the lord of the rings

The Hobbit film Looses It's Director Guillermo del Toro

Director Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth,... Image via Wikipedia

Director Guillermo del Toro quits The Hobbit film over production delay.

"In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming The Hobbit, I am faced with the hardest decision of my life," del Toro told a "Lord of the Rings" fan website.

"After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as Tolkien's Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures," he said, noting the film still hadn't been given the green light by MGM, the struggling Hollywood studio.

He is not totally leaving the project behind.  del Toro plans to continue working with Peter Jackson and his wife Fran Walsh on the screenplay.

It's a sad blow to the film but I understand where del Toro is coming from.  He has many other projects to work on.

Don't think of this as a delay on the project.  Think of The Hobbit project as a back burner movie project, or a nice theoretical project.  It will stay as such until it gets both a solid screenplay and the green light aka funding.  Only then will it have the chance to move forward.

(via Entertainment News)

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Why Progressive Speculative Fiction?

Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today- but the core of science fiction, its essence, the concept about which resolves, has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all. Isaac Asimov, "My Own View," The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

While Asimov was interested solely with Science Fiction, I believe the same can be said about Speculative Fiction as a whole. Many of the problems we face cannot be faced solely by working to fix the present conditions. If we do not explore the possible futures our choices could produce, we walk blindly into the future.

It is change, continuing change inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the word as it will be - and naturally this means that there must be an accurate perception of the world as it will be. This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our businessmen, our Everyman, must take on a science fictional way of thinking, whether he likes it or not or even whether he knows it or not. Only so can the deadly problems of today be solved.

Isaac Asimov, "My Own View," The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

Again, I would broaden his words out to all of Speculative Fiction.

Lovecraft's Mythos

Cthulhu in the lost city of R'lyeh
Image via Wikipedia

Numerous horror novels/movies have shown us the problems eugenics would unleash upon our societies. Lestat's hope that there is some good in the universe heightens his fear and motivates him to find the answers.

H. P. Lovecraft's fiction had a simple message behind the supernatural horror.  Humankind's chief sin is hubris.  We think too highly of ourselves, and as a result blind ourselves to the fact that somewhere in this vast cosmos, there are creatures who are infinitely more powerful than we are, and whose motives are unfathomable by human logic.

Cthulu, Nyarlahotep, Azathoth, the color out of space, and the color out of time are all horrifying warnings that if we lie to ourselves, pretending there is not a bigger fish out there, we will eventually be devoured by it.

Frankenstein

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is an all too familiar cautionary tale about scientific and technological advance without the restraining forces of morality and common sense.  The tale has been told and retold, spawning an entire subgenre of horror about the dangers of dabbling in things not understood.

The Resident Evil franchise, Godzilla, and so many others I could spend the rest of the year naming them have picked up the mantle and and shared the horrific future we could create for ourselves if we are not careful to think ahead and not blindly rush into the future.

Star Trek

star-trek-crew-tm.jpgShowed us a future we could hope for.  Imagine a world  where hunger and poverty were removed from the equation.  New challenges would raise their heads, some of which would threaten to return us to the barbaric world we had left behind.

Gene Roddenberry kindled a vision in the hearts and minds of his fans of a world of limitless possibilities.  A world were our only limitations were our imagination and our character.  It is a world to strive towards.

Lord of the Rings

In the Lord of the Rings books, J. R. R. Tolkien showed us a world on the cusp of transition from one age to another.  His mythic prose illuminated the choices that people have to make when culture finds itself on the crossroads of history.

The basic choice is demonstrated through the characters of Sauroman and Gandolf.  Their world, their age was ending.  They had the choice to either embrace the future and try to make the new world a better place to live, or to hold on the past and seek the destruction of the new world before it comes.  Gandolf chose the first path, Sauromon chose the latter.

Star Wars

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Image via Wikipedia

Anakin Skywalker is faced with the same choice in the Star Wars saga.  At first he fights the future out of his attachment, but when he is faced with the ultimate decision, watching the future be destroyed in the person of his son, he learns that he must let go of his attachments and help the future come.

I wonder if that is why more people don't love the prequel trilogy.  It touches a nerve in them, and despite our bravado, no one really wants to think of themselves as Darth Vader.  No one wants to entertain the thought that they could destroy everything they believe in and care for as a result of trying to protect it.

Like all great stories, Star Wars holds a mirror up to us and says, this could be you.

We need Progressive Speculative Fiction

Many things are hard to talk about.  Stories can often show us things we would not or could not have seen otherwise.

Next time, we will discuss the differences between Positive Scifi and Progressive Speculative Fiction.

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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.

Exploring: The Incredible Hulk

Review of: The Incredible Hulk Overall Rating: 9.0   The Incredible Hulk

Finally not another origin story! The Incredible Hulk was a good movie and fun to watch but not as good as Iron Man. I'm really pleased to see Marvel's positive influence on these projects. The movie is an exciting ride with a nice balance between action, drama, and suspense that carried me through the emotions of the story. There are some problems with the story line and maintaining the immaculate reality of the experience but overall they kept true to the spirit of the Hulk and I really appreciate that.

The Incredible Hulk is a tale about Bruce Banner the Geneticist and his quest for a cure for a condition that turns him into a raging monster known as the Hulk. All the while the military is hunting down Bruce Banner so that they can learn how to control the Hulk and use Bruce’s research to create super soldiers. In the end they only create an even more deadly monster known as The Abomination.

Likes

  • The opening credits is brilliant: they cover the origin story in a few minutes and put in a lot of fun references.
  • The way they ease us into the hulk: His first appearance is mostly from the shadows with only glimpses to help acclimate the audience with his look.
  • the way they show the bullets and darts just bending and bouncing off of his skin. The really neat thing is that they do show on occasion lacerations in the hulks skin when the attack is sever enough to merit it. The 50 caliber rounds looked awesome when they dented his skin.
  • The emotion that they were able to animate into the Hulk was amazing. Like Gollum before him the Hulk was really able to connect on an emotional level with the audience.
  • The Cameos: Stan Lee, Lou Ferrigno
  • I liked the references subtly placed throughout the movie to Stark Industries, Nick Fury, and S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • They used most of the Hulk's famous lines / attacks in a tasteful and story appropriate manner.
  • The very end / the last page: not going to give a spoiler but after seeing it you will get it.

Dislikes / Concerns

  • The skin of the hulk was too gelatinous and too textured: probably due to rendering or compositing issues because the animation was so well done.
  • The love scene: it was funny but distracted me from the movie and shattered the immaculate reality. Personally I had a Mallrats moment and Brodie wouldn't get out of my head.
  • The story had some issues: I didn't like the mcguffin of the cure and found the Emil Blonsky story line far more interesting and would have like it more if that became the dominate storyline.
  • The end helicopter scene shown in the trailer still bothered me and seeing it in context didn't save it. I realize they needed a tension relief and I did chuckle because it was a funny moment but it completely took me out of the story and reminded me I was watching a film not experiencing it.

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J.R.R. Tolkein Born

In 1892, J.R.R Tolkein, the master of Mythopeia was born.  I have mixed feelings about Tolkein since the Peter Jackson films came out. Ok, I admit that I  am a bit of a fanboy, but I am getting tired of all of the Lord of the Rings pop culture references.  I admit that the Family Guy poltergeist episode was hilarious, but LoTR used to mean something to me.  Now it is nothing more than a trilogy on the self.  I read the Silmarillion again recently, and pray that they don't make a film out of it.

These words are not going to be welcomed by a lot of people, but I have to say it: Sometimes the movies corrupt the books.  I am burned out on LoTR for now.  I can't wait of the day when the pop culture forgets about Tolkein and for his legacy to be returned to the people who care about the books, not the money.