J-R-R- Tolkien

DVD Releases: April 28th, 2009

Out this week we have 5 DVDs to feature: X-Men, Volume 1, X-Men Volume 2, Jetsons: The Movie, Castle Ghosts of the British Isles, and J. R. R. Tolkien.

  • X-Men, Volume 1:  I waited years for this to finally come out on DVD.  This is by far the best representation of X-Men beyond the comics.  I loved the animation style and the story lines were amazing.  I burnt through so many tapes of this series and now that it is on DVD it is a must own!
  • Jetsons: The Movie: This is one of those movies that was not that great but loved by fans of the Jetsons.  This feature-length animated film came out in the 90’s and is based on the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon.
  • Castle Ghosts of the British Isles: This program investigates the myths of ghosts associated with various castles throughout the British Isles.  I’m a sucker for these types of shows I love hearing the ghost stories from various places around the world.  Having not seen this production I will have to rent it to see if it is good.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien:  This film tells the story of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien.  This 1998 BBC production is finally out on DVD.  I really enjoyed other BBC productions like this one and have high hopes for the contents.  A high recommendation for any fan of Lord of the Rings and J.R.R. Tolkien.

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Del Toro and the Hobbit

guillermo-del-toro_hobbit As I wait for Guillermo del Toro to finish writing and directing the Hobbit film, I cannot help but scrutinize every word that he says.

Have you brought up the possibility of Viggo Mortensen reprising the role of Aragorn in The Hobbit?

Del Toro: You know, when the time comes. I hope New Line buys lunch.

Have you made any casting decisions?

Del Toro: Not yet. Just the ones that have been announced [Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Andy Serkis as Gollum]. There's not lack of information. It's not withholding. We really don't have more information, because we're writing. And literally, like every week, what you discover writing the two movies, writing the two stories, it changes. So every week there's a discovery, and anything we say this week would be contradicted next week. Certainly that would be true in casting. Why create hopes or why create expectations if down the line you're going to go, "You know what? That was not a good idea." So we won't cast it until we finish writing (Scifi Wire).

I love that he is not wanting to get our hopes up only to dash them.  I wish he would have given more information about what will be in each movie, and I assume that is what he is talking about when he says that it changes every day.

I cannot help but wonder how much of the story is being shaped by what he perceives as the limitations of the medium, or the cost of doing some of the scenes.  There is one character he has given a lot of thought too.

smaug How are you going to do Smaug the dragon in The Hobbit?

Del Toro: Smaug is THE creature in The Hobbit. The way Tolkien wrote it already is magnificent. It's already a fantastic character. So, obviously, dragons, you ask every person what their best favorite dragon is, they will give you a different answer. In my mind, what we're going to attempt on the design of this creature and the creation of this creature needs to push the envelope beyond anything you've ever seen on that kind of creature.

That's a lot to overcome.

Del Toro: Yes and no. Yes and no, because, normally, the creature, there is some stuff that has been done with dragons that I find there are very few landmarks created for me. One of the best, one of the strongest landmarks that almost nobody can overcome is Dragonslayer. The design of the Vermithrax Pejorative is perhaps one of the most perfect creature designs ever made. So what you have to be careful is not to try to be distinctive just to be distinctive, but Smaug has certain characteristics that make him unique already. I cannot. I am bursting at the seams about spilling the beans, but I won't, because I would be shot. ... (Scifi Wire)

Smaug is the Achilles’ Heel of the movie.  The Wyverns in the Lord of the Rings movies looked a little strange, and as a fan of dragons and dragon-kin, they really let me down.  Smaug plays a pivotal role in the book, and should also in the movie.  I pray to Eru Ilúvatar they do not mess it up.

New Line Cinema, That’s What Billbo Baggins Hates

onering Chip the glasses and break the plates, that’s what Bilbo Baggins Hates.  Have questionable spending practices on a big budget movie is what the J.R.R. Tolkien Estate hates. The Tolkien Estate took New Line Cinema to court for fraud claiming that they improperly claimed advertising expenses and improperly claimed expenses for the building of production offices and facilities in New Zealand.

In the suit the Tolkien Estate are seeking monetary damages and are seeking to terminate New Line Cinema’s rights to the Hobbit.  This week a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge ruled that there was a legal basis for the claim.

I find this interesting.  First, I wonder if this will bring light to and establish in official record the dirty little practice of padding expenses so that the net percent payout is much lower than it should be.  If it does it may help put that practice to rest.

Secondly,  this means that there might be delays or even canceling of the Hobbit movies.  Though I have had mixed feelings over the direction of the two movies I can say that the idea of seeing it through the direction of Guillermo Del Toro is an exciting prospect.

(via AP)

(image by Playadura*)