Founding member of the Inklings, the youngest professor to teach at the University of Leeds and a legend of high fantasy whose legacy has forged the genre, J R R Tolkein had one of the most incredible minds that England has ever produced. His fascination with language and linguistics has resulted in such a resounding impact on literature that his influence can be traced in almost every fantasy story created today. Even though he died more than forty years ago, his novels are still consistent best sellers and their movie adaptations have always been enormous box office smash hits, even before the era of epic CGI. (more…)
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens where The Desolation of Smaug left off, as the powerful dragon of the Lonely Mountain (still voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) descends on Lake-town for payback. To say that Peter Jackson captures the full horror and insanity of a dragon attack on a compact and inclosed area is something of an understatement, and you practically feel the pain and panic as Smaug’s attack lights up the entire town in seconds and doesn’t let up. But then, Bard (Luke Evans) heroically slays the dragon using the final black arrow, and Smaug is defeated. Ten minutes into the movie.
Pacing has always been a problem for The Hobbit movies, as you can well imagine if you’re creating an expansive seven-and-a-half hour movie trilogy based on a single 300-page book and some supplementary material. The previous film ended with a powerful “Oh $#!%” moment went Smaug leaves Bilbo (Martin Freeman) in the mountain to attack the people of Lake-town in retaliation for them giving aid to the Company of 13 Dwarves and their quest to take back Erebor. Dramatically, it was sound, but to use a comparison to The Lord of the Rings it would be as if The Two Towers were to end right before Aragorn and the others at Helms Deep ride out to meet the Orcs in battle for a last stand. It’s evidence of the fact that while Jackson has grown to handle well the overwhelming technical demands of the project, he’s lost sight of the best way to tell the story he wants to tell. (more…)
The love of scribe J.R.R. Tolkien is nearly legendary within the realm of literature. Few people have captured the imagination of so many people across the world. The obsession with Lord of the Rings and its resounding theatrical success is proof of that, as is the timeless attraction of people to Tolkien’s works over the last several decades. Unfortunately, like all good things the stories must end. Eventually you run out of books and the journey is over. Unless, of course, a new work by the old master happens to be published…
That’s exactly what’s happening with Tolkien’s previously unpublished The Fall of Arthur. This 200-page narrative has remained in the shadows for more than 75 years – since before the publication of The Hobbit. Even though people knew of its existence, no finished versions were known of until recently.
This new tale of Tolkien details the last days of King Arthur’s life and how he marches off to battle against Mordred to save his kingdom. It will be published by HarperCollins and edited by Tolkien’s son, Christopher. The younger Tolkien will also be providing some commentary via essays placed within the book.
For those who can’t wait, here are the opening lines of The Fall of Arthur:
“Arthur eastward in arms purposed
his war to wage on the wild marches,
over seas sailing to Saxon lands,
from the Roman realm ruin defending.
Thus the tides of time to turn backward
and the heathen to humble, his hope urged him,
that with harrying ships they should hunt no more
on the shining shores and shallow waters
of South Britain, booty seeking.”
Look for the new book to be released during May of 2013.
See, one of the flaws of the internet is that anyone can post their thoughts (I prove that daily). Rarely is there an editor or even common sense to stop the insanity, the inanity, and more often than not the stupidity. Take for example events that occured on the message board attached to Peter Jackson‘s upcoming LoTR prequel The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. User brian__007 wrote the following:
Overall, I like Lord of the Rings. However, I do feel that Tolkien kind of rips off Harry Potter in many ways. There are several parallels, such as elves, dwarfs, wizards, goblins, trolls, magic (especially invisibility), etc. Sauron is referred to as “Dark Lord” just like Voldemort is. There is also the elder white-haired bearded wizard who serves almost as a mentor, Gandalf, who is reminiscent of Dumbledore.
Is he serious? Is he a troll (internet, not bridge)? Why didn’t brian__’s 001 through 006 stop him? After a hundred or so responses (I assume half exclaiming ‘first’) the thread was deleted, thankfully before it consumed the entire internet.
More of brian__007’s thoughts on the matter are after the jump.
An epic journey across the ocean, sets the premise for our next wonderful bit of nerdy news surrounding the most anticipated prequel to hit the big screen “The Hobbit”. This tidbit of news is part of Ain’t it Cool News‘ weekly column on all things Tolkien, and on this week’s adventures in New Zealand we get to see all the behind the scenes photos and some excerpted highlights of adventures on the set.
The first exciting siting in the movie was none other than… Frodo Baggins!
“Ain’t it Cool News” reporter states:
“The crew was setting up a crane out on the narrow walkway in front of Bag End for their first shot actually in Hobbiton in over 10 years. Because of the narrow and steep path down, the crew had to bring crane parts down and assemble much of it there. It took a little while, but before too long the familiar circular green front door of Bag End cracked open and out stepped an even more familiar face.
Munching on jellied toast, Frodo Baggins sauntered out and hopped down the steps leading to the mailbox, grabbed some mail and headed back inside.What’s Frodo doing in The Hobbit? I don’t want to spoil too much, but I can say that Frodo is part of the connecting tissue between The Hobbit and Fellowship of the Ring.”
MORE AFTER HE JUMP
Three still shots have been made available via Entertainment Weekly featuring Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins and Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey. Okay, everyone, calm down. I can hear you all freakin’ out from here. Oh wait, that’s just me. OMG! SQUEE! The Hobbit is really, really, really happening. Somehow, seeing them in costume and make-up on set makes it all feel real.
Over at EW is also a video where you can see director Peter Jackson, umm, directing Freeman. Doesn’t everything look just how you imagined it would? You know, exactly like the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. It’s like we never even left Middle Earth. Jackson had this to say about Freeman as Bilbo,
He fits the ears, and he’s got some very nice feet. I think he’s got the biggest hobbit feet we’ve had so far. They’re a little bit hard to walk in, but he’s managed to figure out the perfect hobbit gait.
And about McKellen as Gandalf,
He’s in fantastic form. In a way, his role in The Hobbit has more technical difficulties than Lord of the Rings did, because he has scenes with 14 smaller characters — obviously the dwarves and the hobbit are shorter… I remember saying to him [laughs], “Look, this isn’t Waiting for Godot or King Lear. This is The Hobbit. This is the real thing.”
Both are fantasy classics. Both created by dudes with double ‘Rs’ in their names. One was imagined as an epic film trilogy which won tons of praise and snagged handfuls of awards. The other a highly-acclaimed HBO series already set to become a huge television hit. They’re also both extremely complicated in story and character relationships. Wouldn’t it be marvelous if someone created a handy visual aid to help you keep everything straight?
Ye ask and thy internet delivers. The first of our two infographics of wonderment is a map of each member of the Fellowship’s journey. Or as creator JT Fridsma puts much more eloquently,
A visualization of the journey of the Fellowship in The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy—directed by Peter Jackson and adapted from the original books by J.R.R. Tolkien. It synthesizes which characters are with each other and where they are geographically on a time line, and also highlights major events in the plot along the way. The visual style was inspired by 19th century typography and design. *Early inspiration for this project from xkcd.
Number two is an extremely useful tool for anyone unfamiliar with the novels but wants a good grasp on just how the characters in Game of Thrones relate. Which in some cases is sick and depraved, but a hell of a lot of fun. The sprawling and intricate family diagram was created by Magda Maslowska of HauteSlides, who after watching the series and spending “countless hours on the HBO website looking through the character guides,” found herself compelled to create a visual guide.
Both incredible infographics are below the cut. Make sure you click to embiggen them to their fully-detailed glory!