Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Lord of the Rings Music on Bass - A Zander Zon Medley

Yesterday, a bass guitar player named Zander Zon posted a video of himself playing a medley of songs from the Lord of the Rings films. The UK musician is very talented as you can see from the video below. He has several other videos on his Youtube page if you'd like to check those out.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

How the barrel scene was created for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Perhaps the most memorable scene in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was when Bilbo and the dwarves escape Thranduil's Mirkwood kingdom in empty wine barrels. Well today I found a video by Wired which looks at some of the things that went into creating that scene. I didn't think there was much CGI in the scene so it's amazing to see how much of it there actually was. It's also amazing to see how much of the scene wasn't CGI as Peter Jackson spent a lot of time filming in the white water rapids of New Zealand. This is definitely a feature that you'll want to check out. The video is below.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Weta's David Clayton talks about The Desolation of Smaug and his Oscar nomination

david-claytonDwarves in barrels racing down a river. A dragon buried beneath gold and jewels. Battles against exotic creatures.

Weta Digital animation supervisor David Clayton has the kind of job he would never have imagined while he was growing up in Australia: creating visual effects for Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy in New Zealand.

Nor would he have imagined being nominated for an Academy Award two years in a row, with every chance of a third consecutive nod, given that there are plans for a spectacular finale to the trilogy.

After making an animated short film, Clayton was offered a job on The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King more than a decade ago.

As he moved on to King Kong, X-Men: The Last Stand and Avatar, he joined dozens of Australians working behind the scenes in the film industry that Jackson built in Wellington.

"The ultimate challenge is to make sure any character we create is realistic and engaging and entertaining and holds up to the live-action performers they're surrounded by," he said.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

5 reasons why Oscar winner Cate Blanchett is the best actress of our time

cate-blanchett-black-and-white-photoCate Blanchett has won a Golden Globe award, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) award and a BAFTA (British Academy) and is now poised to win the Best Actress Oscar for "Blue Jasmine" Sunday night.

In “Blue Jasmine,” the Australian actress disappeared into the role of a delusional New York socialite who loses her wealth, husband, status and family, and then her mind. Jasmine French is a wealthy Park Avenue woman whose life unravels when she finds out her swindling, Bernie Madoff-like husband (Alec Baldwin) has been having an affair. He tells her he wants a divorce, and she impulsively calls the FBI and has him arrested.

Her world shattered, Jasmine flies to San Francisco—first class—to live with her down-to-earth step-sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins). You see flashbacks to her earlier life in New York, where she appears to be enjoying her privileged life of leisure, oblivious to her husband’s philandering. When she is in San Francisco with her sister, she tries to remake her life, gets and loses a job, and finds a suitor -- but when her lies to him (Peter Sarsgaard) are exposed, she falls apart. Blanchett's character experiences multiple changes and mood shifts.

The Hobbit's William Kircher (Bifur) will attend the Supanova Pop Culture Expo in Melbourne, Australia

bifur-axe-in-head-dwarfLanding a role in Peter Jackson’s epic Hobbit trilogy, and the fan fervour that comes with it, can be an overwhelming experience for an actor.

For William Kircher, a seasoned star in New Zealand, it’s been a chance to show off his homeland and engage with fans around the world.

Kircher plays Bifur, one of the dwarfs who accompanies Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins on a quest to reclaim a dwarf kingdom from the fearsome dragon Smaug.

“It’s been an incredible ride,” Kircher said.

“I’ve had varying degrees of fame in the past — you get a role in a show and you get recognised or are on a magazine cover.

“But you also realise that it doesn’t last forever. Once it’s finished you are out of a job like anyone else. Because of my age and experience, I’ve been able to take a very rational approach to it all.”

Monday, 24 February 2014

A visual effects reel for The Desolation of Smaug

I recently came across a pretty cool video showcasing some of the visual effects that were used in The Desolation of Smaug. It contrasts various scenes in the film before and after special effects like CGI were applied. I love these types of videos because I think it's amazing to see the amount of effort and detail that goes into a movie like this. I hope you enjoy it as well.

If you enjoyed this video, I recently posted another one that talks a little bit about the creation of Smaug.

This Hobbit hole is just the right fit

hobbit-hole-artTours of a small Dunedin "hobbit hole" are growing in popularity.

Richard and Myra Wells, of Abbotsford, have opened to the public their 2.5m-long, 1.5m-high and 0.8m-deep hobbit hole that lies beneath a large Scotch elm.

The snug space called "Hobbitsford" has a working brick fire inside and a living grass roof.

Mr. Wells said he and his wife were both members of the Dunedin Open Gardens Association and by-appointment groups to view "Hobbitsford" and the surrounding Elm Tree Garden were getting bigger each tour.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

The Desolation of Smaug opens with record-breaking $32 million weekend in China

bilbo-and-smaug-eye-posterIt’s the biggest debut ever in the territory for a Warner Bros. movie and an Imax record too.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” rolled out with a smashing $32.7 million, No. 1 opening in China this weekend, distributor Warner Bros. reported Sunday.

It’s the biggest three-day opening for a Warner Bros. film ever in China, topping the first "Hobbit" by 74 percent, the studio said.

The opening by “Smaug” is also the biggest three-day opening for a Hollywood title for Imax. The $4.4 million it took in is double the take of the first film, and surpasses the previous record holder “Gravity” with $4.3 million.

The international total for Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth saga is up to $637.1 million, with Japan still to come next weekend. It’s at $893 million worldwide, with $256.6 million coming from North America.

Source: http://www.thewrap.com/hobbit-desolation-smaug-opens-huge-32-million-china/

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Lord of the Rings star Sean Astin denies Hobbit return

sean-astin-as-samwise-gamgeeWith Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy we've all had the opportunity to see some of our favourite characters from The Lord of the Rings back in Middle-Earth and for the most part it's been brilliant seeing Gandalf and Frodo back. However there's one character we definitely won't be seeing back.

Now, I know that most of you wouldn't be expecting to see him back anyway, as his character doesn't appear in the book and has no right really being in the films, however we have seen Frodo return in a flashback so it's not completely insane to be thinking that there's a possibility that he might return.

Evangeline Lilly in talks to join Marvel's 'Ant-Man'

evangeline-lilly-photoEvangeline Lilly is in early talks to star as the female lead in Marvel’s Ant-Man.

If a deal is made, the actress, best known for her work in TV’s Lost, would star opposite Paul Rudd as the title hero with the ability to shrink down to insect size. The movie is being directed by Edgar Wright.

Also cast so far are Michael Douglas, playing classic Marvel character Dr. Hank Pym, the inventor of the shrinking technology, and Michael Pena, in an undisclosed role.

It is unclear who Lilly would play but it is not intended to be a one-off appearance.

Ant-Man has a release date of July 17, 2015.

Lilly broke though with her role as Kate in ABC’s Lost, where she was part of a love triangle with actors Matthew Fox and Josh Holloway. She appeared briefly in The Hurt Locker, acted opposite Hugh Jackman in Real Steel, and most recently proved that female elves are just as deadly as male ones when she portrayed Tauriel in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/evangeline-lilly-talks-join-ant-673718

‘Hobbit’ director Peter Jackson sells his Tribeca penthouse for $20 million

peter-jacksonPeter Jackson, best known for directing and producing The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, has sold his precious New York apartment. Actually, we should say apartments. Back in 2008, Jackson bought a penthouse duplex in the trendy Tribeca neighborhood for $17.35 million with the intention of combining the two units. However, the plan was never carried through. Now someone has bought both units from the New Zealander for $20 million.

The two units combine for over 8,300 square feet of living space, plus 6,000 square feet of outdoor space. They offer eight bedrooms and six baths. The interior features lots of natural wood and exposed beams.

Not a lot of photos of the unit exist, but the 3D model is impressive.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey wins an Annie Award

What has roots as nobody sees,
Is taller than trees 
Up, up, up it goes,
And yet never grows?

The above riddle is told to Bilbo Baggins by Gollum in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey during the famous Riddles in the Dark scene where Bilbo attempts to defeat Gollum in a game of riddles in order to escape the Misty Mountains.

Is this the end of fantasy worlds?

Below is an article that I found which discusses TV, movie and video game adaptations of fantasy novels. Even though I don't agree with everything the author says, I still found the article interesting and thought that some of you might as well so I decided to share it here. Perhaps it can generate a discussion on the issues that the author raises. Please feel free to share this post if you think someone else may like to read it.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Peter Jackson discusses The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

peter-jacksonFor The Desolation of Smaug, the second part of his Hobbit trilogy, Peter Jackson had the tricky task of bringing the story’s raging, intelligent dragon to life. He tells John Hazelton about how the second film brings certain freedoms.

When the subject of trilogies comes up, Peter Jackson, whose The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is the second part of a three-film version of the JRR Tolkien classic, cannot help chuckling to himself.

“I still can’t quite believe I’m doing it again,” says the genial New Zealander, who a decade ago turned Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings into the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful film trilogy of all time.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Hobbit Book Covers through the Years

Later this year, a facsimile first edition of The Hobbit will be released, giving fans and collectors an opportunity to compare the textual deviations of the first edition of The Hobbit from later publications.

For 77 years now, The Hobbit enjoys a never ending popularity. In all these years, not only did the text undergo changes, but the cover as well. Over the years, a various number of beautiful covers were created, each interpreting the story within in a unique way. Understandably, some have the desire to collect them all. I know I do (even though my finances won’t cooperate with this desire).

Here are some examples of the book covers through the ages. Maybe you own some of them already:

Hobbit homes for chickens get rave reviews from backyard poultry hobbyists

hobbit-hole-chicken-coopWooden Wonders, designers and builders of boutique “Hobbit Hole” style pet houses, playhouses, cottages and sheds, introduced its new line of Hobbit Hole Chicken Coops at the 2014 Northeastern Poultry Congress to rave reviews.

Inspired by narrations of Hobbiton, The Shire and Middle-earth found in the literary works of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series, Wooden Wonders, http://www.wooden-wonders.com, designs and builds boutique structures to the standards of a Hobbit. Wooden Wonders now announces a new line of Hobbit Hole Chicken Coops. The coops received rave reviews when introduced to a crowd of discerning backyard poultry enthusiasts at the 2014 Northeastern Poultry Congress in Springfield, MA.

Mystery artist creates Gollum installation in tree at Scarborough beach park

creepy-gollum-statue-place-in-treeIt's the precious attraction that has Redcliffe locals guessing ... who put the sneaky creature in one of Scarborough's old Norfolk pines?

The Herald took a call yesterday from a dad who had stumbled across the tree with his children, who were enthralled to find a door secreted into the base of the tree.

Inside through a small window is a light-up figurine of Lord of the Rings character Gollum.

While Scarborough might seem like a long way from Middle Earth, businesses along Landsborough Avenue were pleased with the touch of whimsy it had brought to the seaside strip.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

More Hobbit Fan Art (Edition #4)

Welcome to the 4th edition of my exhibition of Hobbit fan art. For those of you who don't know, I like to showcase Hobbit-themed fan art that I find around the internet on this website from time to time. A few years ago I never even really thought about fan art and I have a feeling many of you don't think about it either. I think that's a bit of a shame since there are a lot of talented artists out there who aren't even compensated for the work that they do and whose talent goes unnoticed. They simply create their artwork to show their appreciation for the shows and movies that they love. I hope that by doing these exhibitions every so often, I can show them my appreciation for the work that they do and give them the attention that they rightfully deserve. Without further ado then, here is the fan art.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Artist creates watercolor comic from Tolkien's 'Ainulindalë'

It’s safe to say that interest in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien has been steadily on the rise ever since Peter Jackson began bringing The Lord of the Rings books to the screen. It would stand to reason that Jackson’s undertaking of The Hobbit has furthered that interest.

One artist, Evan Palmer, has taken his love for one as-yet-unadapted Tolkien work and turned it into something quite extraordinary. The opening of The Silmarillion is called The Ainulindale and it tells the story of the creation of Middle-earth. Palmer has created a watercolor comic rendition of this genesis tale, and the first few pages are available to view on his Tumblr page.

Really gorgeous renderings here. Take a look at a few of the pages and let us know what you think.

Does Palmer's artwork inspire you to read 'The Silmarillion?'

Friday, 24 January 2014

Interviews with the Sound Team of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

As I mentioned in a previous post, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was nominated for 3 Oscars this year and two of those awards are in sound/music categories. Perhaps in response to the film's nomination, a 9 and a half minute collection of interviews called The Sound of The Hobbit has been put out by SoundWorks Collection. The video includes interviews with some of the Oscar nominees including Chris Boyes and Michael Hedges. It's definitely something you may want to watch, especially if you like behind the scenes stuff. The video can be seen below. Let me know what you think of it.

You can buy the Desolation of Smaug soundtrack here.

Is Hobbiton's Green Dragon Inn Waikato's busiest bar?

hobbiton-in-new-zealandThousands of tourists a day are drinking to the success of Matamata's Hobbiton, making the nearby Green Dragon Inn probably the country's busiest bar.

Hobbiton chief executive Russell Alexander said the predicted influx of tourists a year after the first of Sir Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy, An Unexpected Journey, materialised over the Christmas and New Year holidays. The second Hobbit movie, The Desolation of Smaug, is now on general release with a third to come.

"It's happened all right," said Mr Alexander, who is in partnership with Jackson. "We are 100 per cent up on last year."

A New Poster for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug from China

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug hits theatres in China on February 21, 2014 and they seem to be just excited as Western viewers were for the movie. As evidence for this, check out this cool new poster promoting the film that I found today. I hope they enjoy the movie.


Thursday, 23 January 2014

Amazing Bonsai Tree Hobbit Hole is Fit for Frodo Baggins Himself

hobbit-bonsai-tree-chris-guiseBonsai master Chris Guise combined his green thumb with his love for The Hobbit to create a miniature bonsai hobbit hole fit for The Lord of the Rings! The teeny tiny Bag End Bonsai is fit for Frodo Baggins himself, and it’s nestled against one of Guise’s signature plants.

To create his Bag End Bonsai Trayscape Chris Guise started with a live bonsai tree. He began work on the miniature tree two years ago using the shari bonsai technique. Guise pruned the edges, letting the tree flourish around a central score mark. After the tree healed, Guise began to further hollow out the trunk with small carving tools, so as not to kill the growing tree.

Call of Home - An Awesome Song by Miracle of Sound

I recently came across an awesome song that pays tribute to The Hobbit film trilogy by an artist named Miracle of Sound. The song is called "Call of Home" and I've embedded it below. It seems to be inspired (at least in part) by the Misty Mountains song from the Unexpected Journey soundtrack. I really think it's a great fan creation. What do you guys think? Leave a comment and let me know.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

More filming pickups for the Hobbit trilogy expected later this year?

hugo-weaving-and-ian-mckellen-talking-with-peter-jacksonHas Peter Jackson actually finished filming for the Hobbit trilogy?

We all saw those emotional scenes during the last 'Hobbit' pickups of Peter Jackson and company saying goodbye to each other when last year's pickups finished. However it turns out that that may not have been the last time many of those actors metaphorically set foot in Middle Earth.

However it turns out that whilst last year's pickups were the last official set of filming for the Hobbit trilogy most of the cast expected that they'd be going back out to perfect scenes for 'There and Back Again.' Peter Jackson is known to be a perfectionist and if there are any issues with existing footage or there's additional footage needed it's almost a definite that more filming will be taking place.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Nominated For Three Academy Awards

The nominees for the 86th Academy Awards were announced a couple of days ago and the second Hobbit film was nominated for three different categories: best sound editing, best sound mixing and best visual effects. The first film in the trilogy, An Unexpected Journey, was nominated for three Academy Awards last year as well. Both films were nominated for best visual effects. Hopefully this year The Desolation of Smaug can win one of the awards for which it was nominated, as An Unexpected Journey failed to do so. The list of all of the nominees for each of the the three categories are listed below.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Could the final Hobbit film be scrapped or delayed because of recent litigation? Not a chance

could-the-final-hobbit-film-be-scrapped-or-delayed-because-of-recent-litigation-not-a-chanceWith all the rumours running around the interwebs lately about the latest Hobbit law suit and the claim that it could scuttle the release of The Hobbit: There and Back Again. We asked attorney Douglas C. Kane, who posts here on TORn as Voronwë the Faithful on our Message boards, if there was any truth to these rumours.

Where to Watch The Hobbit Cast in 2014 (While You Wait for ‘There and Back Again’)

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is continuing to outperform its competitors at the box office, grossing over $500,000 worldwide in less than a month. It’s doing so well that I underestimated how early I would need to buy my ticket when I went to the cinema on New Year’s Day!

I could tell that many of my fellow audience members were seeing the film for the first time because as soon as the end credits began to roll, I heard many cries of, “But…wait!” It was obvious that people wanted more and were now going to be anxiously waiting for the third and final installment, The Hobbit: There and Back Again.

Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until December 2014 to see the series’ conclusion. But with such a huge, talented ensemble cast, hopefully you’ve been introduced to some new faces that you want to see more from during the (almost a year) wait for There and Back Again.

Below is a list of Hobbit actors and the new films and television shows they will appear in this year.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

The ultimate getaway for Hobbit fans: Inside the Secret Holt alpine cottage with links to J.R.R Tolkien tucked away in Devon

Tiny Dartmoor cabin in Haytor Devon set among a Scots Pines forest

JRR Tolkien's family once lived in main house attached to two-bedroom let

Kitchenette made from ancient granite and Empire State Building's tiles

This pint-sized hideaway could be the ultimate holiday destination for any Lord of the Rings fans.

The tiny two-bedroom Secret Holt in Haytor, Devon, is set among a Scots Pines forest on land once owned by JRR Tolkien's family.

The family - thought to be on Tolkien's wife's side - once lived in the now owner's home, located just a few meters from the alpine cottage.



The Hobbit Fan Art #3

Hello everyone. I haven't posted any Hobbit fan art in a while now, so I think it's time to do so. I can't express enough how many talented artists there are all over the internet. I'm glad that they so freely share their work with us and I hope to give them as much recognition as possible. So without further ado, here is their artwork.

Adam Brown, ‘Ori,’ to do a Q&A at charity screening of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”

Those of you living near Newbury, U.K., should take advantage of this special screening of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” being presented by the Corn Exchange theater on Tuesday, January 14, 2013:


Join actor Adam Brown (who stars as Ori in Peter Jackson’s film trilogy) for a Q & A session before the screening of the The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Having grown up in Hungerford, Adam was part of the Corn Exchange’s resident theatre company, Plested and Brown, and starred in the Corn Exchange’s annual pantomime for four years. He now returns to answer questions about working on major blockbuster films. Tickets cost just £15 of which £4.25 will be donated to the NSPCC (reg charity no. 216401) - see below for more information – and £4.25 will be donated to the Corn Exchange (Newbury) Trust (reg charity no. 0180567).

[Read More]

Source: http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2014/01/03/85969-adam-brown-ori-to-do-a-qa-at-charity-screening-of-the-hobbit-the-desolation-of-smaug/

Friday, 3 January 2014

Newest Hobbit locations bring action and adventure to travelers

hobbit-troll-hoard-entranceBilbo and company are back on the silver screen in the second of director Sir Peter Jackson’s three-part adaptation of the adventure fantasy tome “The Hobbit.” While fans flood to theaters, New Zealand’s tourism machine is pumping out new location tours the way only Kiwis do ― with a dash of down-home and a heaping full of adrenalin. From trekking boulder-strewn meadows in Trollshaw Forest, kayaking the Pelorus River in the wake of barrel-bobbing dwarves to horseback riding Beorn’s house and woods, the pickings just got a lot brighter in the country whose identity is now inextricably linked with Middle-earth.

But do movie locations as a basis for travel make sense? If you’re looking for some thrills and a lot of scenery, it just may. According to Jared Connon, supervising locations manager for the film company 3 Foot 7 Ltd. and all three “Hobbit” films, “What’s amazing about filming on location in New Zealand is how diverse the landscape is and how quickly it changes. You can travel from snow-topped mountains, through lush tropical forests, across gently rolling countryside and down to the ocean all within the space of three hours.”

A Must-Watch For Hobbit Fans: ‘Who The ‘Ell Is Tauriel?’

who-the-ell-is-tauriel-esgaroth-threeCritics of the world, I’m afraid to say that your jobs are under threat.

Frankly, it is one thing to respond to Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy with snark and glee, with pith and delight, with wisdom and wit, or even with the original Tolkein text propped up in front of you and a list of footnotes, but if you haven’t got the wherewithal to put your thoughts into song, you may find yourself struggling for an audience.

After all, no one ever finished a rousing critique of the various ways in which these films have deviated from their source material by wanting to go back and learn the chorus, and yet that’s exactly what’ll happen when you’re done with the drolly trollish “Who The ‘Ell Is Tauriel?’ by the Esgaroth Three.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Grandmother's stunning knitted models of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit characters

Prolific knitter Denise Salway has created wool models of the heroes of JRR Tolkien's Middle Earth fantasy series