Tagged: Ian McKellen

Enter to see #RogueCut of X-Men: Days Of Future Past at SDCC free!

XMDOFP_RogueCut_Invite_V5To celebrate the home entertainment release of the X-Men: Days of Future Past Rogue Cut Blu-ray on July 14th we’re hosting a contest!

On Saturday, July 11th, the never-before-seen extended #RogueCut edition of X-Men: Days of Future Past will be screened at the Reading Theater in the Gaslamp District of San Diego. And we’ve got the chance to give away 10 pairs of VIP access wristbands. That’s guaranteed access to a screening!

We’ll be choosing winners at random, the only requirement for winning is that you will be in the area and able to attend. No San Diego Comic-Con badge needed! All you have to do to enter is comment on this article using a valid email address and you’ll be entered for a chance to win.

Don’t worry if you don’t win passes, you will have the opportunity to gain two VIP (guaranteed) access tickets to the screening by purchasing the X-Men: Days of Future Past Rogue Cut Blu-ray through one of these locations:

  • The Fox booth on the show floor (Booth #s 4229)
  • The Nerd HQ/IGN Lounge (Children’s Museum)

Additional seating will be available to fans on a first-come, first-served basis.

Beyond the two VIP tickets for the special screening, fans that purchase the Rogue Cut early on Blu-ray and DVD during Comic-Con will also score a limited edition lithograph, celebrating 15 years of the X-Men franchise. Rogue Cut will contain nearly 90 minutes of extra features including deleted scenes, featurettes and gag reels, sure to engage the most ardent enthusiast.  This entire package of content will be available at MSRP $19.99 and is a must-have for every X-Men fan.

Rogue Cut Beauty Shot

ABOUT X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST ROGUE CUT

With a never-before-seen, alternate cut of the film—plus nearly 90 minutes of all-new, immersive special features, the X-Men: Days of Future Past Rogue Cut takes you deeper into the X-Men universe than ever before. Rogue makes her return as the all-star characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves and unite to battle armies of murderous Sentinel robots who are hunting down mutants and humans alike!

Remember, all you have to do to enter is comment on this article using a valid email address and you’ll be entered for a chance to win. May the odds ever be in your– no, that’s the other Jennifer Lawrence film franchise. Good luck! See you in San Diego!

Box Office Democracy: “X-Men: Days of Future Past”

Bryan Singer was making watchable superhero movies when no one else was and because of that I want to give him a lot of slack.  I’ve even mostly forgotten Superman Returns ever happened.  I liked more about X-Men: Days of Future Past than I didn’t but there’s a nagging doubt in the back of my mind that if this were a movie by a less famous director I would be ripping it apart instead of trying to patch the pieces together.

The plot is so much of a continuity nightmare that I spent a fair amount of time wondering if it was a bizarre homage to mid-90s X-Men comics.  I’m not sure anything in the first two movies holds up at all anymore and I’m quite curious when exactly Mystique decided she wanted to look like Rebecca Romijn instead of Jennifer Lawrence as most people are pretty much done changing physically in their late 20s.  An awful lot of characters that act like they have no history at all in the first X-Men film had apparently been hanging out regularly for some 30 years before it started.  I understand this is the consequence of a movie series lasting 14 years and starting before every superhero franchise had to be a well-crafted franchise but I can’t ignore that this movie now exists in a world with those well-crafted franchises in it and it just all feels so unpolished.

There are also some insane contrivances in service of the plot.  Charles Xavier doesn’t have his psychic powers because he’s hooked on Hank McCoy’s mutant heroin that lets him walk.  I’m not bringing external baggage with that heroin comparison as it is absolutely dripping off the screen.  I could have lived and died without needing to see Professor X tying off a vein.  Wolverine is also incapacitated by a traumatic flashback during a scene where he could have easily fixed everything that goes wrong and sets up the third act.  The Wolverine I know and love from the comics isn’t quite so delicate and I’m really not buying that time travel makes someone so consistently portrayed as hard this emotionally vulnerable.

X-Men has the most star power of any film franchise and the cast really shines in this one.  James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are, again, amazing as Xavier and Magneto and watching them have more and more emotionally charged scenes as their friendship moves toward the enmity that will define their relationship going forward.  Hugh Jackman has to carry a lot of plot in this one and he does it while still managing to radiate Wolverine in that way he’s done so much.  While rebooting the series might clean up some of the continuity and put them on equal footing there’s something about having people like Jackman (and Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan and even Shawn Ashmore) inhabiting these roles for a decade and a half that serves the belivability of a movie about people who can walk through walls and turn in to metal.

Spoiler: Like every movie that involves time travel, X-Men: Days of Future Past ends with a scene where the main character comes back to see the changes he’s made.  In this movie one of the first ways Wolverine knows that he’s in the good future instead of the bad one is that Bobby Drake is dating the person he’d rather he be with.  A touching moment but also a shout out to the ‘ship culture of the Internet I thought.  A moment of “hey, Wolverine is just like us” thrown in to what is otherwise a bit of a soft reboot.  It’s not good or bad it’s just interesting and that is, unfortunately where a little too much of this film ends up.

 

Watch the “X-Men: Days Of Future Past” trailer now

The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days Of Future Past. The beloved characters from the original “X-Men” film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class, in an epic battle that must change the past — to save our future.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK2zYHWDZKo[/youtube]

Based on the classic story from Chris Claremont, John Byrne, and Terry Austin, the movie stars (deeeep breath) Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore, Ellen Page, Daniel Cudmore, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Lucas Till, Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, Booboo Stewart, Fan Bingbing, Adan Canto, Evan Peters and Josh Helman. Written by Simon Kinberg from a story by Kinberg, Matthew Vaughn, and Jane Goldman, and directed by Bryan Singer, X-Men: Days Of Future Past is due in theaters May 23, 2014.

Scaling Hobbits, Dwarves and Elves

Hobbit_Infographic-UniqueFeaturesWarner Home Video has provided us with a nifty infographic in advance of next week’s release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Here are the official details.

From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of three films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. 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 adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers.

Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever…Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities … A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

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.

Extras Include

New Zealand: Home of Middle Earth

Video Blogs

  • Start of Production
  • Location Scouting
  • Shooting Block One
  • Filming in 3D
  • Locations Part 1
  • Locations Part 2
  • Stone St. Studios Tour
  • Wrap of Principal Photography
  • Post-production Overview
  • Wellington World Premiere

Theatrical Trailers

  • Dwarves
  • Letter Opener
  • Bilbo Contract
  • Gandalf Wagers
  • Gollum Paths

Game Trailer

  • The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-Earth
  • Guardians of Middle-Earth
  • Lego The Lord of the Rings

Feature Comments: UltraViolet lets you build a digital collection so you can instantly stream and download your movies to compatible devices, including computers, tablets, smartphones, game consoles and IP-connected TVs and Blu-ray players. This UltraViolet copy is a standard definition digital copy of the main feature. UltraViolet service providers may charge for continued cloud access, but no additional charge for continued access to content once downloaded. Consumer must reside in the U.S. and register for a retailer account and an UltraViolet account. Must be 18 years or older to create UltraViolet account.

New Who Review: “The Snowmen”

Oh, Steven Moffat, you magnificent bastard. The return of a villain before it and The Doctor have ever met, a reunion with a character The Doctor’s never actually met, the team-up of three characters, one of whom died in the far future, and a couple of surprise guests.  A nice little Christmas present, and what’s Christmas without…

THE SNOWMEN
By Steven Moffat
Directed by Saul Metzstein

A young boy is met by a talking snowman, one who promises he can help him.  Fifty years later, and Dr. Walter Simeon has become quite a successful man, head of a prestigious institute, and still working with the sentient snowstorm to prepare for a coming assault on the earth.  Madame Vastra and Jenny are curious as to Dr. Simeon’s plans, but get nowhere.  Meanwhile, a young barmaid named Clara has noticed a snowman pop up out of nowhere, and though the man she asks randomly about it seems disinterested, his curiosity is piqued, something The Doctor has been trying to avoid.

Clara is quite a mystery – she’s living a double life as the Governess for two young children.  Their previous governess drowned in a pond outside their manor last winter, which froze over so quickly and thickly they never even found the body for a month.  During that time, the Snow had time to analyze her DNA, providing them a perfect blueprint with which they plan to use to create more sturdy and permanent forms for itself.  The challenge is not for The Doctor to defeat the Snowmen and its secret leader…but to get The Doctor interested enough to care.

Brilliant episode from head to toe.  The chemistry between Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman is positively captivating, as we saw in Asylum of the Daleks, but here, with both on screen at once, it’s explosive.  Dan Starkey pulls in a leaves-you-breathless comedic performance as Strax, one so good it’ll be hard to take him seriously if (when?) he appears again.  Unlike most of the previous Christmas specials, this one has a more direct connection to the narrative of the show.  They’re usually a rather done-in-one story that can be enjoyed on its own. But here, as with The Christmas Invasion, the story leads right into the start of the new semi-season this Spring/Summer.

Once again, Moffat has created a character rippling with mystery.  Why was she working for Captain Latimer, and more importantly, why does her face seem to be spread across time?

THE MONSTER FILES

The Great Intelligence has been rumored for a return to the show for at least two years. Of course, so has damn near every other villain.  Appearing twice during the Troughton era, it was a disembodied consciousness that was able to remotely animate constructs, created with the help of wiling human compatriots.  Its favorite form in past battles have been giant robotic Yeti, also know as Abominable Snowmen, which was also the title of their first adventure.  It appeared again in London in The Web of Fear, the adventure that also introduced us to then-Colonel Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, who would soon receive a promotion, and assignment to U.N.I.T.

The prose novels added a great deal to the history of the Intelligence, as it did for many of the villains of the series.  In them it was revealed that it is in fact Yog-Sothoth, one of the Old Ones chronicled in the H.P. Lovecraft stories.  Neil Gaiman revealed in an interview that he had initially intended House, the villain from his previous episode The Doctor’s Wife, was to have been the Great Intelligence, or at least was to have been heavily hinted as such.  While none of those allusions remained, its modus operandi is sufficiently similar as to still make the connection possible.

Madame Vastra is a Silurian, an ancient lizard race who escaped under the Earth’s crust to save themselves from what they saw as an extinction-level threat in the form of an asteroid heading for the planet.  When the asteroid was instead captured by the Earth’s gravity and became our moon, it allowed other races to rise to planetary dominance, namely Humanity.  The Doctor has faced the Silurians several times both in the new and original series.  Madame Vastra and her human partner Jenny, were introduced in A Good Man Goes to War, as was Strax, the Sontaran clone warrior, sentenced to the ultimate shame, to  serve as a nurse.

GUEST STAR REPORT

Richard Grant (Dr. Simeon) has been a staple of British comedy and drama for years.  He first came to note in Withnail and I, co-starring with the future Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann. He’s been in mad satiric comedies like How to Get Ahead in Advertising and Hudson Hawk, has played the Scarlet Pimpernel, starred in the underrated Warlock, and been in far too many more to list.  He has also had quite a history with Doctor Who.  He’s played The Doctor twice, once in Moffat’s oft-referenced Comic Relief sketch The Curse Of Fatal Death, and once in an animated adventure The Scream of the Shalka. That had been intended as a sort of pilot for a new Who series that never materialized.  It was quiet shuffled out of continuity when the new series started with a different ninth Doctor.

Ian McKellen (voice of the Intelligence) is Magneto and Gandalf. Get Over It.

Juliet Cadzow (voice of the ice governess) has had a long career on British television and on film, but is likely best known as Edie McCredie from the cult favorite children’s show Balamory.

BACKGROUND BITS AND BOBS – Trivia and production details

CREDITS WHERE CREDITS ARE DUE – New credit sequence, and a new mix of the theme, but even then, a return of some old motifs.  The Doctor’s face has been missing from the opening sequence ever since the new series began, but its made a happy return here.  Also, The TARDIS seems to traveling through space for more of the sequence than through time.  The vortex has gone through some changes as well.  In the initial credits sequence it seems made of energy, much resembling a “laser tunnel” effect.  In the first Matt Smith sequence, the vortex took on a more smoky look, one that became progressively more violent in the episodes of this season.  Now it’s taken a look of a column of flame.  One theoy has suggested that the change represented a change in The Doctor’s mood and experiences, rather than mere a change in the vortex itself.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION – The episode was filmed in Bristol, which features a number of Victorian style locales, and makes for easy conversion.

THE ROSE AND CROWN – well, “Rose” is rather obvious, but one could also argue that a Crown is worn by someone who is…Noble.

YOU DON’T NEED THEM, YOU JUST THINK THEY MAKE YOU LOOK CLEVER – The Doctor is wearing Amy Pond’s glasses, last seen in The Angels Take Manhattan. It’s the only bit of clothing or accessories remaining from his previous costume.  Even the bow tie is different.

DON’T KNOW WHERE, DON’T KNOW WHEN… Note Clara’s birthday – November 23rd, same day Doctor Who premiered in 1963.

“Those were the days” – What’s interesting is that we have NO clue exactly how long The Doctor has been out of the Saving The Universe business.  Take a look at the TARDIS – the exterior is a weather-beaten mess.  And even though the interior has a brand new design, I’ve already suggested that it is in fact the ship’s “default” setting, indicating that he didn’t care if it had any character anymore.

‘You realize Dr. Doyle is almost certainly basing his fantastical tales on your own exploits” – And that sound you hear is reality folding in upon itself.  Moffat is, of course, also the showrunner on the new Sherlock series starring Smaug and Bilbo Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, and fans have been doing crossovers between the two series for some time now.

“And remember…” Clara is another woman that The Doctor is meeting out of order.  Like River Song, there’s clearly much more going on with her than any average woman.  Unlike Amy Pond, she’s got a very inquisitive nature, and was involved in her own little mysteries before the Doctor even arrived.  She lives a double life, as the governess of the two children, who just happen to be in the middle of a dangerous situation.  Rather like how Sarah jane and Donna Noble were inspired to investigate and help people after they met The Doctor.  But Clara hadn’t MET The Doctor yet.  Or has she?

BIG BAD WOLF REPORT – There’s two possibilities here.  Rumors abound that the Great Intelligence will return throughout the back end of the season as the Big Bad. This story works perfectly as a stand-alone origin story for the entity, but could also serve as the start of a “You created me” story that could wind up in the season finale.

It seems very clear that one theme of at least the beginning of the semi-season will be the search for Clara.  The clips in the Coming Soon teaser show that Clara’s influence is all across time – note the painting, and the fact that she seems to be wearing many different outfits.  Yes, she could certainly be just changing clothes…but who’s to say it’s not a different Clara in each episode?

NEXT TIME ON DOCTOR WHO – As is traditional at these points, that’s quite up in the air.  We know we’ll be seeing…

  • A Cyberman episode by Neil Gaiman
  • Diana Rigg and her daughter in another Victorian era adventure
  • An episode written by Mark Gatiss

Can’t wait to see what else.

Merry Christmas from ComicMix!

May you all have a very merry Christmas, and may the Doctor keep you safe from any and all snow goons today– particularly the ones that try to trick you by sounding friendly like Gandalf! (Tricksy snowmen… we hates them!)

Hat tip to James Hance, whose artwork gave us the inspiration. Go buy his prints!

Doctor Who’s new TARDIS revealed!

After a couple of teaser photos, the BBC has released a shot of the new TARDIS interior, to premiere in the upcoming Christmas episode, The Snowmen.  Featuring a much more sleek design, it’s much  more like the old school sets, that, to quote Arthur Dent, “really looks like a spaceship”.  The TARDIS from the TV movie on has looked more like a bachelor’s apartment, with everything thrown in, and patched up with random bits of junk.  However, in a cut scene from The Doctor’s Wife, It’s explained that the TARDIS console is itself under the aegis of the chameleon circuit.  It’s not made of junk, it’s made out of very high-tech components that look like junk.

The basic design of the control has not changed much.  There’s still a railing around the perimeter, and what looks like a multi-level setup again.  The additional console to the rear is new, but not entirely so.  The Hartnell and Troughton control rooms had panels and console along the back and side walls, which eventually vanished as the control room grew more simple, and action was centered around the main console.

So why does it look all high-tech again?  I have what might be considered a Clever Theory.

If I may take a comment from Time Crash literally, this may be the TARDIS’ “default” desktop setting.  This is what an off-the-rack TARDIS looks like inside.

This is the TARDIS of a guy who doesn’t care anymore.

There’s the remotest of possibilities this may not be “the new set”, but just a temporary one, until The Doctor becomes more his old self again.  It looks a bit…simpler, certainly more sparse that the current one.  It may not be intended to be kept long-term.

New companion Jenna-Louise Coleman mentioned liking the new console in an interview with CNN, discussing “these new kind-of rolly balls” which is an out of context statement if you ever heard one, and even lets slip that she gets to fly the TARDIS at one point, tho it’s not made clear if this takes place in the Christmas episode, or further down the line.

Other surprises for the Christmas episode includes news that Ian McKellen will be voicing the titular baddie, although rumors and whispered spoilers suggest he may be voicing another character, one who may carry through as an antagonist through the second half of the season.  The…force behind the snowmen, if you will.

 

Emily S. Whitten: The Hobbit – There Again, But Not Back Just Yet…

I’m sure it will shock no one to learn that I went to see the midnight showing of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey last Thursday. And despite being a tad bit (okay a lot bit) tired at work the next day, it was great fun. I don’t do that many midnight showings (seeing as how many of them land on weekdays) but when I do, I definitely experience that extra little thrill of being amongst the first to see something new, and of sitting in a movie theater with a bunch of friends in the wee small hours when by all rights, we should all be in bed.

Along with the general excitement of it all, I’ve been looking forward to seeing The Hobbit movie for seemingly forever now, ever since it was first announced (and even after they announced that it would now be three movies (!!)). I first read the novel in fourth grade English, where it was one of our assigned reading books. Looking back, I’m pretty impressed that our teacher managed to inject it into the curriculum. At the time, I vaguely recall having the feeling, in that childhood my-spider-sense-is-tingling way of feeling adult tension in the air, that this was some sort of tiny act of rebellion on her part against the mostly very sensible curriculum of books we were reading (many of which were also great, although whoever decided to include Dear Mr. Henshaw will not be getting my thanks anytime soon. Yawn). But my English teacher, bless her, decided that reading a fantasy adventure story, and a probably challenging one for that age group, was an important part of our childhood development; and so it was.

Many moons later, the story – in which the hobbit Bilbo Baggins joins the wizard Gandalf and thirteen dwarves in a quest to reclaim the dwarves’ homeland – is just as fun and full of adventure as it was then; but how does it translate to the big screen? Lucky for us, Peter Jackson has endeavored to find out. Jackson is, if you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere, the mastermind behind The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, one of the most amazing and epic motion picture trilogies of all time (as well as the highest grossing worldwide). That trilogy, especially in the extended edition, is both a spectacular adaptation of Tolkien’s story, and a moving and cohesive collection in its own right. It’s also a serious and dark story, and despite the warmth and occasional humor of the character interactions, pretty intense from start to finish. The Hobbit is a slightly different kettle of fish.

Tolkien wrote The Hobbit first, and as more of a children’s story; whereas by the time he penned The Lord of the Rings, he had developed both his world and his style into something more epic and cohesive than his original idea (and, in fact, as he wrote LoTR he went back and added bits to The Hobbit that tied the two together more closely). The story does get darker as it progresses (about when the dwarves arrive in Laketown), but overall, it is still lighter, and smaller in scope, than the trilogy.

(Warning: Possible Movie Spoilers Ahead, although it’s not like most of you don’t know the story already.)

The movie follows the book in that sense. While there is plenty of action and danger, I found myself smiling or laughing a surprising number of times throughout the first act of The Hobbit (i.e. An Unexpected Journey, which is all we shall see of the story until December of next year, when part two of three comes out). In part, that’s thanks to Martin Freeman, who has wonderful comic timing and does an excellent job as the younger Bilbo, who is by times amusingly befuddled or subtly, wryly humorous. There is also a fair bit of humor in some of the dwarf characters and in Ian McKellen’s Gandalf, who is a slightly more whimsical and mischievous wizard than the one we see in Lord of the Rings.

Some of the humor, however, comes from very enjoyable scenes that would not fit snugly in Lord of the Rings but seem perfectly at home here – scenes such as the dwarves “cleaning up” after their party at Bilbo’s house, haphazardly flinging and bouncing Bilbo’s mother’s best china hither and yon throughout the hobbit-hole while Bilbo looks on in distracted despair before walking into the next room and discovering it’s all now neatly stacked away. This scene also gives viewers an important sense of the personality imbued by the dwarves of The Hobbit, which is pretty helpful considering it’s a bit hard to remember which dwarf is which: thirteen is a fair number of small bearded main characters to keep track of.

Another humorous scene I still remember as one of my favorites from my first childhood reading is the one in which Bilbo endeavors to trick a trio of mountain trolls out of eating the whole company; and a fair bit of time and humor is devoted to that scene in the movie, much to my delight. These scenes work wonderfully within the whole. And yet, as my friends and I left the theater, a few of them complained that in places the movie is a bit hokey… and I didn’t disagree. From the best fun scenes, through the more obvious gags that are still funny (such as Bilbo insisting the whole company must go all the way back to Bag End because he forgot his handkerchief, and then one of the dwarves helpfully flinging him a dirty old piece of cloth to use instead), the movie does arrive at a few scenes that are wince-worthy.

The most notable of these is the one with Goblin King. He is fascinatingly grotesque in appearance, and his appearance comes at a dire time for the dwarves, who have been captured and are being held deep underground by what seems like thousands of goblins. The Goblin King is threatening to (and then does) alert the Dwarf King Thorin’s mightiest living enemy, the orc leader Azog, who is on the hunt for Thorin, that the goblins now have him. Logically, it should be a serious moment in the movie. And yet the Goblin King’s demeanor is comical (and not in a good way) and his threats, issued with laughter, are anticlimactically not very menacing at all. (Threats issued with laughter can be super menacing. A good evil laugh can actually make threats more menacing. In the case of the Goblin King, this…is not the case.) Even the bit where he tells another goblin to send word to Azog is off-kilter, with the secretary goblin being a weirdly stunted specimen who apparently gets around the goblin caverns on a zip-line.

This scene and a very few others in the movie are jarring; however, as a whole, the movie is thoroughly enjoyable. Despite the weirdness of the Goblin King, almost without exception the rest of the characters (and actors) are wonderful; and the visuals are just as stunning as those in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And there are some fantastic scenes as well. These include the delightful opening of the movie, which ties The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings by having the elderly Bilbo, in the midst of preparations for his 111th birthday party, writing the narrative and chatting with Frodo (hooray, Elijah Wood cameo!). They also include the scene in which Bilbo and Gollum are having a contest of riddles, all alone in the darkest tunnels of the goblin realm, which was one of the darkest and most ominous scenes, and wouldn’t have been out of place with the tone of The Lord of the Rings.

Overall, despite the dwarves’ very serious quest, this movie feels less serious of purpose than The Lord of the Rings; but that is something I attribute to the original book, rather than the movie’s production. Just as Jackson tried to be faithful to the tone and sense of the trilogy, here he has been faithful to the source material, and I think remembering that as you go in to see the movie (or in thinking of it afterwards) contributes to the enjoyment of it. Going in with the expectation of seeing another Lord of the Rings might leave you feeling surprised, as I was, at the differing tone of this movie; but going in with the mindset that this is an adventure, a romp, and a fun journey will leave you feeling satisfied with the end result. And, of course, it’s important to remember that this is only part one. I suspect that through the second movie and by the end of part three, the tone will shift, as the book’s did, until it arrives in the territory of Lord of the Rings and leaves us with a fairly consistent six movie collection. I personally can’t wait to see what comes next.

Until next time, Servo Lectio!

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold

 

Watch “The Hobbit” Trailer

Watch “The Hobbit” Trailer

Martin Freeman

Martin Freeman (Image via RottenTomatoes.com)

Ten years and a day after The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring arrived in theaters (yes, it really has been a decade since the first film was released) the trailer was released for the prequel, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

The film will be out next December, and stars Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, with Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, and Andy Serkis reprising their roles. Peter Jackson returns to direct.

Watch it, then discuss it below in the comments.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0k3kHtyoqc[/youtube]

 

Who Knows What Evil Lurks? Dynamite Knows As It Picks Up “The Shadow”

Dynamite Entertainment has signed a comprehensive licensing agreement with Conde Nast for comic books based on The Shadow. Arguably the most famous pulp hero of the 20th century and an inspiration for Batman among many others, The Shadow has been featured in comic books, comic strips, television, video games, and at least five motion pictures.

“We are pleased and excited to entrust The Shadow to the capable, creative hands of Dynamite Entertainment,” said Jerry Birenz, licensing attorney for Conde Nast.  “We look forward to a continuation of the long tradition of The Shadow in comic books, and the enjoying of the new adventures and experiences Dynamite Entertainment will bring us.”

Introduced as a mysterious radio narrator by David Chrisman, William Sweets, and Harry Engman Charlot for Street and Smith Publications, The Shadow was fully developed and transformed into a pop culture icon by pulp writer Walter B. Gibson.

The Shadow debuted on July 31, 1930, as the mysterious narrator of the Street and Smith radio program Detective Story Hour.  After gaining popularity among the show’s listeners, the narrator became the star of The Shadow Magazine on April 1, 1931, a pulp series created and primarily written by the prolific Gibson.

“Pursuing The Shadow has been a life time quest,” says Dynamite Entertainment President and Publisher Nick Barrucci.  “Dynamite is working to launch the Shadow with some of the comic industries leading talent including John Cassaday, Alex Ross, Ryan Sook and Jae Lee, with more to be announced – creators who will bring justice to The Shadow.”

Just as with Dynamite’s pick up of The Green Hornet, this could also signal movement on a new Shadow movie. The Shadow was last seen on screen in 1994 in a film starring Alec Baldwin, Penelope Ann Miller, John Lone, Ian McKellen, and Tim Curry. In years past, Sam Raimi has also expressed interest in doing a Shadow movie.