The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey With A Few Detours

December 19, 2012 at 8:18 am

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey With A Few Detours | The Hobbit Review 2012

WELCOME BACK MIDDLE EARTH!

It’s impossible to truly articulate just how much I love the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Leading up to the release, I created 9 Middle Earth posts including a Top 30 Countdown of the series’ best moments.  It’s safe to say, I didn’t force myself to write those posts.  I love writing about Middle Earth and what it means to me.

XTRA | Check out all my Middle Earth related posts here.

To me, the Lord of the Rings is more than just a groundbreaking trilogy.  It’s a source of inspiration in my own screenwriting journey.  For that, I will always be thankful.  Having said all that, you can imagine how excited I was to finally see The Hobbit after years of development.  At long last, we get to return to Middle Earth.

I loved the first chapter of this new trilogy.  It’s packed with amazing battles, creatures and moments worthy of Middle Earth.  It’s definitely entertaining but allow me to quote Bilbo himself by saying this film feels a bit stretched…

“Like butter scraped over too much bread.”

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey begins with a mission.  The dwarves lost their home to a ferocious dragon named Smaug.  It is their goal to reclaim their home.  Thanks to Gandalf the Wizard, they are joined by Bilbo and the adventure begins…  At it’s core, the LOTR trilogy was about Frodo and the One Ring.  Here, the mission is to defeat Smaug.  Simple enough except once the story is setup, the film tends to go off on tangents for over an hour.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey review 2012

Some of these episodes are more entertaining than others while some (like giant fighting mountains) seem out of place.  It doesn’t have the same focus but that’s what happens when you stretch one book into three films.

When the Fellowship of the Ring was released, I lot of people were disappointed by what they left out.  For example, the episode featuring Tom Bombadil.  It made me curious about the scene and I wondered what it would be like on the big screen.  The Hobbit feels like Peter Jackson’s attempt to appease those fans by including everything and more.  So while I felt the first half of the film was stalling, I can’t really complain because we do get to see more Middle Earth.

Hobbit Hype: 10 Things I'm Looking Forward To | An Unexpected Journey

Normally, an hour of filler would absolutely kill a film but it’s a testament to Jackson’s directing skills that The Hobbit doesn’t die.  Each of the ‘detours’ are packed with the rich history of J.R.R Tolkien’s world as well as delightful references to the LOTR trilogy.  Characters we love return and we truly get a sense that something evil is coming.  Sauron.

Eventually, the film finds it’s focus and that’s when The Hobbit truly shines.  I absolutely adored the second half of An Unexpected Journey.  This is highlighted by Bilbo’s famous encounter with Gollum.  It was great to see one of the greatest characters in all of fiction back on the big screen.  From a technical perspective, Gollum has never looked better.  The technology behind this tortured soul has most certainly improved and watching him on an IMAX screen is spectacular.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Review 2012 Gollum

Throughout the game of riddles we also follow the dwarves into the heart of Goblin town.  The whole Goblin escape is truly breathtaking on the big screen and a reminder that we are going to see MORE incredible battles in the next two films.  Indeed, Middle Earth has returned in a big way.

I had my complaints about the lengthy first half but The Hobbit is still a wildly entertaining movie.  It sucks that The Desolation of Smaug is a year away but hopefully we’ll have an extended edition Blu Ray before then.  The Lord of the Rings extended editions boast, in my opinion, the best special features of all time.  I can’t wait for more.

Click here for more reviews.

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Hobbit Hype: 10 Things I'm Looking Forward To | An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit 2012

The Athletic Nerd on The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit & Middle Earth

December 19, 2012 at 8:18 am

The Athletic Nerd on The Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit

Over the last few weeks, I’ve written a lot about The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the world surrounding it.  Everything from top 10 lists to personal tales of the inspiration the series provides.  With The Hobbit enchanting screens around the world, I thought it would be time to collect these posts in one place.

19 posts dealing with the films and the filmmaking journey.  Enjoy.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Review

Top 30 Moments: The Lord of the Rings

Top 10 Moments: The Fellowship of the Ring

Top 10 Moments: The Two Towers

Top 10 Moments: The Return of the King

LOTR Extended Editions: The Best Special Features of all time?

5 Super Massive Gigantic Game Changing Movie News Announcements

Why The Lord of the Rings continually inspires the screenwriter in me.

Movies That Changed Everything: The Lord of the Rings

Link, Zelda, Hyrule, Middle Earth & Screenwriting

Why Special Features Inspire Filmmakers

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Trailers & TV Spots

Behind the Scenes of The Hobbit Inspires

All Time Best: Movie Trailer of 2011

10 Flicks: Best Movie Fantasy Worlds

10 Flicks: Awesome Looking Movie Villains

10 Flicks: Box Office Favorites

10 Flicks: If I Could Only Own 10 Movies

10 Flicks: Yearly Favorites

XTRA | Check out The Athletic Nerd on The Dark Knight

The Athletic Nerd Movies, Screenwriting & Independent Film Blog

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: Top 30 Moments

December 14, 2012 at 8:16 am

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: Top 30 Moments | The Fellowship of the Ring | The Two Towers | The Return of the King

THE JOURNEY ENDS

I’ve counted down the 10 best moments of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers & The Return of the King.  In Part 4 of this series, we find out where each of these rank in the series as a whole!  For more detailed write ups be sure to check out Part 1,2& 3:

Top 10 Moments: The Fellowship of the Ring

Top 10 Moments: The Two Towers

Top 10 Moments: The Return of the King

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE LORD OF THE RINGS MOMENT?

30. ROHAN ARRIVES

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King
Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

29. THE BIRTH OF LURTZ

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring

28. GANDALF VS BALROG 2: THE WIDE SHOT

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

27. SMEAGOL’S BIRTHDAY

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

26. NUMBER 43

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

25. WEATHERTOP

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring
Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring

24. LEGOLAS SHIELD SURFING

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

23. IS THIS ALL YOU CAN CONJURE SARUMAN?

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

22. THE WATCHER IN THE WATER

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring

21. HORSE TIDAL WAVE

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring

20. THE CAVE TROLL

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring

19. I WILL TAKE IT / FELLOWSHIP

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring

18. SAM VS SHELOB

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King
Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

17. GO HOME

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King
Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

16. MY BUSINESS IS WITH ISENGARD

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

15. TOSS ME

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

14. ARAGORN VS LURTZ / MY KING

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring
Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring

13. DWARROWDELF

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring

12. MY PRECIOUS

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

11. THE GREAT STORIES

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

10. LEGOLAS VS MUMAKIL

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King
Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

9. THE BEACONS

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

8. BOROMIR PIERCED BY MANY

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring

7. “WHITE SHORES & BEYOND…”

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

6. AT DAWN LOOK TO THE EAST

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

5. YOU SHALL NOT PASS

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring
Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring

4. “FOR FRODO”

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King
Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

3. GOLLUM VS SMEAGOL

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

2. SAM CARRIES FRODO

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King
Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

1. MOUNT DOOM

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King
Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER ONE LOTR MOMENT?

Click here for more Movie Countdowns
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: Top 30 Moments | The Fellowship of the Ring | The Two Towers | The Return of the King

Top 10 Moments: The Return of the King

December 12, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

THE FINAL CHAPTER, THE PRECIOUS MOMENTS

“The board is set…  The pieces are moving.”

We arrive at last to the final chapter of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and part 3 of my LOTR Moments Countdown.  Winner of 11 Academy Awards and easily the most difficult to narrow down to 10 moments.  Where do these classics rank in the entire trilogy?  Stay tuned for the 4th and final part of this series!  The Return of the King

Click here for The Fellowship of the Ring

Click here for The Two Towers

Click here for The Top 30 Lord of the Rings Moments (Coming Soon)

HONORABLE MENTION: Hey you guys!

10. ROHAN ARRIVES

Just when all hope is lost, Rohan arrives and absolutely decimates the Orc lines…  Then Mumakil’s arrive and all hope is lost again…  It was nice while it lasted.

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

9. SMEAGOL’S BIRTHDAY

The first ‘My Precious’ has to make this list.

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

8. SAM VS SHELOB

Sam really shines in Return of the King and not just because he’s holding the  Light of Eärendil.

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

7. GO HOME

I really thought Sean Astin would get a best supporting actor nomination for this scene alone.

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

6. LEGOLAS VS MUMAKIL

An extremely cool moment somewhat overshadowed by one of the most memorable lines in the series…

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

“That still only counts as one!”

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

5. THE BEACONS

This made the list purely because it’s visually spectacular. Howard Shore’s score is amazing throughout but this sequence is particularly powerful.

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

4.  “WHITE SHORES & BEYOND…”

“A far green country under a swift sunrise.”

J.R.R. Tolkien.  You have my admiration.  Gandalf doesn’t actually say these words in the book but it’s a phenomenal cinematic moment.

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

3. “FOR FRODO”

Gimli sums it up pretty well:

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

“Certainty of death, small chance of success….  What are we waiting for?”

It may be humorous but it also sets up the impact of Aragorn’s big moment.  Courage.

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

2. SAM CARRIES FRODO

The Lord of the Rings is packed with themes like the aforementioned courage.  Friendship is another prevalent theme in this story and it doesn’t get better than this.

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

1.  MOUNT DOOM

The journey ends.  The long struggle is over for everyone including Gollum who falls to his death in one of the best motion captured performances ever.  There are many movies out there that set up an epic finale only to rush through it.  Stretching out this moment was a nice touch and a brilliant way to end this masterpiece.  (Or at least start a series of endings)

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

Is it weird that watching Sauron’s eye as Barad-dûr crumbles makes me laugh?

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ‘RETURN OF THE KING’ MOMENT?

Click here for more Movie Countdowns

Top 10 Moments: The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

Why The Lord of the Rings Continually Inspires the Screenwriter in me

December 12, 2012 at 9:56 am

Why The Lord of the Rings Continually Inspires the Screenwriter in me

LORD OF THE RINGS INSPIRES A NEW AGE OF SCREENWRITING

I love writing screenplays.  I always have.  It’s always been a distant dream to write a film that gets made and shown to audiences around the world.  I say distant because it’s not a simple task to accomplish and it’s easy to lose your way.  But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.  Last year, for a time, I lost my way.  I was still obsessed with screenwriting but I wasn’t making time to actually write.  There was always something else to do.  It’s a poor excuse.

That’s why I dropped everything and challenged myself to do better.  As soon as I applied myself, I finished a new screenplay within two months.  It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you actually sit down and write.  What does that have to do with The Lord of the Rings extended edition DVDs?  There is a chapter in every film’s documentary that focuses on the screenwriting challenges they faced.  Three half hour chunks dedicated to each film and the passion required to realize get the screenplays done.  I.  Love.  Those.  Documentaries.

XTRA | The best special features of all time?

Adapting The Lord of the Rings was an exercise in commitment and screenwriting precision.  With such a wealth of information at their disposal, it fell to Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens to weave it all into three movies.  What I love the most is their devotion to the world of Middle Earth.  They care so much about these characters and that’s why they were so successful.  They knew the world and the characters well enough to deviate when they needed to in order to make the movies work.  It takes supreme command of the craft to pull off a screenplay based on a beloved book AND having the confidence to change things.

What’s even more inspiring was their constant need to make the screenplays better.  There were always places to improve.

IT WON’T WORK IF YOU DON’T CARE

There have been many instances when I felt disconnected from the characters I created.  The Lord of the Rings inspires me to continue searching for a story I believe in.  Last summer, that search led to an idea that I finally sat down and finished.  It was an amazing experience and immediately led me to another concept I care deeply about.  That’s the most inspiring thing about these films and the talent behind them.  These people cared deeply about J.R.R Tolkien’s work and wanted nothing less than perfection.  They wanted to treat every single detail with the respect it deserved.

That’s the dream.  Looking at a blank page and seeing a blank page doesn’t work.  You have to see something there.  Something you care about.  You should see new worlds, characters and the little details worthy of your passion and dedication.  It should be fun.

That type of thinking makes the blank page an inspiring sight indeed.

Why The Lord of the Rings Continually Inspires the Screenwriter in me