Go back to Special Reports Archives

December 08, 2001 - December 14, 2001

12-14-01 Latest News

Media Watch: Access Hollywood
Xoanon @ 10:45 pm EST

Access Hollywood had a small clip about the benefit screening of LOTR:FOTR in New York city last night. They spoke with Liv Tyler, Elijah Wood and Ian McKellen about the film, the fans and the bravado of making all 3 films at once.

TV Watch: Sean Astin On Rosie Odonnel
Xoanon @ 10:26 pm EST

Our Sean Astin (Sam) made an apperance on Rosie O'Donnel today. Sam talked to rosie about his wife (who is expecting their second child) and how he had to gain 30 poinds to play Sam!

He also mentioned his daughter, and fellow LOTR castmate Alexandra Astin. The clip shown was a wonderful clip of Sam and Frodo leaving the Shire.

Pics follow:

National Geographic LOTR Special
Xoanon @ 6:03 pm EST


National Geographic Embarks on an Extraordinary Journey to Explore How the Imaginary World of Middle-earth Reflects Our Own

(Washington, DC, December 3, 2001) ? National Geographic EXPLORER embarks on an extraordinary journey to the far corners of the globe and back into time to explore the impact of cultural forces that inspired New Line's epic motion picture adaptation of the first book of J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy in National Geographic Beyond the Movie: The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien's epic story appeals to many as new generations face the challenges of global conflicts and peace. National Geographic examines how Tolkien's imaginary world of hobbits and wizards reflects today's world in conflict by delving into the fascinating parallels between real-life myths, events, and languages to those created by Tolkien and cinematically realized by director Peter Jackson in New Line Cinema's The Fellowship of the Ring. Featuring exclusive footage from The Fellowship of the Ring and insightful interviews with the cast and filmmakers, only National Geographic can present such a unique look into the blockbuster film and the real-life story behind it. National Geographic Beyond the Movie: The Lord of the Rings premieres on EXPLORER on Sunday, December 23, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT exclusively on MSNBC.

For those who love movies and the real stories that inspire them?, National Geographic Beyond the Movie: The Lord of the Rings poses thought-provoking questions about the history, geography, folklore, and culture that go beyond the richly fanciful tale. Who was J.R.R. Tolkien, and how did he create the amazing world of Middle-earth? Is the struggle between good and evil in the epic story a reflection of the early 20th century? How do the places, heroes, and villains of Middle-earth reflect our own real places, myths, and legends? Are the languages spoken in Middle-earth based on real languages? How does Frodo compare to great explorers, and is a hero's journey such as his still possible in today's world?

National Geographic Beyond the Movie: The Lord of the Rings centers on the intriguing and enduring questions posed by this well-loved story. National Geographic explores the influences of the events of Toklien's time as Great Britain is hurled out of the Victorian era into the 20th century with industrialization encroaching at an alarming rate through the pastoral English countryside of Tolkien's childhood. The First World War also greatly impacted the author. With rare combat footage including some of the battalion that to which Tolkien belonged, National Geographic journeys to the trenches of the battle of the Somme where Tolkien witnessed the death of friends and the disintegration of rigid class boundaries, and the deeply scarred earth. Here Tolkien began to imagine his great epic story.

After the war, Tolkien became a distinguished Oxford professor of Anglo-Saxon literature and language. However, he led a parallel private life, developing an elaborate mythology for his beloved England. In Tolkien's tale, he has created an idyllic world that is threatened by a great evil, and the mission of one individual to save it.

An avid scholar and linguist, Tolkien was deeply inspired by epics like Beowulf and the Finnish Kalevala. EXPLORER travels to a remote village in Finland with National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and anthropologist Wade Davis to meet the one of the last "rune-singers," who sings the Kalevala. Composed from a collection of old ballads and lyric poetry, the epic recounts the mythical history of the Finns -- the creation of the world and the adventurous journeys of brave heroes. Finnish, the language of the Kalevala, is believed to have influenced Tolkien's invented language of the elves.

National Geographic EXPLORER's encore presentation on National Geographic Beyond the Movie: The Lord of the Rings will air on Friday, December 28, at 9 p.m. ET/6p.m. PT. For additional programming information and updates for National Geographic EXPLORER, please log on to www.nationalgeographic.com/tv/explorer.

For more in-depth experience of the EXPLORER presentation, log onto www.nationalgeographic.com/ngbeyond. National Geographic Beyond the Movie: The Lord of the Rings will be released on video and DVD in February 2002 in the United States as well as through its distribution partners worldwide in 2002.

TV Watch: Liv Tyler on Regis
Xoanon @ 1:59 pm EST

Liv Tyler was on 'Live with Regis and Kelly (goddess)'. They spoke a bit about LOTR, Liv's fiancee, and the London and NYC premieres. Liv spoke a little elvish, and they showed the Ford clip with Arwen and the dark riders. Take a look at the pics:

TV Watch: Elijah Wood on The Big Breakfast
Xoanon @ 1:21 pm EST

From: Aelinwen

Today, on the Big Breakfast we were treated to an interview with Elijah Wood.

He came on and was bright and perky and cheerful, grinning into the camera and waving. He seemed genuinely pleased to be there and to be taking part.

Ed Wood opened by making a joke about his age and size (You are a man, aren't you? I'm twenty! )

The first question was very direct and about Elijah's eyes.'Did you try not to blink during the filming?'

He seemed a little amused by that and said that his character had to be completely involved in the action, especially in conflict with the ring. So, 'trying not to blink' was intentional to demonstrate this.

He was then subjected to the 'Board of the Rings' game. He immediately spoke up about the book,'Bored of the Rings' explained the different spelling and the context. (I hope he's read it)

First ring he pulled, and first door opened was 'What's up the wizard's sleeve?' The game with prizes.

Who has been frozen and hangs out with Leonardo Di Caprio?

Elijah struggled, insisted he knew the answer, knew the man in question, even knew he came from New York but the name evaded him.

David Blaine, of course...

He was given a prize though, after some rootling around in the 'wizard's sleeve' (big red sack) he pulled out...a gnome. He was delighted.' Sweet.' he said, 'Hey, this one won't blink.'

The next question was 'Orc all about it'

Film rumours. Was it true that Peter Jackson let him have the ring?

Elijah confirms that he does, indeed, have it.

'Can I see it?' (It's a little weird that everyone asks this.)

'No, no, ' Elijah says, 'it's back home, in a box, tucked away.'

Who better to look after it? Ed said.


With 'Ring,' Studio May Try Prequel Teasers to Sequels
Xoanon @ 11:43 am EST

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 13 — Even before the release on Wednesday of "The Fellowship of the Ring," the first installment in a trilogy of films based on J. R. R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings," New Line Cinema is contemplating a novel distribution plan to lure those who enjoy the film back to see it at least one more time.

As it stands, the 2-hour-58-minute epic fantasy involving a colossal battle between good and evil in a world of elves, dwarfs, wizards, goblins and hairy-footed hobbits ends as Tolkien's first volume ends, on a cliffhanger note. But there is no notice on screen that the story will continue. Nor are there any scenes from either of the next installments, "The Two Towers," due in theaters at Christmas 2002, or "The Return of the King," due Christmas 2003.

"There was some discussion about including some scenes at the end from `The Two Towers,' but at the end of the day we decided that might be a little tacky," said Robert Shaye, co-chief executive of New Line Cinema, a unit of AOL Time Warner.

Michael Lynne, the other co-chief executive, said that New Line wanted to avoid, at first viewing, spoiling the experience for people who have eagerly awaited a big-budget screen version of Tolkien's classic. "We felt it would cheapen the experience of this film, because it was like saying, `Ah, now we got you, we're going to make you sit through a trailer for the next film.' It felt wrong."

Once the film has been in theaters for a while, though, the studio may be less timid about potential tackiness.

"We're just thinking about it now," said Rolf Mittweg, president for worldwide distribution and marketing. "But there is a plan that we might do something rather innovative, depending on how the movie performs and how long it runs."

The plan is that deep in the film's theatrical run — the studio expects it to be in theaters through March, Mr. Mittweg said — New Line might recall all the last reels and replace them with new ones featuring, after the closing credits, a new teaser- trailer for "The Two Towers."

"It's just a question of exchanging the last reel, adding a minute of footage of the new movie that could possibly drive people back into the theaters," Mr. Mittweg said. New Line is already preparing a teaser- trailer for "The Two Towers."

It has become increasingly common for film companies with a blockbuster to come up with an extra bell or whistle to get people back into theaters. Several weeks into its theatrical run, the computer-animated "Monsters Inc." added some fresh "outtakes" of concocted bloopers from the film that appear during the closing credits. In New Line's case, the novelty is the promotion of the sequel with the original film.

The pattern for the regular release of trailers in 2002 for "The Two Towers" will be the same as the pattern this year for trailers of "The Fellowship of the Ring" — a first teaser early in the year and a longer teaser in late spring. For now, Mr. Mittweg said, New Line plans to release DVD and videocassette versions of "The Fellowship of the Ring" in August. Attached to it will be a full-fledged trailer of "The Two Towers" including dialogue scenes and plot points.

This longer trailer, which will begin running in theaters at the same time, will then become "the workhorse," Mr. Mittweg said, promoting the second film's release throughout the fall and early holiday season, leading up to its December release.

TV Watch: Liv Tyler on Letterman
Xoanon @ 1:26 am EST

Liv Tyler (Arwen) made an apperance on David Letterman to talk LOTR, Turkey and salt water guest mugs.

Liv, looking ravishing as usual was on Letterman to talk LOTR, but the conversation also drifted to her SpaceHog finacee, their home in upstate New York, and the turkeys there.

Liv also mentioned her time in New Zealand, and spoke about the people. She also mentioned the floods of late December '99 (she didn't remember the date...but we do, we were there :) ).

An odd thing happened when they returned from a commercial break, Liv took a sip of her mug and was disgusted to find it was salt water...Dave requested a fresh one for her only to find that the 2nd mug was also salt water (look for that on tomorrow's 'Access Hollywood' Moment)....very odd indeed...but hey, New York water you know...

Check out these snaps.

12-13-01 Latest News

TV Watch: Elijah On Conan
Xoanon @ 11:41 pm EST

I'm starting to scare a few folks with all these Elijah pics...but if I had some other LOTR folks on American TV I'd have picks of them too! (Be sure to check out the Liv Tyler pics later tonight).

Elijah was on Conan O'Brien last night, he did a great interview with Conan, they talked about the films and the books, Conan seemed very interested. The clip of the film was the scene with Gandalf and Frodo and the firely letters.

Conan whipped out one of the (pretty decent) Toy Biz LOTR toy. Elijah seemed excited about it. Conan when pulled out his famous action figure, which Elijah wanted to keep...no show :)

Film 2001 Review
Xoanon @ 10:45 pm EST

From: Mirjam

For Film 2001, Jonathan Ross had interviews with almost the complete main cast as well as PJ himself. In between, there were several shots from the party scenery ( like Barliman's; looking great!), as well as a parade of celebrities unanimous in their praise. And of course, the complete trailer, as well as some other footage of film and filming.

Great shot to begin with: the entrance of Elijah Wood actually jumping Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan at the red carpet... Fun to watch those three hobbits like that.

Ross (who was very enthousiastic about the movie) held his interviews in a private little corner of the party. Allthough they were quite short, there were some interesting things.

Elijah Wood was the first to come by & told Ross something about Frodo, the part and the story, and mentioned the anxiety of waiting for the film to come out, as well as the next two. Not much new here (except for the moustache?)

Liv Tyler was of course asked about the Elvish, she said she ended up actually feeling naked without it. Then Sean Bean talked about them having spent a great deal of time in character development and rehearsal. Ross talked with Ian McKellen about the magic between him and Christopher Lee, and McKellen called filming the 'best year of his professional life'.

The three remaining hobbits seemed to enjoy themselves quite a bit together when it was their turn. It had been a boy scout thing, said Dominic Monaghan (and it looked that way).

And of course, there was a lot of talk about the tattoos (which none of them were willing to show); idea of the 'terribly naughty hobbits' (McKellen) apparently.

Last but not least: PJ came up. He actually laughed when Ross called the story a Star Wars rip off (what can you do?). He talked about how he always wanted to direct a fantasy movie, and LotR was perfect. Though it wasn't a thing he'd ever repeat ;-).

Among the quotes from the crowd, there was Ian Holm saying the whole event reminded him of 'old Hollywood', with the thousands of people and all; and one from Cristopher Lee calling it 'unique in the history of cinema'.

The extra (non-trailer) bits were great. They included a wonderful scene between Gandalf and Frodo in Moria, the entire flight to the Ferry, Strider and Frodo at Barliman's. Enya finished the programme.

Alas, no pics, but a great show.

Xoanon @ 10:28 pm EST


HSN, The Exclusive Television Retailer of LOTR, Offers Merchandise Developed By Film’s Special Effects Artisans Prior To Film’s Nationwide Release

St. Petersburg, FL (December 12, 2001) – For more than half a century millions of readers have been captivated by author J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings trilogy and the mythical world he created known as Middle Earth. On December 18 at 11:30 p.m. ET, fans will be able to own a piece of Middle Earth when HSN and hsn.com introduce movie-related merchandise on the eve of New Line Cinema’s nationwide release of The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

One of the most anticipated films this holiday season, The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring features spellbinding wizards, evil and sinister orcs and courageous young hobbits who are drawn together in a classic struggle between good and evil. Incredibly detailed, hand cast polystone collectibles of the film’s central characters developed by Sideshow Toy and special effects company Weta Workshop will now be available on HSN and hsn.com. The Sideshow / Weta partnership marks the first time that a toy company has partnered with a film’s special effects team to develop film-related merchandise.

HSN shoppers will have access to high-quality collectible characters including the courageous young hobbit Frodo Baggins, wise old wizard Gandalf The Grey, valiant warrior Aragorn and busts and helms of the evil and gruesome orcs. Prices for these signature pieces range from $59.95 to $99.95. Fabric scrolls featuring Frodo, the Fellowship, the minions of Saruman and a map of Middle Earth will also be available to fans for $17.95. HSN will give viewers a second chance to purchase movie merchandise on December 22 at 3 p.m.

Directed by Peter Jackson, The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring , features a strong international cast including Elijah Wood as hobbit Frodo, Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn and Cate Blanchett as elf queen Galadriel.

About HSN:
HSN, a division of USA Networks Inc’s (NASDAQ: USAI) Interactive Group, pioneered the industry in 1977 and has since grown into a global multichannel retailer with worldwide consolidated sales of $1.8 billion in 2000 and a growing customer base of over five million. Its 24-hour programming reaches more than 160 million households worldwide. The Company broadcasts into 13 countries including the United States, China, Japan, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands, Puerto Rico and Mexico. Last year, HSN received more than 75 million sales and customer service calls and shipped more than 41 million packages around the world.

Orlando Bloom Talks LOTR
Xoanon @ 10:09 pm EST

This morning the crew at KLBJ-FM in Austin had a live phone interview with none other than Orlando Bloom (Legolas). It was sandwiched in between a bit by the late comedian Bill Hicks and some insipid listener phone calls, and if I hadn't been driving to work I'd have taped it to get you a full transcript.

First of all, it was obvious Orlando is spreading the Gospel of the Ring. I don't think I've ever heard such enthusiasm come from an actor before. He seemed in awe of the entire project. And he was in extremely good spirits too, gamely taking even the most ignorant, uninformed questions from the jocks. The interviews on KLBJ are usually pretty good, because the jocks either know the interview subject top to bottom, or they admit their ignorance outright and say "explain to us." Well, this time they admitted ignorance early on, but then tried to ask "informed" questions which I guess they came up with by driving past Adventures In Crime and Space bookstore.

The jocks made the bold pronouncement that Orlando was reprising his role of Legolas from the TV version of LOTR. Orlando was utterly baffled by this until he figured out they were talking about "A Passage to Middle-earth" which aired on the Sci-Fi Channel. They asked if the sequal, Return of the King, was scheduled to go into production yet, and if he'd signed (of course, Orlando corrected them that The Two Towers was the sequal, and that all three films were done simultaneously). They asked him if he got a cut from the Burger King tie-ins ("I wish I did") and called him "Orly" throughout. Funny stuff. Only it wasn't.

Fortunately, Orlando took it all in stride. He explained the movie was "Packed full of all the right kinds of stuff -- wizards, elves, goblins, Liv Tyler and Cate Blanchett. You can't go wrong with that." People don't need to read the books first, he said, that the movies are done in such a way to make them accessable to everyone while remaining true to the source material. He also expressed his awe for Peter Jackson's final product: "Although it's a fantasy, it's based in reality. It's a real world. That was Peter Jackson's goal, to make people in the theater believe they'd actually been transported to a different land." And he expressed awe of Tolkien, who made it "his life's work to create this amazing fantasy land of Middle-earth."

Orlando talked about how this was his first role straight out of drama school, and that he was extremely lucky to be part of the project. After a bit part in that Jude Law movie a few years ago, he got the opportunity to enroll in this prestigious British drama school -- which meant he wouldn't be working, aside from the odd television bit. His agent kept him on, however, and it was his agent that aggressively pursued LOTR while Orlando was still in school. Now, with Fellowship about to hit it big, and a role as an American Ranger in the upcoming Blackhawk Down, Orlando said he's got one of the biggest career launches in history. I'd have to agree.

Dominic Monaghan/Billy Boyd On The Big Breakfast
Xoanon @ 6:01 pm EST

From: Aelinwen

This Morning we were treated to another interview by Ed Wood on the Big breakfast, once again featuring the 'Board of the Rings' game.

I must say first that Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan looked as if they were real friends, very easy with each other, talking together (and sometimes simultaneously) about things and generally good-humoured.

A short film clip was shown, of Frodo, explaining that he and Sam have to leave the Shire. Merry then says, excitedly.'The Bucklebury ferry' and they dart out from hiding only to have a HUGE black rider appear in front of them...

They were intrigued by the 'Board of the Rings' game, declaring it very clever, which was generous of them.

They pulled on a ring and opened a door, revealing the question, 'What's up the wizard's sleeve' a question with prizes.

tThe question was,'Which comedy duo were married, although one still wears a schoolboy's cap, and appear in panto in Bournemouth ( if you don't know what 'panto' is, believe me it will take more space than I have here to explain about fairytale princes in fishnet tights slapping their thighs and men dressed up as old women.)

The answer is, of course, 'The Krankies'. I think Dominic got the answer first. Billy complained his chair didn't have a working buzzer...

Prizes, Dominic rummaged about in the long sack and brought out ...a Toy Biz Gandalf. He was REALLY pleased, huge grin on his face. and danced a mini-mcKellen on his knee. Billy also reached for a prize, got a plastic gnome..on a bike, I think and was gracious enough to look pleased with it, too.

Next question was'Public Elf Warning' (why doesTolkien bring out the worst in punners?)

The two were asked if it was true about the evacuation from one of the sets.

Yes, they both began to tell the same story, very animatedly, of how they were up on a mountain, filming in the snow (shot of the 9 walking across the snow) and 'weather' was coming in and they had half an hour to get out, were being frantically waved onto transport, or they would have to stay for 4 days. They did point out that there were supplies and bedding for five days, in case of emergencies but only one shack to stay in.

'Was Liv with you?'

'Oh no, 'they said, 'just us guys'

'If she had been with us,' they pointed out,' we might just have waved the helicopters away.'

Then Ed brought up the subject of football (Soccer) and about how Sean Bean is telling everyone that he beat the hobbits at football. And pool, added the outraged pair. 'He's lying, 'they said, saying that Sean Bean had claimed to have beaten them at both games and this simply not being true.

A game I guess we'd all like to see on video.

Yet another review of FOTR...
leo @ 11:29 am EST

Since so many have done before me I think I will put in my two cents about the movie as well. I have been given the very cool chance to see the movie twice in two days and let me tell you, I really needed those two screenings in other to make up a good opinion!

Let me first say that this movie absolutely blew me away! It is a visually very strong movie, the landscapes, sets and locations are all truly beautiful and I hereby officially envy everyone who lives in New Zealand. From Hobbiton to Mordor, all the locations looked as if PJ and crew really did fly to Middle-earth to shoot this movie! All praise to the locations scouts who in my opinion did a great job.

Who also did an awesome job were the actors. If Sir Ian McKellen won't get at least an Oscar-nomination for his role as Gandalf I will be hugely disappointed. His Gandalf had it all, the brushy eyebrows, the look in his eyes both dangerous and pityful and the voice... spot on! Viggo Mortensen was perfect! I can not imagine anyone else playing the part of Aragorn. From the first moment we see him in Bree untill the Breaking of the Fellowship he does a terrific job! Tookish mentioned them as well: Sean Bean, Sir Ian Holm and Elijah Wood also did a tremendous good job. And let's not forget Christoper Lee. His Saruman really did fill me with fear, and his voice... I can;t wait for the second movie to see him arguing with Gandalf again after the Ents have destroyed Isengard. The Voice of Christopher Lee is really that of Saruman.

Of the other actors I would especially like to mention the 'devastatingly handsome' John Rhys-Davies. I don't know if he has a fanclub, but if he has, where do I sign up? He is the prototype of a Dwarf and I can't really see him play another part (well, except for maybe the voice of Treebeard, for which I think he's perfect as well). Orlando Bloom did a great job, very Elvish. Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan are spot on as Pippin and Merry, they have some very good scenes! Who did I miss? Hugo Weaving was good as Elrond, though at times I had my thoughts about him. Galadriel... hmm.. all of her lines are straight from the book which is very cool, now I've heard people say she didn't put her hart in the character but I wouldn't go as far as saying that. In a way she did a great job on the part of Galadriel, she really does look like the unapproachable Elvenqueen she is playing, but it's not entirly as I imagined her to be. Of course she really does look the part which makes up for a lot! Owh, and let us not forget Liv Tyler's Arwen! Nevermind what other people say, she makes a terrific Arwen. Sure they enlarged her part a bit, but not to such an extent that fans can't live with it. All the other actors, I won't name 'em all, also did a great job. PJ himself might I add did an excellent job with his cameo!:)

The story itself was great! A lot has been written about how true it really is to the books and to be honest, yes, there are a lot of good parts which are in the books missing in the movies, but (and I know this sounds familiar) the story is still true to the books. Some of the greatest quotes and dialogues from the books are in the movie and there were they weren't it was hard to notice the difference. (gosh it's hard writing all this stuff without being able to support it with examples from the movie, but I did promise spoiler-free).

One thing that Peter Jackson in my opinion did very well was getting the story started. In the books it takes quite a while before we really see some action (and I have to admit that the first part of book one isn't really my favorite part), but in the movies the story really gets moves on in a good pace, leaving plenty of time for some winks to people who have read the books (A Shortcut to Mushrooms?).

One thing that did struck me at the end was that it didn't feel like I saw a movie which clocked in at nearly three hours. As I said there is plenty of time for everyhing, with maybe the exception of Lorien, but at the end it still feels like it all went so fast. Imagine if they were to show everything which was in the books, you'd probably get a six hour movie (personally I could live with that).

Well, back to the locations because they really did give the movie a Midlle-earth/Tolkien-ish look. The involvement of John Howe and Alan Lee was hard to miss. Most of the sets we have already seen so that won't be much of a surprise to most of you. Hobbiton and the Shire brought a tear to my eye. Rivendell looked like it just walked out of a Ted Nasmith painting. But the biggest surprise to me were Isengard and Orthanc.. man did those look awesome! And the Dark Tower gave me shivers all over. Moria rocked my world and Lothlorien was beautiful as it should be!

The special effects in this movie were amazing. All praise to Richard Taylor and his WETA-team. Sometimes it was hard to believe that what you saw was actually made by a computer. And as far as the cgi-made creatures go, well we've all seen the Cave-Troll I assume, and I think the Cave-Troll was the one I liked least. The interaction of the actors with the cgi-creatures was exceptionally good!
Gandalf and Bilbo, very believable. As a matter of fact, the entire forced perspective thingy was very well done. It must have taken them quite some time and work but it paid off! Untill now I always found it a bit hard to imagine the Hobbits being smaller then humans or Elves but in this movie they have showed it in a very good way!

Back to the detail. I honestly believe you have to see this movie twice in order to see it all, Bag End as I've said, but also the inside sets of Rivendell and Minas Tirith were beautifully done!

Well, I need to cut it short. Of course, like Tookish said, there are some slight inconsistencies in the movie, and a few things of which I thought that it needed a bit more explaining or that weren't worked out as well as I hoped they would be, but I think everyone needs to decide about that for themselves. If I had to give one thing that really bothered me about this movie it would have to be the fact that I found it to be too short, much like the books I think. I hope Peter Jackson adds a whole bunch of new scenes on the dvd.

On a whole I'd say Peter Jackson and crew did a terrific job and make the viewers long for more (acchh.. hiss... one more year...). I would advise everyone to see the movie at least twice, even if you didn't like it the first time around (which I find hard to believe). Peter Jackson made a movie which can easily stand on it's own as a movie but will also be hugely appreciated by the fans of the books and with much confidence I will wait for part two and three to arrive in theatres here!



Wellington LOTR Fan Celebration
Tehanu @ 5:39 am EST

Well, we didn't get our own cinema for December 19/20th - we were gazumped by Meridian Energy, who are a bit bigger than us. HOWEVER on the evening of the Wellington premiere, we're inviting all TORNadoes and Phoenix SF and Fantasy clubmembers to come to The Grand on Courtenay Place at 10pm. If you're reading this, you count as a TORNado, so don't hesitate.

Wellington will be humming all day - there's a procession and live music and general street partying from 4:30 onwards. The red carpet glamour stuff with the stars will begin after 6pm.

Courtenay Place will be jam-packed with people, so we thought we'd give it a few hours for the fuss to die down before meeting up at The Grand. We'll be there by 10pm (Heck, might get there earlier, who knows?) and plan to wander down to the Midcity around 11:30pm - many of us have tickets to the midnight screening there.

I hope you can join us - please drop in and make it a celebration! I'll be in an Elven cloak and/or a TORN t-shirt (striking what kind of blow for fashion, I hate to think). Norm, the Phoenix ringleader, will PROBABLY be in a white dress jacket. So if you don't know us already, come and introduce yourselves!

TV Watch: Elijah On 'Regis' & 'Today'
Xoanon @ 1:23 am EST

Elijah Wood (Frodo) is certainly making the rounds on all the major chat shows this week, he's a hard working actor (and don't think we don't appreciate it Elijah). Take a look at these pics from his appearances on Wednesday's 'Regis & Kell' and 'Today'.


Matt Lauer interviewed Elijah on 'Today. The interview was extremely low key, Elijah spoke about the film and his adventures. Matt asked the usual questions about Frodo and making 3 films at once. The clip they showed was with Gandalf and Frodo learning about the ring

Regis & Kelly:

Elijah was much more animated during this interview. Regis showed clips of Elijah when he was much younger, and they showed the clip from the Buckleberry Ferry scene.

Clips from Elijah's apperance on Conan later today!

Pierre Vinet Exhibit!
Xoanon @ 12:14 am EST

Frosty writes: Track 16 Gallery, located in Santa Monica, will be hosting New Line Presents Pierre Vinet: A Lord of the Rings Photographic Journey. More details at The Corner of Viggo

Also please check the Track 16 Gallery for further updates.

And a reminder that Track 16 will also be hosting a show by Viggo Mortensen, "Singlanguage", from February 2, 2002 to March 30, 2002.

12-12-01 Latest News

Finland Age Limit Lowers
Xoanon @ 11:52 pm EST

From: Kentti

I'm pleased to inform you that the rating for the Lord of the Rings in Finland has been lowered from the initial K-15 to K-11 after the Finnish distributor had complained about the decision when the movie had received its K-15 rating over a week ago. It was a tight call; the votes in Valtion elokuvatarkastamo (the board responsible for rating all movies in Finland) went 3-3, but in the case of a draw the movie was rated in favor of the appealer. "The decision was a relieving one. Now all countries in Scandinavia are unanimous in rating this movie," said Lasse Hyyti, the CEO of FS Film, the distributor in Finland.

Volunteer Service Abroad Auction
Xoanon @ 11:43 pm EST

From: Jeremy Rose

Al at scoop told me to get in touch about a fundraising auction of a copy of the Lord of the Rings signed by Peter Jackson and containing an original pencil sketch by Alan Lee.

Volunteer Service Abroad is something like the New Zealand equivalent of the Peace Corp (we tend to send older and better qualified volunteers.)

Peter has very generously provided us with a signed copy of LOTR to auction off and I was hoping you might be able to spread the word among the world's Tolkien fans. I understand you have an email list as well as your site and it would be choice if you could let the die hard fans no about the auction. It's for a good cause and with the New Zealand dollar the way it is we suspect we will be able to get a better price from someone in the States or Europe than at home.

Thanks for you time

Jeremy Rose

Press Release
(For immediate release)

Gandalf is VSA's latest supporter

With Peter Jackson's signature becoming as rare as dragons' teeth, New Zealand's Volunteer Service Abroad is hoping for a good return when it puts a copy of the Lord of the Rings, signed by the film director, up for auction this week.

Jackson, who is under instructions not to give out autographs during the film's international release, signed a copy of J R R Tolkein's work earlier this year for VSA to use for fundraising purposes. Jackson also arranged for Alan Lee, the film's art director and a well-known illustrator of Middle Earth, to draw a pencil sketch of the wizard Gandalf in the book's opening spread.

VSA fundraiser Jo Prestwood says it's hard to put a value on the 1991 Harper Collins edition of the Lord of the Rings. "It's a fine edition of a classic work. Not only does it contain the trilogy that makes up the Lord of the Rings but it is beautifully illustrated by Alan Lee and has an appendices which includes the Annals of the Kings and Rulers and a Hobbits family tree."

Jackson has written 'Best wishes from Middle Earth in the book,' and Alan Lee has written 'Greetings from Gandalf',' Prestwood says.

VSA is a not-for-profit international development agency that has been placing New Zealand volunteers in developing countries since 1962. At present it has more than 80 volunteers working in the South Pacific, Asia and Africa.

The book is being auctioned on the Internet site www.ebay.com from Friday 14 December until Friday 21 December.

Proceeds from the sale will go towards continuing VSA's work in the Pacific, Asia and Africa.

For more information contact VSA communications coordinator Jeremy Rose or fundraiser Jo Prestwood, Ph 472 5759.

Jeremy Rose
Communications Coordinator
Volunteer Service Abroad
Ph: 04 472 5759
Fax: 04 472 5052
Mobile 025 247 2491

Media Watch: 8 Days Magazine
Xoanon @ 10:48 pm EST

Milaya writes: Local magazine, 8 Days, in Singapore published a 'Things You Must Know About Lord of the Rings' today. Not entirely sure whether their facts are all totally correct, but heck.

Toy Review Talks To Richard Taylor
Xoanon @ 10:20 pm EST

KO writes: Here are some scans I thought you might like. The first is from Toy Review. They interview Richard Taylor of Weta Workshop.

Wanna Watch LOTR WithIan McKellen?
Xoanon @ 7:39 pm EST

From: Lowes

We are especially excited to offer you the chance to be the first to see The Lord of the Rings at an exclusive advance presentation hosted by Gandalf himself, Sir Ian McKellen.

On Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning (December 18/19) at 12:01AM, Ian McKellen will introduce a special midnight presentation of The Lord of the Rings on the Imax screen at Loews Lincoln Square.

This exclusive opportunity to hear Mr. McKellen speak about the most highly anticipated movie of the year won't be available anywhere else in the country - only at Loews.

Tickets are on sale now and are sure to go quickly. Follow this link to order yours:


**PLEASE NOTE: If the date does not default to 12/18/01, you may need to select Dec 18 from the pulldown menu.

Through this link to Fandango.com, our online ticketing partner, you will find a RED underlined showtime indicator (12:01 AM) if seats are available. When all seats are sold out, 12:01 AM will appear in black.

Jackson’s LotR: FotR -- Truly His Own Story
Tookish @ 7:33 pm EST

Last night -- was it just 12 hours ago? -- in the company of an Ent, a Tolkien Scholar, and a wizard of a Webmaster, I tumbled head-over-heals into Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Like many who’ve waited two decades plus for the opportunity to see a new version of LotR play out on the big screen, I was filled with excitement, anticipation, preconceptions, and even a little dread.

The details... the details... oi! the details! There is simply too much to gush about so I’ll save the finer points for emails, chats, or perhaps another review. Jackson’s Fellowship is a visual, auditory, intellectual, emotional, and perhaps even spiritual feast. I left the viewing of that film feeling like a hobbit after Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday party... but OH SO EAGER for the next meal!

Great minds set to work on this script. Wondrous strokes of brilliance transferred key dialogue and character moments into places and situations that were different from the text of FotR, but poignant, appropriate, and in a way that captures the author’s intent. From the (a bit lengthy in my opinion) Galadriel prologue to Gandalf and Frodo discussing Gollum and other character expositions or interactions, Jackson, Phillipa Boyens and Fran Walsh have made the rich details and layers of ideas and histories thoroughly accessible to the non-Tolkien audience. It’s clear who and what are at risk in Middle-earth, and even the first timers will understand the promise and peril of this Quest.

Also brilliant is the film's casting. Jackson’s troop of actors deliver command performances and make the story, well… real. I am awed by the work of Ian McKellen, Sean Bean, and Viggo Mortensen. Elijah Wood and Ian Holm are so well cast for their parts that you might think they were born to play these roles. Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd were terrific, and Sean Astin made me cry. Liv Tyler --’Xenarwen’ critics, feh!-- was excellent, and Orlando Bloom and John Rhys-Davies did very well in the little screen time they ended up with. Christopher Lee is a perfect Saruman, but one detractor for me was Hugo Weaving as Elrond (couldn’t shake his Agent Smith character identification), and I’m still not sure about Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel. The dozens of other characters and their delivery --Barliman, the Ring, Craig Parker’s Haldir-- are also spot on.

Ian McKellen virtually was the movie for me on this first viewing. His work is some of the most poignant, versatile, and dexterous I’ve seen. I’m not the world’s most experienced film critic, but I’ve seen hundreds of movies, and this performance ranks right up there with Gregory Peck’s Atticus Finch and other perfectly-cast roles. His eyes, his voice, his stature, his wit: Sir Ian brings Gandalf the Grey to life!

The pacing of the movie was also very well done. Although Tolkien’s original storyline takes loads of hits and cuts, I could not believe that I’d been watching the movie for almost three hours. Of course I’m sad to see Bombadil (and many of the author’s other gems) go, but I didn’t really miss him in the viewing. Very intense action sequences are strategically placed throughout the film so the viewer is carried right through to the end without being overwhelmed or peaking too early. And the audience is left wanting more!!

Howard Shore’s score is another facet to FotR that makes it a landmark in movie history. The music of the film adds a depth and body that make the package complete. Shore’s craftwork reinforces, underpins, and brings to fullness Jackson’s vision. Shore's score doesn’t just fit well like a pair of hobbit prosthetic feet, it adds layers of richness and meaning that capture the joys, dangers, and mysteries of Middle-earth. I’m picking up a copy on my way home from the airport today.

Middle-earth itself still awes me in the echoes of FotR playing in my mind. It was as if I WAS THERE!! The unbelievable sets and film locations are almost easy to take for granted because they are so well done. Bag End looked every inch the proverbial (wealthy) hobbit hole, Rivendell’s grace and beauty enchant, Moria is stunning, and the timelessness of Lothlorien made me want to linger there for a great while. Even though I know this is fantasy literature on a movie screen, the realness and authenticity of these places and sets were able to penetrate and imprint themselves in the nooks of my mind as well as Tolkein’s own text.

The incredible details and minutiae painstakingly obsessed over by Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger’s Weta team complete the Jacksonian Middle-earth package. Realia of the lives, times, and cultures of the varied peoples in the story bring the viewer deep into Tolkien/Jackson's world. It’s as if someone just showed up with a film crew and started recording the story as it took place in a Middle-earth that exists. Special effects are a key component -- hobbits and humans interact seamlessly -- but the 'simple' effects like Boromir’s costume and equipment, tobacco pipes, Minas Tirith’s dusty, cluttered library, ancient statues and icons standing and fallen... these subtle elements are another component that make Jackson’s FotR seem so real.

Special effects are also phenomenal in this film. Even though I’d seen so many spoilers over the years, I was still on the edge of my seat in many sequences. The Ring effects were creatively well done, and the cave troll kicked me in the teeth too. Dramatic Orthanc/Isengard footage, back history battle scenes, the Fords of Isen… it’s hard to do the special effects justice without getting into too many spoilers, so I’ll quit here.

I know this story well. It’s been with me since I was 12 years old. I don’t speak Elvish, but this is a tale I know. Seeing it last night, however, was almost a wholly new experience for me. Jackson’s vision/production of LotR is decidedly not Tolkien’s. Instead, it’s a new Lord of the Rings to fall in love with and relive again and again. Tolkien’s world is all about the text, the interplay of language and teasing-out of ideas and images; Jackson’s is boldly different, yet deliciously the same. I was worried that the film would spoil future readings of the story, but I believe that Jackson has purposely left out things that could have easily been included, which will still make reading LotR the amazing experience that it is. In contrast, Jackson and company have intentionally reworked bits of plot, brilliantly transplanted vital dialogue, and taken some liberties with characters to bring Tolkien’s passion to life.

I’m not so blind with ecstasy that I didn’t find a few faults in the movie. When I compared my mental notes with my colleagues, I found that the things that bothered me were mostly unnoticed by others. In contrast, Quickbeam pointed out some smart observations where there was a bit of inconsistency that never occurred to me. However, there was consensus on a few points (for instance, Galadriel’s temptation by the Ring) that were less than stellar. Still, in sum, the minor negatives that popped up for me did not bring down the movie at all.

What I love the most about LotR: FotR is that in my lifetime I have had another opportunity to be immersed in another real vision of Middle-earth. The Jacksonian touch is everywhere, from subtle beauty to grotesque darkness. I am pretty sure I saw a nod to King Kong in Balin’s Tomb and Quickbeam nearly jumped out of his bark a dozen times thanks to the Jackson magic. I am astounded by the all-encompassing vision and force of will that it took to create The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. I’d wager to say that even The Professor himself --technophobe and all-- would be pleased.

*Tookish bows low.

Peter Jackson, I am forever at your service!

Now can’t you bump up that DVD release date just a few months??!! And how about a summer release date for The Two Towers... :)

O, and by the way, THANK YOU PJ, and THANK YOU to all who had a hand in creating this incredible film.

Decipher Lines Up!
Xoanon @ 2:33 pm EST

News from Decipher's Trading Card Game and Fan Club Studios . . .


(NORFOLK, Va. December 11, 2001) gather to celebrate the launch of the movie they have awaited for decades. 'Line Parties' are being organized across the world for The Lord of the Rings fans who plan to get in line early for tickets to ensure that they see The Fellowship of the Ring the day it hits theaters. Decipher and theonering.net will be there to make sure the party is a success.

'These Line Parties are a way for fans from all over the world to organize, plan, and meet Tolkien fans in their cities before the release of The Fellowship of the Ring,' says Michael Regina of theonering.net. 'The response to this concept has been fantastic. We currently have 341 lines with 2,618 members on board, and the numbers are growing daily.'

Line party events vary per city and theater. Events include charity fundraisers, trading card game demos, costume contests, trivia contests, exciting Decipher Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game and Fan Club giveaways, and more!

To join or create a line party, log on to theonering.net/movie/lineparty.

It is easy to join a pre-established line or create one of your own.

For more information about the Line Parties, go to


For more information about The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game, go to decipher.com.

To join The Lord of the Rings Fan Club, go to LOTRfanclub.com

A Woman's Review
Xoanon @ 1:51 pm EST

From: Sharon

Okay, I saw the film. I have to admit, by the time the credits started I had to run to the restroom - even though I had nothing to drink for hours before. So here's a woman's slant on the movie.

Enough people have given almost a frame by frame review, but after having read the books countless times (I stopped counting after the 20th time), I was ravenous for the visual edition. I was not disappointed. The first thing that was so unexpected was the downright evil of the Ringwraiths. We've seen the clips of them on their snorting black horses, but the true depth of their evil comes out at first in drips and drops - they ride down some poor hobbit in the lane. But more, much more was to come.

The scene at the Prancing Pony where Frodo accidentally dons the ring was incredible! We suddenly see the world as he does - as the wraiths do and the moment it's on his finger, the Ringwratihs know it! When they burst through the gates of Bree and, in the process, knocked the gate on top of the gate-keeper and just kept riding over him, I sort of jumped in my chair. Coldly they stand over the beds of the hobbits, their long blades raise in unison, then wham, wham, wham. If the hobbits really had there, they'd be in pieces.

I had not expected to like Arwen much. I am a Glorfindel fan. I had heard she took his role of rescuer for the ride to the Ford of Bruinen and I wasn't really thinking I'd like this new Arwen. I was totally wrong. She's fantastic. The first thing we see of her is her blade, but I won't tell you how this scene plays out. It's just too good to spoil.

We get brief glimpses of Rivendell. I could have watched it for an hour. Being a long-time Elf-fan, I was thrilled to see the way the Elves are handled. And it's very clear that Legolas has know Aragorn, and of his past, for he jumps to Aragorn's defense when Boromir says something against him.

We're rather hastily rushed out of Rivendell and we don't get to see wargs attacking the Fellowship, but I could live without that. The movie is so compelling, the viewer is transported with the party on to Caradhras. It was so nice to see Legolas walking on top of the snow there. I knew they couldn't capture the Elven light Tolkien describes, but this began to make up for it - and the speed, accuracy, and sheer brilliance of Legolas as an archer later in the film helped really give us a feel for his character: All business, not quite understanding how the other races see the world, his emotions barely fleeting across his features. He talks to Sam about the Elven Lament for Gandalf, refusing to translate because the pain is too deep. Very well done. The other races are allowed to show their emotions - especially the hobbits, but the Elves obviously emote differently, more subtlety.

Enough has been said about the brilliant scenes in Moria - but I have to say, the Balrog was incredible. Smoke. Shadow. Fire. All with intense hatred toward Gandalf. Wow.

After all the trailers and commercials, I was expecting a longer, more drawn out stay in Lorien. I guess we'll get that in the Director's Cut. I think Peter was going for the feeling of Galadriel's power and magic. There's a lot of voices in heads - especially between Frodo and Galadriel. We barely get to see Celeborn or Haldir. Before I was ready for it, the Fellowship were in boats and heading away. We never even got to see Galadriel in the swam boat. Heavy sigh.

What I haven't heard much about is the battle at Amon Hen. It was incredible, and we finally get to see the power beneath the surface of Aragorn. He and Sean Bean are wonderful in their very poignant scene together. The cuts during the battle were so fast, it was hard to follow who was where - which is they way it can get in real life.

When the movie ended, the audience in the screening room I was in sat in stunned silence for a moment, before few people applauded. We're left wondering how on Middle Earth Frodo and Sam can make it to Mordor (Gimli has given a list of obstacles), and how Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli could ever hope to rescue Merry and Pippin.

Speaking of Merry and Pippin - their comic relief was so well timed, so cute, so hobbit-like. The audience falls in love with them at once.

UK Goes LOTR Mad
Xoanon @ 1:40 pm EST

From: David

As you can imagine, it's LOTR:FOTR mad over here in the UK. FOTR has had a mention on just about every news program over the last few days. Making the BBC News at 10:00 two nights in a row.

The footage from the premier where remarkable. Liv, Elijah and Sean Austin looked like there respective characters even in civilian clothing. Liv Tyler looked incredible in a long old fashioned red gown/dress - she was an Evenstar!

The Daily Mirror national tabloid newspaper are giving away a 20 min behind the scenes/making of video (save 5 tokens from the paper and it's yours!) They also have a genuine prop (drinking flask) used by Bilbo in the party scene.

The BBC are broadcasting the JRR Tolkien "Omnibus" program (high brow arts program) at 6:45 BBC2 on 22/12. It features archive interviews with JRR. According to the program makers JRR was "a humorless man who was not the least interested in the fanciful theories of his fanatical readers" he would probably turn in his grave if he could see what's going on now......

UK LOTR Review and After Party News!
Xoanon @ 1:32 pm EST

From: Grim

So it's 6.15 pm and I'm walking from the Hotel in shoes that should be made illegal or at the very least implements of torture!! It's not a long walk to The Odeon Leicester Square but it feels like miles, there are people everywhere, we are told to walk through the barriers and straight up to the cinema which we do, leading us thru the crowds and past a ravishing purple vision that turns out to be Dominic Monaghan who is talking to a member of the press! We walk into the cinema and are shown to our seats, which are about eight rows from the front on the left hand side, we sit and wait for the place to fill up, it does slowly and whilst this goes on the huge screen is filled with the images from outside as stars talk about LotR and its impact on them, We see Elijah chewing gum as he talks about making the film and the interviewer comments that he made it two years ago and wasn't he ten then, Elijah laughs heartily not at all phased by the dig at his age and youthful appearance. Sean Astin too laughs off a small jibe at his character and before long the cinema is filled with whispering voices and excited Tolkien fans. Once everyone is inside people appear on the stage and talk a lil and then Peter Jackson emerges and approaches the mic. I feel as tho there is someone behind me so I glance to my left and to my surprise am confronted by the fact that the entire cast are standing beside me in the isle watching Peter talk. It suddenly becomes very real indeed. One by one Peter introduces them and they run up on stage, Orlando Bloom dazzling with his cheeky Mohawk makes burring noises as his co-stars run ahead of him, and soon the whole cast stand before me on the stage giggling and nudging each other like children. It is a site to behold. Then all of a sudden it's time to watch the film. The Lights dim the cast make their way back up to the celebrity filled balcony and then its here.

The curtains pull back, the screen comes to life again, New Line Cinema presents.....

I'm really seeing it this time. It's not a trailer or a barrage of clips but the actual film, I take a deep breath and await the wonder.

My first sight of Frodo sends a chill down my spine and as the film grows warmer I find myself looking up at it with the wide eyed excitement of a child at Christmas, I am anticipating every twist and turn in the story, every line and joke from the pages I’ve grown to love.

Frodo is every bit the Hobbit I'd imagined him to be, Sam the friend he deserves. Pippin is the cheeky soul I love and steals every scene he's in with his quirky dialogue and warm Scottish brogue. Merry is slightly more cheeky than I had imagined but he too lights the screen with a crooked smile and a sparkle in his eye. Gandalf is quite simply Gandalf, no more no less he is as he should be.

The scenery is stunning, the cinematography breathtaking. From warmth of The Shire to beauty of Rivendell to the terrible tower at Isenguard, every inch oozes atmosphere and wonder and the races themselves breath with all the creativity that Tolkien injected into them.

Legolas is lithe and swift of movement, Gimli is rough and hard of nature. Boromir is a noble man with a troubled heart, and Aragorn is a King in rangers clothing. Tall and proud yet mysterious and strange. I cannot fault the Fellowship at all.

I am still not wholly convinced of Arwens expanded role, she was not irritating when on screen but I could not yet fully accept her new position. My only qualm was the portrayal of Galadriel. Cate Blanchett looked perfect and sounded perfect but where as I had always seen Galadriel as this quiet strong mysterious force in Middle Earth it seemed in this film she was something different, She was strange and overly dramatic, especially in the scene where Frodo offers her the Ring. And I felt not at ease with her infact she felt almost mad instead of serene as I thought she should be. But this did not take anything from the film itself. And although there is alot missing some of which I felt was integral to the story, like the insisted blindfolding of Gimli to pass into Lothlorien, when he says he will be happy if only he and Legolas go unseeing I thought this a big step towards their future friendship, but this is not in the film and the jumps from one place to the next often seem quite abrupt. And yet I could not take my eyes away from the screen. I was watching the tale I have known forever come to life albeit in a slightly different manner than I had known. The story that mattered was all there and the reworking of it did nothing to quell my wonder as I watched it unfold. I wanted to laugh and cry and fall apart and scream in all the same places and as The Fellowship stood at Amon Hen I could not believe it had been three hours already, It was too soon. I was not ready to leave. Surely after all my waiting I could not walk away from the story now?

But alas the time came for the Fellowship to break apart and although I knew every step each one was to take I still found my hand clutched to my heart as Sam tried to make it to Frodo and Merry and Pippin were taken by the Orc’s. There was a unanimous round of applause after a scene in which Aragorn beheads a foe in battle, and then as the story came to a close and the credits began to roll the cinema erupted into applause and whistles and whoops like I have never heard.

I could not stop clapping even tho my hands began to hurt, had I had the ability I would have clapped until my hands fell off. I could not stop smiling, and yet I wanted to cry. There just aren't the words to express the depth of what I felt in that moment. I was truly blown away by it. And I cannot wait to see it again. I loved the imagery when Frodo put on the Ring, It is exactly how imagined but I have no doubt there will be those who dislike this adaptation, alot has been left out or altered but for this Tolkien fan it was a visually stunning creation that brought to me the wonder of something that is beyond words but now thankfully not beyond film.


I was supposed to be taken to the green room to meet the cast and crew but as is the way the PR woman never showed up!!!!! so we didn't get that opportunity something that they will not be hearing the last of believe me!!! So we decided just to head to the party, so anyway there were coaches laid out to take us, and it wasn’t a long trip, and so soon we were making our way through a wonderful smelling courtyard, where various meats were being roasted on spits and where roasted chestnuts were being handed out. There was fire and there was the Elvish words inscribed on The Ring projected onto the floor twice and rotating around each other, we move slowly into the building up the red carpet and past all the press, with the predictable 'ooh look Sky news' or "Oh wow CNN' and then finally we were inside and a small girl dressed as a wench hands me a program that tells me where I can find what foods in the various parts of middle earth such is the way the place is laid out, to our left is Lothlorien so my sister pulls me there straight away and it's straight to the bar for an Archers and Lemonade for her, ah the nerves eh? We wander deeper into the people infested party, Rivendell lies on our right, there is the village green where trees stand with lights strung in them and barrows of real fruit lying here and there and benches where the wearing or high heel wearing guests can sit, up ahead is the Prancing Pony where the bar is huge giving you the feel of a hobbit as u approach it and on the other side is the Green Dragon where the bar is tine making you feel rather large indeed, there is a balcony that over looks the dance floor in the corner of which stands a large statue of a Nazgul on horseback, a live band plays but the dance floor is as yet unused.

Over another balcony opposite Rivendell there stands the statues of three giant trolls, a familiar scene and worthy of a photograph lol

We wandered around for a while and then who should we bump into by the village green but that vision in purple once more Mr Monaghan, he is one big crooked smile and greets us with the warmth of an old friend. He stands and chats about the film and we tell him he was brilliant (hey I'm allowed one stupid fanlike moment okay!!!) he seems really chuffed and says "Awwwww thank yoouuuuu!" we talked a bit about what was supposed to happen and when we mentioned the PR woman's mysterious absence his response was "Dissssgraaaaycfuul!!!" lol Anyway we asked for a pic and he obliged being the nice fella he was and he put both arms around me and held me tightly!! it was rather...nice. Then after another big hug and a quick peck on the cheek he told us to go and mingle and if we wanted to talk to anyone to just go and talk to them coz everyone was really nice, so we did and were once more lost in the crowds, we wandered along and who should saunter by deep in conversation but Frank Skinner, and even tho he was deep in discussion with someone he did manage to check out my cleavage!!!
For the Brits out there we saw Max from Hollyoaks, that really funny guy from Human Traffic and Is Harry on the Boat I forget his name, and then we met GRAHAM NORTON!!! How cool is he?? lol he's soo funny, we got a pic of him too lol

Anyhoo we were walking around and I finally bumped into Stewart from BillyBoyd.net he was very sweet and funny and it was nice to meet him and as we talked Mr Boyd himself walked by and gave us a big smile, after Stew went for a beer we walked about a bit more and introduced ourselves to Billy, he was really sweet and I told him I thought he stole every scene he was in

(fanlike moment #2)

and he was thankful, we talked about his site and stuff and then a tine little man came up to us and Billy introduced him as the man who arranged it all, the man couldn't have been over 3ft tall he was very charming. Billy had his own camera (bless) and wanted a picture or himself with the little man who's name I cannot remember for the life of me!! then we took our pics with Billy which he was more than happy to do, then after more hugs and another kiss on the cheek it was back into the fray once more, we got more drinks (I don't drink alcohol but my sister sure can!!) sat down at every opportunity (damn shoes damn u to hell!!) we walked past the enclosed interview room where Jonathon Ross was interviewing the stars (when we arrived it was Orlando now it was Viggo Mortenson) but then all of a sudden Orlando was right in front of us, his Mohawk standing to attention his jacket gone. He is surrounded by people and seems to be buzzing, he is being spoken to from every direction but he is smiling and trying to deal with it as best he can, in a brief moment of peace we approach him and say hi and stuff and get the usual pics done I tell him he was great as Legolas (fanlike moment#3)then he is swept away into the crowd and remains perpetually swept for the rest of the night, not once do I see him sitting or standing, he is constantly gliding around like a cartoon being followed by a group of chattering people, he seems the only one with this affliction!!!
As we walk through the village green we meet Dom again, we tap him on the shoulder and he turns around with arms open wide and embraces us in a huge hug after which we take the opportunity to wish him a happy belated Birthday for Saturday and he is quite happy but says he has a sore throat from it and doesn't want to give it to anyone, but he talks cheerfully about the night and says that Elijah is around somewhere and if he sees him he'll tell him to come talk to us and after a few more hugs we go to find blessed seating on the way to which we bump into Sean Astin who is a perpetually smile. He is extremely sweet and good natured and looking at him I can only see Sam with maybe a little bit of Mikey from Goonies thrown in for good measure, he is charming even though he is being talked to by several people at once, a real gent but too soon he was swept off again and we returned to our hunt for chairs!!

By now the live band is gone and the dance music is pounding around the place and the dance floor itself is now gathering a few members , although I think it has more to do with the flow of drink than the music. We spot Sir Ian Mackellan leaning over the balcony with his chin rested on it watching the dancers, he seems quite in a daze and I fear he may be quite drunk lol!!!! We see Stewart again and he drops names like a ship drops anchor lol We see Ioan Gruffudd sitting in the village green chatting away and as we move thru the crowd Viggo Mortenson suddenly blocks our way, he is a force within himself and is very tall, and intimidates the hell out of me lol but he merely says Hello in a soft voice and steps aside to let us pass, oh my he is rather mesmerizing I must say it took me a few minutes to get myself to start walking again.
I don't see Sean Bean or Sir Ian Holm anywhere nor do I see Christopher Lee whom I had so wanted to meet as he was my mothers favourite actor and I felt I had to meet him for her sake, she would have been so excited If I'd have met him but alas he like the other two were nowhere to be seen!! Liv seemed almost to hide herself away and she seemed to be downstairs most of the time but when we did speak to her she was so sweet and polite and soft spoken you couldn't help but like her regardless of how iffy you think Arwen has become!!!!

As we climb the stairs we see Peter surrounded by people asking him for autographs, so as not to bother him we simply slide in and pat him on the back and say "Congratulations" he turns and smiles and says "Thanks it's really appreciated," and we leave him to his fans.

Finally my sis had to eat so we stopped at Bilbo's roast stall by the village green and she got a roast pork and chicken wedge with sage and onion stuffing, ohh scrummdiddlyumptious, speaking of which after she had eaten and we'd had another drink who should we spot in the village green but Frodo Baggins himself, My sis was out of her seat and beside him before I could even stand up and he watched me as I walked over to him and thankfully the look on his face wasn't that of alarm!! He reached out and took my hand and leaning in kissed me on the cheek (oh my merry wood!! excuse the pun!)his face was filled with warmth and his eyes shone. I looked at him and a thousand witty intelligent things flashed in my head I opened my mouth and said "You were great by the way!" (fanlike moment#4) he smiles sweetly and thanks me.

I'm standing next to Elijah Wood and it feels like all the air has gone out of the room, even Orlando didn't have this effect on me!!! We talk for a bit and once again I tell him of the predicament we found ourselves in with the missing PR woman to which he replies "SH!T" in a cute British accent, I laugh and he reaches out and rests his hand on my arm, oh my.... My sis asks if we can take a pic and he says absolutely but then my mouth steps in front of my brain again and I give him a copy of my Poem that he inspired entitled 'Those Eyes' (fanlike comment #5 and the biggest one of all!!!) It is my favourite poem, (It's in my Lady of Legolas wallpaper gallery in the Lycos LotR community should anyone wanna check it out!!) it has made ppl cry and I am very proud of it regardless if u don't like Elijah or Poetry, and u only live once right???!! He takes it and starts to read it then seeing me wince he rolls it back up puts it into his jacket pocket and says "I'll read it back at the Hotel so as not to embarrass you" I believe he will.

We talk a bit more and I lean in and say to him "So I hear you have a thing for the 'C' word?", he looks up at me with wide eyes and a soft innocent smile and just says "C**T?", It was soooo funny. "It's a great word" he says laughing. I am so in awe of him, there isn't a single false bone in his body he is THE most genuine person I have ever met in my life, sorry for those who don't like him but he is. We talk and he looks me right in the eyes as he speaks or listens, and it's hard to look away. After a while tho more cockroaches approach him, cockroaches?? he he I mean press! sorry, and pull him away!! he gives me a big tight hug and another peck on the cheek and then is lost in the world of celebrity once more!

It is almost the end of the night at this point and we know if we want to get a coach back we must leave soon so seeing Stew in the village green we walk over and say bye, then move onto Billy who is sitting at one of the benches beside him, Billy keeps taking my hand as we speak, rubbing it gently and his hands are so warm and soft. I mention the shag comment and he laughs and says not to worry about offending him and that he thought it was funny and to ignore the stick I got from other ppl, then pulling me down he kisses me again on the cheek and says bye. With the others already gone we leave and walk out with Elijah. First stopping to get our LotR party goodie bag which contained One LotR circular holographic mouse mat! One tube of body lotion with a first class Air New Zealand tag hanging from it, One Crystal body Tattoo (yes it's a bit of a girlie goodie bag and Elijah didn't take one lol!!!) One Frodo and Gandalf toy soldier set, One AOL disc with free LOTR footage and trailers, One copy of the LotR Soundtrack!!!! It was the end of one of the best nights of my life. We got on the coach to go back to the hotel (Max from Hollyoaks also got on said coach!!) and so came an end to my dream come true. It was a remarkable evening even with the absentee PR woman, I have never met such a group of nice, sincere, down to earth people, and the film itself was the crowning glory to them all.

I feel so unbelievably lucky to have experienced it all with them and to share it all with you makes it all the more real.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my little adventure into the world of the Rich and Famous, I shall leave you now to return to my fantasy world where on leaving the part-ay with Elijah I went HIS way instead of to the coach !!!!!!!! (*_~)

Ahhh the power of the drifts.........

Sean Bean On The Big Breakfast
Xoanon @ 8:42 am EST

Aelinwen writes: The Big Breakfast continues its support of 'Fellowship of the Ring' with another slightly strange interview of Sean Bean by Ed Wood.

Sean was asked who, in a cast full of wizards, hobbits elves and orcs what kind of role he plays. 'Human' he says, describing Boromir as a man who is seduced by the evil of the ring. He goes on to explain that Boromir is a strong character, with weaknesses and the biggest struggle is not with his foes but with the inward struggle between himself and the power of the ring. It then showed the clip with the fallen Ring in the snow, where Boromir ruffles Frodo's hair.

Once again a cast member was subjected to playing 'Board of the Rings' opening a door behind which lurked a question.

The first question, (which had a prize!) was 'What's up the wizard's sleeve?' Sean was asked, Which magician claims he can fly, walk through walls and was married to Claudia Shiffer?

David Copperfield, of course. Sean was allowed to choose a prize out of the sack, which was a Toy Biz hobbit, possibly Sam.

The next question was 'Orc all about it' Sean was asked if it was true that he was coached the sword movements by the same Errol Flynn's teacher. To which Sean replied. 'Yes,'

'He must be kinda old now?'

Sean said he (Bob Anderson) must be well into his seventies but that he was a big man who had grace and elegance. Asked if he beat him, Sean admitted that he never actually tackled him in a fight, maybe if the whole fellowship rushed him.

Come on - join the Rings parade
Xoanon @ 8:31 am EST

Wellingtonians are invited to join a procession of street performers in the lead-up to the street celebrations on 19 December for the Australasian premiere of The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring.

The Courtenay Place celebrations will begin with a procession from Civic Square, down Cuba and Manners Streets then into Courtenay Place.

The procession will arrive in Courtenay Place just before 5.00pm, signalling the start of the celebrations, which will feature Kiwi band The Mutton Birds.

Mark Blumsky, who is co-ordinating the Rings celebrations on behalf of the City Council and the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency, reckons the procession is a great way for Wellington's Tolkien fans and more extroverted residents to get involved.

"We'll have drummers, dancers, knights in armour, a street band and all sorts of colourful costumed characters in the procession.

"This is a chance for anyone who ever wanted to be a hobbit, a dwarf or an elf to dress up and be part of something that's not just important to Wellington, but to Rings fans all over the world."

Participants in the procession must register beforehand and will gather at Civic Square at 4.00pm on the day.

The first 250 participants will receive refreshment vouchers as an added incentive to join in.

Call Roger on 021 436 702 or 586 3635, or James on 021 801 644 to register.

New screen, new soundsystem
Xoanon @ 8:20 am EST

Frodo will be so real you'll smell the little hobbit when the Fellowship of the Ring Australasian premiere hits the Embassy's new screen on Wednesday (December 19).

The Embassy has a new 27 by 56-foot Perlux Superglow screen, sponsored by New Zealand Post, the largest cinema screen in New Zealand. It also has a new soundsystem personally selected by Peter Jackson.

The first film to use the new technology will be Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone which will screen in the days running up to the launch of Fellowship of the Ring, provided the renovations are complete. Concrete is still being poured in some parts of the theatre, which is undergoing extensive renovations to its entrance and main foyer.

Kerry Robins of Deluxe Cinemas is confident all will be ready come the premiere - or at least look ready. "We are in the movie business after all. This is just set dressing."

The Embassy will have 100 extra cinema seats and 36 deluxe seats added for the Fellowship of the Ring opening show. The extra seating may be kept on if it all fits nicely.

"This is going to be the biggest event since Around the World in 80 Days. When I was a kid theye had balloons and searchlights on Courtenay Place. It was full of people. But Wellington hasn't seen a party like this one."

TV Watch: Late Show With David Letterman
Xoanon @ 12:50 am EST

Our very own Elijah Wood (Frodo) was on David Letterman tonight. He spoke all about LOTR and the magic of making the films. He mentioned his Elvish tattoo and how painfull it was. They showed a clip, which was a scene where the Hobbits are almost caught by the black riders and, Letterman pulled out the Burger King LOTR toy, which Elijah seemed to detest...and called Elijah Frodo during the interview...One sad note is that Elijah didn't mention TORN as per my shameless begging...Do it on Conan tomorrow E!!

Here are a few snaps:

12-11-01 Latest News

New LOTR:FOTR Review!
Xoanon @ 5:17 pm EST

From: Balin Of The Mines

Saw it monday night. All three hours of the Fellowship of the Ring. I can tell you that the casting is spot on all the way through, I can tell you that the visual effects are amazing, That the Balrog is Bad Ass in the way we always imagined, but about fifty feet taller, I can tell you that Arwen is only on screen for maybe ten minutes, and represents no threat to the story, but all those things are trivial.

Here is the important thing: The Story is not changed. It is not exactly the same, but it is the same story. That has in no way been lost, or weakened or polluted. I have finally arrived at a way of describing the difference between the book and the film: Imagine the book as a valuable weaving. Take the exact fabric and re weave it...tighter. Snip off a few barely noticeable threads, move a little of the fiber around to strengthen the integrity of the whole, and you have the same weaving...sturdier, renewed, ready for new use…but the same. Spoilers to follow:

Instead of Strider...for not much narrative reason...objecting to Gandalf taking the fellowship into Moria as is in the book, it's the other way around. But because that subtle change is made, several other points click together more closely. Jackson and his writing team have used Tolkein to improve Tolkein. His words are everywhere in the script, everywhere. There are more scenes of Traitorous Saruman preparing for war, including several pointed sequences of orcs cruelly destroying trees. These scenes are going to pay off in the Two Towers, as you surely know. Aragorn doesn't use broken Narsil in the early going of the story...but the broken sword that is eventually reforged helps create a scene in Rivendell that sets up the interplay between Aragorn and Boromir, that is astoundingly powerful in the movie. Gandalf is rescued from Orthanc by the great eagle, as before, but instead of a talky sequence with the seen-once-only Radagast the Brown, he sets up his escape with the help of a friendly Moth...done mostly visually, in the midst of telling other parts of the story. Efficient...but still the same story.

Thats the key here. As a result, once the script is streamlined like this, it MOVES. Tolkien's prose, as much as we love it, is a little leisurely, but with just a little tuneup, connecting the same existing material in slightly different ways, you travel the same ground in breathless, headlong fashion.

The Bottom Line: It's the Fellowship of the Ring. It IS. Frodo and Sam leave the fellowship wondering if they'll ever see any of the others again, Merry and Pippin are in the hands of the Orcs, and Legolas, Gimli and Aragorn are hot on their trail, after the body of Boromir is sent down Rauros Falls. The morgul knife vanishes as smoke, white horses in the waves of the flooding river that sweeps away the black riders...that stuff is all there. Grubbs, Chubbs, Boffins, Bolgers, Bracegirdles and Proudfoots...Proudfeet...That's there. I know less than half of you half as well as I should like...thats there. It’s there. And best of all there ARE suprizes. Little ones. Great ones that fit, work with the characters but are new...and delightful. There is also one spectacularly bad joke in the movie, but I won't tell you about it. You'll hear it.

We have lived long enough, we have good enough Karma. Not all of our dreams have or will ever come true, but this one has. A wonderful magical powerful movie has been made of The Lord of the Rings, and we get to see it. I have seen it, and will again, countless times and so will you.

Wellington Thanks PJ
Xoanon @ 4:25 pm EST

Just to let you know that the Evening Post ran a story on page 3 last night with photo about a 2m tall Thank You card from the people of Wellington to Peter Jackson.

This card is circulating around the Wellington Region and says 'Thanks Peter, you made a difference to our city. From your fellow Wellingtonians'.

Anyone can sign the card, which will be presented to Jackson next week.

The card will be at the Upper Hutt Visitor Information Centre today, Hutt City Council's customer service centre Thursday, Kapiti Coast District Council Friday and Wellington Central Library Saturday and Sunday. It will be at Meridian Energy's head office December 17, Porirua's Pataka Musuem December 18 and Westpac Trust St James Theatre "The Lord of the Rings' display on December 19.

Media Watch: Computer Graphics World
Xoanon @ 3:55 pm EST

Ringer Spies Stopher the Puce and truesilver send us these scans from Computer Graphics World magazine.

NZ reaction to Premiere Night.
Tehanu @ 3:52 pm EST

News from Elliot: "The Evening Post ran a story on page 3 last night with photo about a 2m tall 'Thank You' card from the people of Wellington to Peter Jackson.

This card is circulating around the Wellington Region and says 'Thanks Peter, you made a difference to our city. From your fellow Wellingtonians'.

Anyone can sign the card, which will be presented to Jackson next week. The card will be at the Upper Hutt Visitor Information Centre today, Hutt City Council's customer service centre Thursday, Kapiti Coast District Council Friday and Wellington Central Library Saturday and Sunday. It will be at Meridian Energy's head office December 17, Porirua's Pataka Musuem December 18 and Westpac Trust St James Theatre "The Lord of the Rings' display on December 19."

For myself I can report that yesterday NZ really went LOTR crazy - it was in all the news all the time. Not just reports on the premiere, but a total blitz of Rings news on all media. I took part in a Tolkienfest at Auckland's central public library, and it was absolutely chocker (full) of people - and what a varied group of people too.

A lot of interviews in yesterday's news asked people at the London premiere 'Do you think the LOTR films will bring tourists to NZ?' The answer was yes, which should be good news for our Movietours idea.

LOTR Secrets On Rush Hour 2 DVD
Strider @ 3:10 pm EST

LTKaluza sends in these directions to find some hidden goodies on your DVD of Rush Hour 2:

Go to the scene selection menu. It will appear as a slot machine. All will contain scene from the movie except for two - a dragon crest and the number 7. The dragon crest is the trailer attached to Pearl Harbor ("Legend tells of a ring..."), and the 7 takes you to the trailer attached to the Angel season premiere ("In the lands of Middle-earth...").

The Man, the Movie ... the Manuscripts
Xoanon @ 10:30 am EST

A different side to the creator of Middle-Earth was revealed today, as J.R.R. Tolkien manuscripts and printed editions went on display. They were unveiled at the British Library by the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, one of Tolkien's own creations, who is currently appearing in the West End hit The Hobbit.

The displays include letters and notes from Tolkien to his grandson, many of which accompanied Christmas gifts and money. They are written in his unmistakably ornate calligraphic hand, using a broad-nibbed pen similar to a quill. Also on display are rare first edition copies of The Hobbit and the first illustrated edition of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and some examples of Tolkien memorabilia, including a role-playing game and a figurine.

In one letter Tolkien talks of losing his privacy having become become an unwilling celebrity. He is all set to move into a flat in Merton College following the death of his wife, but complains that he will no longer be protected from 'Hoopers, Snoopers, Goopers, press-gangs, phone-bugs, and transatlantic lion hunters and gargoyle-fanciers'.

Sally Brown, Curator of Modern Literary Manuscripts at the British Library said: 'The forthcoming film of The Lord of the Rings demonstrates Tolkien's enduring appeal, and we wanted to mark this occasion by displaying some interesting associated items. The letters show the affectionate family man that we do not glimpse in his fiction, and the books show how the stories have been illustrated before this big screen adaptation.'

Entry to the British Library exhibitions is free, and all are welcome. This display will run until the end of January. For further information please contact Craig Westwood in The British Library Press Office on 020 7412 7115, or email craig.westwood@bl.uk

Christopher Lee On 'The Big Breakfast'
Xoanon @ 10:22 am EST

From: Aelinwen

The splendid Christopher Lee appeared in interview on The Big Breakfast this morning. I can say splendid..I've spoken to Christopher Lee and can confirm that his deep, resonant, velvet voice is how he actually speaks, even when he is doing something as innocent as buying cheese (which is how I met him).


Ed Wood opened by asking Chistopher what he thought of the project and he said it was the biggest film he'd been part of and that Peter Jackson's achievment in filming all three together was 'amazing'

Once again a cast member was subjected to the weird 'Board of the Rings' game where cast members have to open a door on a board and answer the questions behind it. There are prizes! Plastic gnomes...

Christopher says he hopes he can answer some of the questions, Ed replies, to quote Galadriel,'If you cannot do it, no one can.'

First door opened had the question, 'Gnome it in three' Christopher had to pick the three biggest and best film characters he had played.

He said..'This film.. the up and coming Star Wars film I'm not allowed to talk about and Rasputin.'

The next door opened was 'Orc all about it'

Christopher was asked if the myth about him actually meeting Tolkien is true?

Apparently it is. Someone introduced him to Tolkien, who was smoking a pipe, and shook his hand. Christopher said all he could do was exchange greetings and gape.

Asked how he had become a fan, he said he had read the first volume when it came out in 1954 and he has read it every year since. He is, he admits, obsessed, but 'for the right reasons'.

He was then offered a plastic gnome out of the sack. After peering at them for a moment he asked, 'Do you have an Uruk-Hai?' Believe me, he says 'Uruk-Hai' beautifully. By the magic of television, a plastic orc was produced (out of its box but I couldn't see which orc it was). He said, 'I don't know what my wife will think,' but thanked the interviewer graciously.

Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring Review
Xoanon @ 10:03 am EST

My good friend Garrett has sent us a non-spoiler and spoiler filled reviews of LOTR:FOTR! Enjoy!


Well I have just returned from seeing "Fellowship of the Ring" at the NY Press Screening and will do my best to give you all the non-spoiler and spoiler details of a film that honestly surprised me. Don't get me wrong I had the highest of expectations, but I think you will be surprised too. I will write this review without any spoilers or plot give-aways (not that we don't know them) so any one who wants to just see the film can enjoy it. For fanatical readers of theonering.net like me, I will be sending in a second review full of spoilers and points to watch for and a few of my favorite parts. Sound fair? Good.

I will tell you what I know of elves, men, and dwarves. Of Hobbits and wizards and the one ring to rule them all. First of all the film begins with the history of the ring as we all know it. Galadriel tells the tale as we are taken to Middle Earth. The opening battle sequences are amazing, giving true epic proportions to fantasy battles. Magic, armor, hordes of orcs all come to life. Then we see Bilbo and Gollum in the dark caves of the Misty Mountains, just seeing it makes you catch your breath.

Switch to Hobbiton, we are introduced to Gandalf and Frodo right away. I must say that Ian McKellen has done something remarkable with Gandalf. We all have our images of the old wizard, but no embodiment of our visions. Thank you Sir Ian for giving us a Gandalf who shows strength, caring, and humor in the best of ways. Elijah Wood plays Frodo with innocence and uncertainty. His development throughout the film is wonderful. I must mention as no other reviews I read have, that Ian Holm is a FANTASTIC Bilbo. He is truly great. Watch for some surprises from him as well later on in Rivendell. Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghen are wonderfully troublesome as Merry and Pippin. Pippin gets into all sorts of mishaps and adds some funny lines at times when the Fellowship are in peril. The landscape behind the Shire is fantastic, in reading the books you have the comfortable countryside images and Peter Jackson serves them up on a beautiful canvas.

Don't make any mistake about it, this film keeps you on the edge of your seat. The dark riders are an awesome force of fear and an excellent depiction of evil early on in the film.

Adding to the collective villains is Christopher Lee. He is Saruman to the core. Adding such a voice to treachery and destruction (I can't wait to watch the Ents rip through Isengard..you will know why when you see the film). This whole sequence gives a powerful image of Tolkein's classic theme of machine vs. nature. Lee is wonderful, encompassing all the destructive force that misused knowledge can bring with it.

Viggo Mortensen and Sean Bean carry the film at many points. Please note that all the casting is EXCELLENT. Some of the moments between these two are great, the competition, the weakness that mankind suffer from are played out perfectly. Especially by Bean who really comes to life at the end of the film.

I know many fans of the book are uncertain of Arwen and Liv Tyler. Well frankly, I understand Peter's choice and think that it is done wonderfully. She is great, offering healing and romance to Viggo as Strider. The moment on the bridge is great as they speak elvish to each other.

Speaking of elves...Hugo Weaving does a great job with Elrond. A powerful elf lord who shows his timeless knowledge and caring for his friends as well as all races of Middle Earth.

Gimli and Legolas...everyone has their favorite. Well I have two, Orlando Bloom and John Rhys-Davies are wonderful. Gimli is great at the Council of Elrond, and Legolas lays waste to orcs with his bow.

Cate Blanchett remains one of my favorite actresses ever since "Elizabeth", there is no change here. Galadriel and the Lothlorien are amazing. The whole sequences has to be rewatched a dozen times to pick up all the elvish glamor. She is wonderful, powerful and yet an enigma. Galadriel is an in-depth character no doubt, and Cate is perfect as the elf sorceress-queen.

Ok, so have I mentioned everyone, Oh ya...that Director guy. Well Mr. Jackson what can I say, I've been following the making of this film for 3 and a half years on this very Web site. So I will say to you Thanks. Thanks for taking all of our hopes as fans of Tolkein and fantasy and putting them on the screen in a truly powerful film. Thanks for using John Howe's art as an inspiration. It looked great, paced well, and left me realizing why I have been a fan of fantasy my whole life.

I can say that this film has something at its core which forces us to all look inside ourselves. People read fantasy to get away from the dull everyday things in life and quest for what is best in themselves. Tolkein created a world of powerful evil, and proved that with some trust in yourself and a little friendship any foe can be beaten. This film is better than just going to see a larger than life movie. It shows, as "Lord of the Rings" did, the humanity within us all. Please fell free to check out the next review full of spoilers!!!!

Scoll down for spoilers...


Here we go, I'm just going to run down the list of spoilers I think you will all enjoy:

1. Though it's not in the books the part when Merry and Pippin steal Gandalf's fireworks is hysterical.

2. Sauron in the battle against men and elves at the beginning is great to watch. It shows the true destructive power of the ring.

3. Isildur and Elrond take the ring to Mt. Doom to destroy it but their attempt fails when Isildur gives into the ring. (This happens as a flashback during the Rivendell sequence).

4. Gwahir (spelling?) is awesome. I thought it was very cool that Gandalf whispers to a moth who then sends the great eagle.

5. The wizard duel is short, and not silly at all. Other reviews found it lame, I thought it was a good addition to confirm Saruman's treachery.

6. Lothlorien, Moria, Hobbiton, and Rivendell are AMAZING!!!

7. Strider does not give his speech in the Prancing Pony as I'd have liked to have seen, but gives it to Frodo at the Council of Elrond.

8. Boromir does use the horn.

9. Gimli tries to smash the ring during the Council and breaks his axe to pieces. I know this was not in the book, but it was very dwarven.

10. When Frodo shuts up the arguing Council by saying "I'll take the ring" you want to stand up and cheer, it's great.

11. The fights are great!!! Loads of slashing and smashing and shooting, I loved when Legolas shoots at the orcs in Moria when they are on the steps. Also, when Gimli and Gandalf attack the cave troll its great!

12. The whole Mithril shirt and Sting combo is great, especially when it saves Frodo's life. The troll stabs him instead of an orc captain, but the effect is maintained.

13. We do see Aragorn's broken sword in Rivendell in a short scene between Boromir and Aragorn.

14. Gandalf's look to Frodo when he is all dressed and ready to leave is wonderful.

15. Gandalf's opening line is hysterical. "Precisely on time"

16. The Balrog!!! Holy Gandalf standing in the face of that demon...just great images.

17. Saruman ordering the orcs to destroy the gardens and trees at Isengard. Great imagery, Bring on the ENTS!!! It will justify that sequence so well in the next film.

18. Boromir's two speeches to Aragorn are great. Once when he explains Gondor and of course when he dies. You really got the sense of their hope to improve mankind from the greedy, corrupt race that the elves and dwarves see them for.

19. The white hand on the Urak Hai was silly to some, but I love orcs and thought it was great, the yelling and running, as Saruman calls them the perfect warriors.

20. After the Fellowship leaves Lothlorien, look at their cloak clasps. Oh, look at Boromir's vanbraces as well.

21. Mordor is great, in the beginning, when the riders come forth. The black riders in general are scary, slimey, dark and really make you jump.

22. Bilbo's grab at the ring in Rivendell....the whole audience JUMPED!!!

23. Sam jumping after Frodo at the end is great.

24. Legolas, takes down three orcs with three shots in in like two seconds...just enjoy watching Legolas and Gimli do there stuff can wait for the competition.

25. The Watcher in the water is awesome. I like how it traps them inside Moria. Add the whole gate sequence and Frodo helping Gandalf and its really fun to watch.

Ok guys, it's 2 a.m. I have to work at 7 a.m. But its worth it. I hope you all see the film and enjoy it as much as I did. I hope my hints and thoughts gave you reason to be more excited. I have to say a quick thanks to Xoanon, Carl, Sir Manfred and all the Von Halsterns, Marianne (a true elf), Shawnda (a true Tolkein fan), my cousin Kevin, and of course to Padma who always will be eternal to me. Please feel free to write me any questions at drandarion@yahoo.com, I'll do my best to answer. Oh, did I mention Peter Jackson's cameo on the streets of Bree...hahaha Thanks again guys, see you all on Dec. 19th!!!!!

Pirate LOTR Copies?
Xoanon @ 1:28 am EST

HOLLYWOOD (Zap2it.com) – It hasn't been released yet and it's already causing headaches. Despite the unprecedented security measures taken at press and test screenings, pirated copies of "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" have surfaced, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

Investigators from Britain's Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) have found about 100 video CD copies of the film during a raid on a market site near the town of Bridgenorth in England on Sunday. They've arrested 35 people in what was described as a major operation by FACT officials including police, local council trading standards officers, computer games and music industry copyright watchdogs.

"People have been going into this market for a few weeks, filming the pirates and carrying out test purchases," said FACT senior investigator Roger Hamilton.

In Dartford, officials discovered 150 DVD copies of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" but no "Lord of the Rings" because, according to the vendor, the quality was too poor.

Media Watch: American Cinematographer
Xoanon @ 1:06 am EST

Ringer Spy Kris was SO kind to send us the ENTIRE 30 page article in the latest issue of 'American Cinematographer', take a look, cool film-related info here!

BK Hits Soar
Xoanon @ 12:06 am EST

Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring promotion drives record traffic on Burger King website
Miami, 12/10/01

Burger King Corporation today reported that during the past 14 days of operation of its Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring related interactive website, 4.5 million hits were recorded on its site, http://www.LOTR.bk.com . Although system upgrades were installed several weeks ago, some users did experience lock out from the site due to heavy traffic.

Average user time on the site was 6 minutes, with the greatest interest on the Sweepstakes portion of the site. Other popular features include BigKids, Restaurant Locator and Nutrition. To date, more than 178,000 individual entries have been received for the on-line sweepstakes, which offers one lucky winner a trip toNew York for a screening of Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring.

"Lord of the Rings related websites are some of the most highly visited sites on the internet," said Hal Rossiter, senior director of USA interactive marketing for Burger King Corporation. "Since these enthusiasts are some of the most internet savvy users out there, offering an exciting, interactive website was a natural extension of our Lord of the Rings promotion."

Lord of the Rings" epic poses challenge for composer
Xoanon @ 12:02 am EST

LONDON (Reuters) - For Canadian composer Howard Shore, it has been the movie challenge of a lifetime -- writing the nine-hour score for the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

But he loved every moment in the dark and fantastical world of Middle Earth, can't wait to dive back in and is hopeful the mammoth composition could be Oscar-winning material.

And he stayed ever faithful to the J.R.R. Tolkien classic that has attracted more than 100 million readers over the last 50 years and was voted in many millennium polls as the book of the century.

"When I was writing, I had the book open on my desk and I was reading it page by page," Shore told Reuters Television on the eve of Monday's world premiere of "The Fellowship of The Ring," the first in the trilogy of films being released every Christmas for the next three years. Shore, whose impressive Hollywood track record ranges from "Seven" to "Mrs. Doubtfire," from "Silence of the Lambs" to "Philadelphia," was the first to admit this was the most daunting musical challenge he had ever faced.

"I have found personal achievement in what I have done," he said. "All of us as a group worked well beyond ourselves."

The personable 55-year-old from Toronto said: "It is a very inspiring piece to work on."

But surely he must have got sick of devoting such a large chunk of his life to the epic $270 million project that took 18 months to film amid the scenic splendors of New Zealand?

Not at all, says Shore. "Actually I felt if I had more time, I would be happy to live in that world. It was a wonderful world to live in."

Movie buffs will be able to gorge themselves on the dark world of Middle Earth full of hobbits, trolls, elves and wizards where Frodo the hobbit sets out to destroy the magic ring before the forces of evil conquer all.

"In future you will be able to watch a nine-hour version of 'Lord of the Rings'. I think of this as act one," Shore said.

Inevitably, film critics have made comparisons between the magical world of the intrepid Frodo Baggins and boy wizard Harry Potter, who took the box office by storm last month when "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" was released.

"Fellowship of the Rings" hits 10,000 cinemas worldwide on December 19, but Shore insists there is no comparison.

"They are quite different pictures. 'Lord of the Rings' is a much darker and more complex world. I think the comparisons are just due to the proximity of their releases," he said.

12-10-01 Latest News

Weta Props Exhibit in Wellington
Tehanu @ 9:35 pm EST

Great report from Mr. Tadpole:
"Anyone in Wellington in the next week NEEDS to get down St James theatre on Courtney Place to see the LOTR props and costumes exhibit. If you're not familiar with the St James, the display is up the staircase (not particuarly well posted).

It's very cool (and free!). You can get face-to-face with: - Gimli's axes - The big axes used to bar the door in Moria - A full set of Gondorian armour, shields, weapons and banners - A full set of high elven armour, shields and big curved swords - A 15-foot high Orthanc "miniature" ! Too cool! - A couple of sets of orc armour, banners and shields. The armour has a totally "scavenged" look - rusting, twisted, mismatched metal. - Big, nasty orc polearms. - A couple of sets of Uruk armour and shields - Uruk bows and weapons - very nasty, brutal looking things - All of the hobbits' swords, including two versions of Sting (small and large, for perspective shots), and their scabbards. - Boromir's very cool sword and scabbard, and his battle-scarred buckler. - Glamdring, and Narsil (reforged)! - Arwens very funky curved blade. Exquisite!

The detail is incredible, the swords are all very, very detailed with runes and designs. And eveything looks fully like it come out of a museum, scavenged out of some archeological site.

Sadly, there are many signs and security guards enforcing the "Strictly no photography" rule.

On the bright side, the exhibition is manned by Weta props makers and costumers - the very people who made some of these items, and they are very eager to answer questions. I overheard one of the Weta guys saying that for the Wellington premiere, more of the cast are actually attending than the newspapers have suggested, but it's all hush-hush.

In conjunction with the props exhibit, they are displaying original artwork from Weta employees, which are going to be auctioned off for charity. Amongst the artwork is an Alan Lee charcoal sketch of old twisted trees - the reserve price is NZ$600."

Decipher Updates
Berendir @ 4:07 pm EST

Give the more obscure Shire characters a look in todays Decipher card image update. [More]

The Lord Of The Rings™ TCG Help Clinic
Part 1 - Movement
: In J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings, the path taken by Frodo, Sam ,and their companions was a long one. By some accounts, the Fellowship traveled upwards of a thousand miles. [More]

Deck Design: Ten Questions for the Metagame: You can build a Lord of the Rings TCG deck as just a bunch of good fellowship and Shadow cards, but often find the deck lacking. Just because your deck is full of good cards doesn't mean you have a good deck. [More]

Don't forget to check out the Gaming Havens Holiday Contest to win some amazing prizes from Decipher.

Power Of The Ring Lords It Over Harry
Strider @ 4:00 pm EST

Power Of The Ring Lords It Over Harry

by Sophie Tedmanson (Entertainment reporter)

HARRY Potter has cast a spell on modern children, but their parents are about to be swept away by the fantasy chronicle of their own youth, The Lord of the Rings.

The $300 million movie version of the JRR Tolkien classic is about to become the Star Wars of the new millennium and could usurp Harry at the box office.

The first film adapted from the trilogy, subtitled The Fellowship of the Ring and featuring the pointy-eared Hobbits, will be released on Boxing Day.

The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson said Harry Potter had whetted the public's appetite for fantasy films and Empire film magazine editor Chris Murray said the two films sat side by side.

Murray says the Rings trilogy will attract an older audience of different generations because of the longevity of the original novels, first published in the 1950s.

'LOTR fans are extremely passionate and there's probably three generations of people that read it waiting for the movie to come out, as opposed to Harry Potter, which is pretty much mothers and 12-year olds,' he said.

Adelaide sci-fi writer Sean Williams, who has read the Harry Potter novels and The Lord of the Rings and seen the Star Wars series, said the trickle release of the trilogy films over the next three Christmas periods would give it a longer lifespan.

'LOTR is a cultural icon that has the staying power Harry Potter may not have,' Williams said. 'There are generations of people who have been reading this trilogy, so there's a lot of anticipation from people of all different ages.'

The main Tolkien website - TheOneRing.net - receives more than 200,000 hits a day and the local merchandise, including T-shirts, book coverings, puzzles, stationery and toys, has been available in shops for months. Some lines have already sold out.

Funtastic managing director David Hendy, who oversees the production of $30million LOTR toy merchandise in Australia, said it had been hugely popular in the lead-up to Christmas.

'There's a big culture-base with The Lord of the Rings, and most of the fantasy directors got their inspiration from Tolkien, so it's really showing the strength of the brand,' he said.

TV Watch: The UK's Big Breakfast
Xoanon @ 1:15 pm EST

Aelinwen writes: Another spot on Uk's 'The Big Breakfast' this morning featured a somewhat daffy game/interview by Ed Hall with Orlando Bloom and Liv Tyler.

Cosily sat on chairs Ed had a big board with a game on it (called Board of the Rings, of course) and Liv and Orlando had to pull open little doors and answer questions.

The first door opened was called 'Orc all about it' and had three rumours and the cast had to identify which ones were true. Of course, tried and true TORN members would know these.

Rumour 1 Can you get arrested for dressing like a hobbit in Khazakstan? (yes)
Rumour 2 Did the Beatles want to make a film verions of LOTR? (yes)
Rumour 3 Was Jerry Springer initially cast as Frodo Baggins? (NO!!)

Liv said she'd heard a rumour about the Hobbits and Khazakstan.(Was it Khazakstan?) Orlando knew the other rumour about the Beatles. And the Jerry Springer casting was greeted with derision.

The next door was called 'Family Tree'

The question was 'When is Frodo Baggins birthday?' Orlando made a guess with 24th August. Wrong, of course.

Then Ed dropped a script spoiler, he said.'When Arwen says to Frodo, 'Let me take you to my father for safety' it's a pity she just doesn't say, 'Let me take you to my father' Liv laughed and burst into a spontaneous burts of Steven Tyler-esque singing. Very cool.

Last question was 'What's up the wizard's sleeve?'

'Who was born in Middlesborough, hates cauliflower cheese and has a catchphrase, 'You'll like this, but not a lot.' '

'Paul Daniels', shouted Orlando. He got a prize out of a sack, it looked like a plastic gnome. Liv protested that the last question was a Brit question, which was true, so she got a gnome too.


Oh, and Christopher Lee is expected to be on the show later this week.

Weekend Round-Up
Xoanon @ 1:07 am EST

The Hobbits On UK Morning SM:TV

FOTR Tickets Prize On MTV UK On Call

News From Turkey

Take A Left At Bree, Then Right At Brandywine

C.S. Lewis Classic To Be Remade....Coincidence?

Advanced Minneapolis Showing

McKellen Interview And Gay Guide To Middle-Earth

Fellowship Due In Hong Kong Feb 2002

Free Double-Sided Poster In Tomorrow's Times

Stars Come Out For Danish Premiere

Behind The Scenes Video Available?

Elijah Wood Interview On MTV

Contests A Go-Go

Malaysian Premiere Ticket Scans

Lord of the Rings On Your Mobile Phone


Hall of Fire Chats for December 8th & 9th

McKellen LOTR Interview In Irish Independant's Weekend

Daily Mirror Review Of FOTR

Terminally Ill Canadian Boy Sees FOTR Today

LOTR Poster In Toronto

AOL Revs Up "Rings" Web Marketing Machine

Elijah's away with the fairies

Movie's amazing feet

Dominic Monaghan Talks LOTR

NZ Herald Goes LOTR Mad

Media Watch: Brazil's Sci-fi News Magazine

E!s "Behind The Scenes"

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

The One Ring(s)

Another LOTR Review

BBC Online Opens Lord Of The Rings Subsection

Entertainment Forum Talks LOTR

Still ringing true

TNT LOTR Special On Again Tonight!

Media Watch: Radio New Zealand

Happy Birthday Dominic!

MovieHeadlines Reviews Fellowship Of The Ring

Film 2001 Coming From London Premiere Next Week

The Sun Examines Life Of J.R.R Tolkien

Hi! I'm Elijah Wood, And Welcome To LOTR.Net

Sean Bean To Play Doctor Who?!

Media Watch: The Age


New Yorker: Critics at large

Tolkien Docos on TV

Live Chat Transcript: Newsweek MSNBC

Release Dates: Uruguay

Lord of the Ring Goodies In Marinela Cookies

Another Fan Review!

Calendars, Journals, Magic Cubes, Oh My!!

MSN.com Interviews 4 Cast Members

TV Watch: Sci-Fi Channel

Media Watch: SET Magazine

McKellen/Wood Interviews

Movie Television Talks LOTR

LOTR Cast On TRL This Week

Please believe the hype

Live In Canada? Want To See LOTR:FOTR A day early?!?

Ev'rybody wants to get into da act!!!

Cast Members on television this week....

NZ's LOTR stamps prove popular.

FOTR review from a Tolkien scholar.

Strider Action Figure Pics

Media Watch: Lifestyle Magazine

Sean Bean: Man Of Steel

Media Watch: Black+White Magazine

12-09-01 Latest News

Sean Bean: Man Of Steel
Xoanon @ 11:46 pm EST

Elizabeth Hurley gave him her heart. Harrison Ford gave him a scar. And Sheffield gave him his accent. Simon Beckett meets LOTR:FOTR star Sean Bean and finds his claims to 'ordinariness', well, extraordinary.

If it's true that the type of car you have reflects your personality, then Sean Bean's current choice of vehicle speaks volumes. Since his BMW was stolen a few months ago he has been driving a battered old H-reg Vauxhall Nova, bought for pounds 100 from friends who planned to cut off the roof and use it to transport garden rubbish.

Which means for the past few weeks the star of the hugely popular Sharpe television series, who has worked alongside the likes of Harrison Ford, Robert De Niro and Michael Douglas, has basically been driving around London in a skip.

"Have you seen my car?" he enquires, inordinately pleased with his new runabout. If there's one thing you couldn't accuse Sean Bean of it's being pretentious. In his suede jacket, faded jeans and boots, it must be said that the 42 year -old Sheffielder looks less like an internationally successful actor than... well, someone you'd expect to see driving a 15-year-old Vauxhall. Above his left eye is a scar from where Harrison Ford hit him with a boat hook during the filming of Patriot Games. Other than that, Hollywood - like everything else - doesn't appear to have put much of a dent in a persona perhaps best described as "Northern bloke".

After meeting outside the Post Office near his home in Hampstead (he can't think of anywhere else off-hand) we wander around in mutual indecision until a suitable cafe is settled on. There's a polite, unaffected diffidence about him that makes it easy to forget that this is the man who kept women glued to television screens with Sharpe, Clarissa and Lady Chatterley's Lover, or who gave Pierce Brosnan's 007 a run for his money as the villainously urbane 006 in GoldenEye.

Sipping his coffee and lighting a cigarette, he admits to being a little interviewed-out at the moment. He hasn't been back in the UK for long, attending various promotional junkets in the States for Don't Say a Word, Michael Douglas's new heist thriller in which Bean plays a criminal mastermind.

But what's causing most excitement right now is the Christmas release of The Fellow-ship of the Ring. Directed by Peter Jackson (Heavenly Creatures, Braindead) this is the first installment in the long-awaited three-film adaptation of JRR Tolkein's classic fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings. Jackson famously took his cast, which in addition to Bean includes Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm and Liv Tyler, to the wilds of New Zealand on a marathon 18-month shoot to film all three parts of the $ 270m epic back-to-back. It was a massive logistical undertaking, and a gamble for everyone involved.

"I don't think any of us really expected what we were letting ourselves in for," says Bean, who spent a mere year in New Zealand shooting the films, interrupted only by a couple of brief visits back to the UK.

"But it was just sort of magical, to have a group of people all doing the same thing, all going in the same direction, just left on an island. A very beautiful island. They'd chopper us up to mountain tops where nobody had ever been before."

For anyone not familiar with Tolkein's novel, LOTR (as the film trilogy has become known) is a more sophisticated, darker follow-up to his children's story The Hobbit. Bean plays Boromir, a dour warrior who joins a motley band of humans, elves and hobbits charged with keeping a dark lord from laying hands on the all-powerful ring, only to find himself being corrupted by its influence. It's a project that Bean is obviously proud of. He had read the novel in the late 1980s, and when he heard rumours that a film of the book was going to be made he was keen to be involved. He met Peter Jackson in Covent Garden and read for him there. "Had to act it out a bit, you know," he says, self-consciously.

The two of them apparently hit it off, but it was another six months before the call he'd been hoping for came through. "I got the news on the phone when I was driving down the M1 with my kids in the back. I speeded up about 30 miles an hour. Unintentionally," he adds, not wanting to seem reckless.

Driving up the M1 is something he still does quite regularly, or at least as regularly as work permits. Although he admits he could no longer live in Sheffield, his ties to his home town have remained as unbroken as his accent. The son of a steel plater and a secretary, Shaun Mark Bean grew up in Handsworth, a working-class suburb. As a boy he played football, developed an undying passion for Sheffield United (he has "100% Blade" tattooed at the top of one arm) and showed no thespian inclinations whatsoever.

After leaving school at 16 with 'O' levels in art and English, Bean worked as an apprentice welder at his father's steel-fabrication business for three years. "They were great years, you know," says the man who according to OK! magazine is one the highest earners in British showbusiness. "You had to learn to get on with other fellers, you're all in this factory eight, 10 hours a day. We used to have some good laughs. But I'd got a lot of time to daydream, and I did daydream a lot. I was just trying to figure out what I wanted to do."

Acting was still a long way from his mind. He had always been interested in art, and describes with obvious pride how he used to exhibit pictures in an art -shop window in Sheffield: "And I sold a few, actually." It was enrolling on an art foundation course at Rotherham College that opened his eyes to the possibility of another career altogether. An acting course was being taught in the same building, and Bean found himself drawn to it. He watched for a while - "seeing how it all worked and stuff" - before changing courses.

"He wasn't particularly noticeable, other than being a lively lad. Very personable," recalls Paul Daniels, one of Bean's drama tutors from Rotherham. "You wouldn't spot him in a group." But Daniels describes watching "the penny drop" as Bean realised he had something the other students could only aspire to. "Once the lights were on him, he was just magnetic. You just totally noticed him," he says. "Yet he was clearly one of the lads outside the class. He didn't have airs and graces, because his culture wouldn't allow him to."

After only a year on the course Bean applied to, and was accepted by, Rada. "When I got the letter I was just, like, chuffed," he says, with considerable understatement. Needless to say, moving to London proved something of a culture shock. "You know, you're from quite a close-knit community and all of a sudden everything seems so big and expansive. But I enjoyed that. And at the same time I was learning about various plays and playwrights, and different types of theatre. The Restoration, and Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekov. It was a massive jolt, but a really pleasant, eye -opening one."

It wasn't quite the Pygmalion-like transformation it might appear. Bean later changed the spelling of his Christian name, but Shaun the welder remained as much a part of his psyche as Sean the actor. Unlike some of his peers (including another young hopeful called Kenneth Branagh) who toned down their regional dialects, he learnt how to speak standard English but kept his own accent - partly through his own inclination, and partly on the advice of a Rada tutor who told him it would come in useful. "If you have to learn an accent, then you go to a voice coach," Bean shrugs. "You apply yourself to it. That's acting."

When Bean talks about his acting he refers to it as his "job" or "work", as if what he does for a living is no different to putting in eight hours a day at a factory. He's no method actor, preferring to switch off when the filming stops - mostly, at least. "What do they call it, when you can tell your telly's on? Standby. It's like that," he says with a laugh. "I feel like that, with the red light on. And I can put a green light on when I want to."

Even granted that it's an actor's job to step into and out of other characters, the huge dichotomy between Bean's on-screen (or on-stage) intensity and the Yorkshire Everyman of his "resting" state seems extreme. "Sean was incredibly shy and the least flirtatious person I've ever met," says Elizabeth Hurley, who played one of Bean's conquests in the Sharpe series (a pairing that brings to mind the words "chalk" and "cheese"). "Nevertheless, I thought he was gorgeous."

No doubt quite a few women would agree with her about the latter, although the rest is hardly in keeping with the sex-symbol image of an actor who, not to put too fine a point on it, has never seemed particularly shy about getting his kit off in front of the cameras.

When Ken Russell's adaptation of DH Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover was screened in 1993, the Broadcasting Standards Council bleated that the sex-scenes featuring Bean as Mellors and Joely Richardson as his aristocratic lover were "too long" and "too rough" - a criticism presumably not shared by the show's 12.63 million viewers.

Bean seems not so much an unlikely as an indifferent sex symbol. But he's not entirely unaware of his powers. He's been married three times, the last two to actresses who evidently weren't put off by any lack of flirtation. His first wife Debra Anderson was the Sheffield girlfriend who he married pretty well at the start of his career. The marriage didn't survive his move to London, but the two have remained friendly. "I see her now, and she's great," he says earnestly.

Bean's second wife was Melanie Hill, with whom he has two daughters, Lorna, 14 and Molly, 10. They were divorced in 1997, in what was reportedly a far more acrimonious split. (Hill has been quoted as saying that she felt "like a housemaid".) Later that same year Bean married Abigail Cruttenden, his screen wife in Sharpe; timing that suspicious minds might interpret as being somewhat less than coincidental. They have a three-year-old daughter, Evie, but are now also divorced.

Bean sees his daughters regularly and says he's remained on good terms with his ex-wives, which pleases him (although he admits that it can be awkward sometimes, "with all the arranging things, organising things").

When asked whether his work complicates relationships, he stares reflectively into his coffee cup. "It can be difficult, yeah." He gives a rueful grin. "Look at my past record. I mean, there's some things where you think, 'I could have done that.' But you learn from those. You make mistakes, but you learn from them."

He doesn't go into details, but admits that spending large chunks of time away filming doesn't make for an easy home life. "You go off into you're own world, and when you come back you're still in it. You don't think you are, but you are. It's not a usual nine- to-five job where you come home, you have your tea, you watch television and go to bed. You know, see the kids, get up next morning and do the same. It's always something different. That's the beauty of it, and I wouldn't change it for anything."

Bean's professional acting debut came shortly after he graduated from Rada in 1983, when he played Tybalt in a production of Romeo and Juliet at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury. In 1986, Bean appeared in the RSC's production of Romeo and Juliet at the Barbican and Swan theatres, this time playing the male lead. "It was a big break for me," he concedes. "That somebody saw something in me of quality that they thought might work, I was quite surprised by that."

In 1992 Bean won the part of Peninsular War hero Richard Sharpe after the first choice, Paul McGann, injured his leg. Bean was offered the role just four days before shooting began in Russia. Sharpe went on to become a phenomenal success, running for five seasons and selling world-wide. And Bean stamped his own identity on the series from the start. Using his natural Sheffield accent, he turned what was originally conceived as a dark-haired Londoner into a dirty-blond Yorkshireman who could call an enemy a bastard with all the contempt of a Blades fan insulting a referee.

"He has a kind of third eye for what's required," says Daragh O'Malley, who played Sharpe's side-kick Sergeant Harper in the series. "He's very easy to get on with. The great passions in his life when I was with him were his family and Sheffield United. And, you know, he was fond of sessions on the high stool. We spent many hours on the bar stools and the battlefields of southern Crimea."

Despite the tough conditions the series was filmed under, the only time O'Malley heard Bean complain was when a new cast arrived on location for one episode. "After the first day Sean said to me, 'What do you think?' I said, 'I don't know, what do you think?' He said (O'Malley lowers his voice into an imitation of Bean's gruff Yorkshire) 'They're fuckin' full of luvvies!'"

Despite his Rada training, being a "luvvie" is something that no one can accuse Sean Bean of. While the actor, who learnt to box in his early teens, can "do" both sensitive and romantic (he plays a struggling artist in the yet-to-be -released children's film Tom and Thomas) he has an undeniable gift for portraying volatile characters prone to, or simply good at, violence: soldiers, warriors and just plain hard bastards.

He's had his moments off screen too. While commenting -quite mildly - that he doesn't see himself as being that way inclined now, he admits to having had a short fuse when he was younger. "I wouldn't say that's necessarily a fault. I mean, in some ways it's helped me in my work, because I can jump into a fit of anger quite quickly. I don't want to sound as though I'm bragging but that can be an explosive quality. I don't think you should try and get rid of qualities which could be useful in your work. But you've got to watch yourself in real life, I suppose."

He has let his attention slip on at least one occasion, when an altercation at a party resulted in him being charged with actual bodily harm (he was fined pounds 50). Bean laughs, a little embarrassed, when the incident is mentioned. "I let that drop in an interview about 10 years ago, and I thought, 'Fuck!'" he says, shaking his head. "It was all a bit of nonsense, really. I got done for that during the first year at Rada. I was only 21. Not that that is any excuse. But I suppose I was excitable, I was excited about where I was, and what I was doing. It was just one of those things."

Less excitable now, Bean still relishes physical parts, and enjoys performing his own stunts as much as possible. "I love doing all that stuff," he grins. "I think most people do. You know, they love it when a fight comes up in the middle of a film and everybody gets a bit..." (rubbing his hands) "...Come on, then, this is what we've been waiting for!'"

It's at this point where he shows me the scar left by Harrison Ford.

"We slipped and the boat hook ended up smacking me across my eye and nose." This was at the time of the LA riots, and Bean laughs as he describes returning to his hotel after having the wound stitched. "I'd got this big shiner and my nose was flat across my face. I had this leather jacket on, and jeans, and I walked into the Beverly Wilshire. They're going, 'Sir! Sir! Security!' I said, 'Look, I've had a rough day. Just let me in my room.'"

Bean played an Irish terrorist in the film, but earlier this year he witnessed the real thing when a promotional event for Don't Say a Word meant he was in New York on 11 September. It's an experience he says is hard to describe; wisely, he doesn't try. So far, none of Bean's projects have been affected by Hollywood's sudden aversion to explosions. But he's quick to point out that, while he's played his fair share of action/adventure roles, gratuitous violence has never interested him.

"Most of the stuff I've done has been sort of personal, psychological battles between characters," he says. "I think the most interesting drama is the human drama, and things that evolve out of relationships. Not necessarily where the action and special effects have been pressed on to the film, and you're trying to find your character through all that lot."

Despite its special effects, LOTR is not just another digital extravaganza. Bean says there is real dirt and sweat, the battle scenes enhance what he describes as the "human story", not overpower it. And Boromir is up there with Sharpe as one of his favourite roles, which is praise indeed. There are some striking similarities between the two (think testosterone, swords, fighting). But he sees the warrior as more complex than the straightforward Napoleonic soldier. "He's constantly fighting this battle, to keep down this desire to own the ring," he says. "He goes through quite extreme emotions during the course of the film. And that's what I was trying to get across, this kind of inner struggle."

He's obviously hoping the film will prove the success it is tipped to be. But, even if it is, Bean won't be moving to LA. He's happy here; and if people in Hollywood want him, they just fly him out, he says. Also, he doesn't want to give up the roles he gets to play on much lower budget UK films and television. "I like to try and combine the two. But I don't want to let go of doing character-based, interesting people because I think that's the life blood of what you do."

At the moment his plans for the future centre around a return to the theatre next year to play Macbeth, an ambition of Bean's ever since he was at Rotherham College and saw a production starring Ian McKellen - "Who I've just worked with." He smiles, as though he can't believe his luck. "I had a good chat with him about the part."

But that's still in the planning stages. In the meantime he'll see what scripts come in, and perhaps take some time off before starting again in the New Year. There's plenty to do - his youngest daughter's birthday is coming up, and there's the gardening to think about (a closet hobby he sheepishly confesses to). And he's started getting back into welding again. "I wanted to see if I could still do it, you know," he says, pleased that he hasn't lost the knack.

After obligingly posing for photographs in the wet grass on Hampstead Heath, he heads off for his car. He's meeting a group of friends who are coming down from Sheffield, and he's looking forward to it. As he drives by in his Nova he gives a cheery wave, just another welder off to see his mates in the pub.

'The Fellowship of the Ring' is released nationwide on Wednesday 19 December

Media Watch: Lifestyle Magazine
Xoanon @ 11:34 pm EST

Nona from 'The Compleat Sean Bean' sends us these scans from an article she wrote for 'Lifestyle Magazine' in NZ.

FOTR review from a Tolkien scholar.
Tehanu @ 9:59 pm EST

Friday night here in Toronto, I had the privilege of watching Peter Jackson's "The Fellowship of the Ring." Alliance Atlantis, the film's distributor in Canada, kindly invited me to the press preview screening. Given the enormous challenge Peter Jackson and his team faced, we should commend them for a wonderful piece of film-making.

To convey the vast and mythic scope of Tolkien's masterpiece in a three-hour film would have made most directors (and studios) recoil in dread. Yet Jackson and the other talented individuals have set out to present the greatness of "The Lord of the Rings". The film is magnificent visually. For instance, the opening draws on the history of the One Ring from various parts of the book and, with grandeur, dramatizes the essential information and establishes the serious epic tone. Throughout the entire film, we see key aspects of Tolkien's "sub-creation," his invented history and world. There are the necessary points, such as the wretched background of Gollum, and the more obscure, such as the origin of the different races of orcs.

The flim also portrays effectively the idyllic pastoral life of the hobbits. Jackson seems equally at home in the deep, dark dungoens of Isengard or in the light, lovely land of Lothlorien. (If the film doesn't win the awards for art direction and cinematography, a fix must be in.) There is a vivid blend of actual landscape, animation, and computer generated graphics. Readers will always have their own unique visions of the Middle-earth realms. Jackson and his great crew of artists, artisans, and crafts people created a spectacle that does reflect the essence of Tolkien's masterpiece.

Another strong feature is the sound. The score never seems to dominate the action or dialogue, but rather nicely augments the scenes. When the music is silent, the breathing, grunts, and clash of weapons heighten the tension. The ballads by Enya sound lovely. Many of us in the cinema stayed throughout the closing credits mainly to enjoy the music.

The acting, overall, was polished and genuine. Elijah Wood's Frodo appeared vulnerable and frightened, while still displaying inner fortitude. Sir Ian McKellen's Gandalf was indeed majestic. Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Bean, and Cate Blanchett also performed well. All the actors appeared committed to their roles and endeavoured to bring out the best in them.

The pace of the film is brisk. As a Tolkien scholar, I would have preferred more reflective and poignant moments. When Gandalf convinces Bilbo to give up the Ring is in the film, and it's very moving. Other scenes, such as those with Gandalf and Frodo, or Aragorn and the hobbits, or Gimli and Legolas are quite abbreviated, which may impinge on character development. I'm sure it was agonizingly difficult for the screenwriters to cut and condense so much of Tolkien's great text. Perhaps some of the action sequences could have been trimmed and more time given for calm reflection. A number of key moments do appear, such as Gandalf's words to Frodo about having pity for Gollum. The Saruman subplot receives significant screen time, with some added spectacular scenes, yet the time in Rivendell and Lothlorien was briefer than I would have wished.

Further, many Tolkien fans and scholars might object to the alterations and additions to the author's text. They would understand that screenwriters must edit and paraphrase the book's dialogue and scenes, especially with a work as rich and extensive as Tolkien's. Perhaps the writers were concerned that some of Tolkien's wordings might seem too archaic or formal to a general movie audience, one that hasn't read the books and doesn't know (or appreciate) the august nature of works like the Anglo-Saxon "Beowulf" or the Old Norse "Poetic Edda".

For many Tolkien enthuasists, "The Lord of the Rings is like a sacred text: you modify it at your peril. It remains to be seen if some changed scenes, such as the attack of the Ringwraiths at the edge of Rivendell or the Gandalf and Saruman confrontation, will upset Tolkien fans. When Tolkien's own wordings essentially remain, such as in the Gandalf and Balrog battle or in the Aragorn and Boromir scene near the end, they come across exceedingly well.

In the final analysis, anyone can find flaws and quibbles with any film, great or otherwise. Given the monumental task of bringing to the screen Tolkien's vast epic masterpiece, New Line Cinema and Peter Jackson have done an amazing and admirable feat. The film does display the lofty and serious tone of the books of "The Lord of the Rings" and honours its subject matter. Some people may quarrel with certain scene changes and dialogue choices. Still, the look, the feel, the overall impression is Tolkienian. And for that, this Tolkien admirer is grateful.

Daniel Timmons, Ph.D.

Daniel Timmons is the producer, writer, and director of "The Legacy of _The Lord of the Rings_," a forthcoming literary documentary. See Scripts and Scribes.com for details.

Movie Television Talks LOTR
Xoanon @ 5:32 pm EST

Delekhan writes: The Movie Television tv show in Toronto, on the CityTV channel, ran a special segment on LotR with interviews of various cast members and director Peter Jackson. [More] (RealPlayer Needed)

Also, I was looking around to see if we in Canada would get to see the Making Of special that set to run on the US Sci-Fi channel. Good news! I saw the following on the website for Canada's Space Channel:

Behind The Scenes: The Lord Of The Rings

This 1 hour inside scoop on what is sure to be a HUGE Box Office hit this Christmas season will immediately follow the conclusion of SPACE's Best of Trek Boxing Day Marathon. Wednesday, December 26 at 7pm ET, 2pm PT.

Media Watch: SET Magazine
Xoanon @ 5:18 pm EST

Alex writes: The most popular magazine of movies in Brazil, the "SET Cinema e V'deo" did in december a special report about Lord of The Rings containing more than 10 pages stuffed with a lot of pictures, map of Middle-Earth, a text on the life of Tolkien and a brief comment on all your books.

Not different from the rest of the world, here in Brazil we are thousands of fans awaiting the premiere of the movie.

Cedco Products Review
Tookish @ 2:03 pm EST

Calendars, Journals, Magic Cubes, Oh My!!

I don’t know about you, but I’m having one heck of a good time with all this great merchandising that’s accompanying LOTR: FOTR. Cedco in particular has many outstanding offerings for the Tolkien consumer.

I’ve had my hands on a range of Cedco products that I’d like to tell you about. First off is their movie calendar, full of large, high quality images of both good and evil characters. They also offer a smaller, narrower calendar that fits neatly into a locker or small quarters. Both of these hang in my classroom :)

I’ve also sent the 2002 datebook and 2001/2002 student planner to friends as gifts, and of course, they love them! One must give quality mathoms to friends, no? O, I also use the student planner myself. Helps while away the faculty meetings…

Cedco also offers journals of two sizes. They feel good in the hand, and the faux leather covers of the large pair appear pretty sturdy. My favorite is a mock up Bilbo’s own Red Book, which looks like it could have been a gift from the hobbit’s library. Both large journals also feature an elastic ribbon placeholder, which does look like it may wear out over time. There are two smaller journals, one showcasing Arwen, and the other, Frodo. Both would serve as great diaries for kids, a travel journal, poetry tablet, or other uses.

If you’d like to check out these or other Cedco products, check out their website here.

A Fan Reviews FOTR
Calisuri @ 1:30 pm EST

I had the opportunity to view the film more than a week ago, (I'd rather not reveal where, always gotta protection the connection), and have given it a lot of thought. I thought it was very, very good. I will try to be balanced in my critique, but it is difficult not to let enthusiasm froth over, even with a couple of blemishes present.

I am not sure how many were home on Saturday night to see the "Film Stories" on TNT this evening, but it revealed some very decent footage, and we are close enough to the opening that, well, I am ready to spill some beans. It is Saturday night, I have a cold and it is miserable out, so here I sit, wondering how much I can share without spoiling it. I will address it primarily from the perspective of how it may compare with Harry Potter, not because I even believe they are worthy of compare, but because FOTR is a commercial venture - isn't that the element that causes the most concern of compromise to all who love the books? - and given both the cost of making the movies and the recent box office take of HP, it is perhaps a logical place to begin an analysis. You see, I think the film is very, very good, and I respect enormously the devotion, energy, money, and old fashioned hard work (247 filming days!!) of Peter Jackson, the cast, and Bob Shaye and Mike Lynne at New Line Cinema. There is nothing more I want to see than that this film be a smashing success.

So what are the potential negatives that could interfere with that? Let me get them out of the way first. It is 2hrs 50min long (don't buy the large coke), but HP was about as long, so that needn't be an issue in itself. It is much more violent and the monsters much more threatening than HP. Whoever of you recently voted for the Balrog scene in Moria as the footage you'd most like to see, well, you are on to something there. But it is definitely sufficient to disturb the dreams of kids for whom HP was nothing intimidating. The fight scenes are very well executed, with very good sword work as well as impressive use of other weapons, but is it family fare? This would have been music to my ears prior to seeing it, but does it limit the audience?

Another element that may rub some the wrong way is that, as everyone already knows, there are certain liberties taken with the story line. Arwen has an expanded role, for example, stepping into Glorfindel's shoes at the Ford of Rivendell. Certain dialogue is changed, but there were only a couple of times that it bothered me. Sure, in an ideal world I'd like Tom Bombadil and the Barrow Wights included. Yes, it is hard to communicate the mystery and magic of elves without all the detail and subtle innuendo of Tolkien's narrative. But how long would you make the film?

Which brings up what may be the toughest hurdle for the film to overcome, the complexity of the plotline and the sheer number of characters. It presented no issue for me, having read the books 6 or so times, but how audiences who've haven't read the book will react is tough for me to judge. For anyone reading these words on theonering.net, it is not an issue. I mention it out of my concern to see it do well.

Now, to the film's strengths, which far outweigh any flaws. Let me tell you that this movie is a must see. It is beautiful beyond compare, its cinematography hard to believe for those not familiar with New Zealand's geology, (and who is? ... apologies to our Kiwi brethren). That country's insane beauty combine seamlessly with the special effects of the film, to a degree that it becomes almost too much to absorb. I could not distinguish between real and effect generated, and the whole world looks so real that it threatens to inure the senses from one amazing shot to the next. With two exceptions both related to the elves, every site, every location, matched or surpassed how I'd painted them for years in my mind's eye.

Beyond the scenery, the effects are incredible. The forces of darkness never looked so good. As I mention above, I thought they were not just incredibly realistic, but pretty darn scary. I really want to say more, but will not.

In another sense FOTR shines, particularly relative to HP, which is for kiddies, while FOTR provides much more mature treatment of a couple of themes. One is power, the temptation it presents for human nature, and the price for it that must be paid. This is a theme at the heart of the battle between light and darkness since the beginning of time ... from eat of the apple and your eyes will be opened and you will be as God, to just bow down before me and all this will be yours, on to Faust and Mephistopheles, etc. ... I read something recently (in the Wall Street Journal, I think) that argued that HP doesn't address that issue except in the most superficial way, yet the subject of that movie was the goal of all alchemy, the Philosopher's Stone. That author is right on target there.

You will see a treatment of the One Ring that seemed to me even darker than the books', and in the makers desire to cultivate that subject you will see a fairly complete development of the lead characters and how they relate to that temptation. Gandalf is excellent, as are the different ways Boromir and Aragorn address their temptations (look for an additional and unlooked for facet in the feelings of the latter toward the Ring).

I am at loss at how much more I can say without stealing the thrill of surprise, so at risk of keeping this too short and superficial I will draw the line here. The bottom line is that the FOTR is an astounding film, unlike anything you have ever seen. Whether you have read the books or not, it must be seen. As for myself, I will be back to see it in the theatre at least twice more, and am even considering coughing up the $250 or even $500 (to be in the same room as the cast, PJ, and New Line bigwigs) at the fundraiser for the 9/11 disaster this Thursday. It seizes the imagination and does not let go.

Best to all,

Lord of the Ring Goodies In Marinela Cookies
Strider @ 7:48 am EST

From RosaNegra:

I thought to share with you these cool LoTR goodies I found today inside Marinela's cookies and candy bread, one of the most important Mexican companies. (www.marinela.com.mx)

These things are named DGD2 (don't ask me why) and are pretty popular among kids. Marinela is used to release a series of DGD2 from the kid's major movies (like Disney ones) and TV series like Pokemon or Digimon.

[ click for larger image ]

LoTR series has 30 different DGD2 (which is a pretty decent number) I can describe them as tiny freezbies. Some of them have The One Ring you can remove from the inner circle (that has a character photo). You put The One Ring in a notch from the inner circle and if you throw it, they fly like a freezbie.

12-08-01 Latest News

Still ringing true
Xoanon @ 2:47 pm EST

Reading The Lord of the Rings—this time as an adult—remains an overwhelming experience
By Gene Edward Veith

Here are beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron; here is a book that will break your heart."

That blurb on the back cover of the old Ballentine edition of The Lord of the Rings captured exactly the way I felt, as a 14-year-old having just finished the last book of Tolkien's trilogy. The comment seemed so apt that the name of the critic stuck in my mind: someone named C.S. Lewis. Not too long after that, I was browsing in a bookstore and saw his name on a book of his own: Screwtape Letters. I opened it up and saw that it had been dedicated to J.R.R. Tolkien. Surely, I had to read this book by someone whose taste in literature was so much like mine. Eventually, I would read Lewis's Mere Christianity, which opened up to my broken heart the sword-piercing beauties of Christianity.

Still later, when I was in college, an off-handed remark about "the one ring" helped me connect with a young woman who turned out also to be a big Tolkien fan. We ended up getting married. Which led to having our children.

How odd that a work of fantasy should have such an impact in my real world. While many Tolkien fans re-read the trilogy over and over, I never did, being content to keep savoring my first impression. Now that a trilogy of movies is coming out based on Tolkien's saga—the first of which, The Fellowship of the Ring, is scheduled for release on Dec. 19—I resolved to ready myself by reading the books again.

Then I was 14; now I am 50. Then I was just waking up to a love of reading; now I am an English professor, a professional reader (something else I probably owe to the impact of the trilogy). Then my world was a lot smaller and my experiences much more limited than they are now, after 36 years of living. Reading it again after all those years, I could remember how the different events in the story struck me the first time and compare that with my reactions as I am today. I know I understood it better this time—seeing it not as just a children's book but as a work that raises issues only adults can fully grasp—and I can say that it was just as good and maybe better the second time around.

"The world changes,
and all that once was strong now proves unsure. How shall any tower withstand such numbers and such reckless hate?"

—The Two Towers

Fittingly, my reading project had an auspicious beginning. I started The Fellowship of the Ring in earnest the week after the Sept. 11 attacks. I was taking my first plane trip after the hijackings, one of the few passengers in a big airliner bound for Detroit, uneasy, frisked at the gate, still overwhelmed by the magnitude of the assault upon our country.

Here I was, reading about those complacent, ordinary, homebound folks, the hobbits, whose comfortable lives were interrupted by the Shadow. In the weeks ahead, as our nation geared for war, and then as our forces attacked, what I was reading had a special resonance. It was not just that Tolkien kept referring to two towers, or the suspense that kept building through the first two books and the weeks after the attack that would finally break out in a spectacular war. Here was the city of Gondor, a once great civilization in palpable decline, having to regain its history and its nerve. Here, for all of the military exploits of great warriors, the real heroism was on display in ordinary folks that the high and mighty had always overlooked.

As I was flying in that airplane under terrorist alert and reading my book, something else compounded my intimations of mortality: turning 50. The AARP sign-up cards had already arrived in the mail, I was feeling my age, and I had been finding myself fantasizing about retirement. But before we landed in Detroit, I read about how both Bilbo and Frodo began their adventures on their 50th birthdays. I left the plane oddly exhilarated.

"Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the GoldenWood as in his own house."
—The Two Towers

As Lewis tells the story of his conversion in Surprised by Joy, it was Tolkien's witnessing—and his arguments—that led him away from atheism into the Christian faith. Those stories they both loved, drawn from legend and fantasy, about a Dying God, about resurrection and redemption: These are not just myths, Tolkien argued. They became true in the Jesus Christ of history. Jesus is really who He said He was, God in the flesh, who died and rose again to bring human beings new life.

When Lewis accepted this truth, he became a great apologist for the faith. Tolkien, on the other hand, kept writing fantasy.

Some Christians are leery of fantasy, even of Tolkien's, which contains wizards, wraiths, and the demonic Sauron, who is, in fact, the Lord of the Ring. Might reading this sort of thing lead to meddling in the occult? In the debate over Harry Potter, defenders but also some critics of J.K. Rowling's wildly popular children's novels about a school for witches are saying that The Sorcerer's Stone is no different from The Lord of the Rings.

But there is a difference. As Richard Adanes, author of Harry Potter and the Bible, points out, Tolkien's Gandalf is not a wizard at all, in the Harry Potter sense; rather, in the Middle Earth universe, he is a being roughly equivalent to an angel. In The Silmarilion, in which Tolkien gives the background and the details of his imaginary realm, he begins with a Genesis-like creation story, along with a fall. He writes of one God who makes all of Middle Earth and fills it with beings with natural—not occult—powers of their own.

As pastor Joel Brondos points out, the themes of the two fantasies are practically opposites. Harry Potter is about an outcast boy who seeks and acquires power. The Lord of the Rings, on the other hand, is about the rejection of power. The whole point of the story, on which the whole plot depends, is that the power of the Ring, because it has been forged by the Dark Lord, must not be used. Though the temptation to use its occult power is great, to do so corrupts the user, even if it were used for a good end or to defeat Sauron. The user would become a new Sauron. The forces of good—Gandalf, the elves—know that the Ring must be destroyed but that they themselves dare not touch it. So they ask the weak but strong-charactered hobbits to go to Mordor, the lair of its evil maker, to destroy the Ring by throwing it into the volcanic crack of Mt. Doom.

The trilogy is filled with Christian motifs—resurrection, providence, sacrifice, the promise that a king will return—but it is not (like The Chronicles of Narnia) an allegory, a genre Tolkien disliked. Tolkien called what he was doing a "sub-creation." God created the universe so human beings, made in His image, can imitate Him, though faintly, by making creations of their own. Whereas God's creation is real, an author's creation (or, rather, "sub-creation") is fictional, existing only in the mind and the imagination, though potentially meaningful and valuable nonetheless.

"Orcs, and talking trees, and leagues of grass, and galloping riders, and glittering caves, and white towers and golden halls, and battles, and tall ships sailing, all these passed before Sam's mind."
—The Return of the King

In his essay "On Fairy Stories," Tolkien deals with the charge of "escapism," the objection that fairy tales, fantasies, and stories like his merely provide escape. The assumption, he said, is that escaping is always a bad thing. For someone who is imprisoned, the most healthy thing he can do is to escape the walls that shut him in.

Non-Christians are indeed in a prison. They think that nothing exists beyond what they can see—the hard, stone walls of the material world. They have no understanding of spiritual realities, that good and evil are not mere psychological states but objective truths, that they can be freed from their bondage of sin into an everlasting life wonderful beyond their conception. They need an evangelism of their imaginations.

What The Lord of the Rings offers and conveys is a Christian sensibility. It gives readers a taste of the attractiveness of Goodness and the repulsiveness of Evil. It evokes a sense of mystery and longing, a sense that this world has cosmic significance, as does the part each of us is called to play.

"'Why, to think of it, we're in the same tale still! It's going on. Don't the great tales never end?'

'No, they never end as tales,' said Frodo. 'But the people in them come, and go when their part's ended. Our part will end later—or sooner.'

'And then we can have some rest and some sleep,' said Sam."

—The Two Towers.

Another LOTR Review
Xoanon @ 2:12 pm EST

From: Unnamed

I live in New York City and have had the opportunity to see a screening of the finished Lord of the Rings last Thursday.I have to say (being a complete fan of the books, and having read them all at least 3 times), that I was BLOWN AWAY at the accuracy and overall dedication to the integrity of the books. MUCH more than I was expecting from Hollywood.They created Middle Earth exactly the way I've envisioned it. The battles are gruesomely realistic, Orcs are horrific, all the characters are so nobly portrayed. I heard someone say outside, after the screening, how LOTR was everything Harry Potter wasn't.

The greatest part for me was having it all the nuances of the stories come back to me as the movie happened. I had worried that since it had been about 12 years since I'd read any of the books that I may be too foggy. No way. I was all as clear as a bell. And such a classic, serious approach to the story. No gratuitous one liners or watered down kiddy simplicity. After the heartbreak of Planet of the Apes I was SO expecting an abomination of the original story.

I don't know if this is exactly what you want as far as a "spy report", I just wanted to share my enthusiasm. I totally dont work for any movie company, I just have a friend who does and he got me into the screening.

Anyhow, just wanted to rid any doubt anyone may have on the possibility of yet another Hollywood destruction of a masterpiece, and further the anticipation for the "RingHeads".

The One Ring(s)
Xoanon @ 1:42 pm EST

Sebastian writes: Today the Christchurch Press has a feature about the South Island's involvement in LOTR, here's an article about the making of the One Ring prop:


The ring is the thing that all the excitement is about, on screen at least, and when it's flashed around the world's movie screens from next week, audiences will be seeing the results of craftsmanship practised in a small jewellery studio near the cathedral in central Nelson.

But Thorkild Hansen, who runs Jens Hansen Jeweller, is unmoved by the fuss surrounding this particular piece of work.

It may be about to become the movie world's most famous piece of jewellery, but "at the end of the day, it's just another ring", he argues.

Hansen and his father, Jens (who died in 1999), were approached by a member of the Rings production team and asked if they could make the movie's centrepioece.

They knew the story - father had read it to son years earlier - and they produced 15 prototypes for the movie makers to choose from, all variations of a simple, plain gold band (the engraving which features on it in the film was added digitally).

About 35 versions of the rinal ring were created. With a large number of different actors wearing it throughout the three movies, different sized copies were needed to fit different sized fingers, and spares produced in case of losses.

Hansen has kept the original and it sits on his workshop bench, "like a paperweight".

E!s "Behind The Scenes"
Xoanon @ 1:27 pm EST

From: Heather

Here's some new information. I was at the listing of tvguide.com and went looking for E!s "Behind The Scenes" show around the time the movie opens and there it was.

Behind The Scenes: LOTR

Wednesday, December 19th 7 PM
Thursday, December 20th 3 PM
Sunday, December 22 9 PM

Daily Mirror Review Of FOTR
Strider @ 10:06 am EST

Greatest Show on Middle-Earth
By Joe Merret

It has taken £200 million to bring Tolkien's magical world to life in an awe inspiring movie trilogy. But as I sat back and watched the first part of the spectacle unfold before me yesterday, I knew it had been worth every penny. As one of the first people in Britain to see the Fellowship of the Ring, I felt as though I had been scooped up and carried away on the most incredible journey of the imagination. Peter Jackson has turned a literary epic into a feast for the eyes and mind, bringing picturesque Hobbiton to life with each hand crafted house down to each blade of grass and tulip, every frame is visibly overwhelming.

But mythical Middle-earth has its share of violence and ugliness too. Within the landscapes are the most horrible characters - evil creatures. Nor is the blood and gore understated. Arrows pierce eyeballs and black blood squelches out as slimy creatures are decapitated. It's not for the very young or faint hearted. (here the critic lays out the usual plot details here that are cut) On his journey, Frodo and friends are pursued by nine black riders, sent to capture him. It is not long before Frodo is embroiled in a series of vicious, bloody battles that, unlike the Harry Potter film, are definately aimed at the older audience. I found much of this part truly terrifying. At one point they were surrounded by a swirling mist so realistic that I could feel a chill on the back of my neck. And the ferocious orcs are even more terrifying on screen. They are grey, wrinkly, slime coloured creatures that will play a part in many nightmares in the coming weeks. The orcs, together with the Uruk-Hai warriors and a cave troll, attack Frodo and the fellowship in the mines of Moria, blah blah, (usual story telling bit cut here )

The story realy works as a film, and like the tales themselves, has an appeal that's hard to beat. Sadly for JK Rowling, Harry Potter does not have it on the same grand scale. There is a real sense of drama and urgency as you find yourself being drawn into this world of good versus evil, where passion and morality are the supreme forces. The movie touches the audience with real emotion and fear, setting it apart from any other of its type that I have seen. When young Frodo was scared, I could feel my muscle tensing for him. The famous faces woven into the story are masterful. As gandalf, Sir Iam MacKellen is the most wizardly wizard imaginable, with wispy beard and pointed hat. And veteran star Christopher Lee is chillingly evil as Saruman. The beautiful Cate Blanchett is a shimmering vision of goodness in her role, while Sean Bean is as sexy and surly as ever as Boromir. When Liv Tyler appears in a stunning, cream coloured dress that sets off her dark hair, she makes you gasp at her beauty. As Arwen, she performs brilliantly, particulary as she speaks in Elf talk accompanied by subtitles.

Jacksons camera work keeps the film moving swiftly and is perfect for the rapid action battle sequences. To all those people who have been turned off by the prospect of Tolkien, viewing his tales as simply wierd stuff about trolls and elves, I say: Do go and see this film. Its is gritty and scary in a down to earth yet mystical way that makes you feel like there is a little bit of hobbit in everyone. Despite its PG certificate, I really would not recomment taking young children to see this. It's far to gory for that. But to anyone else, The Fellowship of the Ring will prove irresistable. It is a hugely satisfying watch and a chance for a little escapism for a few hours. I cannot wait to see the next two films and get another helping of that magical Middle-Earth.

Elijah Wood Interview On MTV
Strider @ 8:13 am EST

From Berendir:

I was watching MTV around 1:30 EST, and a news report came on featuring an interview with Elijah Wood on the Fellowship of the Ring. They played rock music over a few scenes we've seen repeated frequently in commercials, then talked about Frodo's taste, or distaste rather, of the food in New Zealand, and his spare time working as a DJ in the local clubs. After they showed some footage first seen from the fox special with the rock music theme. It is safe to say Howard Shore's soundtrack does a better job of fitting the feel of the Lord of the Rings.

Stars Come Out For Danish Premiere
Strider @ 7:59 am EST

From Ghost of Deagol:

Just writing to inform you that Christopher Lee (together with his Danish wife through 30 years, Giee Krönke) and Viggo Mortensen will attend the FotR premiere the 18th of Dec. in Denmark.

An addition to the two FotR stars, representatives from the Danish royal family will attend: Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik. The royal family has decided to show up since the gala event is also a fund raiser for The Red Cross. The ticket price is 500 DKr, so for once the celebrities must grab their pockets.

Queen Margrethe is actually a great Tolkien-admirerer, and has illustrated the special edition of The Lord of the Rings back in the 70s, when she as a princess still attended university in England.

The special edition was published in 1997 with illustrations by Ingahild Grathmer, the queen's pseudonym at that time. This edition has just been republished.

A link with additional info for Danish readers: www.eb.dk/VisArtikel.iasp?PageID=146908

Advanced Minneapolis Showing
Strider @ 7:38 am EST

From Asarina:

Minnesota "Lord of the Rings" fans can catch an advance screening of the feature film one week before its Dec. 19 official release date.

The film will be shown at 7 pm Wednesday, Dec. 12, at the Historic State Theater in downtown Minneapolis. The advance screening is a fund-raiser event for Carleton College in Northfield. The film's executive producer Barrie Osborne graduated from Carleton in 1966.

Tickets are available at two levels: a $50 ticket includes the 7 pm screening and a post-screening social hour at Backstage at Bravo in Minneapolis; a $200 ticket includes those events plus a pre-reception with Osborne at The Palomino restaurant.

Tickets can be purchased by calling the Carleton College Office of Alumni Affairs at 1-800-729-2586.

The Hobbits On UK Morning SM:TV
Strider @ 6:38 am EST

Morning guys and gals! I flicked over to ITV just in time to see the four hobbits, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd sitting together ready to begin their interview.

The interview begins with the presenter asking where Sean Bean is. The four all say that Sean couldn't be here because he has some problems..then all four simultaneously open their mouths and put their finger over it. Dominic turns to the camera and says if Sean is watching, they'll bring him some corks next time they see him.

They then begin to show a minute of the clip of Sean Bean holding the ring on Caradhras which we brought to you exclusively here yesterday. I can honestly say it looks ten times as good on television.

We return to the boys, and the first question is to Elijah. What was his favourite part of the whole production? Elijah says any time that all four of them together was great, which gets a chorus of 'awwwwww' from the audience. "We've become great mates." Sean Astin then mentions the helicopters that they had to take to fly up the mountains for months on end. Dominic mentions he flew a plane twice during the shootings.

The next question is to Sean Bean, who ain't here, asks whether it's true that the New Zealand army was involved in the shooting. All of them admit that the New Zealand army was used during the films, they think in the Rohan scene. Billy tells us how great it was to have their own personal army behind them, especially leading them into battle despite being much smaller than the soliders themselves.

The next question for Dominic asks how difficult it was to get the part. Monaghan says that they went through days of training in the gym, learning how to fight with swords, and all the other skills they needed to play the parts.

Finally, Elijah is asked whether it's true that he has the One Ring. Elijah admits it's true, and then does his best Gollum impression, muttering 'my preciousss'.

The hobbits then feature in a skit later on in the show, in which the show's presenter, Cat Deeley, pretends to be a bride mourning in her appartment after leaving her groom at the altar. Sean and Billy come out first and talk with Cat, saying they would take her and her friend out if they weren't on the rebound. They claim to be honorable guys, and that their mates, who aren't as respectable as they are, might be interested. Pop group Westlife come out with Dominic. All of them act very macho and sleazy until Cat says she has a bit of a breath problem, and all of the guys leave. The show ends a minute later.

In the end, it was great to see all four of the Hobbit actors together and even better to see footage from the Fellowship of the Ring.

Go back to Special Reports Archives