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July 01, 2007 - August 16, 2007

8-16-07 Latest News

Massive Helm’s Deep Miniature Exhibition in Malta
Xoanon @ 12:32 pm EST

James writes: The AME (Association of Model Engineers) is organizing its Annual Exhibition, held between 8th and 16th September, 2007 and this year it is showcasing a massive miniature of Helm’s Deep, the main fortress of Rohan.

The exhibition will be held at the Scouts Headquarters in Floriana, Malta and shall display a wide range of models of all types of genres; including Military, Fantasy and Science Fiction.

This year, the Association has been working hard to construct this highly detailed model has been carefully built to closely match the film version.

The diorama is also filled with various models, including Elves, Uruk-Hai and the Men of Rohan, depicting the battle as portrayed in the film. Other models include, siege ladders, catapults and a group of Uruk-hai with a battering ram attacking the gates.

Apart from this diorama, a collection of highly detailed figures of The Lord of the Rings are displayed separately during the exhibition. Last year’s main centre-piece was a diorama of a Rohan keep being attacked by orcs. This year, the AME has taken a step further into realizing this full 3 feet by 2 feet diorama of the Battle of Helm’s Deep.

No photos of the model are available yet, since it is still under construction. For further information on the Exhibition and the Association itself, please click the following to the AME website: www.a-m-e.org

John Howe's Journal: Just Between Us
Xoanon @ 11:42 am EST

Or A Few Words and Some Pictures
By John Howe

At rather a loss as to what to actually write for this newsletter, I've fallen back on the tried and true method of using something I've written before. (I have an excuse, I am working very assiduously writing texts for another book.)

Following is the introduction from FANTASY ART WORKSHOP, just so you won't have to read it IN the bookshop come October, and can get directly to Terry Gilliam's fantastic foreword and Alan Lee's poetical afterword. (In between there are a few pictures, you can skip those if need be.)

Just Between Us

I wanted to call this book “How to Draw Like Me It’s A Cinch Anybody Can Do It”, but the editors seem strangely reticent. (They said it was too long, so we agreed on a different choice of words.)

It’s almost what the book is all about, but not quite. I will ramble on endlessly about how I draw and paint, but it’s REALLY all about how to draw like YOU. If you’re reading this introduction, and wondering if this would be money well spent, I’ll try to save you some time.

If you know how to draw already and you are quite satisfied with the results, then this book is not really for you.

If you feel figurative and narrative imagery is dull, this book is not for you.

If you feel that mythology and fantasy have little to say to our modern world, then this book is most definitely not for you.

If you are searching for off-the-shelf methods and surefire technical tricks of the trade, then this book is not for you.

If you believe pictures should speak for themselves, I’m tempted to tell you to buy it; there is an abundance of loquacious imagery inside.


If you find your mind is so full of images that they keep escaping unbidden from your fingertips, then this book may be for you.

If you are unsure of the direction your artwork wishes to take, but know you should be heading somewhere, then this book may be a signpost of a kind for your journey.

If you find pleasure in telling stories in pictures, then this book may help you.

If life has obliged you to leave pages of yourself unturned, and you’d feel better with a little company for a chapter or two, then perhaps this book is for you.

I should say right from the start that I dislike most “How To...” books, unless they are purely technical, and concern themselves spark plugs, hot water pipes or computer software.. I dislike the temptation to reduce an intuitive and intensely personal process to a series of steps or a recipe. I am dubious of assemblages of rectangles and ovals magically becoming horses, tigers or trees. I moan when I see famous paintings divided into arbitrary circles, triangles and (fool’s-)golden means.

They reduce drawing to a method, in exactly the same fashion that first-graders learn to form legible letters - they are the equivalent of row upon row of vertical strokes, circles and diagonals.. Naturally, you will learn to write legibly, but you may not learn to express yourself.

Drawing is giving oneself up to an exercise with no immediate application. It is a form of communion with your subject, be it in front of you or in your head. Expertise and skill go hand in hand with your desire to express feelings, to tell stories, to create and share worlds.

It’s personal.

So, I have tried to find the words to say how I feel. With each picture being worth a thousand, that makes quite a few. The editors have had to seriously cut their number, and I’m grateful to them for allowing my thoughts such unruly growth, only pruning when necessary.

This book is personal too. I can only speak for myself, not for illustration theory. Nor am I trying to speak to some fictitious potential average buyer/reader.

If I could, I would rewrite this book for each one of you, and include a couple of chapters of your work. Of course, this isn’t possible, so I beg your indulgence.

Inside, you’ll find a first section that talks about how I get along with the Muse and find my inspiration (wherever and however I can), the second about what materials and techniques I use and how I use them (as best I can).

A third looks at a selection of my work, with step-by-step case studies to give blow-by-blow accounts of the process (this is the book’s reality show slice of life, complete with commissioning editors, deadlines and last-minute deliveries), while the fifth section deals with presenting your work and a last bit about the varied fields illustration can lead you to wander in.

And, lastly, to my comrades-in-art and fellow illustrators, I beg your indulgence also for this foray into the dreaded land of Explanation and the perilous realm of Reason, momentarily forsaking the foggy shores of Inspiration. I am speaking only for myself, not for my profession. All of you have your own voices. (But buy the book anyway.)


Otherwise, I'd like to mention a couple of recent interviews. (Please do go read them, the authors deserve every encouragement for patiently dealing with my inconsistencies and tardiness with a rare brand of perseverance.

Interview done in Saint-Ursanne with Pieter Collier, at the Tolkien Library.

This one is very short and tongue-in-cheek, on the LCSV4 site.

And while we are on the subject of talking to strangers, here's another on-line interview: Middle Ages Meets Middle-Earth.

An fantasy/Tolkien literary conference set for Israel
MrCere @ 2:50 am EST

Udi writes:

"For the third year in a row, Mythopia is one of the most prominent literary conventions in the Israeli landscape. Starting off with academic lectures on the works of J. R. R. Tolkien and J. K. Rowling, it began to house other literary endeavours such as those of Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials", G. R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" and C. S. Lewis's "Narnia".

The convention attracts a wide range of audiences, from early teens to mature adults, all interested in fannish delving or academic exploration, with no correlation to the age of the audience, who enjoys the stage of Israel's top academic lecturers concerning literary works in the fantastic genre, producing a fantastic convention.

One of the lectures about Tolkien's work is
Túrin and Frodo: A Fate Too Similarly Different / Ran Bar-Zik
Túrin, the hero of "The Children of Húrin", seems vastly different than Frodo, the hero of "Lord of the Rings". A closer inspection
reveals that the similarities outnumber the differences, and sometime Frodo mirrors Túrin to extremes.
The lecture shall examine the similarities and difference and will attempt to reach a conclusion on Tolkien's storybuilding and the eternal element of the dance between myth and modern."

I can't read a word of it but Udi tells us the official site can be found right here

8-07-07 Latest News

TV Watch: Peter Jackson in 'Entourage' Clip
Xoanon @ 2:02 pm EST

Peter Jackson in spandex MoCap goodness!

Darkchylde Film Taking Flight?
Xoanon @ 1:31 pm EST

Darkchylde Film Taking Flight?

Randy from www.darkchylde.com writes: Just wanted to give a heads up that the first filmic images have been captured of Darkchylde, based on the comic of the same name. I am intimately involved, as is 5 time Oscar Winner Richard Taylor (King Kong, Lord of the Rings) and Weta Workshop, and Dark Horse (Hellboy).

Story revolves around a very pretty girl's curse that allows her to transform into different creatures from her nightmares. Ariel Chylde is a physical pandora's box, and these creatures borrow her blood and bones to hitchhike over to our world. Everytime Ariel changes, she sets a different creature free in her small southern town.

We have the A list team, and our expressed goal is to produce an original, beautifully shot, atmospheric horror film, played very straight and very dark, ala a modern Carrie or Ridley Scott's Alien, with a wicked, sexy cool Underworld vibe. Our only wish is to create a film for the horror fans of the world to get excited about, so everyone please wish us luck!

Promise to report more when able.

~Randy Queen
Darkchylde Ent.

8-03-07 Latest News

Xoanon @ 12:32 pm EST


Or the True Nature of Glamour

Today, the word "glamour" is more closely associated with '50's film starlets and glossy magazines than with its original meaning.

Here is what the dictionaries say:

1720, "magic, enchantment" (especially in phrase to cast the glamour), a variant of Scot. gramarye "magic, enchantment, spell," alt. of Eng. grammar (q.v.) with a medieval sense of "any sort of scholarship, especially occult learning." Popularized by the writings of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). Sense of "magical beauty, alluring charm" first recorded 1840. Glamorous can be dated to 1882 (slang shortening glam first attested 1936); glamorize is dated 1936.

The etymology is intriguing and a little frustrating. "Gammayre" is almost systematically listed as a Sottish variant on "grammar" (14th century), which is of course from Greek grammatike tekhne ‘art of letters’, from gramma ‘letter of the alphabet’. Not much to do with spells, but more with spelling. Hmmm... spells and spelling... it's tempting, but a bit of a long-jump of faith, casting spells is not really like spelling correctly, despite the magic of putting names to things. [More]

8-01-07 Latest News

John Howe's Journal
Xoanon @ 12:05 pm EST

With kind permission John Howe has allowed us to re-print his newsletter entries as they are released. Take a look at the latest edition!

The Rest of the Rest - I realize I have been remiss is announcing events in Saint-Ursanne - actually I've been a little too busy with what I've been doing to think about announcing what I will be doing...

Here are the rest of the dates:

AUGUST 10th Conference/debate With François Rouiller, author & illustrator The theme will be the many faces of Heroes in fantasy. Hotel La Cigogne, 8:00 p.m.

AUGUST 11th Signing session At the cloister. This will begin at 2:00 p.m. and likely last a couple of hours. Normally, we will distribute numbered tickets for a dozen signatures with drawings, the remainder will be signatures only.

AUGUST 23rd Conference/debate Medieval fantasy art, with Sara Petrucci. Restaurant de l'Ours, 7:00 p.m.

SEPTEMBER 1st Conference/debate Fantasy bestiary, with Sara Petrucci. Hotel de la Demi-Lune, 6:30 p.m.

SEPTEMBER 2nd Signing session This will be a joint signature session with Alan LEE, so it's possible it will turn into a bit of a marathon. This will be Alan's first (but hopefully not last) visit to Switzerland. The cloister: starting at 2:00 p.m. John


7-17-07 Latest News

Movies.com 2nd Annual Readers' Poll
Xoanon @ 12:47 pm EST



NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – July 17, 2007 – Movies.com returns with its exclusive Annual Readers’ Poll, and this year’s categories are sure to elicit entertaining and shocking results. Should Tobey Maguire continue his reign in the Spider-Man franchise? Will Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt outshine Suri Cruise? Movies.com readers decide - and maybe they’ll even sway Hollywood hard-hitters’ decisions!

"This is the only place where film fans get a chance to make their own voices heard, and on a range of topics from the serious to the irreverent,” said editorial director Lew Harris. “Last year, Johnny Depp ran away with most of the honors; we’re anxious to see who’s tickled the readers’ fancy this year.”

Today through August 14, fans can visit www.movies.com/fanpoll to cast nominations in categories devoted to individual movies, actors, and other quirky topics. Finalists in each category will be announced August 28 and voting for those nominees will be open until September 25. Official Movies.com Readers’ Poll winners will be announced on October 2.

Fans will be able to nominate their favorite movies and celebrities in the following categories:

All-Time Bests

Favorite Movie
Favorite Actor
Favorite Actress
Favorite Over-60
Favorite Soundtrack
Favorite Quote

The Next Big Thing

Hottest Upcoming Male
Hottest Upcoming Female
Movie You’re Most Looking Forward To
To Replace Tobey in Spidey 4
To Replace Tom Cruise in MI4
TV Show You Want to See on the Big Screen

Perfect Pictures

Most Romantic Movie
Funniest Movie
Best Sci-Fi Movie
Best Battle Scene
Best Car Chase
Best Performance by an Animal

Hollywood Yearbook

Time to Hang It Up…
In Need of Plastic Surgery
Too Much Plastic Surgery
Most Likely to Run for President
American Idol Most Likely to Next Star in a Movie
Best Celebrity Feud

Favorite Web Sites

Official Actor Site
Official Actress Site
Official Movie Site
Unofficial Movie Site
YouTube Trailer Smash

Movie-Fan Smack!

3D or 2D
Sweeney Todd or Mamma Mia
Golden Compass or Prince Caspian
Downey Jr.’s Iron Giant or Ed Norton’s Hulk
Oscars® or Golden Globes
Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt or Suri Cruise
Borat or Bruno
Brett Ratner or Michael Bay
Superman Returns 2 or… Forget It!
Hellboy 2 or Mummy 3?

About Movies.com

Launched in March 2000, Movies.com provides a broad array of news, original editorial features and services, including show times and ticket sales, to help movie fans make the right choice on movie night. Operated by the Walt Disney Internet Group, its content encompasses films from throughout the film industry and follows them from production through DVD release and interactive gaming extensions. Movies.com is the home of Jeanne Wolf's Hollywood and The Oscar® Party Challenge. It has received industry accolades including a 2006 EPpy™ award, a 2007 Webby award and numerous awards from the Web Marketing Association.

7-02-07 Latest News

WetaNZ Newsletter, July 2007
Xoanon @ 12:02 pm EST

Greetings from the Weta Team

Hi everyone

We'll it's been a busy couple of weeks since we caught up with you last, so we thought we'd try a new format - basically telling you more with less words ... or short and sweet as they say! Hope you enjoy ...

Cool Kong Workshops

Wellington gallery TheNewDowse will open their Becoming Kong exhibition last weekend, and to celebrate are hosting heaps of cool Kong workshops with Weta crew!

Collectibles now avail in UK

Good news for UK based collectors. We've made select Weta Collectibles pieces that were previously unavailable now ready for purchase in our UK warehouse.

Kong Book Sold Out!

We've sold out of Weta Publishing's first publication, The World Of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island from our three warehouses! If you want one, you will have to check out our other distributors.

Weta Collectibles secret reveal

Weta Collectibles has just revealed a sneaky teaser of what's to come next ... Could they be on the brink of revealing something big? Why yes they are! Can you guess?

Show exclusive revealed

The show exclusive piece for 2007 that will be available at this years San Diego Comic Con is a miniature version of the Weta Originals ManMelter from the Rayguns range, titled, the 'Manmelter 3600ZX sub-atomic disintegrator pistol - Miniature Version'.

Forum Blitz Announced

In July, Jane and the Dragon concept artists Frank Victoria and Rebekah Tisch will be blitzing the Weta Forums to answer all those question's you're dying to know on how the characters from the series came about.

New Zealand and Australian special offer

We've given Londoner's the chance to get their mitts on an exclusive King Kong Weta Collectibles; American's the offer to purchase a show exclusive and now we're running a special competition for our local antipodeans!

Pre-ordering opens for second Raygun

You can now pre-order the second of the Weta Original Rayguns, the F.M.O.M. Wave Disrupter Gun! The gun has many articulated parts and as such should only be operated by adults or very clever children.

New concept art

We've revealed exclusive concept art from the crew that came up with the Hellgate: London Weta Collectibles, and the designers that worked on early King Kong ideas and Jane and The Dragon concept sketches - check it out!

Weta's Body Art Sculptures

Weta Bug reveals the sculptures created for the Body Art Awards, and Senior Prosthetics Supervisor Gino Acevedo gives us his thoughts on the competition.

Jane and the Dragon on the big screen

Jane and the Dragon will be showing on the big screen at Wellington kids museum, Capital E in the school holidays, 9-14 July.

Weta's special dyslexia project

Earlier this year, we were invited to contribute to a very special project, to raise awareness for the New Zealand Dyslexia Foundation, and in May the sculpture was launched to the world ...

The making of Superman

Weta Bug interviews Superman Returns Visual Effects Supervisor Mark Stetson and asks him - how did the crew pull off the VFX?

Secret Kids Project!

Weta Bug discovers a very cool kids project the design team are working on, called 'Champ the Chopper'.

Meet the Crew

Designer Brad Goff loved working with Christian Gossett on The Red Star series, and for WetaHolics, reveals never seen before pix!

Franklin's Kong Pressie

Weta Co-Director Richard Taylor was raised in Te Hihi, Franklin, a small town of NZ, and donated a special King Kong sculpture to the special town this month...

Lonely Dog exhibition opens in NZ

Weta Bug schmoozes with the Lonely Dog lovers and reports on the official opening party of the Auckland art exhibition...

San Diego Comic Con

The Weta team will be out in force at the San Diego Comic Con in July. And as Comic Con nears, there will be plenty to talk about for you collectors out there... We'll be revealing more as Comic Con nears, so be sure to book mark www.wetaholics.com for your Weta News, as it happens.

That's it from the team here at Weta for now.

If you've got a friend who you think might enjoy these newsletters, why not forward this along and encourage them to sign up by emailing info@wetanz.co.nz

The Team @ Weta

Nominate your friends
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Email: info@wetanz.co.nz Website: www.wetanz.com
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7-01-07 Latest News

Lord of the Rings London Musical Review
Xoanon @ 8:31 pm EST

A fan’s review of the London Lord of the Rings musical

You can’t squeeze a book the size of the Lord of the Rings into a 3 hour musical and satisfy either the hard core fans or those new to the story. But, I think they did a great job regardless. The pace is breath taking, but the core of the story comes through. The music suited the mood well enough and the staging and the solutions to bring much loved characters to life worked brilliantly. The hobbits came on stage while the audience was still coming in, and performed a little skit about catching fireflies, which was very endearing, and morphed into a song which without further fuss opened the musical.

Spoilers ahead!

The toughest characters to portray well were fantastic. Gollum was a writhing, menacing, wretched little creature. The dark riders were a marvel, scary and imposing. They were created by an actor on stilts, with the body and head of the horse supported by a pole that the actor manipulated, which was at square angles to the stilts. The ents you can’t really do on stage, but the solution to put the actors on stilts resulted in dignified beings with booming voices. Shelob was truly terrifying and the audience’s reaction was a pleasure to behold. The effect was created by several actors in dark outfits who worked the legs and the body – in much the same was as the Treebeard puppet was made to move in Peter Jackson’s movie. With the dark stage, all you initially saw were the long legs, advancing on poor Frodo.

Which brings me to the parts that didn’t work so well. With little time to develop character or portray favorite scenes from the book, many characters were pale shadows of themselves, or wholly missing. For me the main disappointments were Aragorn and Gimli. Aragorn was too theatrical, with too little heart. However, his scene with dying Boromir was very moving, and the scene in front of the gates of Mordor where he gives a passionate speech to his fellow men in arms was thrilling. Gimli was cast based on his short stature and the actor’s voice had too high a pitch – but John Rhys Davis is a tough act to follow. Gandalf, Sam, the other hobbits and Galadriel all moved me well enough.

For a musical there wasn’t actually that much music, beyond the music that set the mood in the background – no doubt the result of cutting 40 minutes of the length. Even then, I slightly resented the moments when characters burst out into song, unless it was appropriate to the story (e.g. singing at the Prancing Pony). Musicals aren’t really my thing, though, so others may feel wholly different on this. Also, the three different types of music didn’t always interact harmoniously. Varttina’s music was mostly used for ominous parts and the evil characters. The hobbit-y music and elvish music were very different from each other and from Varttina’s, which in itself was fine, but the transition from one to the other was sometimes jarring.

So what was in and what was out? Highlight to read on!

Tom Bombadil was out, which is no surprise. Rohan and the characters of the Golden Hall, along with the battle of Helm’s Deep and the love story between Eowyn and Faramir were completely cut. However, Boromir looked more like Eomer, complete with long, blond hair, and Denethor’s failing health and subsequent resurrection by Gandalf reflected more Theoden than the Denethor of the books. Wormtongue and Theodred weren’t included either. Pippin and Merry’s journeys are very much pruned: Pippin doesn’t look into the Palantir (in fact Palantirs are not even mentioned), neither pledges alliegence their chosen kings, and their role in the destruction of Orthanc is hardly mentioned. Scouring of the Shire was gone, although the Shire had been badly spoiled by Saruman’s passing by and Sam got to use his gift from Galadriel. And, Saruman lives! There’s a confrontation between Gandalf and Saruman earlier, after which Saruman is allowed to leave. Later, on the hobbit’s return to the Shire, there are two lines about Saruman having passed that way and being of no further harm to anyone.

Passing mention is made of the evolution of Gimli and Legolas’s relationship from antagonism to friendship. Faramir is a minor side character (blink and you’ll miss him), which means that the meeting of Frodo, Sam and Faramir never takes place. Celeborn I either missed completely or wasn’t there. Also, Gimli’s love of Galadriel gets a short nod. Frodo is stabbed in the Prancing Pony, not Weathertop.

We do have the long awaited party, Gandalf and Saruman scene in Orthanc where Saruman’s treachery is revealed, and a few times where Bilbo and Frodo disappear when they put on the ring (the first time, when Bilbo uses the ring at his party was so well done, that I don’t know to this day how they did it!). Moria and Balrog’s battle with Gandalf were well done, except that the face of the Balrog creature looks silly.

Arwen and Aragorn’s story is fairly well developed, which is why the fact that Arwen wasn’t part of Aragorn’s coronation was so shocking. They do share a moment and a kiss earlier on, and also during the end when the actors come to bow to the audience.

All in all, I was delighted with the musical, cuts and all. If you do have a chance to see it, I can highly recommend it!

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