Tagged: Peter Jackson

REVIEW: The Hobbit

HBBT_BDComboJ.R.R. Tolkien was fascinated with language and mythology, scratching only the surface when he sat down in 1937 to pen The Hobbit. When his publisher asked for a sequel, the professor really dug deep and built on the foundations established in his children’s novel. As a result, he took over a decade to write what became Lord of the Rings and along the way, crafted new languages, cultures, and myths, creating Middle Earth from the essence of English and European folklore.

Tolkien mistrusted Hollywood, which certainly explains why it wasn’t until the 1970s before any adaptation of his works made it to the screen. There’s the somewhat cute Rankin-Bass take from the era, but really, the studios and technology weren’t up to the demands of the source material. Within the last two decades, though, that all changed. Once Peter Jackson struck gold with his trilogy of films, it was inevitable that the public would cry for the first book in the cycle to be adapted. Of course, there were the usual legal entanglements followed by MGM’s financial free-fall which cost the production the talents of Guillermo Del Toro. Jackson stepped behind the camera once more, helming an adaptation that was more in keeping with his interpretation of Middle Earth than del Toro apparently had in mind. Now, having seen The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in the theater and on disc, the fresh eye may have been warranted.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the film —  being released on home video in a variety of packages from Warner Home Video on Tuesday – but the familiarity with it all robs the story of its magic. Wisely, the opening is a frame, setting up the novel itself; using Ian Holm’s aged Bilbo Baggins with Elijah Wood once more as his nephew Frodo. Seeing them brought a smile to my heart but once the dwarves began to arrive, and the journey get underway, we’d seen the vistas, the mountains, and roads. As a result, the journey felt beleaguered and longer than necessary.

What did work, though, was really making this Thorin Oakenshield’s (Richard Armitage) story, aided by the dwarves and guided by Gandalf the Gray (Ian McKellan). The tension and suspicions the handsome dwarf had towards Baggins (Martin Freeman) is a nice undercurrent until it reaches a climax.

In watching the story unfold, it’s very much like a saga from days gone by and it’s interesting to note how many of the dwarf names were taken straight from Norse mythology. It’s a pretty straightforward tale with nice sets pieces such as the meeting with Gollum (Andy Serkis) and the forthcoming battles with Smaug. Expanding this initially to two films raised some eyebrows and then he came out with word that two had morphed into three. Suddenly, the single novel was being given the same weight at the trilogy and most howled. In watching the movie, it’s safe to say about 60 percent of it was the novel and the remainder was drawn from the appendices and notes Tolkien left behind. To be fair to the producer/writer/director, there’s tremendous material worthy of adapting and exploring cinematically. It worked with the emphasis on Arwen in the trilogy so he earns the benefit of the doubt for now.

Hobbit_Infographic_Hobbit101He did take a throwaway line about Gandalf needing to speak with others and the book skipped that while the film uses that moment to being us to a council where familiar friends Galadriel (Cate Blanchet), Elrond (Hugo Weaving), and Saruman the White (Christopher Lee) provide wisdom and foreshadowing. It was fun seeing them as all one big happy family, knowing that even sixty years before LOTR, the dark shadows were already creeping from Mordor.

We also get to see some other wizards for the first time, including Necromancer (Benedict Cumberbatch) in the stronghold of Dul Guldur and the amusing Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy).

Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Jackson used some magic to find ways to give each of the thirteen dwarves some personality and the cast and costumers ran with it. While you couldn’t necessarily name them on sight, you could tell one from another. Character reigns supreme once more for which we fans should be thankful. As fanciful as Tolkien was, he remained far more interested in lore and language than he did in interesting characterization.

Jackson is an old hand at the setting and pacing, which may be why he was more interested in the technical aspects, notably the 48-frames-per-second experiment that too few people got to witness as theaters, already paying the bills for 3-D and digital projectors, were reluctant to support. The film, therefore, is lush and rich in color, sight, and sound.

An extended edition with extra footage, which was anticipated before the film hit theaters, is now expected in time for the holiday season, following the previous pattern. So, be cautioned when getting this. So, what do you get with this edition? Well, the video transfer is most excellent, rich in color so Hobbiton to Lothlorien to the mines are sharp and clear. The visuals are equally matched by the amazing DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track.

While there some two and a half hours of bonus material, diehard fans have seen most of it online during the film’s production and release. Clearly, the most interesting stuff is being held back for the extended version. The specials are voluminous to merit its own disc, which is nice.

Early purchasers can use The Desolation of Smaug Sneak Peek Access Code: to watch the exclusive online sneak peek at The Desolation of Smaug, hosted live by Peter Jackson on March 24th at 3pm EST/12pm PST.

There’s another look at New Zealand: Home of Middle-Earth (7 minutes) demonstrating the challenge facing Jackson and his team as they had to find new countryside to show off new portions of Middle Earth.

The bulk of the extras are the ten Video Blogs (127 minutes):

Start of Production (April 14, 2011)

Location Scouting (July 9, 2011)

Shooting Block One (July 21, 2011)

Filming in 3D (November 4, 2011)

Locations Part I (December 24, 2011)

Locations Part II (March 2, 2012)

Stone St. Studios Tour (June 6, 2012)

Wrap of Principal Photography (July 24, 2012)

Post-Production Overview (November 24, 2012)

Wellington World Premiere (December 14, 2012)

And, of course, a handful of trailers.

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.

Warner Home Video to Release The Hobbit on Disc in March

HBBT_BDComboBurbank, CA, February 5, 2013 – From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), arriving on Digital Download on March 12  and on Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack and 2-Disc DVD Special Edition on March 19  from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. All disc versions feature UltraVioletÔ and more than 130 minutes of bonus content. The first of a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which is nominated for three Academy Awards*, is an epic adventure that immerses audiences once again in the fantastical world of Middle-earth. The March 19 home entertainment release will be followed by an Extended Edition available just in time for the holidays.

In addition, Peter Jackson will host a live first look at The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second film in The Hobbit Trilogy, on Sunday, March 24 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern/Noon Pacific. Content will be streamed live and an edited version will be archived on the Trilogy’s official website. Access to the live event will be limited to holders of an UltraViolet code available by purchasing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack or 2-Disc Special Edition DVD. Select digital retailers will issue access codes upon purchase of the film.  Visit www.thehobbit.com/sneak for more information.

Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy, with Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. Also reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” in “The Hobbit” Trilogy are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Ian Holm as Old Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; and Andy Serkis as Gollum. The international ensemble cast also includes James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Sylvester McCoy, Barry Humphries, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Graham McTavish, Adam Brown, Peter Hambleton, John Callen, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, William Kircher, Stephen Hunter, Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Manu Bennett and Conan Stevens.

The screenplay for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro, based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. Jackson also produced the film, together with Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner and Fran Walsh. The executive producers are Alan Horn, Toby Emmerich, Ken Kamins and Carolyn Blackwood, with Boyens and Eileen Moran serving as co-producers.

New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Present a WingNut Films Production, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. All three films in The Hobbit Trilogy, also including The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and the final film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, are productions of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), with New Line managing production. Warner Bros. Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution being handled by MGM.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was released on December 14, 2012, with the second film, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug releasing December 13, 2013, and the third film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, slated for July 18, 2014.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be available on 3-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack for $35.99, on 5-Disc Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack for $44.95, and on 2-Disc DVD Special Edition for $28.98. The Blu-ray Combo Pack features the theatrical version of the film in hi-definition on Blu-ray, and the theatrical version in standard definition on DVD. The 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack features the theatrical version of the film in 3D hi-definition on Blu-ray, the theatrical version of the film in 2D high definition on Blu-ray and the theatrical version in standard definition on DVD.  The Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack and the 2-Disc DVD Special Edition all include UltraViolet, which allows consumers to download and instantly stream the standard definition theatrical version of the film to a wide range of devices including computers and compatible tablets, smartphones, game consoles, Internet-connected TVs and Blu-ray players.*

SYNOPSIS

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 13 Dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild, through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins, Orcs and deadly Wargs, as well as a mysterious and sinister figure known only as the Necromancer.

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 ingenuity 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.

BLU-RAY AND DVD ELEMENTS

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack and DVD Special Edition contain the following special features:

  • Full Suite of Peter Jackson’s Production Videos. Enter Middle-earth of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as Academy Award-winning Director Peter Jackson takes you behind the scenes, on location and amidst the star-studded cast in a series of video journals that puts you in the forefront of latest in filmmaking with more than two hours of additional content. Highlights of the journals include:
    • Start of Production
    • Location Scouting
    • Filming in 3D
    • Post-production Overview
    • Wellington World Premiere

DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION ELEMENTS

On March 12, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be available for download from online retailers including iTunes, Xbox, PlayStation, Amazon, Vudu and CinemaNow.

On March 19, the film will also available digitally in High Definition (HD) VOD and Standard Definition (SD) VOD from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles.

BASICS

PRODUCT                                                                            SRP

Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack                                                         $44.95

Blu-ray Combo Pack                                                               $35.99

2-Disc Amaray Special Edition (WS)                                     $28.98

EST Release Date:  March 12, 2013

Standard Street Date: March 19, 2013

DVD Languages: English, Latin Spanish, Parisian French

BD Languages: English, Latin Spanish,

DVD Subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish, Parisian French

BD Subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish

Running Time: 169 minutes

Rating: Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images

DLBY/SURR   DLBY/DGTL   [CC]

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

 

The Point Radio: How Bilbo Almost Wasn’t THE HOBBIT

There is no doubt, THE HOBBIT will be doing big box office this weekend, but did you know there was a point where Martin Freeman may not have returned as Bilbo Baggins? Director Peter Jackson shares the story plus answers the question on why two more HOBBIT films are on the way. And Image confuses retailers with  a new “no reprint” policy.

Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: THE HOBBIT An Much Expected Return To The Screen


This weekend, Peter Jackson’s HOBBIT – AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY opens in theaters. We talk to cast members Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage and Elijah Wood on what is was like to return to the franchise after nearly a decade. Plus The FANTASTIC FOUR film moves forward, Gail Simone moves on and THE SAINT may be moving back to TV.

Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

Adam-Troy Castro: Lard’s Bane Foul

A few years ago a demonstrable moron of a moviegoer raised a brief public stink about Peter Jackson’s movie adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s THE TWO TOWERS, claiming that this was a sneaky reference to 9/11 and that Jackson was clearly making light of the tragedy.

Informed that the book had existed for forty years and that it was an international cultural phenomenon before the hijackers were born, and that the title was therefore established, the fool doubled down. The existence on an unassailable timeline had no effect on him. He preferred his conspiracy theory, even if it was disproved by facts nobody could possibly counter. The conspiracy theory was more fun, more satisfying and (to him) more empowering.

Clearly an absolute moron, right?

So we now have Rush Limbaugh, claiming that the villain of the new Batman movie, Bane, is clearly lib’rul Hollywood’s sneaky slam at Mitt Romney, just because Romney used to work at a company called Bain.

(This is a connection made by Jon Stewart too, but Stewart, at least, knows it’s a joke.)

Okay. So forget that Bane the character has been around for years and years and years — since 1993, in fact — and that he in fact appeared in a previous Batman movie, during the Clinton Administration; you can argue that this is the kind of thing only stone geeks would know, and no doubt that argument will be made, in defense of Limbaugh’s sloppiness.

But you don’t even need that kind of specialized knowledge to tear this idiocy apart.

See, movies don’t take five minutes to make.

They require time for screenplays to be written, then rewritten; time for the cast and crew to be hired and to gather, time for the sets to be built, for the movie to be made, time for it to be scored and edited. Everybody knows this. Everybody also knows that Mitt Romney has only been the presumptive candidate for a few months. Nobody, but nobody, knew for sure that he was gonna be the guy, when the movie entered production.

Christopher Nolan, beginning to plan this final movie in his trilogy, did not suddenly have the brainstorm, “Gee! I don’t know who’s going to be the Republican nominee in 2012, but just on the OFF-CHANCE it’s Romney, two years from now, I’ll take this one Batman villain whose name is similar to a company on Romney’s resume and everybody will be so stunned by my clever political barb that they won’t vote for him!”

You discern even more stupidity when you realize that Romney’s doings at Bain have only been big-time controversial for a matter of weeks…since long after the movie was in the can. More alleged clairvoyance from Nolan.

And there’s even more than that when you take this into account: if the hero fighting Bane were Marvel’s The Black Panther — a charismatic black guy, and one LITERALLY born in Africa, who has a name of an organization that some idiots think Romney’s opponent supports — then he might have a case. But it’s Batman, a billionaire and a law unto himself. HE’S the Romney surrogate, if you have to believe that Romney has a surrogate in the movie. Thus, the metaphor Limbaugh thinks he sees doesn’t even survive simple knowledge of a character created in 1939, for crying out loud.

What gets me is that even the folks who ditto everything Limbaugh says, who might be able to spot the sheer appalling brain-dead stupidity of this particular claim, will not make the logical leap that he might have his head equally as far up his ass on some of the other things he says.

Seriously, folks: is there anybody out there who contends that this is the only time Limbaugh has just made stuff up? Or is this just the most recent, and obvious?

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]

 

The Adventures of Tintin

In a matter of weeks, Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson will be bringing Hergé’s Tintin to the screen in sumptuous motion capture. The Belgium hero has been around for nearly a century and is insanely popular throughout Europe, where the film is already playing to big crowds who are happy with the adaptation.

Cashing in on the crazy is Shout! Factory, reissuing the 1991 animated [[[Adventures of Tintin]]] as a two-disc DVD. This was the second time the graphic albums were adapted for animation and I watched the first one as a kid and my children saw this edition.  Produced as a collaboration between France’s Ellipse and Canada’s more familiar Nelvana, they ape Hergé’s style rather well.

When these first ran on American television, they were criticized for the liberties taken and that obviously has not changed with time. We can, though appreciate the attempts to bring these stories to life for an audience unfamiliar with the source material. Without the comparison, they work pretty well and move at a nice clip.

The graphic albums adapted for the first season include The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn, Red Rackham’s Treasure, Cigars of the Pharaoh, The Blue Lotus, The Black Island, and The Calculus Affair. Each album is spread over two episodes making for five hours of action, although the violence is markedly toned down by the writers including Toby Mullally, Eric Rondeaux, Martin Brossolet, Amelie Aubert, Dennise Fordham and Alex Boon. You can tell the animators paid close attention to the albums, replicating angles and scenes almost verbatim.

The video transfers well and Shout! does a nice job with the packaging and production even if they are totally devoid of any extra material. This is here only because of the big budget production, but for those who grew up on these, they will be a welcome addition during the holiday season.

New TinTin One Sheet and Trailer

TinTin doesn’t open here until December but it begins to play around the world within the next few weeks. The early reviews have gone live and the general opinion is that Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg have created an energetic film based on the graphic novels from Herge, Beligum’s premiere creator.

The movie blends live-action and CGI motion-capture work with kudos going once more to Andy Serkis, who this time portrays Captain Haddock. Of the actors working today, none have done more work with motion capture than Serkis, known best as Gollum and more recently as Ceasar in the latest Planet of the Apes movie.

Paramount has released a new trailer for American audiences.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teyAfaZ1FwM[/youtube]

And the production team has offered up a brand new featurette entitled Fanboys.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teAvVfZy5zA[/youtube]