Go back to Spy Reports Archives


November 07, 2002 - November 29, 2002

11-29-02

News from Central Europe: TTT release, and the FOTR DVD
Tehanu @ 5:32 pm EST
Poland: Ela writes to correct our dates - TTT will be shown in Poland from 31 January, not 31 December.

Rumania: Gaciu writes " It finally came here too-God,it was a loooooong time,but finally....Lord Of The Rings DVD and tape [arrived] in Romania!T hey kept it for our national day (Sunday), so it might as well be National LOTR day round here.


Central European DVD Release

Irvo wrote: Just wanted to drop a brief note on oncoming 4DVD FOTR release in Central Europe (still region 2). First on, the release date was pushed to December 6th which is still good enough compared to Warner Bros' original intention to set the date on the end of January. But today we learnt a grievous news: They dropped the DTS 6.1 sound track!!! Reason? Not enough room on the disk. At least that's what Warner say. There is 5.1 EX English track, 5.1 Polish track (only voice over - I wonder why they needed to give it the generous 5.1 norm) and 7 subtitles tracks (English, Polish, Czech, Croatian, Slovene, Serbian, Bulgarian). Funny thing is, that in Belgium you can get 4DVD FOTR with all English sound tracks plus French DTS and 5.1 EX plus English and French subtitles. Is it only me who thinks Central European branch of Warner is acting veeeery weird? You lucky western Europeans and Americans cannot imagine how frustrated we are.

Women's Weekly Talks Ents
Xoanon @ 1:07 pm EST
Josh writes: I've just read this article in the Australian Women's Weekly (which comes out monthly) And there is a four page article on The Two Towers, when I came across this interesting bit from John Rhys-Davies about Treebeard. Now I don't know if this is mentioned before, but I found it quite interesting.

He says "There is a scene in the movie that's not in the book, where Treebeard communicates to the rest of the Ents that a whole forest has been destroyed. We decided that he should sound like an elephants communicating in those deep rumbles, expressing their pain and rage and determination to act. I think it will be one of the most riveting moments of the film."

Anyone with scans of the article, send them along!

11-19-02

SE DVD Problems - and Fixes!
Tehanu @ 9:52 pm EST
Casey wrote in: "I also have been having problems with the Extended DVD edition. I have a Dell Inspiron 8100, and found out about the problem from the site.

"I have been pestering both Dell and LG customer support. I thought I would pass along their response, so that other can see that at least the problem has been acknowledged (although it only took me about 5 e-mails to make them do so) and a solution should be forthcoming."
-Casey-

LG customer service wrote:

"Lord of the Rings Extended Edition "Our engineers are aware of the error and are currently working on a solution. I expect a firmware upgrade will be available soon at LgService.com"

This is what I got from Dell:

"Dear Casey, Thanks for writing in. It's always a pleasure to assist you.

Casey, I understand exactly how you feel. Though this is a known issue, a fix is not ready yet and will be out in a few weeks. Please subscribe to FileWatch to be notified when the update is released.

Again, my apologies for the frustration this is causing you."

11-14-02

More Great TTT Pics!
Xoanon @ 7:45 pm EST
Ringer Spy Carmen sends along these great pics from the 'Two Towers' Photo Guide, take a look!


Singapore LOTR news
Tehanu @ 12:26 pm EST
News from Carnimiriel: "Golden Village Cinemas in Singapore has started offering a TTT popcorn/drink combo with a pack of playing cards. These are actual playing cards, not trading cards. They feature TTT pics of Gandalf (ace), Eowyn (queen), Faramir (king), Frodo (jack) and, most ironically, the Eye of Sauron (joker). The rest of the cards just show the normal suites. This promotion started today, 14 Nov (oddly timed with the release of Chamber of Secrets), and is "while stocks last". The GV logo is on the box, so this may only be available here (?)."

Extended DVD Problems
Tehanu @ 12:08 pm EST
Darren wrote: I passed this along in the boards and the spymaster link, but am sending it to you as well. There is a problem with the new FOTR Special Edition DVD not playing in some DVD ROM drives. Here is the info I got from Interactual tech support.

"We apologize for the problems you are experiencing with the Lord Of The Rings Extended Edition DVD. We have had reports of customers experiencing problems with these discs with several specific DVD ROM drive models. If your computer has one of the following drive models installed, then it is likely that the drive will not recognize any of the discs in this DVD set.

"This is not due to a problem in the way that the discs were created, since they are all fully compliant with the DVD Specification and will play on the majority of DVD equipment. The problem is apparently due to a limitation in the programming of the internal firmware of the drive models in question, and replacing the disc will not resolve the issue.

"We have informed New Line Home Video about these problems, and they are contacting the makers of these drives to ensure that a firmware upgrade is made available to customers which correct this problem.

"The drives that have had problems reported are:

* Samsung SD-616, commonly sold in Dell and HP desktop PC's * LG DRD8160B, commonly sold in Sony, Dell, or Compaq desktop PC's * LG DRN8080B, commonly sold in Compaq and HP laptop PC's

"There are currently no fixes available for the problem at this time. When the problem has been resolved and a firmware upgrade has been released, the manufacturer of your computer system should be able to provide the update to you, and assist if needed with applying the fix to your system.

"We apologize again for the inconvenience."

T: I'm not sure I buy this excuse. If no other DVD has this problem on those drives, and the FOTR one does, then I'd be pointing the finger at the DVDs, not the drives....

11-13-02

More TWO TOWERS Pics!
Xoanon @ 1:09 am EST
Take a look at these great pics Truegore sends along from the Topps TTT cards.

Now that we've had our FOTR Special Edition fix...bring on The Two Towers!!!


11-11-02

Extended DVD and Video prices in NZ
Tehanu @ 4:27 am EST
Sok writes:

"Hi TORn,

"I haven't seen any word on your site about the prices for the extended DVD in New Zealand so I thought I'd send along the information I have found out, despite it being the 12th in about 2 hours from now!

"Currently the cheapest price is $64.95 from Foodtown, Woolworths, and Countdown supermarkets. This is a $15 saving from both Whitcoulls and The Warehouse, which are both offering the DVD at $79.99.

"So far I've found that only Whitcoulls is selling the gift set with the bookends, at a price of $199.99.

"The Whitcoulls site says it's being released on the 14th, and there is nothing noticable in store about the release, however The Warehouse is advertising a November 12 release, as is the advertising for the supermarkets.

"The VHS version at the supermarkets and Whitcoulls is $39.99.

"Hope this can help some of the New Zealand fans out there."

Drool, drool, drool.....
Tehanu @ 4:11 am EST
This came in today from a spy in NZ who's had a working relationship with the film people.: "One of my spies has reported to me that the new TT movie is absolutely stunning and that it is even better than the FOTR. Visually a whole step up from the last one. Gollum is absolutely believable, unfortunately I wasn't able to ask about Fangorn. This person has seen it recently and being a film person of long standing is very difficult to impress I put a lot of weight on this opinion."
Nngh, what are we now, 39 days to go?

How TTT Opens: Sir Ian Tells!
Tehanu @ 4:03 am EST
Great scoop from Tinuviel, who went to a fundraising performance by Sir Ian McKellen:

I just got back from watching a wonderful performance by Ian Mckellen (yes, I saw Gandalf!) in his one man show of "A Knight Out". Here is my review.

The Vancouver Playhouse is full of people. All sorts of people, gays who are not afraid to show themselves, kids with their parents and giddy women. The stage is set. We see a large green armchair on a rug beside a coffee table. Just begind this is a coat hanger and encirling this are various pairs of... shoes! The house is astir. The lights go down and all eyes are turned to the stage... waiting... waiting... still nothing. Then at last, after what seemed like minutes of anticipation, the door at the back of the house opens. Ian Mckellen strides down the aisle way sporting a tan over coat, carrying an umbrella and patriotically carrying a very large british flag! The audience errupts with cheers and whoops. He goes and stands on the stage. He takes off the baseball cap he was wearing and looks as though he is going to throw it in to the audience. Of course many people, including me, jump up and yell. Then he takes it back and says. in a very british accent, "What will you g! ive me?".

Now it must be said that this performance was done as a fundraiser for the Vancouver Playhouse. That's right, he's doing it for absolutely nothing! Now a woman jumps up in her seat and says "I'll give you a big hug!". He withdraws the hat, saying "Now would I be giving you the hug, or you giving me the hug?" "Either way you like" she responds. Now the bidding starts "50!", am an shouts. "150" shouts someone else. Finally the hat is sold for $200! People start asking him to try on the shoes. It really feels like were just a bunch of friends gathered in a living room. He tries on all the shoes, until he finds a pair that go nicely with his outfit. Then he picks up a pair that look a bit like white rubber clogs and says "You see these shoes? These were the shoes that Magneto wore at the end of the last movie, and they could be yours!" Once again, the bids start and they are sold for $200 dollars to a mother buying them for her son.

Her goes on to talk about various things, all with good humour of course. He talks about Oscar Wilde, and various other things. Then he comes up with another voice, and goes over to his bobbing head Gandalf toy sitting on a podium on the right of the stage. He proceeds to talk to this Gandalf, while we laugh hysterically. Then he lets us ask some questions. Someone notices the screensaver on his computer, and they ask what it is. I never saw it, but I can imagine. He goes on to answer other questions, but I'm to excited to think and I can't think of a question for the life of me! He goes on to tell various humourous stories from his life, as well as some very serious recitings of Shakespeare and the reading of a letter his friend wrote to tell his parents he was gay. This was all very interesting and the whole thing really was more like a night out with him then seeing a play.

Then I hear it. "Now I will tell you the opening scene of the next Lord of the RIngs movie" I strruggle to hold back my excitement. "You will see the camera going over some rocks, and then sudenly the camera will go right through the rocks, and you will se Gandalf, and the Balrog, falling. Except this time, the camera will actually follw his down in to the abyss and we will see the fight between Gandalf and the Balrog. And what happens after that I can't tell you, because I haven't seen it yet!" WOW! I know the opening scene of The Two Towers!

He goes on to answer more questions. Someone asks how he prepared for Gandalf. He sayshe listened to Tolkien reading a lot, and got the idea for the voice from him. He then read all the books (which he hadn't done before) and then all he had to do was get in costume and he became Gandalf. Someone asks him what he thinks about Harry Potter. He comment on the death of the actor who plays Dumbledore (please excuse me here, I can't even remember his name. Also forgive me if I spelled it wrong) but then goes on to say that the actor made a comment on his acting before he died, and so they didn't exactly part in friendship, I'm afraid to say.

Now he goes over to his coffee table and picks up a great big copy of Lord of the Rings. "Yes!" I say in my head. He opens it up, is about to start, and then come a train of questions all of a sudden. Finally they stop, and he begins to read "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R Tolkien. Chapter one, a Long-Expected Party. When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End..." He goes on right to the explosion of Gandalf's dragon firework over bywater and the audience errupts with cheers. He sits down and says "More?" Of course! So he goes on to read an excerpt from "The Bridge of Khazad-Dum" about the combat with Gandalf and the Balrog. Explosion of applause.

The evening is drawing to a close. He reads some more Shakespeare, tells a bit more about his life and exits. There is a huge applause. The entire house stands up and cheers. He comes back out, bows again, and to our surprise reads the wind forcast in a very comical way, before he picks up his umbrella, puts on his coat and walks right back up the aisle.

But the excitement isn't over yet. I couldn't afford to go to the reception afterwords ($150) so I ran back out to see if I could catch him. He wasn't there, but I wandered around for a while hoping he might some out. Meanwhile, I looked at the signed merchandise up for auction. There were 2 Two Towers posters, copies of The Fellowship of the Ring, signed books, an X-Men poster signed by the whole cast and a whole bunch more. Sadly, it was all beyond my price range. (100$ and up!) Then he came out. I help back, although there were other people were taking pictures. Finally, since I was shaking all over, my dad (great guy!) went up to him with my newly purchased "The making of the movie trilogy" book, with a forward by Ian Mckellen and asked him to sign it for his daughter! He said yes, and so I went up there too, and I was right there beside Gandalf! He asked my name and wrote "Odessa, wizard white [at least I think that's what it says], Ian Mckellen, x, 2002" I was ecsatic!! I managed a weak "Thank you". My dad said a few words to him, telling him what a great mentor he was to the teenagers who were gay, or something liek that, but I could hardly hear it, I was so ecstatic! I was the happiest I've been in the longest time! I just hugged the book and jumped up and down. This was the greatest I've had in a long time, maybe in my whole life! Not only did I see a wonderful show done by a wonderful actor, but I got his autograph, and he was Ian Mckellen!

Also, Ringer Spy JingerRinger confirmed this story:


Hi, I just came back from Sir Ian McKellen's "A Knight Out" at the Vancouver Playhouse. Sir Ian announced that the opening sequence for TTT will in fact be the "plunge" of gandalf down the chasm with the balrog! I'll try to recall his description, as best as I can: The scene starts off just like the TTT theatrical trailer with a sweeping bird's eye view of the Misty Mountains. After a while the camera will stop and move directly towards a mountain, and right through the rock (into the mountain) to the scene of the bridge of Khazad-dum. The camera will be somewhere above the bridge, looking down on gandalf, and when he falls, the camera will follow him down...

11-08-02

Opening Scenes of TTT.
Tehanu @ 11:23 pm EST
Here's a theory from Lexequine which is very persuasive to me. She writes:

I bought the book "The Making of the Movie Trilogy" on Wednesday and have been madly reading it ever since. It is a wonderful book. But I am not writing this to tell you how wonderful the book is. I know that there has been a lot of speculation about the opening scenes for TTT. I think we get the definitive answer from Alan Lee himself. Found this on page 51:

Alan also produced many concepts for a possible sequence depiciting the struggle between Gandalf and the Balrog: their fall deep into the abyss beneath Khazad-dum and, deeper still, through fire and water, to the uttermost foundations of stone; then their long wearisome climb, by secret ways and the many thousand steps of the Endless Stair, to the highest peak of the Misty Mountains and a final, catalysmic confrontation. He sifts through his sketches of the Endless Stair, which twists and turns in a mase of Esher-like illusions: "I wanted to convey a feeling that they are struggling in an unreal space -- somewhere between life and death -- Gandalf pursuing the Balrog up, down and around; now coming toward you, now rushing away, a roller-coaster of a tracking shot, during which the whole axis might turn, creating the vertiginous feeling of not knowing which way up you are!"

Now doesn't that sound like a Jackson-like opener? And I love the mention of the "Foundations of Stone" which is the first track on the soundtrack.

TTT Spoilers In Topps Cards?!
Xoanon @ 11:02 am EST
Amaruk writes: Got the complete basic set of movie cards yesterday and there are some interesting indications of what is to come:

Card 26 - Treebeard takes Merry and Pippin "to see the wizard"--Gandalf, that is!

Card 36 - The Exorcism--this refers to "exorcising" Theoden's possession by Wormtongue and based on the reaction shot of Aragorn and Eowyn, it could be quite a stunning sequence.

Card 38 - Begone, Wormtongue!--Theoden literally tosses Wormtongue down the steps outside the hall.

Card 47 - Making Friends with Gimli--While Gimli is left behind during the battle, he and Eowyn strike up a friendship. This should be great fun!

Card 57 - Possession of Frodo--Faramir looks on "riveted" as Frodo struggles with the Ring's control of him. Frodo's expression is quite upset.

Card 78 - In Osgiliath's Sewers (!)--Part of the blurb on the back of the card states that Faramir takes Frodo and Sam to the sewers under Osgiliath which will give them "a secret way into Mordor...The fate of all Middle-earth hangs on what happens here."

11-07-02

FOTR Extended DVD pre-sales looking healthy
Tehanu @ 11:30 pm EST
If you check Amazon.com's DVD section for current "top sellers," you'll note that the FOTR "Extended Edition" is actually outselling the "Star Wars Episode II" DVD... and has been doing so for about a week now. This, unless I'm utterly mistaken, is an unprecedented amount of business for a second-release DVD.. especially considering that new "Star Wars" releases are usually predicted as the best-sellers of their respective years.

Amazon.com is the biggest of the online stores, and their pre-sales are usually a pretty good indicator of what national sales will eventually look like.

In other words: SW2 and FOTR:SE go head-to-head in stores on the same exact day, and so far the super-hyped high-profile SW2 first release is being outsold (at least according to Amazon.com's numbers) by the less-hyped follow-up release for FOTR.

TTT Running Time: More speculation.
Tehanu @ 11:24 pm EST
The Norwegian website Ringenes Herre is claiming that TTT will run at 3 hours and 10 minutes.

Here is a translation, thanks to Řystein:

"The movie longer than assumed.

"Assumed length for LOTR:TTT has up to now been 2 hours 43 minutes. But director Peter Jackson has found cause to add on almost half an hour extra. Early this summer Jackson and his staff was back on New Zealand to shoot some extra scenes for TTT. The post-production with the new scenes and the extensive special effects has been going on for full since then. Distributer SF Norge claims the finished movie probably will be around 3 hours 10 minutes long. Which means 10 minutes longer than LOTR.

"It will still be a while before the norwegian censor is passed. SF Norge is hoping for 11 years, but since TTT contains more battle scenes and has a much darker tone than the predecessor, the result might very possibly be 15 years. In the US it has gotten the rating PG-13 which has the following meaning: (MPAA rating quote cut)

"LOTR:TTT is being issued in 96 copies domestically (FOTR had 76), which is a record for cinemas in Norway for such a long movie."

However Mordo had the opportunity to guess the length of the movie by making some calculations from the information he had:

"I just wanted to comment on the running time of TTT. The length of the copies shipped to Germany this week are 15873 feet each. FOTR was 16130 feet. Dividing the length in feet by 90 yields the running time in minutes (give or take). Using this method gives us 2H59M for FOTR (only one minute off) and 2H56M for TTT. By the way "Running Time" includes the credits."

TTT Plot Spoiler?!
Xoanon @ 11:22 pm EST
Our own ringer spies bring this little bit of interesting news in regards to wargs, Aragorn, and Helms Deep!

As Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, etc. are leading the people of Rohan to Helms Deep, they are attacked by warg riders. Aragorn engages one in intense battle as the others are led ahead. Apparently he is badly wounded and catches up only later.

London Book Signing: Andy Serkis, Brian Sibley, Jude Fisher
Tehanu @ 6:39 pm EST
It was a pleasant day(not huge,but thrilling!)....and I'm happy to say is covered here already....

So I don't have to! Small things then.... Brian and Jane were both models of courtesy,just superb. Andy seemed oddly shy for such a significant actor,very charming. I met three Americans,one lady who came in a lovely dress(you know who you are,ma'am!) and a chap who had crossed the pond just for this! B and J and A were all very pro with the children,they thankfully assumed the kids had brains and could keep up,,which you sadly don't always see....

The later talk was fascinating,particularly Andy's articulation regarding Gollum's psychological makeup,and Brian's revelation that certain things PJ had done,he would'nt have(he said he would have done something "more interesting" with Arwen)....and some things PJ did,he would have nicked!

I had a lot of questions,but time was short,so I kept it to,not a question,but a public thankyou to Brian(and Jane) for defending and praising LOTR in the press,often against those (Philip Pullman springs to mind) who blatantly have their facts wrong....

When I actually got to the signing,I hadn;t been able to afford the books....so I'd bought a printed picture of Eowyn(my current favourite) for them to sign.

Jane graciously signed,with a note to say she always empathised with Eowyn(I can't remeber it exactly,so i don't want to misquote her)...she felt proud of standing up for LOTR....

Now. I won't go into detail,suffice to say Brian Sibley's LOTR is part of my psyche.In my house,it,Hitchhiker's Guide,Elgar and The Goon Show were played in rotation,and I could'nt have asked for better influences. His LOTR is certainly one of the reasons why some parts of PJ's LOTR bother me,because they have less grace....put short,everything about BS's LOTR is important to me....

So you can imagine how lovely it was last year at the Borders signing for the FOTR books,to meet him and say thankyou....

Now,this may sound horribly fanboyish,but as I say,his LOTR is very much loved by my little self....

He remembered me.Brian Sibley remembered me from a year ago,when I was just another scrotty herbert in a queue!!!!! He was very warm and friendly and so on and so forth(ahem!) Both he and Jane were a joy to meet,an absolute joy.

Lovely day. Oh,and again,the American lady with the robe/dress in central London(ie Hell).....much respect!!! Tim


Go back to Spy Reports Archives