Lego The Lord of the Rings is coming! (Lego The Hobbit, too!)

Looks like the article I wrote a while ago about the potential for a Lego Lord of the Rings was right on the money.  Back in February of 2010, I wrote that the LEGO company could create products based on the Lord of the Rings.  My article was more about video games than anything else, but this is a good start.  I suspect that video games are only a matter of time, now.

Here’s the press release:

Warner Bros. Consumer Products and The LEGO Group announced today a partnership that awards the world’s leading construction toy brand exclusive rights to develop build-and-play construction sets based on THE LORD OF THE RINGS™ trilogy and the two films based on THE HOBBIT™.  The multi-year licensing agreement grants access to the library of characters, settings, and stories for THE LORD OF THE RINGS property, as well as films The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again.  LEGO® THE LORD OF THE RINGS construction sets are slated for a rolling global launch beginning in June 2012 in the United States, with LEGO THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY scheduled for later in the year.

“Only LEGO, with their expertise in the construction category, is capable of doing justice to the incredibly imaginative environments depicted in the world of THE LORD OF THE RINGS and the two films based on THE HOBBIT,” said Karen McTier, executive vice president, domestic licensing and worldwide marketing, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “These films give life to amazing worlds and characters and we are thrilled to bring fans these products that deliver an imaginative play experience befitting of these beloved properties.”

The LEGO THE LORD OF THE RINGS collection will translate into LEGO form the epic locations, scenes and characters of Middle-earth as depicted in all three films, including The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

In late 2012, LEGO THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY will give fans of all ages a chance to build and play out the fantastical story and new characters of the legendary Middle-earth adventures depicted in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journeyfrom Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson, slated to premiere December 14, 2012.

“Our collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products has delivered numerous worldwide successes in the construction toy aisle with lines like LEGO HARRY POTTER and LEGO BATMAN, introducing us to loyal audiences who love great stories, strong characters and the toys that they inspire,” said Jill Wilfert, vice president, licensing and entertainment for The LEGO Group. “It’s particularly exciting to now be able to create sets based on the fantasy worlds and characters from THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy and the two films based on THE HOBBIT, not only because we know they will foster collectability and creative play, but also because these are two properties that our fans have been asking us to create for years.”

Information about the sets and collectible minifigures from both collections will be unveiled at a later date at TheLordoftheRings.LEGO.com.

About The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again
From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of two films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit.  The second film will be The Hobbit: There and Back Again.  Both films are set in Middle-earth 60 years before The Lord of the Rings, which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar®-winning The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be released beginning December 14, 2012.  The second film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, is slated for release the following year, beginning December 13, 2013.

Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins.  Also reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” movies are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; Orlando Bloom as Legolas; and Andy Serkis as Gollum.  The ensemble cast also includes (in alphabetical order) Richard Armitage, John Bell, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Barry Humphries,Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Evangeline Lilly, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, Mike Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott, Jeffrey Thomas, and Aidan Turner.

The screenplays for both The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again are by Fran Walsh,Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson.  Jackson is also producing the films, together with Fran Walsh andCarolynne Cunningham.  The executive producers are Alan Horn, Ken Kamins, Toby Emmerich and Zane Weiner, with Boyens serving as co-producer.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again are being co-produced by New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. with New Line managing production.

Warner Bros Pictures will be handling theatrical distribution for most of the world and MGM will handle all international television licensing and theatrical distribution for certain international territories for the films.

The Hobbit – Start of Production Video Blog

This week saw the release of the first video blog from the New Zealand set of The Hobbit.  The long awaited follow-up to The Lord of the Rings, and my most anticipated two films since The Return of the King.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for a couple of movies.  And the coolest thing is that they’ll definitely live up to my expectations.  Knowing that many of the same creative team has returned, and that they’re putting the same detail and care into the project, would be a shock if they didn’t measure up at all to The Lord of the Rings.

When I watched the first production video blog that Peter Jackson put together, it gave me the familiar feeling of The Lord of the Rings behind the scenes.  The familiar music added an emotional weight to the video that conjured up memories of the films that have become so familiar to me, while also getting me really excited to hear the new music that Howard Shore is composing for these new adventures.

The video also made me want to build both Bag End and Rivendell at my house.

There hasn’t been a better writer than J.R.R. Tolkien, nor a better book than The Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit is part of that world.  Watch the video below.

I love how it ends with what was likely the first shot they filmed for the film: a hand picking up the One Ring, followed by a shot of Bag End.

Is Lego Lord of the Rings possible?

Warner Brothers announced the purchase of a controlling share in Rocksteady Studios, who are the creators of the excellent Batman: Arkham Asylum video game.  It’s almost as if they allowed Rocksteady to use the Batman license as a trial run, in anticipation of a purchase later on.  Rocksteady certainly proved themselves, and I hope that they also give Superman a shot, once they’ve finished Arkham Asylum 2.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Hobbit to be Two Films

The HobbitAfter much talk about the Hobbit film being shot as one film, with a second film to bridge The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings, a final decision has been made. Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro have made an announcement about the make-up of the Hobbit films to be made:

‘We’ve decided to have The Hobbit span the two movies, including the White Council and the comings and goings of Gandalf to Dol Guldur,’ says Del Toro.

‘We decided it would be a mistake to try to cram everything into one movie,’ adds Jackson. ‘The essential brief was to do The Hobbit, and it allows us to make The Hobbit in a little more style, if you like, of the [Lord of the Rings] trilogy.’

This is a sensible decision and I’m glad that they went this route, rather than attempting to craft a second film that might have largely been their own invention for a bridge film. This is excellent news.

As far as future films in the saga, The Children of Hurin and The Silmarillion are both ripe for the picking!

The Hobbit release dates are as follows:

The Hobbit – Part 1: December 2011
The Hobbit – Part 2: December 2012

Song: This Man by Jeremy Camp || Lord of the Rings

A song today… it’s been a while since I’ve posted lyrics, and after a long long long post, I think it’s time for a short one. This song, although simple, is very deep at the same time.

This Man
Jeremy Camp

In only a moment truth was seen
Revealed this mystery
The crown that showed no dignity he wore
And the king was placed for all the world to show disgrace
But only beauty flowed from this place

Would you take the place of this man
Would you take the nails from his hands
Would you take the place of this man
Would you take the nails from his hands

He held the weight of impurity
The Father would not see
The reasons had finally come to be to show
The depth of His grace flowed with every sin erased
He knew that this was why he came

Would you take the place of this man
Would you take the nails from his hands
Would you take the place of this man
Would you take the nails from his hands

And we just don’t know
The blood and water flowed
And in it all He showed
Just how much He cared

And the veil was torn
So we could have this open door
And all these things have finally been complete

Would you take the place of this man
Would you take the nails from his hands
Would you take the place of this man
Would you take the nails from his hands,
from his hands, from his hands, from his hands…

————————————————————–

And here is a great explanation I found for those that consistently get the Lord of the Rings WAY wrong. It always ticks me off as Sam is my favorite character. So eat this:
“Samwise and Frodo Aren’t Gay; yes, I have had that argument many times with my friends. No, they certainly were not gay (J.R.R. Tolkien, a lifelong Catholic, would be shocked that people think so). But there is a quintessentially British class relationship known as “master and man.” It is a relationship that no longer really exists in the modern world, but up to World War II there is a body of literature that depicts the relationship between a hero (usually but not always, upper class) and his faithful servant (usually, but not always, lower class). It was assumed that the lower classes were ignorant of, and possibly immune to, the “finer feelings,” and that it was the duty of the upper class to provide examples for them to live up to. And it was the duty of the lower classes to demonstrate loyalty and provide a practical grounding for the hero. After all, you can’t expect a hero to slay the dragon and also polish his own sword or think about such mundane matters as tonight’s dinner. That’s what the faithful servant was for.

Later, between World War I and World War II, this was twisted into the comedy routine of the bumbling upper-class twit and the (much smarter) servant. See Jeeves & Wooster or more recently Spamalot, with its hilarious number “I’m All Alone,” sung by King Arthur as his servant visibly wonders, “What am I, chopped liver?” Arthur, of course, means that there is no one of his own social rank present to share and understand his (upper-class, kingly) feelings. In a class-based society, this counts as “alone,” even if there are a hundred servants standing around.

Anyway, to return to the point, the relationship of “master and man” is not a gay one … it is simply two people who would be best friends, if it were not for the limitations of their different classes.

And it is a symptom of our modern-day cynicism that we can’t see deep friendship and respect between any two people without assuming that sex is involved.

Jessica S. Lucens
http://www.scifi.com

Star Wars: The Inspiration of my Love of Star Wars, and thoughts on Episode III

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the SithTime for a general entry. Not to say that this will be a boring entry by any means. I was having a conversation with my friend Deb, when I realized something simple, yet profound.

I know what it is about Star Wars that made me like it more, and makes me love it. My mom once told me that my Grandpa loved Star Wars, and loved talking about the spiritual elements of the films, and how much fun it would have been, talking to him about the new ones. She also said that he would have LOVED talking to me about the Lord of the Rings.

My Grandpa was a convert to the Catholic Church, a Father of nine, and the Doctor for a small town. He passed on when I was 12.

Somehow, I feel a connection to him, through Star Wars. I realize now, that is why I defend the prequels, and part of why I enjoy them. I look beyond the surface, of what people would consider a “bad” movie, to the things that I think my Grandpa and I would have talked about. We would have had some mighty good discussions about both of the new films.

Now with the third film coming out, people are scared that they’ll be let down, again. I’ve got no fears about this film. While Episode I is a flawed film, it’s not without its’ moments. The same goes for Episode II. I’ve felt they could have covered the material of Episodes I and II in film one, the clone wars in film two, and the third film to be, well, pretty much what it is: The purging of the Jedi, the rise of the Empire, and the birth of Darth Vader.

I’ve got here, two review samples. The first, is of the Novelization of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, by a man named LargeFarva, on FilmRot.com:

At least, in print, it does appear that the movie will tie together all of the plot threads successfully. The major issues most fans have speculated and dared Lucas to explain are included in the novelization, from Qui-Gon Jinn’s non-disappearance, to Kenobi’s claims that Yoda was his master. There is even strong evidence that a few characters in the original trilogy knew quite more than they let on, and with plenty good reason. Also, it is true that the first character to speak in the original trilogy has the last line of the prequels. Finally, after reading the epilogue, I’m finding it hard to continue laughing at Lucas’ claims that Sith is “a real tear-jerker”.

I’ve read the other novelizations and this is by FAR the best, the one we’ve been waiting for since the announcement of the prequels.

I’m predicting that most fans of the [Original Trilogy] will consider there to be four films-the [Original Trilogy] and Ep. 3 is the single prequel to them.

This is very promising news. Another review, is of the Screenplay, now available as an ebook, by Bill Hunt, Editor of TheDigitalBits.com:

I have to tell you that I was awfully uneasy as I began reading the script. The first third of Revenge of the Sith feels very much like parts of The Phantom Menace… and I don’t mean the good parts. There’s a lot of Anakin and Obi Wan bantering back and fourth as they fight scores of battle droids, and the dialogue is pretty bad. BUT don’t despair, because once you get past this, the film gets a lot better. About a third of the way in, the Sith lord’s nefarious plot really starts unfolding… and it’s all dark and intense action from there on out. The script finishes well, setting up A New Hope beautifully. There are a couple of great surprises, and the plot threads all tie up nicely. You’re going to be left with a strong sense of “Wow… so THAT’S how it all happened.” I’ve heard from people who have seen most of the film that the action and visuals are astonishing – the best yet from Lucas. Add to that John William’s final score, which you KNOW is going to kick ass, and I think the vast majority of Star Wars fans will enjoy this film. If Lucas pulls it off, it’ll easily be the best of the three prequels. Whatever you think of them so far, there’s nothing like a strong finish. When I get the chance to SEE this film, you can be sure that I’ll post a review.

Both of those reviews sum up pretty much all I know about the movie, save for the footage I’ve seen in the trailers, commercials, and some of the music I’ve heard on the official site, StarWars.com. And from what I know, we’re in for a real treat.

Go into this movie expecting it to be just what it was meant to be. Entertainment and the origin of Darth Vader. This is how it happened folks.

I’m not looking for comments on this post to talk about whether or not you’ve seen Star Wars, or if you think the prequels suck, or that this one will suck. Any comments like that will be deleted, no questions asked.

I want to give this last Star Wars film a shot at being a great film, and to expect anything less from it, would be contrary to what it very well could be. The third film of any trilogy should justify the first two. However, this film isn’t meant to end the story, it’s to set the stage for the beginning of the original trilogy, and to build the arc that puts Darth Vader right where he’s always been: the main character and centerpiece of all six Star Wars films. The Fall and Redemption of Anakin Skywalker. Redemption is the theme, folks, but redemption from what?

“Do what must be done, Lord Vader. Do not hesitate, show no mercy.”

We talk about forgiveness a lot, and it is one of the hardest things to ask for, and the hardest things to do for others. This story is about one man who fell, and for years walked a dark path, and finds forgiveness in people that weren’t even there when he fell. That is a testament of how we should live our lives for others. Forgiving everyone, everything, NOW! Not WASTING TIME holding onto hatred or anger. There’s just no point. Save the anger for true evils.