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1:00 PM on 12.09.2013

George Orwell‘s Animal Farm Hitting the Big screen 2014

George Orwell‘s Animal Farm is going to be adapted by Andy Serkis and the power of Mo-Cap, set to be released in 2014. The name should ring a bell from his work in Lord of the Rings, Rise of the...

Michael Jordan


11:00 AM on 12.02.2013

See The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug early and free

After The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey turned out to be fun, but chock full of needless padding it became clear that it might not have been the best idea to stretch the book out into three films. However, it's still eas...

Matthew Razak

6:00 PM on 05.20.2013

Peter Jackson's Hobbit back in production for pick ups

It's been a little while since we last heard about the next two Hobbit movies, The Desolation of Smaug and There and Back Again. Even though I had some issues with The Hobbit: An unexpected Journey (Matt, like the majority of...

Hubert Vigilla

1:00 PM on 03.01.2013

The Hobbit: There and Back Again delayed to December 2014

When The Hobbit went from a pair of movies to a trilogy, the original plan was to release The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on December 12, 2012, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on December 13, 2013, and The Hobbit: There...

Hubert Vigilla

4:00 PM on 01.23.2013

Mondo to release 2 new LOTR posters tomorrow

Mondo continues to deliver the highest quality of specially made movie posters with two new Lord of the Rings posters that they will be debuting tomorrow. The first is titled Precious Cargo by comic artist Paolo Rivera. The s...

Liz Rugg

12:00 PM on 12.18.2012

Featurettes on sound and visual effects in The Hobbit

While I had issues with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey for its flabby storytelling, the film has set the box office on fire and I did at least appreciate lots of choices in production design. These two feat...

Hubert Vigilla



Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey photo
Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
by Matthew Razak

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is in a really tough spot. The film is the follow up to what is pretty much the most epic trilogy in film history. Plus, being based on a children's book and having a smaller story than its predecessor makes it, well, a lot smaller. It's really the story before the story, and as such should really be told before the story. Instead it's coming after, and that makes it's challenges even greater.

Not only does it have to live up to the immesnley high expectations established by the previous films, which netted Peter Jackson an Oscar, but it also has to feel like its something different. After all, anyone who has read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings knows that the two books may take place in the same world, but they are light years apart in terms of tone and content. 

The Hobbit needed to be everything to everyone in order to be a great film, but doing that is impossible so a really good film will have to suffice.

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10:00 AM on 12.07.2012

13-minute featurette on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

We're one week away from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and if you're looking for some new footage to get you hyped, here's a 13-minute featurette for the film via Warner Bros. Belgium. It's got loads of new stuff, inclu...

Hubert Vigilla

11:00 AM on 12.06.2012

New Hobbit TV spot and Entertainment Weekly covers

For some reason it hasn't quite dawned on me that I'll be seeing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey next week at midnight. The original Lord of the Rings Trilogy came out when I was in college, and I remember going to the mid...

Hubert Vigilla

2:00 PM on 12.03.2012

New Hobbit TV spot has brief glimpses of Smaug

The latest TV spot for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey features a few scant shots of Smaug. And I mean very scant. He just swoops in and destroys stuff, sort of like what he did in the Star Trek Into Darkness poster this m...

Hubert Vigilla

4:00 PM on 11.30.2012

The Hobbit midnight IMAX posters; stream the film score

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be out in two weeks, if you can believe it. And so the hype machine continues with a new TV spot and lots of other keen things. First of all, if you're attending a midnight 3D IMAX scre...

Hubert Vigilla





11:00 AM on 11.26.2012

Latest Hobbit video blog chronicles post-production

It's crunch time for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. (Not to be confused with second diabetes time.) With the release date looming, Peter Jackson and his Weta Workshop hordes are hustling to finish the picture. This lates...

Hubert Vigilla

7:00 PM on 11.12.2012

150 Hobbit pics/Neil Finn's "Song of the Lonely Mountain"

As if the 17 character posters weren't excessive enough, we now have 150 behind-the-scenes Hobbit pics to share with you. Thankfully this is in an embedded gallery rather than individual uploads. (Creating a click-through gal...

Hubert Vigilla

12:00 PM on 11.06.2012

New Hobbit TV spot and images are pretty to look at

As a companion to the other news for The Hobbit that moved at 48 frames per second, we have some new, and pretty, images for the upcoming film (in the gallery below). One of the notable images caught Hugo Weaving in his norm...

Nick Valdez

8:00 AM on 11.05.2012

17 character posters for The Hobbit... yeah, buddy, 17

There's overkill and there's überoverkill. When it comes to new posters for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, we've achieved the latter. There were 17 character posters released last week. Yeah, 17, also known as a dumb...

Hubert Vigilla

12:00 PM on 10.29.2012

New Hobbit TV spot be mad trolling

A second TV spot has showed up for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It's a nice companion piece to the first Hobbit TV spot, though in this one we get to see some talking trolls. This makes me wonder if any of the trolls i...

Hubert Vigilla

11:00 AM on 10.26.2012

There's a Hobbit-themed menu at Denny's for some reason

One year way back when I was an undergrad, I spent a lot of time at Denny's in the wee hours of the morning. It was close to my dorm, it was quiet enough, and it made for great people-watching. Example: one of the waitresses...

Hubert Vigilla

11:00 AM on 10.05.2012

The Hobbit extended edition coming late 2013

Remember when Peter Jackson put out the extended editions of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King a year after each of their respective theatrical releases? It's going to happen again with Th...

Hubert Vigilla

1:00 PM on 07.03.2012

Ten new photos for The Hobbit arrive online

Entertainment Weekly has released ten new photos for Peter Jackson's return to Middle Earth, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. We get a good look at a bunch of the character, including the returning Ian McKellen as Gandalf, ...

Liz Rugg

8:00 PM on 06.06.2012

Hobbit video blog gives a tour of Stone Street studios

A new video blog has emerged for The Hobbit. This one gets away from the vast sheeplands of New Zealand and heads to controlled environs of Stone Street studios. Originally a paint factory, Peter Jackson bought the location ...

Hubert Vigilla



From Hell: Lord of the Rings With The Beatles photo
From Hell: Lord of the Rings With The Beatles
by Hubert Vigilla

[This week we'll be looking at a few movies mentioned in Tales from Development Hell by David Hughes (Titan Books). The book chronicles the arduous and at times absurd development process that films go through, often leading to that unfortunate limbo known as "development hell." Tales from Development Hell comes out tomorrow. Look for our spotlight on the book this Friday.]

In Tales from Development Hell, David Hughes mentions a few intriguing early attempts to bring J.R.R. Tolkien's work to the big screen. One is the 1966 animated Hobbit by Gene Deitch, which we've showed you at the beginning of the year. Another is an adaptation of Lord of the Rings starring The Beatles. John Lennon expressed interest in playing Gollum, with Paul McCartney as Frodo, Ringo Starr as Sam, and George Harrison as Gandalf. United Artists acquired the film rights for this in 1969.

Heinz Edelmann (art director of Yellow Submarine) became interested in an animated adaptation of Lord of the Rings with The Beatles. He says in Tales from Development Hell that the animation style would have been less colorful than Yellow Submarine, and he would have blended the operatic storytelling sensibilities of Fantasia with the visual aesthetic of an Akira Kurosawa film.

United Artists passed on the animated adaptation and brought on director John Boorman (Excalibur, Deliverance, Zardoz) and screenwriter Rospo Pallenberg for a live-action adaptation. This time the Fab Four would be playing the four hobbits, and the entire story would have been condensed into a single film with an intermission. The movie would have been shot in Ireland, and would have featured a duel of words between Gandalf and Saruman (a la Sandman #4, Hughes notes) as well as a model of Middle-Earth that filled an entire studio.

Neither of these came to pass, of course. The Beatles were on the rocks through 1969. The band officially called it quits in 1970, and the production on Boorman's project fell into shadow. David Hughes shares a few thoughts with us after the cut.

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Flix for Short: The Hobbit (1966) photo
Flix for Short: The Hobbit (1966)
by Hubert Vigilla

Long thought lost, Gene Deitch's 1966 adaptation of The Hobbit has made its way online. This beautiful and at times psychedelic 12-minute short is like looking through an older relative's favorite picture books. "We had taken some liberties with the story that a few years later would be grounds for burning at the stake," Deitch writes. He then jokes, "I could Hollywoodize as well as the next man."

Deitch completed the short in just one month with the help of Czech illustrator Adolf Born and others. Why so short a timeframe? Producer William Snyder had exclusive film rights from the Tolkien estate, but better offers were being presented to the estate after the Lord of the Rings books became popular. In order to renew his rights, Snyder had to deliver a full-color adaptation (note the loophole: not "feature-length") of The Hobbit. Deitch writes:

All he had to do was to order me to destroy my own [feature-length Hobbit] screenplay -- all my previous year's work, and hoke up a super-condensed scenario on the order of a movie preview, (but still tell the entire basic story from beginning to end), and all within 12 minutes running time -- one 35mm reel of film. Cheap. I had to get the artwork done, record voice and music, shoot it, edit it, and get it to a New York projection room [from Prague] on or before June 30th, 1966! I should have told him to shove it, but I was basically his slave at the time. It suddenly became an insane challenge.

Deitch's full reminiscences on Snyder and this animated version of The Hobbit are worth a read. Be sure to check them out at Gene Deitch's official website.

[Gene Deitch via Cartoon Brew]

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