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July 09, 2001 - July 18, 2001


Bakshi Inspires
Calisuri @ 8:07 am EST
Ringer Fan Rod sent us this scan and observation the other day:

"Judging by the recent interview with Ralph Bakshi he is somewhat embittered, to say the least. However he said he had heard that New Line had looked at his animated version of LOTR many times and extracted any good bits (not many I guess!).  But look at the attached scan from the Film of the Book version published in 1979 and compare it with the still from the FOTR teaser trailer.

[ Click for Larger Version ][ Click for larger version ]

If you put the two main images together from Bakshi's book it is spookily simliar to the trailer still. Could just be coincidence of course."

Unfortunately the interview is more then likely a spoof (The Onion is a satirical newspaper), but the observation is right on!


There is also a rendering by John Howe that mirrors this scene too. Check it out from Rolozo Tolkien. Thanks to Ringer Derek for the tip! [More]

I'm pretty sure, after receiving a few emails from fans of The Onion that the AV section is in fact legit and the interviews contained therein are also legit. Thanks to everyone who emailed me. Check the interview out for yourself. [More]


Media Watch: The Vancouver Sun
Xoanon @ 4:39 pm EST
From: ellafunnt

I live in vancouver, b.c. and in this saturday's edition of the vancouver sun (in the 'mix' section) there was an entire page devoted to lord of the rings, titled "The Language of the Elves." it goes on to talk about tolkien, scholars who study elvish, and a history of the book's conception. i thought it was very fascinating because until now i haven't seen many articles discussing the linguistics of lord of the rings, and that's probably the most important thing!

It also discusses the role of linguists in hollywood and how quenya differs from so many made up hollywood languages out there. and here's a nicely put take on the whole 'geek' factor:

"And you would keep in mind that the humans who study Elvish do no resemble those you might expect to speak Klingon. They will not wear prosthetic foreheads and salute William Shatner. They are more likely to know Native American words for orange juice and read Beowulf in the original Old English. They are, like the professor who started it all, serious people."

There is also a fairly large picture of elijah wood and sean astin in character at the top third of the page, and on the bottom there is a brief glossary of quenya words--variations on the words 'air,' 'dragon,' 'drink,' and 'sea' for example. there's also a link from where this sample was taken from (www.dragondesign.com/TheLair/elf.html).


Makoare Confirmed as Lurtz
Xoanon @ 1:55 pm EST

We've had further confirmation that Lurtz is indeed played by rising Maori actor Lawrence Makoare. He's acting next to Temuera Morrison in 'Crooked Earth" and he's also appearing in a Maori-language version of "A Merchant of Venice," so he's a busy boy.

In "Crooked Earth" Makaore plays Kahu, a charismatic firebrand who has turned his village into a lawless dope-growing wasteland. Seems like he's getting typecast in the orc-leader roles...."

Read more about Makoare here. [More]


Media Watch: Globe and Mail
Xoanon @ 4:45 pm EST
steve sends along a great article which was in the latest issue of 'The Globe and Mail', take a look:

Life is full of second and third chances, so , if you missed wearing a "Frodo Lives" button back in the sixties, now's your opportunity to delve into Middle Earth by cracking the spines of J. R. R. Tolkien's sprawling Lord of the Rings trilogy. The LOTR series has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide since it was published in Britain in the mid-1950s. The first volume, The Fellowship of The Ring, has sold more than 50 million copies all by itself.

Now that Tolkien's classic fantasy has been adapted for the screen, legions of old and new readers are buying the books before the premiere of the Peter Jackson movie in mid-December. The movie hype began last year with the announcement that New Line Cinema was producing three back-to-back movies of Tolkien's trilogy beginning with The Fellowship of the Ring this year, followed by The Two Towers in 2002 and The Return of the King in 2003. They boast a stellar cast, including Elijah Wood as Frodo the hobbit and Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Wizard. Even world-weary and cynical media types applauded and whooped at the special effects when director Peter Jackson screened a 20-minute trailer for Fellowship at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. Fans downloaded a 90-second trailer for the film some 350 million times in its first three months on the Web.

Frank Mendicino, vice-president of marketing for Toronto-based Alliance Atlantis, which owns the film. distribution rights in Canada, says the launch of the movie will be the biggest in the history of the company. He expects the film could do at least $50-million in Canada. "This is a worldwide event film," he explains. A book and movie tie-in works both ways. The books help sell the movie, and the movie in its turn draws attention back to the books. Mendicino won't reveal Alliance Atlantis's marketing plans but he says to watch for more trailers in the fall, and billboards and superboards. 'It is going to be all over the place," he says.

"Sales are already bigger than I have ever seen," says Lloyd Kelly, vice-president of sales at HarperCollins Canada, which has been distributing Tolkien titles in this country for the last dozen years.

"We've been selling 25,000 copies of The Fellowship of the Ring a year," says Kelly, "and I'm estimating we are going to sell 150,000 of that edition -- the black one as everybody calls it " Then there is the movie-cover edition that will arrive in stores by the end of October. Kelly expects to sell 300,000 of that edition. Then comes The Fellowship of the Ring Visual Companion ($32.95), a coffee-table picture book, and the LOTR Official Movie Guide ($23 95), a coffee-table paperback on all of the movies, both of which arrive in the stores in November. "We have three years to sell this stuff," he says, his voice rising in excitement, "and then there is the video and all the rest. It is a thrill because we have set up a budget and this is blowing it to smithereens."

Tracy Nesdoly, a spokesman for Chapters Indigo, says: "Everything Tolkien or LOTR is flying out of the stores. This is a phenomenal seller for us right now." While she refuses to give sales figures, Nesdoly says the books are hitting two categories of buyers. "There are a significant number of adults, people who read Tolkien when they were kids and who are buying it again for their children, and children who fell in love with Harry Potter and are ready for something else."

J. R. R. Tolkien (1892-1973), who was a professor of philology at Oxford University, is an unlikely cult figure. A committed Catholic and a good friend of C. S. Lewis, the creator of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the rest of the Narnia books, Tolkien had "no extramarital affairs, no sexual oddities, no scandals, strange accusations of political involvements," according to his biographer T. A. Shippey in his book, J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century.

Tolkien, who was an orphan by the time he was 12, survived the horrors of the Somme in the First World War, but saw all his closest friends die. Shippey argues that Tolkien belongs to a literary troop of war-ravaged writers who wrote books that future historians will call the "most representative and distinctive works" of the last century. They, all used fantasy and irony to condemn the grotesque absurdity of war. Besides The Lord of the Rings, these fantastic works include George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm, William Golding's Lord of the Flies and Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five.

Tolkien wrote The Hobbit in 1937 in the dark years leading up to the Second World War and completed the LOTR trilogy after the war as a way of making sense of the world. The story of LOTR, which Tolkien insisted was really one book, follows the quest of hobbit Frodo Baggins and Gandalf the Good Wizard to take the One Ring across Middle Earth to the Crack of Doom and thwart the dark power of the evil Lord Sauron and his army of orcs.

Tolkien claimed that the dwarves, orcs and trolls who people his Middle Earth all sprang from a common mythology of the Scandinavian countries, old Germany and England. This ancient, largely unrecorded world, which is older than fairy tales, was "a merciless world without a Geneva Convention," writes Shippey. He believes that Tolkien's enduring appeal "rests not on mere charm or strangeness," but on "a deeply serious response" to the origin and nature of evil.

This classic tale of the struggle between good and evil is a timeless theme in literature, especially books written for young people. The nuanced richness of LOTR and its lack of specificity made it appeal to rebellious college-aged boomers in the Vietnam era. For many it was an indulgence, for others, who dreamed of changing the world, it was an addiction. As one dyspeptic academic commented: "When I was in university, there were people who read LOTR, those who played bridge, and the rest of us who passed our courses."

If the books were once considered a slightly subversive and cult pastime - back in the days when kids sported "Gandalf for President" buttons as a political statement - they are now simply read for themselves as absorbing tales in which the eternal battle is joined between good and evil.

Boomer parents, whatever they might have been doing in the sixties, are now often to be found reading the books for the first time either to themselves or to their children. And some of them have spawned a new generation of college-aged kids who are reading the books. LOTR is also a good summer antidote for kids who are suffering Harry Potter withdrawal pangs because author J. K. Rowling has denied them a new fix this summer.

Knowing he has already sold more LOTH this year than last, John Snyder, vice-president of purchasing for Book City in Toronto says he expects sales to increase steadily through the summer and then reach a crescendo when "the real hype starts before the release of the movie in December." Snyder has already read LOTR twice, once, when he was about 14 and again when he was in his late 20s. He enjoyed it more the second time around. "I got a lot more out of the historical parallels due to maturity and a bit more knowledge of the world," he says.

Ben McNally, manager of Nicholas Hoare in Toronto, admits he was "a semi-superior shit in the sixties," who thought that "if all those clowns were reading them, I don't want to." He says that even now he "tends not to read things that everybody else is reading." Even so he has been reading an LOTR set to his youngest children, a girl of I1 and a son who will be 8 this summer. They've finished The Hobbit and are about halfway through The Fellowship of the Ring.

"I find them almost Dickensian in the amount of superfluous detail, but the storyline is pretty good," he says. "My kids don't exactly doze off during the dead parts, but when things start heating up, they get excited again.

I figured my kids were going to see the movie and I didn't want them to do that without reading the book first. The movie is going move a lot faster and they tend to hijack your consciousness. So if you read the book, you can still have that overlay on top of the movie."

Media Watch: Extreme Collectors Magazine
Xoanon @ 4:36 pm EST
From: Saint

Just got back from a local supermarket where I came across an interesting magazine with a few LOTR articles in it.

Extreme Collectors Magazine boasted a LOTR cover, with drawings of the hobbits, Aragorn and Gandalf, and had TWO articles inside dealing with our favorite subject.

One was a run down and review of the new LOTR CCG card game from Dechiper. It had several pics as well, including two new ones that I hadn't seen before (one of a random orc and one of Lurtz). The article ran about four pages long.

The other article was about Bakshi's animated LOTR cartoon (*shudder*) for some reason, and it features a pic of some Baskhi LOTR merchandise.

I did not purchase the magazine, otherwise I'd have a more in-depth descripition and scans.

Anyone out there with scans of the article send them along!


Shore's 'Score' Score
Xoanon @ 10:30 am EST
Ringer Spy jkn sends along word from the 'New York Times'. The latest review of the new film 'The Score', check out what the reviewer has to say about the Howard Shore score.

The best thing about Frank Oz's film "The Score" is, well, the score. If you close your eyes, Howard Shore's suave, moody music, with its Miles Davis-ish muted trumpets floating over cushions of bass, might create an impression of cool, elegant precision. Frustratingly brief snippets of performances by Cassandra Wilson and Mose Allison certainly enhance the effect. And, to be fair, if you open your eyes at the right moments, like when Ms. Wilson and Mr. Allison are onscreen in the lacquered, dim Montreal jazz club where much of the action takes place, you might mistake "The Score" for a stylish film-noir chamber piece.

Check out the rest of the review here.

Media Watch: Encore Magazine
Xoanon @ 10:24 am EST
From: Hamish

Flicking through the latest "Encore" magazine (Australian edition), which has an extended feature on composers/licensing etc for a conference which is upcoming. As part of one article it mentioned a new management agency for composers set up by "Mana Music", and one of the represented members...

"New Zealand-based group Plan 9, which has a long assocation with director Peter Jackson and is involved in composing the music for selected scenes in his upcoming feature Lord of the Rings with fellow composer David Long"


Spikes at Orthanc
Xoanon @ 10:20 am EST
From: Firebrand

I was at the Licensing Show in New York (in June) only one thing was interesting : the New Line booth, with the Lord of the Rings ! I had the chance to peak at series 1 and 2 figurines, as well as some new figurines I hadn't seen on the Internet.

There were also two large "full scale" costums, probably used in the movie : one was an orc warrior, the other one, a magnificient Black Rider. I noticed there were some sharp, short spikes on his gloves.

Among the figurines, there was a landscape diorama of Orthanc (quite alike to Alan Lee and Tolkien's drawings), and guess what I spotted below the Tower...a tiny spiky wheel, the one that Saruman was impaled upon. It's now clear that Saruman is being pushed of the tower by Grima in the third movie (the "plot twist" aluded to by Ian McKellen).

Spikes and Death and More
Xoanon @ 12:18 am EST
Well, spikes are in the news again thanks to that report from Garth over at DarkHorizons. Who knows if there is any truth to the rumor, but my mailbox is full of speculation, theories and anger over this whole debate.

Alot of people are bringing up the 'Saruman on the Spiked Wheel' photo that was all the rage last October. Some people are speculating that the DarkHorizons' spy is getting Sauron and Saruman mistaken. That could be the case, it has not been un-common for spies to get their wizards and dwarves crossed.

From the early two-script draft that PJ and Fran Walsh wrote a few years back, we DO see a different end of Sauron than that which occurred in the books, but it's nothing like this recent rumor about him falling on a spike.

The last theory has this scene taking place during a flashback scene from the Last Alliance. While this never really is documented in LOTR or any other books that chronicle the Last Alliance, this could be a scene we see during a flashback. Who knows.

And, of course, like we always do, I take everything that isn't from a trusted spy as a RUMOR (unless PJ calls me himself and says 'yes Mike, it's true'). So there we have it. I'm tired and I want to go to bed...


More on WETA and Computer Gizmos
Xoanon @ 10:25 pm EST
From: The NZ Herald

Weta flat out with Lord of The Rings

Weta Digital Effects has deployed NetApp F840 Filers with a total of five terabytes of usable storage capacity for use in the making of New Line Cinema's The Lord of The Rings. Weta says it has already scanned more than a million images for the first of the three films and these are being worked on by its 143 graphic artists. A single frame can take up to 12 megabytes of storage.

Thanks to Ataahua for the tip!

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