath willing to bet his life against Bilbo’s in a game of riddles. The encounter, of course, proves key for another reason: Gollum loses and Bilbo gains the ring (and object of desire) at the center of The Lord of the Rings.
Unfortunately, Gollum’s appearance proves to be short-lived. Once Bilbo and Gollum part company on less than friendly terms, the CG monsters, CG backgrounds, and CG- heavy set pieces take over, to increasingly mind- and body-numbing effect. By the time the characters in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey near the end of the first part of their destination audiences will be just as exhausted as the characters onscreen. The promise of two more films to round out another trilogy doesn’t feel like a promise at all. At best, it feels like a challenge. At worst, it feels like a chore. It’s probably more of the latter than the former.
Mel Valentin is a prominent film critic based out of Northern California. You can find his film reviews on NextProjection.com, SFStation.com, and VeryAware.com.
Star Trek Into Darkness has been one of Hollywood’s best keep secrets. Their villain is both known and unknown at the same time, the script is under heavy wraps and J.J. Abrams‘ has managed to get away with showing a measly three frames of footage.
As of next month, fans of J. R. R. Tolkien and Peter Jackson who happen to be watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (in IMAX) will be treated to 12,960 times the amount of footage Star Trek then we’ve seen all year.
With Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, John Cho, and Bruce Greenwood all reprising their roles from the last film alongside newcomers Alice Eve and Benedict Cumberbatch, Paramount Pictures wants to get people in the seats. So what better way then to announce a nine-minute prologue for J.J. Abrams‘ sequel that will air ahead of the Jackson trilogy on approximately 500 IMAX screens?
A great look behind the scenes of the upcoming Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has hit the Internet. It features the Dinner party scene at Bilbo’s. There’s tons of food, frolicking, and . . . and . . . beards. That music in the background just makes me smile every time I hear it.
The LOTR Disc set has great behind the scenes looks at the trilogy and one can expect the same from The Hobbit films.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hits theater screens on December 14th.
Often heralded as the “American Tolkien,” George R.R. Martin recently sat down with MTV Geek and hashed it out over which of his characters from A Song of Ice and Fire could beat J.R.R. Tolkien‘s characters from the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. It’s GRR vs JRR and features showdowns between Jaime and Aragorn, Smaug and Balerion, Frodo and Tyrion, and of course the Sean Bean round, Ned Stark vs Boromir.
SPOILER WARNING! There are some comments made that could spoil the upcoming season of Game of Thrones. Just an FYI.
I like how thoughtful he was with his choices, even after his initial reluctance to play. I’ve got to say I agree with him on each pick, how about you?
New Line Cinema certainly loves their Hobbit: An Unexpected Journeymovie posters lately. They just released one featuring all 13 dwarvin characters and now they’re at it again. The studio has released a gigantic panoramic character scroll for the first part of the Peter Jackson two part-er turned trilogy.
Based on the J. R. R. Tolkien fantasy novel of the same name, The Hobbit isn’t shy when it comes to showing off the talent behind the big-budget picture. The studio has been leaking shots of the movie, as well as awesome close up posters – called “one-sheets” – featuring Hobbit stars Martin Freeman and RichardArmitage to name a few. Marketing machines, they are.
This newer, larger then life sized poster features several of the main cast in full profile before traveling on their adventure which eventually leads to Bilbo’s to discovery of the fabled One Ring.
Click on the image below for a larger, more high definition look.
It’s time to slip off your shoes, put your hairy feet up, light your pipe if you’ve a mind and preference to, and raise your flagon to celebrate the birthday of two of the Shire’s most famous Hobbits; Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. You remember those Bagginses, they actually like to wander around outside the Shire among all those Elves, Humans, Orcs, Goblins, Giants, Wizards and what not. I know . . . I know, utter nonsense. What is there that any self respecting Hobbit could possibly need out there? Nothing I say, but when they came back they did tell a good tale, didn’t they?
Saturday, September 22nd marks the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins (Bilbo is reported to have been born in the year of 2890 and Frodo in the year of 2968 during the Third Age, 1290 and 1368 respectively in Shire-Reckoning.). As most of you already know, Hobbits enjoy a good party and there’s no better party than the birthday party of a Bagginses. Why, there might even be wizardly fireworks!
We’ve collected a gallery of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobitt themed birthday cakes to celebrate the occasion. There are home made cakes and very professional cakes to admire in the collection below. I’m sure any self respecting Hobbit would enjoy a large slice of any of those cakes during breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper. Hmm, I think I’ll go downstairs and see if there is any cake left in the refrigerator.
Which cake would you want a slice from? Let us know in the comments section below.
The news keeps trickling out to the Internet like a leaky faucet, one new drip at a time from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey production team. This time, the big news is Radagast (Svlvester McCoy, pictured above), a character only mentioned during one conversation in Tolkein’s The Hobbit and later in The Fellowship of the Ring where he helps the dark wizard Saruman lure and trap Gandalf in the tower (The scene was never filmed).
Last year, forums were ablaze as Tolkien fans reacted to the news characters not from The Hobbit would appear and that some characters in the book would play much bigger roles in the film.
The co-writer of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyPhilippa Boyens (with Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson, and Guillermo del Toro)says it’s a good bet Radagast will become a well-loved character,
He’s not at all like Gandalf. There’s a power and danger and sharpness and wits and cunning even about Gandalf that you sense immediately, whereas Radagast is much quieter and gentler. You could mistakenly think he’s not even a wizard or that he might not have any powers of his own, and then you discover that he does.
Those who have read the books know Radagast only played a small part in the overall story. How will that change in the movie is unclear as Boyens is keeping tight-lipped about Radagast’s part, and if the character will appear in all three films.
There were also these new additional stills of characters we already know about. Check out the gallery below.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hits theater screens on December 14, 2012.
Each and every week we scour the Internet for nothing but the best in nerd based art. We leave no digital stone unturned, we poke and prod every net based nook and cranny. Why? Because we love you, and we love to bring you weekly Nerd Art Dumps.
Sometimes fighting supernatural threats just needs a female touch, so why not have suit up occasional ghost buster and resident Ghostbuster‘s secretary Janine Melnitz to tackle the ghosts and goblins. Nothing sexier then a woman in uniform, right fellas? Judging by the boys reactions though they need to step up their game, otherwise they’ll be looking for a new job (again!) [Deviant Art]
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