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The Hobbit

David Bowie Gandalf photo
David Bowie Gandalf

David Bowie was considered for Gandalf in Lord of the Rings but didn't audition

Gandalf was Maiar, jamming good with...
Dec 19
// Hubert Vigilla
David Bowie's passing was one of many painful deaths in 2016. In the aftermath, we reported that Bowie auditioned for The Lord of the Rings. While Bowie was considered to play Gandalf in the film, it turns out he never really...
J.R.R. Tolkien biopic photo
J.R.R. Tolkien biopic

J.R.R. Tolkien biopic Middle Earth coming from producers of Lord of the Rings

Hope it's not hours of battle scenes
Nov 07
// Hubert Vigilla
To put it politely, The Hobbit films were underwhelming. Yes, they were extremely successful at the box office, but that trio of movies was bloated filmmaking at its most bloated. They had nothing on The Lord of the Rings Tri...
Middle Earth photo
Middle Earth

Massive Hobbit/Lord of the Rings box set announced

What a stylish shelf
Aug 18
// Matthew Razak
Are you ready to lay down some serious money for three really great movies and three not as good movies? Then you'll want to head over to Amazon and sign up for an email alert for when you can buy "Middle Earth UCE (BD) [Blu-...
Jackson on Hobbit woes photo
Jackson on Hobbit woes

Peter Jackson talks problems making The Hobbit, didn't have enough prep time

"Didn't know what the hell I was doing"
Nov 19
// Hubert Vigilla
The Hobbit trilogy made roughly $3 billion worldwide, but it was also a bloated disappointment that felt nowhere near as taut as the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The writing wasn't there, the special effects seemed less polishe...

RIP Christopher Lee (1922-2015)

Jun 11 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]219552:42431:0[/embed]   And, of course... [embed]219552:42432:0[/embed]
The legend was 93 years old
Sir Christopher Lee has passed away at the age of 93. Lee died in the hospital on Sunday, June 7th, though word of his passing has only reached news outlets today. According to several reports, this was at the request of Lee'...

Review: The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

Dec 17 // Matthew Razak
[embed]218726:42055:0[/embed] The Hobbit: The Battle of Five ArmiesDirector: Peter JacksonRated: PG-13Release Date: December 17, 2014 The Battle of Five Armies picks up right where the last film left off, but this isn't a sequel picking up the story from a previous film. It is literally as if you hit pause on The Desolation of Smaug then came back a year later and remembered you had been watching it so decide to just hit play again. It makes sense since the film was clearly just meant to be one massive four-hour-long Tolkein wank, but that means if you haven't kept every character up to date in your memory or re-watched last year's film you're going to be rapidly attempting to remember what the hell was going on as Smaug starts to burn down Lake-town. Whose that guy with the bow and arrow? Oh that's right, it's Bard (Luke Evans), the heroic human who wants to protect his family from Smaug and eventually rebuild his now destroyed town with the help of the dwarves. And the dwarves? They've locked themselves in their new kingdom as Thorin (Richard Armitage) gets driven mad by his lust for gold. And what about the elves? Weren't there elves? Well one is Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and the other is Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and they're there just to be elves it seems. Of course the good Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) returns as well to hobbit his way around. So now that we're all caught up what's the plot of this one? Get the gold. The real issue is we've played this game before in Middle Earth and on a much grander scale with far more plot to hold it up. Of all the Hobbit films this one feels the most like filler. It woefully steals from its LotR predecessors as if begging us to remember how awesome we felt about those films. The problem is reminding us of them only shows us how lacking this one is. Thorin's "dragon madness" reeks too heavily of the desire for the one ring and thanks to that the film's themes fall flat. What we're left with is what should be a 20 minute action sequence stretched out into two and half hours.  To be fair the movie starts off fantastically since it's basically the conclusion of the previous film, which ended with its own masterful action sequence. Bard's take down of Smaug is stunning and hearing Benedict Cumberbatch back voicing the dragon, however briefly, is fantastic. Then it just starts to unravel until at one point we're treated to some sort of hallucinatory dream Thorin has of being drowned in gold. That's the moment you know that they were out of ideas and just doing whatever the hell popped into Peter Jackson's head.  Jackson's head is an awesome place. This is a spectacular visual feast, even if they gave up on the 48 fps presentation. No one does giant battles and action sequences like Jackson and the special effects, direction and sets are just stunning. The movie is a visual triumph as all of the films have been, but pretty pictures only get you so far, and with five other films full of pretty Middle Earth pictures they garner even less distance here. There's just not enough to keep this one going. Freeman's Bilbo deserves to have been put into a two movies instead of stretched into three he's so enjoyable. Other actors seem a bit tired of the whole thing, though that may just be me applying personal opinion since they filmed this all at once. Ian Mckellan doesn't seem so into it anymore and I'm still not sure why Lilly or Bloom are in the films at all except for a lame attempt at a love triangle between a dwarf and two elves. Just more padding. In the end that's all The Battle of Five Armies is: a lot of padding. It's pretty padding. It looks good and feels like something you've enjoyed sitting on before, but once you sit down it starts to show it has no stuffing inside. The film desperately tries to rekindle the magic of its predecessor's, but it can't because it's run out of what makes the film's special. It isn't grand fantasy, it's personal story. Someone should have cut Jackson off and put the films into two long movies instead of letting him ramble on for three. As it stands I wish the one ring was real so we could make this film disappear. 
Hobbit Review photo
Care to see the Lord of the Rings again?
When Peter Jackson announced that he'd be stretching The Hobbit into three movies I was a bit wary, but excited. While the book itself could have easily been put into one, maybe two, films there's enough lore in the worl...

Stephen of the Rings photo
Stephen of the Rings

Stephen Colbert is just the best person

Dec 11
// Nick Valdez
I mean, who else would dress up as Hobbit characters to promote The Battle of the Five Armies or defend funky lightsabers? Truly a king among us.  [via EW]

See The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies early and free

Washington DC screening
Dec 01
// Matthew Razak
Do I even have to intro this one? Are you actually still reading? If you are you've probably missed out on the passes. The Hobbit is kind of popular and our passes are going to go quick since the link is just sitting the...
Hobbit Trailer photo
Basically a three hour fight scene
While the previous two Hobbit films have been great I don't think they really lived up to the grandeur of the Lord of the Rings films. However, with this new full length trailer landing for The Hobbit: The Battle o...

The Hobbit 3 posters photo
The Hobbit 3 posters

Here are several posters for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Oct 16
// Nick Valdez
"The Defining Chapter" lol  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has five armies and possibly a battle December 17th.  [via Twitter]
The Hobbit 3 Trailer photo
Good thing this is the last one, the titles are getting longer
I love how they're claiming The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is "The Defining Chapter" in the story since the book itself is only a fraction of all of this. In what is most likely the most bloated title of the serie...


Here's the plot of The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

Because the name isn't obvious enough
Jul 14
// Matthew Razak
You might think you know what The Battle of Five Armies is about, but do you really? The Hobbit is only a short children's book after all and yet there's another 2-plus hour long epic coming that takes its plot and ...

Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Dec 13 // Matthew Razak
[embed]216997:41002:0[/embed] The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugDirector: Peter JacksonRated: PG-13Release Date: December 13, 2013  The Desolation of Smaug is an action movie without a doubt. The majority of its two hour and forty minute running time is massive action set pieces and the rest is preparation for massive action set pieces with a bit of character development thrown in. We pick up where the last film left off, with the company of dwarves, Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and Gandalf from the evil goblins chasing them. They eventually escape with the help of the skin changer Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt). Gandalf leaves to pursue the Sauron sub plot that was not in the books and the dwarves are eventually beset by spiders and then captured by wood elves in the form of Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and his lady friend Tauriel (Evangaline Lilly), both also not in the books. Eventually escaping thanks to Bilbo and a fantastically done barrel riding action sequence the party ends up in Lake Town below the Misty Mountain, where Smaug hordes his treasure. Aided by Bard (Luke Evans) they eventually convince the town to let them approach the mountain and Bilbo enters, confronts Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) and then the entire point of him coming is made moot when the dwarves charge in to save him and a thirty minute dragon chase ensues until the climatic cliffhanger ending.  Seem like a lot? That's not even including half the character sub plots and the entire added in Sauron back story. The improvement here is that the film doesn't feel like they're cramming stuff in, but instead like they're telling the story they want to tell. While this approach does lead to some pretty massive plot holes (especially when you combine the story with the Lord of the Rings films) It makes for a movie that actually feels like it should be nearly three hours.  Once again, the true stand out is the fantastic world that Jackson has created and, of course, the action set pieces. Middle Earth is even more stunning on screen and Jackson's take on Lake Town and the halls of the fallen dwarf kingdom are worth the price of admission alone. Purist will probably gawp at the fact that the barrel ride down the river is turned into a kung-fu-elf, rabid orc, acrobatic dwarf chase sequences, but those who enjoy fun will simply be stunned by how well put together it is. Same goes for the film's conclusion, which has the dwarves fighting Smaug in edge-of-your-seat fashion. It may completely obliterate much of the book's Smaug/Bilbo interactions, but it is fantastically awesome.  Most of the cast remains the same and performs as admirably as the first film. The often griped about addition of Legolas and Turien doesn't ruin anything and both actors are fine. The character of Beorn seems especially wasted in the movie and Persbrandt doesn't give him as much gravitas as he deserves. However, Cumberbatch's motion captured Smaug, much of which was directed by second unit director and Golum actor And Serkis, is amazing. A sleek and somehow sexy dragon whose movements are as important as the digital dragon effect on his voice. It's a stellar performance and once again raises the question if motion captured actors should at least be considered for awards.  There's plenty to balk about in The Desolation of Smaug if you're a purist or want something character driven, and Jackson seems more concerned with excitement than a story this time around, but it is exciting. The film is a grand epic in the best ways and keeps pace from beginning to end by tying together action sequence after action sequence. Once again Jackson has made a movie that could easily piss you off, but in reality is a visual and technical achievement few directors could ever truly pull off. 
Hobbit Review photo
Book? What book?
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey blew me away when I caught it in theaters and I gave it an appropriately high score because of that. It was truly stunning and another epic coming from Peter Jackson, but upon re-watchin...


George Orwell‘s Animal Farm Hitting the Big screen 2014

May the Mo Cap flow.
Dec 09
// Michael Jordan
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...

See The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug early and free

Washington DC and Baltimore screening
Dec 02
// Matthew Razak
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...
Denny's Hobbit Menu 2 photo
Denny's Hobbit Menu 2

Denny's Hobbit Menu gets a sequel

Nov 07
// Nick Valdez
Yup, that's right. The artery clogging, bad cholesterol inducing Hobbit Menu at Denny's has returned for a sequel. To celebrate upcoming release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Denny's is doing a second run of their m...
New Releases photo
New Releases

New Releases, week of 11/9/13: Grown Hobbits Edition

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition, White House Down, Grown Ups 2 and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Nov 05
// Nick Valdez
This week's home video releases are especially important if you're interested in sequels or TV show box sets for the upcoming holiday. First off, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition hits home video ju...
The Hobbit 2 Trailer photo
The Hobbit 2 Trailer

Third trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Plus eight new posters!
Nov 05
// Nick Valdez
This newest trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a bit different from the previous one. The footage is mostly the same (maybe two or three different scenes), but the dialogue is cut much differently. There are ...
The Simpsons photo
The Simpsons

The Simpsons also did a Hobbit couch gag

Simpsons did it.
Nov 01
// Nick Valdez
Now that I'm News Editor of this fair site, expect a lot more plugs for The Simpsons than usual (although it still won't be for just anything). For instance the last time a cough gag was featured here, it was directed by Gui...

Desolation of Smaug trailer reveals Smaug's voice

Also re-reveals Legolas' dreamy eyes
Oct 01
// Matthew Razak
I actually came out of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey really enjoying it, but I do admit it had its flaws. One of which was that it felt really stretched over a thin plot. I don't think the second film, The Desolatio...
Hobbit Trailer photo
There be dragons
While The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey didn't necessarily blow everyone away (I liked it, Hubert not as much) that doesn't mean we can't be excited for the next entry in the series. Here we get our first look at The De...


Peter Jackson's Hobbit back in production for pick ups

The cast and crew have reuinited for a few more weeks of shooting
May 20
// Hubert Vigilla
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...
C.R.E.A.M photo

The Hobbit has now made one BILLION dollars worldwide

Mar 05
// Nick Valdez
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has done pretty well for itself given its mixed reviews. Looks like the decision to turn a singular book into a trilogy has paid off since The Hobbit became the 15th film in history (for refe...

The Hobbit: There and Back Again delayed to December 2014

Peter Jackson's trilogy capper moves from summer to winter
Mar 01
// Hubert Vigilla
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...

These Hobbit PSAs advocate equal treatment for Balrogs

Jan 23
// Nick Valdez
Dorkly has mocked up a few PSA posters for the folks of Middle Earth and the results are pretty funny. My favorite is in the header, but a close second has to be the "No Elevensies" poster (a reference to that heart stammerin...

Let Gary Busey explain exactly what Hobbits are

"Pray for the best, prepare for the worst. Here comes the Hobbits."
Jan 21
// Nick Valdez
Did you see those short guys with hairy feet in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and think, "just what the hell are these guys?" Lucky for you, Gary Busey knows exactly what they are and took time out of his busy schedul...

Flix for Short: The Office: An Unexpected Journey

The Office UK + The Hobbit = Something better than the Peter Jackson movie
Jan 07
// Hubert Vigilla
Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey continues to thrive at the box office. While I had a lot of problems with the film's flabby storytelling, there was one thing about the movie that was perfect: Martin Freeman...

Crazy man eats entire Denny's Hobbit Menu in one sitting

Dec 31
// Nick Valdez
Some crazy man named Jamie "The Bear" McDonald has eaten the entire Denny's Hobbit Menu in one sitting. An absurd amount of food that two giant manly men could only eat about a third of without slowly dying.  Seriously, pray for this man. Pray for his poor, poor insides.  [Jamie McDonald, via io9]

Featurettes on sound and visual effects in The Hobbit

Dec 18
// Hubert Vigilla
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...

Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Dec 13 // Matthew Razak
[embed]214047:39314[/embed] The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyDirector: Peter JacksonRated: PG-13Release Date: December 14, 2012  As you've probably heard, Peter Jackson has stretched the story of what is a decently short children's book into three epic films. The plot of the original book is the story of an adventure Hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) goes on in which he just happens to find the ring that causes all the trouble in The Lord of the Rings. It's a much smaller tale with massive implications in the world of Middle Earth, but the plot of the book and film really have a very basic fantasy story line: the quest to kill a dragon. You can read The Hobbit easily in a day (and really should have already done it) so I won't go too into detail on the plot, but the film stays pretty faithful to the story of the book, but it's really less than the first third of the story. [spoilers] By the end of the movie they haven't even made it to Dale. [/spoilers] Jackson took the opportunity afforded him by three films to make this first film into a lot more than the book, pulling in characters everyone will easily recognize from the previous trilogy even if they weren't even mentioned in the book. There's a lot of background story going on here that a children's book just doesn't dive into, but any fan of Tolkien will love to death. Of course this means a whopping two hour and 40 minute running time, but if you enjoy being in Middle Earth that shouldn't be an issue. There's definitely times when Jackson could have easily cropped the film down -- like when we randomly flash forward to Frodo for no apparent reason than to reestablish that this is indeed a movie that is connected to the previous movies -- but Jackson's Middle Earth is so complete and wonderfully detailed that spending too much time in it might be impossible.  The Hobbit is definitely a bit more fun than The Lord of the Rings. This, of course, is partly because of the subject matter, but it feels like everyone involved was a bit more laid back this time around. The film plays visual gags and slapstick far more often and while there's plenty of sweeping panoramas and truly epic moments everything is a bit more down to earth. Jackson does a very good job of balancing the lighter feeling of the film with the in-depth world that was already created. There's definitely hints at the serious nature of everything going on, but the childlike wonder of adventure and action is what really shines. A big part of that is the dwarves. Led by Thorin (Richard Armitage), they're pretty much the classic gang of misfit warriors presented in every film (there's even a fat one and two goofy twins). If that little detail doesn't convince you that the film is a bit more lighthearted than a mention of a musical number where the dwarves sing and put away dishes should push you over. While the lighter tone is something to be appreciated it does at times conflict with the already established world from the previous films. This is an issue the books had as well, and for the most part Jackson avoids the film feeling at odds. However, every once in a while you're sucked out of the story because the film is being oddly childish. The action this time around is superb, especially an escape sequence through an orc infested cave. This escape was definitely in the book, but it's nowhere near as thrilling as it is in the film. It's one of the most stunning action sequences I've seen in a while, and is especially impressive since it packs both humor and wonder together while somehow keeping track of a plethora of dwarves and a wizard kicking butt. It's not the only action sequence either, and all of them stand out strong. Unlike the previous films The Hobbit doesn't have any giant wars or epic showdowns (yet) in terms of action. But it shines elsewhere thanks to some fantastic dialog and adherence to the wittier parts of the book. The classic scene of the three arguing ogres is both funny and charming, but it's Bilbo's riddle showdown with Gollum (Andy Serkis) that really steals the show. Somehow Serkis combines humor, evil and insanity into a ten minute performance that would have won him an Oscar if he hadn't been digitally animated. The showdown between him and Bilbo is a lesson in pacing a scene that could have fallen horribly flat, but instead outshines almost every other aspect of the film. This is as it should be considering what the end result of their game of riddles is, but it's fantastic that Jackson, Serkis and Freeman so clearly cared about it. Now for what you've all been waiting for (I put it here so you'd read the rest). High Frame Rate (HFR) is absolutely stunning visually, but until you get used to watching it it will take you out of the movie and annoy the heck out of you. After seeing the movie in 48 fps I don't think I could watch it any other way, but it took me about an hour to stop seeing things sped up, especially during action sequences. Once I stopped: wow. Just wow. If you think you've seen a sweeping vista, you haven't. If you think you've been amazed by an elaborate action set piece, you're wrong. If you don't think this is the future of film then you're mistaken. Everything looks absolutely stunning, except for the sets, which now often look like plastic. What does that mean? It means set makers need to step their game up because when the movie isn't on a set it's too gorgeous to not become the norm. For fans of Tolkein and the previous films this is more of what you want, but on a much smaller scale with a handful of humor tossed in. It definitely doesn't feel as grand or epic as the previous films, but that's a good thing. This is a different story told in a different manner, and clearly separates itself from its predecessors. What it does (establish the basis for the upcoming story) it does well, even if it could have done it just as easily with thirty minutes less footage. The extra content that makes what could have been one film into three isn't really needed, but it's hard to be angry about getting to spend more time in this world. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey may have had a lot of obstacles in its way, but it succeeds in being an entertaining and thoroughly watchable movie. It may not be the story the book told in content and tone, but it's the story it had to be... plus 30 minutes. Hubert Vigilla: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a great two-hour adventure movie that's unfortunately almost three hours long. There's so much flab in film, and it's easy to spot. If Lord of the Rings was young Jake LaMotta, The Hobbit is old Jake LaMotta. There are middling monologues that repeat the film's themes of home and belonging, there are redundant scenes that should have been nixed, and there's even a small council at Rivendell that feels like a mid-week staff meeting. Throughout that scene, Gandalf sits, Saruman sits and drones, Elrond stands, and Galadriel paces very slowly. It made me appreciate the expedience of Lord of the Rings. When the film gets going, it's a rip-roaring adventure that's all swashbuckling and hack and slash, which is probably what the film would have felt like if The Hobbit remained a two-movie tale. But even these moments get undermined by bad comic relief, especially from the zany hippie-dippy druid Radagast the Brown. There are also a lot of winks to previous Lord of the Rings films meant as some sort of visual callback, but it feels shoehorned in and robs the film of its own sense of freshness, much like the references in the Star Wars prequels to the original Star Wars trilogy. This first Hobbit movie isn't all bad -- the best scene and one of the few that is lean and compelling throughout is the "Riddles in the Dark" segment -- but it's just a needlessly bloated movie. Maybe in the next two films, Jackson can focus on the adventure rather than trying to hit an epic-length runtime. 60 - Decent
Middle Earth is far from middling
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 ...

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