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August 04, 2002 - August 22, 2002

Thursday, August 22, 2002
Sometimes All You Have To Do Is Ask... - Xoanon @ 11:41 PST
Scott writes: I just wanted to share my shock and joy with fellow LOTR fans that sometimes the sweetest gifts are available just for the asking...as in a HUGE wall size LOTR promo poster from Blockbuster video!!! As soon as they put it up Aug.6 I asked if they would call me when it was removed, and beleive it or not it now hangs gloriously in my humble abode for free!! It is 4 times the size of a movie poster and really quite stunning. I suggest you all make a simple request of your local video stores and perhaps the great Hobbit in the sky will smile upon you too!

Sunday, August 18, 2002
Fan DVD Desktop! - Xoanon @ 23:41 PST
A little while back I asked all of you to send me a picture of your mug with your FOTR DVD. Below you can see the fuits of your labour! Behold TheOneRing.net fan DVD Desktop theme!

I've taken your geeky pics and made a wallpaper for you to install on your computer. Simply follow the link below according to your screensize, right click on the image and choose 'Set As Background' (for windows users)

For MAC users do the following:

1. Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu.
2. Choose Desktop from the View menu.
3. Choose a collection or folder from the Collection pop-up menu. Images contained in that collection or folder then appear in the selection pane below.
4. Click the picture you desire in the selection pane.
5. Quit System Preferences.

Make sure all those around your work/home/school know YOU are a LOTR geek!

Fans of TheOneRing.net and their precious... desktop. (800x600) (1024x768) (1280x1024)

Tuesday, August 13, 2002
Mittelerde-Fest In Switzerland - Xoanon @ 14:44 PST
From: Christiane

Having returned from the Mittelerde-Fest (Middle-earth festival) in Switzerland, I thought I'd send you a short message and some of my pics... unfortunately, they're not so very good, but if you want to know what we did there, they're okay... I hope.

Anyway, the festival took place from August 8th to 11th (I got there on the 9th) in Leuk, Switzerland. In spite of the really lousy (cold and very rainy) weather we had a great time with lots of fun. There were workshops to do like Quenya, dancing, roleplaying and so on and other great activities as well as a concert by the Irish folk band An Lar and, last but not least, an open air screening of LOTR: FOTR. It was a fantastic event with lots of amazing people... and I hope very much there'll be another MEF next year.

Take a look at all the pics here!

Sunday, August 11, 2002
Gen-Com Pics - Xoanon @ 22:04 PST
Ringer Spy JW Braun sends along these pics from Gen Con in Milwaukee, WI

Doing Justice To The Hobbit - Strider @ 07:47 PST

Doing Justice To “The Hobbit” - Press Release

Director Jon Ecklund and Producer Walt Klappert face a daunting task in mounting a professional theatrical production of “The Hobbit” in Southern California. To see the difficulty, try reading any of JRR Tolkien’s stories, but skip everything but the dialogue. You may discover that Tolkien’s spoken word probably comes in third place in a competition with his descriptions of scenery and characters.

Last year’s award winning film “Lord of the Rings” provides some hints to a solution for this challenge. The film had remarkable special effects, but that alone could not carry the day. The very strong acting talent really made the difference. Take Gandalf, for instance. It took none less than Shakespearean-trained Ian McKellen to make the role work.

Ecklund and Klappert are both graduates of the Yale Drama School—about 20 years apart. Ecklund is bringing together fellow alumni to fill the boots and hairy feet of their hobbits, dwarves, wizard, and other characters. That just might do it. Also, Klappert produced the play before in Boston.

An additional strategy is to present this entertainment in Topanga, California - a beautiful rustic area just outside of Los Angeles. This community is Southern California’s closest representation of the Hobbits’ Shire in Middle Earth. So, audience members will have appropriate vistas on their own adventure to the theatre.
The play opens on September 28, 2002. Tickets available from September 1, 2002 through www.ticketweb.com or 800-965-4827.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002
Free Screening In Mississauga, On Report - Xoanon @ 08:31 PST
Eirien sends in her report from the Future Shop screening of the FOTR DVD! Darn Future Shop..I told you to bring it to Montreal!!

Elewyn and I arranged for a bunch of our friends to go to the Free Screening of FOTR at a Future Shop in Mississauga. The movie was to start at 9:00pm, and at midnight, they were going to sell the DVDs and videos. A group of 8 of us went (one more and we could have had a fellowship!) and we got there three hours early.

They were just setting up the tent and projector systems, so we went inside and drooled all over the Gandalf stand-ups that were inside the door. After eating, we discovered that a line had already started to the tent, and we quickly made our way over and joined it. One man in front of us had brought his hobbits stand-up, claiming that they needed "to get out every so often". There was a costume contest, so there were a few people dressed as elves, hobbits and one guy (who eventually won) was full out dressed as Strider! It was great! A trio of characters from the movie (Legolas, Frodo and Gandalf) were making the rounds, taking pictures with people in line. (I got my picture taken...they were actually hired to do this...)

At about 8:30pm, they let people inside the tent, and we quickly ran to get seats in the third row. A DJ from a local radio station that was sponsoring the event, welcomed us and told us about the costume contest, and about the midnight sales for the DVD and video. At 8:50pm, the "Strider" lookalike won the contest (a $500 gift certificate to Future Shop) and at 8:55pm the movie started.

We saw the TTT trailer first, and then sat back for the next three hours to watch our wonderful movie! It was great! People cheered when Aragorn beheaded Lurtz, sniffling was heard when Gandalf fell in Moria and when Boromir died, laughter echoed whenever Pippin had a moment, and at the end, everyone cheered and applauded!

People got up to leave of course, and suddenly they showed the TTT trailer yet again...and then AGAIN!!! It was sweet! Then the line ups to get the DVD and video came into being...and my friend Glenn got in line. I decided to get mine the next morning, to take advantage of one of the "comes with a free...." deals at another store.

It was really great to see FOTR again on (a) big screen. A lot of people had only seen it three or four times, so when I yelled out that I had seen it ten times, I got that wide-eyed "you're nuts!" look that I've come to recognize easily. Go Ringers! We rule!


NYC LOTR Event Report - Xoanon @ 08:21 PST
elanor sends in her report from the NYC Central Park LOTR event! Take a look!

I just got back from Central Park (NYC) where the release of the DVD of LOTR was celebrated. The Creative Coalition and New Line threw the party for about 300 people who had donated the ticket price ($150) to charity. (I’m also sending this report to Harry at AICN, FYI) It was very cool. Three high points: I now own the widescreen DVD of LOTR/FOTR (given at the end of the evening in the gift bag to all guests); I had the honor of meeting and talking to Gimli/Treebeard in the person of John Rhys-Davies, and, last but not least, I now am in possession of THE ONE RING. It is MINE, I TELL YOU, my own, my precious!

Here are the details: My elf-friend Dan and I arrived at the Boat House at around 6:45 and found a hoard of press photogs. We each traded in our tickets for a small red velvet bag. Mine contained THE ONE RING, gold, heavier than expected and inscribed with Elvish letters in the Black Speech (Mordor has no letters for such subtle work). I was instantly overcome with lust for The Ring and placed it upon my forefinger. I suppose that since everyone else in the room did the same as I, we none of us became invisible.

Upon entering the pavilion we saw a large screen at one end and a small TV monitor at the other end. Dan and I claimed a table and then got wine and plates of cheese and crackers. It seemed as if it might be a good people-watching evening. We spent some time out on the deck watching the numerous turtles rise for breath in the lake and then we went back in and had some food. Pretty good – penne with pesto, turkey, baked ziti and good crusty bread plus salad, fruit and cheese plate. When we got back to our table we found a hideous-looking woman there who had had six-too-many face-lifts and was wearing an idiotic pink dress. She asked us four times what time it was in the space of ten minutes and finally left. Then two lawyers sat down who knew and loved LOTR so the four of us began to talk about the movie.

The TV monitor was playing a loop tape of a new game for Playstation 2 and Game Boy Advance called The Two Towers which seemed to me to incorporate scenes from both movie One and movie Two and also some really primitive-looking CGI battles based on scenes from both movies. The kids at the party (there were lots) seemed fascinated by it. I just waited for the movie scenes.

Some Creative Coalition celebrities started to arrive: Billy and Alec Baldwn. Chaz Palminteri, Marilu Henner, and the funny guy from Spin City. Also Richard Masur and Amy Carlson. It was about now that I noticed JRD. (He was the only LOTR celeb that I saw tonight). While I waited for him to do his obligatory press thing I scribbled a note to him from the Tail-End Talkbackers whom I felt I was representing this evening. I walked over and waited patiently as he spoke animatedly to two young boys and their dad about LOTR. He was very cute with them; he is tall and he stood with his legs spread apart so he was lower, closer to their head level. I thought that was sweet of him, trying to connect to these two shy boys. Then I caught his eye and smiled. I put out my hand and introduced myself and said how much I had enjoyed his work as Gimli and how I looked forward to seeing more of him in the next film. He thanked me and reminded me that he did Treebeard, too! I said yes I know, I can’t wait. Then I handed him the note I had written and said this is from some friends of mine and he can read it later at his leisure. He said thanks again and I said thanks again for his great work. I was about to ask him about Treebeard when his handler whispered something to him and he moved away so I let it go and headed back to my table.

Eventually someone got on the mike and started talking but it was hard to hear. First a woman named Robin and then a New Line guy named Steve, then Billy Baldwin took the mike and said we would all be getting a DVD in our gift bags at the end. It was really hard to hear and we kept asking each other "did they really say we would get a DVD?" Then there was a lull for a while so we drank some more and ate some more and then a laser show started out over the lake which was sort of timed to music from the sound track. Actually this part was kind of lame but it didn’t really matter.

Finally at about 9PM they got around to showing the preview". They kept calling for quiet and this crowd seemed more into partying than one that had come to see LOTR so I got quite belligerent. I joined in the "Down in Front" calls and also got in some well-timed instructions to "Sit" (it actually worked) and "Sit down or I’ll have to kill you". We had good seats so we could see pretty well despite the restless crowd.

The preview was cool. It was more "educational" and "behind the scenes" than I expected it to be. It started with PJ in a car, telling us what we were about to see. He was his usual charming self. It included some footage from the four-minute preview we have already seen and several exciting new shots that I haven’t seen but nothing earth-shattering or spoilerific. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it is all contained on the DVD I just got. PJ does a voice-over that explains how T2T is more about Aragorn and how he comes into his kingship and how Middle Earth needs a King to unite them. He introduces new characters, Eowyn, Theoden, Eomer, Grima Wormtongue, and Faramir. There is a section on Gollum with Andy Serkis that looks very cool and a cool shot of Elrond looking stressed. Also several shots of Frodo and Sam and Faramir, including one quite reminiscent of Boromir holding the Ring on its chain. There are short interviews with Viggo (sigh) Orlando, Elijah and Sean Astin as well as PJ and Richard Taylor.

When it was over we clapped heartily and hooted so New Line would know we are eager for the next movie. Then they started giving out the gift bags. We wasted no time getting in line. To our great delight our bags contained the wide-screen version DVD, a cool mouse-pad with a three-view hologram, a LOTR chocolate/caramel bar, a rice-crispy thing, a LOTR fan magazine, a Loew’s Cineplex movie coupon, and a LOTR trading card game.

We walked west through the Park to 72nd St. to catch the subway home, talking with two lawyers we had met who are also Rings fans. Dan contemplated how he might be able to watch the movie tonight and still catch a train to Hartford in the morning. I told him I had to write this report. But I keep glancing at the One Ring as I do. It seems to be calling to me. I’d better end now and put it on; a Ring like this needs to be worn I think.

Monday, August 05, 2002
Another Ringer's Quest For The FOTR DVD - Strider @ 16:25 PST
Private Ryan sends in his own little tale on how he finally found the FotR DVD, after an exhaustive search.

Okay, I have been mulling over writing this, and after seeing the last post, here's my tale, which has a happier ending.

Having been scouring the TORN site recently (alright, for the past three years), I had of course heard the various reports of people being able to buy the DVD early in places like Walgreens and such. I couldn't believe it. I HAD to get in on this. So on Wednesday of last week I started dropping by various stores looking for it. Now, I'm fully aware that they aren't supposed to be selling them before the 6th, but I've never had a problem profiting off of someone else's ignorance ;) So I walked into a Walgreens in Dallas on Friday, and looked for the youngest employee I could find. Luckily, in one of the back isles, I spotted a toe-headed guy about 16 years old and made my move.

I pointed to the DVD rack and said, "Are those all the DVDs you guys have?" To my immediate (though unexpressed) glee, he said, "We have some LOTR DVDs in the back." Did I want one? Hell yes! He leads me to the double doors, through which he disappears, and I can barely contain myself, thinking the prized gift was only moments from being in my greedy hands. I'd been reading all the reviews, and couldn't wait to see for myself how gorgeous this movie looked on my home set. Anxious is not the word. Five minutes later, Jr. comes back out and says, "Sorry." He didn't have to say anything else. That his manager had intercepted him back there. That if it was up to him he'd give it to me. That there was nothing he could do.

Dejection sucks. So I had to work all weekend, and this put a dent in my search, but on my way home Saturday night, I decided to stop at every grocery store and mom/pop video store I could find within a five mile radius of my home, all the while deflecting calls from my wife, who just doesn't understand this kind of thing. She calls it "obsessive compulsive." Well, no, it isn't. Obsessive, YES. But only compulsive if I did this kind of thing every day (thank God these movies come out once a year).

I found a Walgrreens that WAS selling them early, but they had "Just sold out." Bummer. I found countless stores that wouldn't sell them to me because of the ridiculous "Tuesday, August 6th" release date (why that date, anyway? I don't get it). I even found an Albertson's video department with a mysterious box on the floor. A brown shipping box with a large red sticker on the side that read, "ATTENTION MANAGERS: Do not stock this item until Tuesday, August 6th!!!" I looked around to make sure no one was looking, then crouched down, let my fingers gingerly pry the flaps open. Slowly they popped up, and there I saw it.

A straight to video Disney cartoon that I couldn't care less about. Arrrgh!!! I had given up and was on my way home, having spent the last two hours walking in and out of every store I could find, and finally ran across a low-rent video store who's main source of business was the little room in the back, I believe. The guy behind the counter looked like Randy Quaid from Vacation. "Do you guys have the Lord of the Rings DVD?" They DID! "Can I buy a copy?" Sure! And he reaches down and to my surprise pulls out a pristine copy of--

The VHS version. The DVDs were rented out. I left my card, with the understanding that they would call me when it came in. They did. And at 6:00PM last night I drove as fast as I could (Naralim, Asfaloth!) to this little dive, still not believing it until I had the thing in my hands. It's gorgeous. It's wonderful. I OWN IT!!!

SUCCESS!!! To all of you adventurers out there, let this be a tale of hope for you. The prize seemed unattainable. Everything was against me. Time. The Law. Power-tripping Walgreens employees. But I persisted. And now I have it. I watched it last night and let me say, the IGN review is spot on. I can die a complete man now--oh, wait, I've still got the next two to look forward to!

Thank you, Peter Jackson. And thank YOU, TORN.

One Ringer's Quest For The FOTR DVD - Strider @ 14:00 PST
David sent in an account depicting his struggle to find a copy of the Fellowship of the Ring DVD before it's official release date of August 6th.

After following the reports of early DVD sightings I chose to undertake a quest of my own this past week in St. Louis, MO...

My first stop was the Walgreens nearest my home. They just got their latest shipment in so I went to the guy in the camera department (who works with that stuff) and asked him about it, and he said he'd check. Ten minutes later I'm still waiting, and I see him stocking OTHER shelves outside his department. Justifiably irritated I found someone who looked like a manager and asked them. Well, she went to ask the SAME GUY, only this time he finally said it wasn't coming until the 8th.

Quite miffed with having to leave with a "no" ten minutes later than I SHOULD have been told, I headed for the next store. This one gave me hope, as I was in the night before, and the gentleman at the counter informed me they did indeed have it earlier in the month (possibly mid-July at least!) but sold out. However they were expecting a shipment in the next day and might be getting more. So here I was, walking to the camera department in search of my prize. I asked the woman, and she led me to a cart of product still to be put on the shelves, and lo! There it was in its theatrical poster-inspired case. I had it in my hot, tremblings hands. A week early, and I had it!

Then something caught my eye across the top in big, block letters: "FULLSCREEN." Stunned, I asked if they had any of the widescreen versions, and she replied they only sent two copies of the DVD, and both were in monotonous pan-and-scan. Cursing the marketing geniouses of New Line who decided to put the two versions on SEPERATE releases (I mean, come on, of ALL my DVDs only ONE had full and widescreen versions as different products) I left the store in disappointment: I may have wanted it early, but I won't stoop to buying anything less than letterbox for movie.

The third store I passed on the way to work, and while much quicker and more politely than my first stop, I once again left empty-handed: It hadn't yet
arrived (or so they said).

Later I chose a different approach to my search. I broke out the phonebook and called every store close to me, every time ending in failure (incidentally, I called the store that DID have it twice. The first time, they denied having it. I didn't call the woman's bluff by telling her I was in THAT DAY and had already seen it but it wasn't the right version, that would've been funny. The second the guy said he had it, but confirmed it was only the fullscreen).

I've bitterly resigned myself to the fact that I'll have to wait two more agonizing days. If there's a widescreen copy of Fellowship available early from Walgreen's in St. Louis, none of the stores will admit it over the phone.

So now I'll just get up extra early and take my business to Wal-Mart.

Sunday, August 04, 2002
Comic-Con 2002 Report - Xoanon @ 22:30 PST
Niowen writes: I just got back from my second day at San Diego’s Comic-Con and as the point of my going was to see all the new surprises for LotR, I took plenty of pictures. Here are a couple of Sideshow~Weta’s set-up as well as pictures of various props which have been set up.

Can anyone say, “If only...” more than I can? I doubt it. After perusing the LOTR booths during Day 3 of San Diego’s Comic-Con, I got word of a rumor that Elijah Wood and Billy Boyd were on the top floor somewhere. Clueless where to go, I even asked Dom Monaghan as I got his autograph. He told me they were probably still in Ballroom 20, where the New Line Presentation had been. Pen and fan club cell in hand, I dashed up to the top floor of the Convention Center and after nearly 10 minutes of confusing directions from several employees, made it to Ballroom 20. No Hobbits there.

I caught sight of someone wearing a TORn shirt and asked them where I could find these elusive actors. He gave me the finally correct instructions that the three young men were signing autographs in the Sail Pavilion. As I reached the stand where they were singing I couldn’t believe my luck as the line appeared to be short, as I began to get into line I was told by a security guard that they line had been capped only 10 minutes before I had reached it.

I waited patiently by the line in case it might re-open but was told rudely to leave. I still waited. Soon, 20+ people started to stand where I was, frustrated that the line had been capped so early @ 3:20. A sign was posted up saying that their autograph session was from 3:00-4:00. Finally the over-stressed security guards shooed everyone away. Hah! Can’t get rid of LOTR fans, THAT easily. A few of us went around the back to wait for them to come out (I had given up on a signature, just wanted a pictures of my favorite hobbits). One man next to me had a fabulous Fotr teaser poster with nearly 20 signatures of EVERYONE from the movie. He only needed Billy Boyd’s signature. From where we were waiting, there was a glass wall with a curtain where Elijah and Billy were. They peered through the window several times and got one of their assistants to pick up the autographed poster from the man so they could complete his collection (just shows how great Elijah, Billy, and Dom really are). As soon as the poster was returned, Elijah and Billy made their escape in a flurry and body guards and personnel.

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