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September 05, 2001 - September 13, 2001


Last Alliance Pics!
Xoanon @ 6:00 pm EST

Ringer Spy Tunnelly sends along these AMAZING scans from the Last Alliance, want to know what an Elf looks like in battle? Take a look at these great pics of Gil-Galad and some Elf warriors!

Bakshi's LOTR DVD
Xoanon @ 12:41 pm EST
Ringer Spy LC sends along these scans for the LOTR DVD. Take a look!


Cannes Footage in Oz
Xoanon @ 12:53 pm EST

scroll down below for the non-spoiler review

For your own good, do not read any more blow by blow stuff. Yeah I know about the spoilers issue - who doesn't - but save something for yourself. Don't squeeze the juice from this lemon before it comes out unless you get a chance to see it, the footage, with your own eyes and ON THE BIG SCREEN, because your cinematic experience - no matter how bad your addictions to any scrap of info are - is far too precious to blow on impatience. Please, please trust me on this… don't pop your own or anyone else's TLOTR cherries before the right night - and if you can try to abide by this, I'll have just done you one of the biggest favours of your entire life. I don't say this as a non-fan of either TLOTR or spoilers as you well know. But suddenly I've realised that no matter how insatiable our desire and anticipation feels for this film, the pay off will by magnified by 10 if we pull back now. See the footage if you can (and swear you'll wait for the big screen) but halt there.
That also goes with the freaky hype. Why? That's a tough one.

Words can't describe what we've seen for these films so far. They really can't - but it ain't perfect either and by refusing to grab the reins now we could make it something it isn't - and how much will that sting if we realise that instead of letting PJ tell the stories in film better than anyone else can today and enjoying them for that that we push ourselves into some increasingly precious corner where it can only be one thing or we'll be disappointed. That kind of pressure is impossible to handle and certainly self-defeatist.

I've read alleged Roadshow/New Line reps and other fans getting lines and their context wrong, such as the infamous "I might not be able to carry it Master Frodo, but I can carry you!" (from Sam and Frodo's final ascent of Mount Doom, the one I just wrote is more or less correct), missing little details like Sam's "I'm getting the hang of this Mister Frodo!" line at the start of the Balin's Tomb melee and that the first sign of trouble there is just after sting starts to glow (poorly actually, much like Bilbo's invisibility turn) and - with only a few mentions so far - Boromir sticks his head around the door to see what's happening and finds his head nearly pierced by a number of Orc arrows, in a piece of pure Peter Jackson. There's the fact that Gandalf seems really quite tetchy, grumpy and REAL than I expected, and actually brought immense humanity to the role when the Balrog came along, because darn it, he didn't look impervious to damage… he looked like he was steeling himself for something he REALLY didn't want to have to do and seemed to be hiding a certain amount brick-shitting. It was a great touch (and believe me, he wasn't the only one in that theatre with his heart in his mouth… the fucking thing is HUGE).

That's why I found QuiGonJinn's Lincoln Centre report the most honest and on-the-money so far. That and the fact that PJ's 'necessary' (? we'll have to wait to see the full trilogy to work out whether quizzical choices such as leaving Aragorn's broken Narsil out, were indeed justified or folly - I'm a big believer in PJ, so I'm trusting him) artistic license has already started to be spilt. Now the big danger here is not mere spoiling, it's the fact that when I saw it, it showed me that no matter how many hundreds of times I might have read the books, PJ's sneakily ensured that we feel tension and suspense (putting us in the moment and taking us away from that perilous thrill-killer critical look) during each moment. It's in everything from Pippin knocking down a helmet, corpse, chain and bucket in a very comic chain-of-catastrophic-accidental-events inside of a mere stone, to the broken bridge leap, to the Cave Troll itself, to they very way Frodo is skewered, to Gandalf's appearance at Bag End. Get me? It happened often enough to throw this viewer. It happens in the Shire, in Moria, in Rivendell… please, please save these moments for the complete film. I care too much about you Tolkien fans NOT to say this.

Back to QuiGonJinn - good job my son. Thanks for having the guts to tell the truth, because it's much better than the over-enthusiastic hyping. It's not like I don't understand that, because I was there, over the moon with them. But it's on the come down that I realise the real gold from here will come in surprises. I'll just try to tweak what I've read toward more accurate representation without destroying the magic.

I heard from the actual cinematographer that what we we've been seeing hasn't been colour treated or enhanced and that has was fairly disappointed with showing people dulled images instead of the glorious finished stuff. Ahem… I was impressed regardless, but I could see what he meant.

Well, QuiGonJinn's blown it… the Balrog isn't merely bullish. It IS Howe's Balrog (but not the most famous one, it's more like The Silmarrilion verson). And since he brought it up the inside of Moria as we first see it is straight out of the Alan Lee pic. The Shire from the outside is Alan Lee's from The Hobbit and inside is almost exactly Howe's version. Here I really couldn't believe that I was actually seeing Bag End, not some silly representation, but the real deal, just as it's described. Wait until you see Ian Holm - he's the first Hobbit you meet and I'm telling you, you will think you're truly seeing Bilbo. He's amazing. In fact, he was so good that until we actually got to the Moria sequence I was still in a daze of disbelief - not that the film wasn't up for it, but just disbeleif that someone COULD do it. And just quickly, the re-sizing is almost perfect… I think I was only aware of any effect during one backshot when the Hobbit was obviously a child, instead of the re-sized actor. So that's one instance I remember from the 25 whole minutes.

The bit with Cave Troll and Legolas running along the chain to jump on its back were - as Ant said - obviously CGI-d. That was a disappointment during the otherwise complete suspension of disbelief. Hopefully they will work on that a little more. It is, however, functional. Moria did look a touch Escher-ish (nice), I'm hoping they did cut out the Watcher's closing of the doors and Gollum's appearance coz they were nowhere to be seen. The dwarf corpses of Balin's tomb did look and move less life-likely than I'd hoped (they seemed more like stiff models than actual skeletons - you get over it very quickly and I'm not surprised no one's mentioned it). I say this to ground the hype. If we say it's the greatest film trilogy of all time before people have had a chance to put it into perspective or context for themselves they WILL be disappointed. If we don't, they'll say it, unprompted, for themselves.

You're going to love the drums of the deep - and every Orc looked different and unique (there were _thousands_). The Ridley Scott action Anthony talks about is quite a fair comparison - but it goes further than that. The intent in the room seems to have been to place you into the heart of the peril, so it's like Gladiator only sped up and much more breath-taking. Everything comes at you so fast you DO feel ovrerwhelmed… and I think you, Xo, will know exactly what I mean when I say that's the intended effect. The fighting was really dynamic and kinda Raging Bull-ish. He used long shots, close-ups, blurrily fast sequences, slow-mo, POV from the head of one of Legolas' arrows, you name it. All seamlessly.
This seems to be indcative of his entire approach… I sensed Shakespearean-styled drama (ironic when you remember Tolkien HATED Shakespeare and crafted the Ents march to fix what he thought was a wasted opportunity in MacBeth), romantic elements, fantasy, comedy, action, - all coming in the general mix, and constantly. Why? This is the definition of EPIC film making. Middle Earth itself is a character, and you will be in awe of every landscape, every colour and set. You really feel the impossible push of destiny resting on the shoulders of these few characters in this entire WORLD. Majestic, panoramic, magical, vast, genuinely EPIC… these are all words which touch on what I'm talking about.

You were also right ages ago when you ran the review of the two film proposal script when you said you felt Gimli might be the comic relief. It'll be he, Sam and Pippin (from which short bit I saw) but nowhere near as obvious as the examples we saw. Example? Just after the "no one tosses a dwarf" laugh-line, Gimli doesn't quite make it and lands on the balls on his feet, so as he falls backwards, Legolas grabs him by the beard and pulls him up. You laugh, out of relief in the middle of this super-tense situation, then before you know you're in the middle of serious peril again. Of course, PJ's modus operandi here is simple but very effective. He's put dynamic into the tension so you can really allow yourself to feel it, blow off the strain (everyone in the room jumped at certain moments that will remain a secret - but I will tell you that bit where the Black Rider snuffles around for the four hidden Hobbits was MUCH scarier than I'd expected. Harrowing is the word) and put drama and uncertainty into events you may have already guessed the outcome to.

I suppose a few reports have talked about performances but, even with only a few lines of dialogue to go off, I've really got to say this, the accents were excellent. And the performances? Sheesh! Viggo was tremendous (there's no doubting it, he's a real star), Elijah played his Frodo as a wide-eyed, cipher who'll embody most of the audiences concerns and fears (and when they pan a room, his eyes stand out from the rest of the assembly like dog's bollocks), Sean Astin was fantastic as Sam (and I had grave doubts there), John Rhys Davies was better as Giml than I expected (you only see JRD's eyes, the rest is make up and was the most dodgy and unlife-like, but still not as plasticised as your average bad facelift), Orlando Bloom was remarkable, Sean Bean and David Wenham look just like real brothers, Liv Tyler was decidely not very Liv Tyler-ish as Arwen (thank the Lord - she really does seem not of this earth). Christopher Lee's very brief appearance as Saruman was right-on-the-money (evil and twisted prick that Saruman is. Lee has THE voice for this, and if you know about Saruman's most infamous power, you'll know how pivotal this attribute will prove) and I've already mentioned McKellen and Holm. I didn't see enough of the other Hobbits to comment more than I have.

I doubt anyone won't be blown away. I still find myself closing my eyes and trying to replay the lot - for no one but myself. I LOVED it. Thanks for your time dude… just looking out for you all.


PS: Most people have been right about the music, it was hard to remember it amid the action and after glow, but I did concentrate ad found it quite rousing - but I felt the nagging suspicion that it was scratch music. It was ornate, non-intrusive and a great complement but not a star in its own right like, say, the scenery.

PPS: Have you heard Enya is releasing a soundtrack for
TLOTR on Warner by the end of the year?

PPPS: By the way, I am still on the look out for any gems to send your way.

Below I've attached a non-spoiler report as run in Rip It Up, just in case any of your readers want to know what happened without having the surprises ruined. If they do indeed exist, they're a lot wiser than you or I my friend.

Here ’tis:


Well we promised you a deeper insight into what we witnessed at the 25 minute preview ­ as seen at CANNES FILM FESTIVAL earlier this year, drawing more reviews than any other film there, with not one negative word among them - from director PETER JACKSON’s THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy fantasy-film extravaganza (adapted of course from JRR TOLKIEN’s world-famous books) screened for a few select Australian journalists in VILLAGE ROADSHOW’s Sydney theaterette last week, so here it is.

What follows will hopefully be ­ for the most part - free of information that might spoil the experience for those who like to know as little as possible before they actually see a film. Those people might be better served by skipping this week’s Ears Are Burning column altogether. I’m not interested in giving you things to spoil - just tantalise. My main aim is to relate how well PETER JACKSON seems to have captured the spirit of TOLKIEN’s book.

To begin with, what we saw was NOT finished footage, rather 85% completed footage, using a temporary soundtrack (score and vocal overdubs), mostly finished CGI effects and using a film print that had yet to be colour enhanced and cleaned up to entirely pristine quality. Because of that, some visuals seemed muted and darker than expected… but the end result was the same: victorious!

The scene was set with a humorous explanatory introduction from the director, before that much-anticipated footage started to roll. Essentially split into three parts (a fast-moving, seven minute introduction to the story and key characters; a ‘completed’ scene from the MINES OF MORIA; and lastly, a five minute glimpse at some scenes from the remaining two movies).

You could hear the assembled audience take a collective breath as we first sighted the SHIRE. This is what TOLKIEN’s most enduring creations, the three foot high HOBBITS (including BILBO and FRODO) call home ­ and it’s almost exactly as I imagined it; lush, rural and very ‘ye olde England’. As with the other scenes we saw, the epic status of the films are established with excellence: sweeping panoramas, hills and vales, and all looking like scenes painted by fan-fave TOLKIEN artists, ALAN LEE and JOHN HOWE, come to life.

One of the first things to beg belief was the virtually seamless blending of re-sized actors and un-FX-ed actors. If our first glimpse of BILBO BAGGINS (SIR IAN HOLM) meeting his old wizard friend GANDALF (SIR IAN MCKELLEN) at BAG END was anything to judge by, we’re in for a real treat. Even though I know which techniques the filmmakers have used, I still couldn’t pick them. And as for faithfulness (and this is coming from someone who still reads the book annually), I was in shock. For the first time, I actually felt as though I was seeing the characters as they would have lived and breathed. Amazing! This strange feeling continued as we were introduced to each of the remaining main characters, with each seeming so close to TOLKIEN’s descriptions and intent that I had to pinch myself at what I was seeing. Remembering that what I saw was just an extended snippet, I can tell you they’ve stayed true to the accents and characters as immortalised by TOLKIEN himself with remarkable attention to detail. Indeed JACKSON seems to have leaned more in the direction of the Shakespeare epic than, say, he matinee movie serials Star Wars so readily recalls, without losing any appeal or vibrant accessibility. The vast majority of audiences will be thrilled by this, from the novice to the TOLKIEN veteran.

It’s hard to single any one actor out since all were astonishing, but perhaps the most remarkable were BILBO (a spirited, note-for-note performance by HOLM), GANDALF (grumpy, complex, dry-humoured and stoic ­ take a bow Sir!), ARAGORN (it looks like an Academy Award performance from VIGGO MORTENSEN ­ and the girls will love him to bits), the evil wizard SARUMAN (veteran actor CHRISTOPHER LEE utilising that tremendous voice for well-aimed shot at embodying another classic screen villain) and the HOBBITS (each well essayed… SEAN ASTIN’s SAM GAMGEE being the most pleasant surprise). The ELVES (I was sceptical but unknown ORLANDO BLOOM IS LEGOLAS) and DWARVES (JOHN RHYS DAVIES’ feisty GIMLI was the only character whose make-up seemed a touch ‘plasticised’. It still looked much more realistic than Burt Reynolds’ latest facelift) are gorgeously depicted and the world of MIDDLE EARTH itself seems to have been treated as a central character (from ornate RIVENDELL to a harrowing MOUNT DOOM, from astonishing LOTH LORIEN to the fields of ROHAN). Oh did I forget to mention how blood-curdling the evil RINGWRAITH NAZGUL seemed?

The MORIA sequence revealed much about how JACKSON is dealing with the story (they told us this was pretty much the final cut ­ but I beg to differ. MORIA is the place the FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING realise the twisted RING-addict, GOLLUM, is on their trail ­ and there was neither hide nor hair of his luminescent eyes peering through the darkness OR that tell-tale ‘gollum’ gulp we’ve learned to love so much… very sly). The whole thing is MASSIVE, beyond what we could have hoped. TOLKIEN’s story moves briskly without seeming rushed and has been imbued with much danger and life-or-death sincerity. His fight sequences were trademark JACKSON, visually thrilling, ambitious and almost overwhelming in their bid to make you feel as though you’re being set upon yourself, and take what we saw in Gladiator to the next step and beyond. The fearsome ORCS ­ in both design, depiction and sheer numbers (we’re talking thousands of the blood-thirsty little buggers) - will blow many a mind… but they’re just the pawns. Wait until you see the CAVE TROLL (the entire room jumped at one moment) ­ or even worse, the huge part-dragon BALROG (no I won’t spoil it… let’s just say you might want to take in a spare pair of undies).
Without wanting to alarm TOLKIEN purists (I ain't so far away from one of them myself), JACKSON seems to have taken a few liberties in telling the story to ensure everyone is surprised. While the motive and outcome remain the same, he’s tweaked a little bit here and there so you feel you’re getting the story for the first time. No ‘tweak’ rankled, and that in itself was a major feat. There was humour, romance, drama, adventure, horror and even intrigue on show in abundance. The actors play everything not as fantasy but as life… and I'll be buggered if I know how they managed it, but after the initial shock of actually seeing TOLKIEN’s world come to life and his characters become flesh, I stopped observing and became totally absorbed. All of this within 25 minutes…

I wasn't the only one left gob-smacked either. As the footage came to an end, there was an explosion of applause followed by an unnerving silence (presumably as the collected press picked up their respective jaws from the floor) as we filtered out, stunned. Once outside, all we could do was grasp clumsily for something to describe this much-anticipated moment; yet it was apparent to all that we’d seen cinema history in the making. We’ll all be able to see whether I’m right or not when THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, the first film of the trilogy opens in cinemas worldwide on Dec 26, 2001 (Boxing Day); with other two arriving on the following Boxing Days 2002-3 respectively.

My advice from here? Don’t hype these film. It doesn’t need it and this kind of over-enthusiasm could hurt the experience more than help it (and I should know, being a fairly enthusiastic sort). Also, don’t expect what can never be achieved. For long term TOLKIEN fans, no film will ever replace their own vision ­ but this will the closest anyone could have hoped to get. Trust PETER JACKSON. Let him tell you the story his way (you’ll always have your own version). For newcomers, prepare for something the likes of which your imagination is rarely treated to. Some people make films. PETER JACKSON has aimed much higher. This is champagne cinema.


Lincoln Center Madness
Xoanon @ 11:17 pm EST
I'm a bit late writing in but I didn't get home to Jersey until 1:30 am this morning from the LOTR show and had to work all damn day! I'm going to try not to rehash anything because everything seems to have already been touched upon. However, I felt the need to write, being a big LOTR fan, to tell everyone what grand goodness we are in for this Christmas and what a pleasure it was to attend such a great show that was hosted for the fans.

Before I left my house to grab a train i stared at my LOTR teaser poster for awhile debating wether or not I should even bother bringing it with me. What were the chances of any of the stars of the film being there? Not to good I thought. I grabbed it anyway figuring it was worth the chance but most likely it would just end up being a burden to carry around all night.

That all changed as I entered the theatre. Right I away i spotted the Ring Bearer himself, Elijah Wood. Next to him stood Orlando Bloom, which i didn't know at the time because he was unrecognizable. I didn't expect for him to look like an elf but he didn't look anything like the blonde haired elf we have seen in the trailers. Next to Legolas stood the man who will be tempted to steal the ring, Boromir. The fine actor who goes by the name Sean Bean.

Right then and there my knees started trembling. I don't go goo goo ga ga over actors usually because they are just normal (just richer) people like us. These weren't any ordinary actors though. These were three of the Fellowship of Nine. These were the people that were stepping into the roles of characters that I loved since I was a young child. I remember sitting in the theatre as a child with my father staring in awe at the animation that Bakshi brought to the screen. At this time in my life I still watch the animated LOTR in awe.

It wasn't until about 6 years after the animated movie came out that i was old enough to sit down and read the genious that was Tolkien. It was at this point in my life that i first realized that movies are nothing like the books. The novels were more in depth and more fascinating than i could possibly imagine.

Flash forward to the late 90's and I read on AICN and TORN that Peter Jackson will be helming not one , but all three LOTR movies. Then pictures are posted of the construction that was being done to make Hobbiton. I could not believe that this was happening. My favorite characters were finally being brought to the big screen in live action. A dream come true.

I sat in Lincoln center last night in disbelief of what lengths the crew went to to bring his movie accurately to the big screen. From the sets, to the costumes to the millions of chain links from pvc pipe they had to make for the armor.

After awhile the lights went out and we were treated to a great scene! Balin's Tomb! I got the goose bumps when the fellowship was trapped inside the tomb and Gimli said something to the effect of, "I'll let them know there's still one dwarf inside Moria that can still draw blood". Woohooo! Arrows were flying and Legolas was walking on the back of the rampaging cave troll. Great stuff! Folks, we are in for a treat this Christmas.

Also, the part when Pippin knocks a suite of armor down the hole in Balin's tomb was quite amusing. Gandalf just stared at him for a few while Pippin makes some amusing faces and then Gandalf belts out, "Fool of a Took".

As the show ended I saw Wood, Bean and Bloom heading for the door. I politely asked for them to sign my poster and all three obliged. They made it personally out to me and Bloom even added "Legolas" to his signature.. I felt like the happiest man in the world with the best god damn poster in the world. Not because I met "stars' but because I met actors who were playing beloved characters from beloved books that generations have enjoyed.


Lincoln Center Reports
Xoanon @ 11:14 pm EST
More reports are flowing in regarding the Lincoln Ceter event this past Sunday, here is something interesting regarding Gollum!

I just wanted to add to the scores of Lincoln Center reports that when someone asked when we would finally see Gollum, they answered that they really want to feature Gollum in the second movie since he is a main character in that one. So I took them to be saying that we wouldn't see him in this movie (except in shadow) and we'll have to wait until The Two Towers next year. Disappointing, but at least it keeps the imagination working and the anticipation is sweet.

I haven't seen that on any of the reports so I just thought I'd throw that in. I could give my own in-depth perspective but I don't know, are there enough reports or do you still want more? :)

You guys want more? :)

More Lincoln Centre Coolness!
Xoanon @ 6:47 pm EST
From: Anthony

Lincoln Center Walter Reade Theatre
Sunday September 9th 930pm

An event of grand proportions, Middle Earth in the public eye for a small fee of $9. This was quite a show, upon waiting to enter the theatre my wife and I spot Elijah Wood entering the theatre, a shy fellow, all smiles and laughs as fans ask for his autograph on many types of LOTR related material, I have him sign a flyer from Heren Istarion, chat for a few and then to my surprise who walks but Sean Bean, who I expected to be taller than he is, but nonetheless he is has a very commanding presence about him, quiet, reserved but friendly, he signs my flyer as well.

We enter the theatre, where my wife and I sit in the very first row, about 5-6 feet from Barry Osbourne and Christian Rivers, the producer and story boarder. The show opens with Barry and Christian speaking of how LOTR became a film and the points of selling it to the industry, they also spoke of Peter Jackson's vision for the films and how he wanted to approach them. Now don't get me wrong I am interested in how LOTR came to be as a film, but I wanted to see footage or shots or something we as fans have yet to see.

My anxiety was quelled when first they showed the trailer, then went into the film of Peter Jackson "selling" LOTR to the studios by presenting the work he has done thus far for its creation. The film was the fuller version of what is shown in the first internet trailer, PJ speaking of the armour, arms, models and landscapes of Middle Earth. Now this was stuff I wanted to see, the amount of work put in to these films is enormous, and I now see the grander scale of the film making process, we saw construction on Hobbiton, models of orcs and elves, and digital work that they have done.

What was up next was how they created the armies present in the films, they created a computer program called Massive I believe, which created these computer personas or brains as they said which look any which way they wish and move according to the computer terrain it is on, if the digital person falls it fall as a real person, it can fight and react to certain situations as they are programmed to do. Now all of the orcs in the trailer we see, the massive armies of the Shadow marching, is mostly digital with the exception of a few hundred extras in the forefront. We were also told and shown the digital doubles each actor/actress has, which when needed replaces the live actor/actress in certain situations, which also gradually gets "dirtier" as they progress thru certain terrains. Dirt actually appears upon the regalia of the digital double and accumulates as the character moves as I said thru different terrain.

The creation for the Cave Troll was again a great treat, early drawings and sketches were shown, then the final version which we see in the film was a combination of aspects of the earlier versions of the Troll that PJ liked. A model was built then digitally scanned for use in the film. Now we get to the best part of the show, the cave troll scene:

It opens with the Fellowship entering Balin's Tomb where Gandalf hands his cap and staff to Pippin, who wanders off to look in a well. Gandalf picks up the book and begins to read of the last events of Moria, all the while Gimli who listens on as he is on bended knee crying for his king in front of the tomb. The set of Moria was so alive and vibrant in the aspect of colors and architecture but in the film it is quiet, bodies lie strewn about, and dark, the only light is from the opening above Balin's Tomb.

The inscription upon the tomb and in the book that Gandlaf reads from, all in runes, was pure Tolkien, to me they looked exactly as they are printed in the books, very similar if not exact to how Tolkien himself wrote them.

As Gandalf reads, Pippin knocks over a skeleton that is sitting on the edge of the well, the skeleton falls in backwards which drags a chain and bucket in after it. All the while Pippin with his back to the well hears each bang in the well he causes, the other Hobbits look at each other then at the rest of the Fellowship, a very comical scene that right now words are beyond me for, Gandalf after hearing the last of the chains and skeleton fall exclaims" Fool of a Took!"", I got the willies when I heard this a line I had read a million times and it still felt like the first time I had read/heard it.

The Tomb gets silent as drums are heard, other parts of Moria are shown with the sound of beating drums. The door is barred by Aragorn and Boromir, Legolas stands at the ready with bow drawn, orcs slam in to the barred door, Gimli exclaims that there is one dwarf left in Moria as he stands upon the resting place of Balin axe at the ready, then as Legolas and Aragorn shoot thru the holes in the door, the orcs smash open the door and rush the Fellowship, who all draw weapons, Gandalf draws Glamdring, Frodo draws Sting which glows a purplish blue, Merry and Pippin draw and Sam grabs a pan from his pack and starts swinging.

With the orcs keeping the Fellowship busy, they soon realize that the orcs are not the only enemy present as a large thumping is heard, the Cave troll, who enters the chamber, all who see him in action move out of the way, for he carries a large hammer and chain which he swings at Sam who ducks under his legs before the troll's foot comes down in an attempt to step on Sam, then the action turns to Legolas who stands upon a part of the chamber where he effortlessly walks up the stuck chain of the Troll, up his back and onto his neck where he shoots an arrow into the base of its neck, this pisses it off, and breaking the chain. In the middle of all of this Frodo had been hiding behind a large stone block where he attempts to avoid being seen by the Troll who seems to be "sniffing" him out, perhaps due to the effectsof the Ring or the the presence of the Ring catches the senses of the Troll. The footage ends with this, Frodo turning and the Troll appearing suddenly with a fright to all.

Now after a question and answer period the vent ends, but during the Q&A Orlando Bloom had been present and answered Barry's question of their experience traveling to remote parts of NZ.

Well after being blessed with footage and making of stuff, I approach Barry Osbourne and Christian Rivers who willingly sign my flyer, as well as Orlando Bloom who wrote" Best Wishes Hope you enjoy it, Legolas aka Orlando Bloom

I asked Barry of the Balrog if the same technology was used to create it as the cave troll, he said not really they used some different because of the look of the Balrog, who is a John Howe balrog, veins of fire darkness and fire all about it.

SO my friends this event brought happiness to my heart for the treatment that all involved with these films have given to Tolkien's work, each and every person knows the 'magic' of Tolkien's world, the essence and beauty of it, for on the screen it is all apparent, the care and work that went into bringing to life our beloved Middle Earth.

And this one from QuiGonJinn

Hello everyone. Last night near the end of the 9:30 presentation of "Welcome to Middle Earth" at Lincoln Center I heard the magic words: We have for you some completed footage. My heart skipped a beat and I prepared to view the footage, after the projectionist got his act together,the footage began, and five minutes later it ended. My heart dropped as the footage ended, because I thought that I might have to express some dissapointment with what I had just seen. But the fact is that today that footage is still playing in my head, the images, the actors are all fresh in my mind, and I can't get it out!! I was IN Middle Earth for a few moments, and then I was pulled out way too soon.

Let me give an explanation of why I felt somewhat dissapointed and then I will go into a more in depth look at the scene we saw ( I haven't seen that many in depth views of the cave troll sequence, its what you guys want right? Who cares about the BTS stuff, although it was fantastic). Anyway, here is why my immediate reaction was dissapointment:

I really was hoping that we were going to see the CANNES footage, but it just wasnt in the cards. So I set myself up. So for two hours I waited to see some real footage and probably didnt pay as much attention to the BTS stuff as I would have liked.

Then the footage began and there were some things that just seemed wrong to me, I think we all have the image that this movie is going to be perfect no matter what. And while it very well might be - we have to stop hyping it. We dont want another Episode I situation on our hands. When I saw the cave troll during the BTS stuff he looked amazing, when I saw him in the film - some shots looked very cartoony to me. And trust me I am not a stickler for this sort of stuff, Im not one of those comic book guys from the simpsons who will say something sucked because their is a blip in the CG work. Yet many of the Cave Troll shots to me did look cartoonish, especially when Legolas climbs along the chain around his back. It looked extremely cartoonish, and it took away from the scene for me. Osbourne hinted that this was the final product with minor touchups left, I hope they try to make it look more realistic.

Another thing that bothered me at first was the onslaught that ensued with the orcs. The actually fighting was VERY Ridley Scott. Which surprised me. It moved quickly and I could never really focus on anything. I saw Gandalf fighting in the background but I never got a good look at anyone fighting. The cuts were extremely quick.

I guess those two gripes with the addition of having hoped to see the CANNES reel made me think I was dissapointed with the footage. But I was wrong. Looking back today I realized how much it has engraved in my mind. The following account of what I saw is a tribute to the movie not my memory. Everything is still so clear in my mind hours later. Let me go into detail what I saw.

It started it with the camera following the fellowship into Balin's Tomb. Then it cuts and follows Gimli as he slowly realizes the worst is true. He kneels before the tomb and begins to lose it. And he doesn't cry, he is at a lost for words and can only sob. At first it seemed weird and a bit overacted to me, but I then found myself moved. John Rhys Davies expressions were so wonderful. Gandalf then walks over and finds the book in the hands of a dwarf skeleton. I must reiterate that GANDALF walked over and picked up the book. Because as Moriarty said this IS Gandalf. Ian McKellan is just being used as a stage name for the film debut of Gandalf the Grey himself. My god, when Gandalf begins to read from the book the tension begins to mount. Legolas stares at him and then the sobbing of Gimli and turns to Aragorn, "We dont have time for this, we have to move on." I found it funny that Legolas the elf would be the one who wants to hurry Gimli the dwarf away from a very emotional!

Then Pippin who Gandalf has given his hat to begins to get a little frightened. He breaks away from the group of hobbits and looks around him, his fear growing. Pippin then reaches back and knocks a skeleton down the well just as Gandalf finished reading of the terror at Moria. The skeleton and armor crash down the well and make every loud bang possible. I believe in the book it was just a stone that fell down, but this is much more effective. The reaction shots are priceless, especially those of Pippin. Billy Boyd embodies the character. Each successive crash makes Pippin redder and redder. He just stares ahead, and at this point I awaited Gandalf's "Fool of a Took" line. But it didnt come, I always imagined Gandalf immediately condeming the hobbit. Not here, in this scene Gandalf stares his peircing eyes at Pippin, and allows Pip to relish in every single crash of the skeleton. Giving him an "I will kill you!" look. When the noise subsides he delivers the line and follows!
it with "Next time do us a favo
r and throw yourself in!" Priceless. It is at this moment that Pippin realizes that this is no holiday. And he looks hurt by the wizards words and extremely embarrased. Yet relieved that nothing has come out of his mishap. Or so he thought.

Then in the distance we hear it. Boom! The drums begin to sound. Remember that shot in JP 3 right after Grant hears the dinosaur roar for the first time? When the camera zooms straight into his face? Well PJ uses the same shot much more effectively hear. After the first drumroll we zoom over to Gandalf's face. Then PJ rolls the camera around each member of the fellowship showing us there fear and readiness. Boromir than looks out of the door and bam! Two arrows fly by his face (this is the shot in trailer 2 and the tv spot). Dolly shot up to Frodo and Sam. Frodo unsheaths Sting just a bit and it glows Blue! Sam and Frodo gasp, "Orcs!" Frodo yells. Aragorn and Legolas run and bar the doors with dwarf axes. And soon the orcs arrive and they hack away at the door. Gandalf moves over to his hobbits and moves them out of the way of danger. Very fatherly, very touching to me. Gimli valiantly jumps up onto Balin's Tomb and cries out for the orcs to try and mess with him. "THERE IS ST!
BREATH!" Excellent. Poetic dialogue, NOT dumbed down. Then the first hole in the door breaks and Legolas immediately fires an arrow through! Then he fires more, and soon the orcs run through.

This is wear I was a bit dissapointed. The action was too fast paced. Too Ridley Scott, but still breathtaking. I love how the Orcs are so different, and not just like stormtroopers in different colors. You get a feeling that each orc is its own creation. Swords fly fast, and there was one decapitation that I saw. And then the cave troll breaks through the wall. Legolas shoots an arrow right into his arm, and the Troll winces and moves on. Not phased at all. Sam is right in his path, and the Cave troll spies him and slams down his hammer, and Sam screams and jumps through his legs. Hes not in the Shire anymore. Then the Troll brings out his chain and wips out around and gets it caught. Legolas jumps on the chain and fires an arrow down his back. Very CGIish but still a wonderful idea from PJ. Hopefully they can make it more believable.

Then the troll takes sight of Frodo and his glowing blue dagger. Frodo runs as the action continues. He is obviously shaken by the violence. Meanwhile Sam begins to show us his fightin side. As he rips out one of his pans and slams it down on an orc "I'm startin to get the hang of this!". I was surprised that PJ decided to focus a lot on Sam. In the short running time, we followed Sam about as much as we did Frodo. I think PJ buys into the 'this is Sam's story' theory. And he should! Back to Frodo, as he plays cat and mouse with the troll. He is behind one of the stone columns and Pippin behind the column right next to him. The Troll dips his hands back and forth trying to get the little appetizer, and then there is a pause. Frodo exhales, then wam! The trolls head screams as he eyes the brave hobbit. ( I must admit, great animation for that shot!) I also admit that I jumped one the troll's head appears, perfect timing. Then the screen goes black. And I realize that I have t!
o wait 3 months to see the entir
e scene play out.

The gripes I had with it were minor. Some people like the fast paced action, but I like to see what is going in with longer wider shots. But I'm sure PJ was just mixing up the battle scenes. Cant film all of them in exactly the same way. And this wasn't a battle that was set up, this was an ambush. It was frantic. So I understand the choice. The CG done in the trilogy is still an incredible achievement for WETA and New Zealand, but I never want to have to feel that say ILM could have done better. The Cave Troll was dissapointing only because all the BTS footage we saw was amazing. The CG armor was absoultely indecipherable from the real armor. Absolutely and completely. So it was dissapointing to see that the Cave Troll looked so cartoonish at points, because the talent and technology is there. I know that Barrie O said that they were still going to do some 'color grafting' or something, so maybe with the change of the color scheme in the slightest the Troll wont stand out as !

Still I must restate that the story IS there. This is exactly as Tolkien thought it up. Pippin's scene was beautifully perfect. I didnt feel like I was watching a movie, I was watching my imagination, and it was a great experience. Thank you Barry, Christian, and the extremely gracious Elijah, Orlando and Sean. What a night! I can tell that these people are in love with what they have done, I know we will be too. Lets let the hype die down among us online film geeks (we dont want a repeat of TPM's overhype), the long wait is over. Lets sit back and enjoy the ride! Thanks guys !

P.S. The music fit the images well. It was majestic, but I couldn't concentrate on it. I didnt hear any major themes in the short time. So this may be a score like X-Men that fits the images but doesnt enhance the movie. But it still could be a Star Wars like score, I dont know! All I know is that the music FIT. It fit Middle Earth. Hopefully the Shore Score enhances Middle Earth, as music is very important to it.

Lincoln Center Report #4
Xoanon @ 1:02 pm EST
Hello, and first off a HUGE thank you to you folks for posting the link about the second show being added. I was lucky enough to catch it right away and get tickets online.

I won't go into what has been already covered in previous posts. GB covered most details thoroughly and completely, although I must have missed any shot of the BALROG(?!) in the PJ promotion snippet. The main creature I saw featured was the cave troll as it went from skeleton (seen in the Internet trailer) to finished model (also seen in close-up in the Internet trailer being laser-scanned for CG modeling).

Then of course the five minute clip from Moria. I want to make a point which I hope won't be seen as quibbling, but I feel is an important one: The main impact that struck home with me was that this is first and foremost, a movie. Not a religious experience, not a mind/life-altering event. But from what little I have seen, a sharp, well-crafted movie. Spy reports such as those from A.I.C.N. (which admittedly was shown much more footage than we saw last night) can, I feel, almost be a disservice to the project that Peter Jackson has undertaken. It is possible for expectations to be built to such a level that you can't help but be disappointed.

The clip shown presented a range from laugh-out-loud humor (Pippin's mistake, expanded from the book to good effect), a false sense of relief, immediately shifting to anxiety (hearing the distant sounds of orc cries), then finally erupting in full out gut churning action which had us all jumping in our seats. All in the space of five minutes. What more can you ask of a movie? Not much I think (though I could wish Gimli's makeup wasn't quite so heavy; I forgot that as I was quickly swept into the drama of the scene). The troll itself was state-of-the-art animation (much more menacing than you can see in the recent TV spot) but the camerawork is what will set this apart in people's mind as breakthrough work: constantly in motion, visceral, jolting and gripping.

My own sense of excitement at having seen this brief preview, not to mention sitting about ten feet away from three of its stars make it admittedly hard to talk about all this without starting to over hype it. Will this film be worth the wait? Again, judging from what we were shown last night, I have almost no doubt in my mind. Clearly people (myself included) came away from the material shown with excitement and enthusiasm. Will it forever become the be-all and end-all of filmaking as we know it. Who can say at this point? It's unfair to expect that it would. I do think the herculean efforts of Peter Jackson and the entire company will be evident in every scene. And I think its safe to say that if you enter this movie with a realistic set of expectations, you are sure to be entertained and delighted.

Thanks for reading and once again for your great coverage.

Laird Ogden

2 More Lincoln Center Reports
Xoanon @ 8:35 am EST
From: GB

I was lucky enough to have attended the 9:30 presentation of "Behind the Scenes of Middle Earth" at Lincoln Center in New York City. As I was waiting in line I saw the people coming out of the earlier showing and I rushed up to them to ask what it was like. First I found out that the Cannes footage, which I assumed we'd get to see, was not shown, and there were no special guests beyond producer Barrie Osborne and director of visual effects Christian Rivers. Then as they started collecting tickets I saw a group of people talking outside the theater and realized one of them was Elijah Wood! And there was Orlando Bloom next to him and Sean Bean right there as well! I am so glad I went to the later showing and got to see all three of these actors.

I got perfect seats 5 rows from the stage and just happened to be two rows in front of where the actors sat. The presentation was a nice mix of production stories, descriptions of how the film was made, and some really amazing behind the scenes videos, as well as about five minutes of the Moria sequence with the fight against the cave troll.

The presentation began with a description of New Zealand and why it was so perfect a location for the movies. Christian and Barrie briefly descibed their career histories and how they got involved with LotR. Barrie mentioned that during the Vietnam war he was in Korea as an army engineer learning how to make bridges and roads, a skill that came in handy when he was involved with such a huge production like LotR, which involved the creation of over 16 miles of road to get access to remote locations. He told us how scared Sean Bean was of flying and how Sean took a ski lift up half a mountain and hiked the rest so he wouldn't have to fly up in a helicopter.

They showed us the second teaser trailer with the Gandalf voice-over and a really interesting sale pitch film that Peter Jackson showed to Bob Shaye at New Line. It had more footage of Peter (as the two presenters referred to him as) in front of the orc helmets as seen in the first Internet Teaser trailer explaining his vision for the films. It also included a wonderfully detailed model of the BALROG'S HEAD! It is truly original, really fantastic, and did remind me a little bit of a monter bull crossed with the alien from Predator. Barrie mentioned that Weta made over 48,000 items for the three films, including chain mail that was created by hand by linking slices of plastic pvc pipe (12.5 million links from 7 miles of pvc in all!) and then electroplating the finished product so it looks like metal and has some weight when it moves.

Then Christian talked us through the story board and digital "pre viz" process for the Moria sequence. He also mentioned how the Hobbiton set was built one year before it was filmed, so all of the greenery would have a chance to grow and look natural. One un-natural bit of Hobbiton was the over 250,000 fake oak leaves that were individually attached to the live trees to make them greener and fuller. Barrie told some more great stories like filming earthworms crawling out from under the toes of the hobbits as they are hiding from the ringwraiths, illustrating how all living creatures naturally want to avoid the undead kings. And also mentioned how Orlando, Sean, and a few others were trapped in a small town by landslides on the roads leading into and out of the town.

Orlando chimed in at this point to mention they bought lots of chocolate and Sean made tons of pasta because they thought they'd be trapped there for a long time, but the production sent in helicopters to airlift them out, and even Sean had to fly in them this time.

More brilliant behind the scenes footage was show, including how the forced perspective shots were created to shrink the hobbits as well as the use of actors on stilts, which WERE used in the film (sparingly) and were not completely abandoned as has been reported on the web. We saw some breathtaking shots like an elven charge at the Last Alliance, Gandalf's stunt double flying through the air again and again when he is being thrown around by Saruman's magic, and a really really fantastic shot of Arwen and the Black Rdiers during the flight across the ford. There were also some really funny bits like an elf in full make-up and costume saying how Galadriel in her swan boat is "a bit poncy...she had to have a special boat instead of just taking the bus", and what looked like Gandalf intoning "Orcs! Orcs! And so far from Orcland!" (referring to Aukland, the capital of New Zealand) The shots of the digital work is really what blew my mind the most. The digital stunt double of Boromir was SOOOO amazingly realistic. The shots of the different levels in developing MASSIVE, the software for the battle scenes, were just incredible.

Christian explained how the digital combatants are programmed to get dirtier as they fight, each with their own racial fighting style, and how they could be programmed with different levels of agression, he added that they "eventually turned them all up to max".

The final bit before the questions was centered on the creation of the Moria cave troll. Christian showed us about 16 different pre-production designs of the troll, charting his development and zeroing in on the elements Peter liked best like the two-fingered hands and the cloven hoof-like feet. We also saw some fascinating footage of Peter on the Balin's Tomb set wearing VR goggles and controlling a digital camera so he could walk around the real set and compose his shots at the same time he was viewing the "pre viz" computer generated animatics that had been prepared of the troll and the fellowship fighting.

Then we got to see the footage from the entering of Balin's Tomb to the Cave Troll stalking Frodo. Wow. It's already been described many times so I'll just add I was as blown away as everyone else. It was magical. My favorite part was Gandalf drawing Glamdring and then attacking orcs with his blade in one hand and staff in the other.

I'm really tired and need to get to bed, but here's a quick paraphrase of the questions and answers:

Q: How much motion capture was used as opposed to hand animation?

CR: We really married the two and used both. It wasn't all motion capture, for example the cave troll was all 3D animated by hand.

Q: What does "weta" mean and how long has it been around?

CR: Weta is an insect unique to New Zealand which looks like a huge grasshopper covered in nasty spikes. Weta, the special effects company named after the insect, has been around since about 1988 and bought it's first computer for Beautiful Creatures, but became a named company in 1994.

Q: What will be the running time of FotR?

BO: About 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Q: What can you tell us about the scripts and any deviations from Tolkien's books?

BO: They are very faithful to the books, there are no introduced storylines. One of the biggest planned changes was the removal of Bill the Pony due to the cost of transporting animals to so many remote locations, but in the end Peter had to keep him in the film. (Hooray!)

Q: How much of the footage that we saw tonight will be on the DVDs and what special features can we look forward to? (this was the question I asked)

CR: I can pretty much promise you that almost everything we showed tonight will make it on to the DVDs. Peter has set out to make the greatest trilogy of movies ever, and he also has plans to make the greatest set of DVDs ever made with tons of great extras.

Q: Is the scourging of the shire going to be portrayed in the films?

BO: Yes, but you'll have to wait to see how and when.

Q: When are the films coming out? (Duh!)

BO: The next three Decembers.

Q: What is the DVD release plan? One per film or all three together?

BO: I'm pretty sure there will be one released after each film, and then you can also expect a full compilation at some point in the future.

Q: Has there been any talk of making the Hobbit next?
BO & CR together: (laughing loudly, then...) No!

(I guess they just want to finish this project and then take a well deserved rest!)

As the presentation ended and we all drifted back to reality I was thinking how cool it would be to meet the three actors who were there. Unfortunatly we didn't see them as we were heading out of the theater. My wife and friends and I hung out outside for a bit to see if they were coming out but they didn't show. So I decided to poke my head back into the theater and saw a small group of about a dozen people incluing Barrie, Christian, Elijah, Orlando, and Sean! So we rushed back in and waited until a good moment to introduce ourselves. All three were really personable and friendly, though Sean, the oldest of the three, was more quiet and reserved. Each seemed happy to shake my hand and give me an autograph, and I even chatted with Elijah for a few moments thanking him for his involvement with web sites like Ain't-It-Cool and TheOneRing.Net.

I still can't believe I got to see actual footage AND meet the actors who brought to life Boromir, Legolas, and FRODO! What a fantastic, magical, mind blowing evening it was!!!

And this one from RP

Got back from Lincoln Center tonight; it is now and 2 AM and the threat of work looms tomorrow morning, but for now I just wanted to post you a bit about the evening. You will probably be getting a LOT more of these as the night progresses....

First of all, my wife and I got to the later show and had a good place in line, and even though they didn't begin seating till almost 9:30, we got in at about seventh row center and the theater filled up in no time.

Well, the first thing you saw was that a portion of the front row of the second section back was roped off, so my wife and I skipped that and went to where we eventually sat down. The Walter Reade auditorum is pretty small and intimate considering its locaton, so you could see how the shows could sell out so quickly.

No sooner had the place been seated when suddenly applause broke out behind us. I looked around behind us not sure whom the clapping was for, when I suddenly saw Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, and Sean Bean, part of a larger group, sitting in the roped-off section, just a few feet behind us! They seemed very happy to be there and Elijah Wood seemed very shy and normal. There was a LOT of laughing going on among them as they remembered stories with each other and confirmed details of others with the fellows on stage.

Now the discussion started, hosted by a Lincoln Center guy and chaired by producer Barrie Osborne as well as the storyboarder for the films (Sorry I forgot your name, dude)and pretty much everything as described went on; the look at the Massive computer program, the video footage of Jackson choreographing the Balin's Tomb scene, the Troll genesis to its final form, the armor and weapons creation, etc; we were treated to a funny story involving Jackson and three others and an empty tank of gas; we found out that Sean Bean was reluctant to get into a helicopter to get to some key locations; and that yes, Peter Jackson does indeed resemble a hobbit!

The key thing I noticed was that these guys knew a lot of the details of Middle Earth, with locations from the Dimrill Dale to Midgewater Marshes being brought up matter of factly, effortlessly, and it made me feel better realizing that these were no casual devotees of the LOTR saga, but people who actually had READ the thing.

OK, OK, we did NOT get to see the Cannes footage in whole, but even with that, we got to see the Moria fight sequence with the cave troll, which was great, and in any case the fact that three members of the Fellowship were on hand was more than enough to make up for it.

The effects were virtually flawless, although some elements needed to be worked on a bit. The Cave Troll was the stuff of nightmares, and Gimli was as impressive as I had expected him to be. His grief and rage in Balin's Tomb were believable and awe-inspiring! For some reason, seeing Sting glow with the presence of Orcs gave me a thrill of excitement. I also liked that Pippin did not just toss in a stone into the well to see how deep it was; in this version, it was an accident when he inspects a dwarf's skeleton.

Finally we came to the question and answer session, which at first seemed to catch people by surprise, because nobody raised a hand for about twenty seconds. Finally they started coming, with the revelation that Gollum would not really be making an appearance in the series till "The Two Towers" in 2002. I got in a question about the DVD release schedule for the films, and was told that they would most likely be releasing each film individually as the films came out, but that a boxed set was also likely at the very end of the run.

Afterwards, I was standing in line for the Men's Room when I heard a burst of laughter and then Elijah Wood and Sean Bean came out. I debated the coolness of asking them for autographs, decided the hell with it, and got autographs from both of them. They were both very friendly, but Elijah seemed like such a regular guy and so casual that I forgot that I was looking at Frodo Baggins and Boromir for Chrissakes! I even got to shake their hands. Orlando Bloom had moved on, so I missed a chance to speak with him.

To sum up, this was a GREAT evening, lots of fun, and left me completely jazzed to see the movie. Anyone else who went there will tell you the same, no doubt; but I also just wanted to say that I enjoy your site very much and wish you well in the future. Thanks again, and good luck!

Lincoln Center Special Guests
Xoanon @ 12:29 am EST
From: Anthony B

I was in attendance at tonights 930pm performence of the Behind the scenes of the LOTR. Well I would like to just add that your spy Riskbreaker is very on key with his/her description of the event BUT I do not know of the 730 pm event but the 930 who was in attendance you ask? None other than Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom and Sean Bean, I had them autograph as well as Barry Osbourne and Christian Rivers a flyer from our Tolkien Society here in NY.

Elijah was very considerate and outspoken with fans, Orlando very friendly and appreciative of the fans and Sean Bean who was very friendly but yet reserved and quiet.They sat thru the footage and answered a question or two of the audience and Barry.

Yet ANOTHER Lincoln Center Report!!
Xoanon @ 12:23 am EST
Good Evening Rings Fans,

Well, it's late and I'm beat, but I just got back from the Barrie Osborne and Christian Rivers presentation at Lincoln Center.

I'll do my best to give you all the details from the event which was a mix of discussion and Q&A, plus a viewing of some great footage.

Let's begin, Barrie Osborne (the producer) and Christian Rivers (story board artist and production design) took the stage in front of a crowd of anxious LOTR fans around 7:30. The line was around out the door and stretched to the end of the block (which at Lincoln Center is pretty far). The funny thing was there were actually fans outside holding signs asking for tickets.

The two guests were extremely polite starting with an introduction of their past work obviously we know Barrie Osborne's, but Christian has been with Peter Jackson for about 10 years now, since "Brain Dead." The intros were typical everything we have heard before from the Australian presentation Barrie gave not long ago. Then they began the LOTR chat by showing the trailer. Some of the crowd were quite in shock being that they hadn't seen it, it was cool to hear the reactions.

Then they began discussing the day to day work on LOTR, the list was run off of the amount of props, actors, crew etc. that was used on the films. We've all heard it before. Christian gave some amazing insight into the beginnings of production design and the crowd really perked up when they showed a video of the story board, while he narrated. The pictures shown were of the Moria sequence which were first posted on the Internet long ago. After these shots were shown they showed us how an actual basic computer graphic storyboard was put together. This was amazing, with shots of the fellowship entering Moria, walking through the mountains...all completely computer generated!! They only showed two small parts of this sequence.

Next, Barrie and Christian told the story on how Peter Jackson was able to make all three LOTR films. Apparently, they had three options: "King Kong", "Planet of the Apes", and "LOTR"...so we won out in the end!! The three films were agreed upon and here we are, four years later.

The crowd was next shown the film which Peter gave to the studios as a selling piece for the movies. We have all seen clips of this short film in the original Internet trailer. Peter giving a short talk about launching the movies followed by the statement, "This is the Time." The film is filled with a lot of artwork from John Howe and Alan Lee who also speak about the films and taking an active role in the production design.

Next came the good stuff....the "Making of" footage! Ok, please bear with me, there was a lot. The first thing that caught my eye was the stunt shots of the four hobbits falling down a small cliff (photo was posted on the net a while back). Then they showed Frodo and Gandalf riding in the cart into Hobbiton. More detail was taken to show the special effects used to make Ian Mckellen look bigger than Elijah Wood. This shot was done on an angle and without computer effect. In this scene we heard a bit of dialogue with Gandalf teaching Frodo how to pronounce something in elvish.

Next came stunt work, computer effects of the giant battle and a long talk on Massive Software. The initial shots we see are of Aragorn taking on about 100 orcs. These were all actors, whom Viggo was fighting all at once, the sequence was amazing! He was leading them up a bunch of stairs to make his stand at the top and keep on swinging! Next they went into the HUGE battle for "Towers and "Return". The first shots were of how Massive worked. Thousands of simple computer soldiers walking and then running and then fighting each other!! Unreal!!! Then this was added in to the actual fight sequences where Gondorians were hacking apart orcs on the field!! The battle looked enormous!! On shot of CG was so vast it seemed to be eternal, all of just one giant battle! But here is the catch, each CG warrior fought in a different sequence, using moves and tactics to beat their opponents!!! Next they went into a special effects shot of Saruman and Gandalf. This scene is clearly when the two meet and Saruman traps Gandalf, but not until he magicly throws him about the room!! The stunts were wild, with wires and spring boards flipping poor Gandalf about as Saruman cast his spell. These shots were connected with breaks so Barrie and Christian could tell production stories. One that bears telling is during the filming Viggo was taking on three orcs. During the fight Viggo was hit in the mouth and lost a tooth...he looks on the ground, looks up and says "Anyone got some super glue." Barrie said he wanted keep going!!! You have to dig that!

Next the making of footage went into strict detail about the set and costume design. Okay, here is my best to give you the list: orc armor, elf armor, costumes, Gondorians, Rohan, the cave troll. We saw shots of the wild men and orcs burning down a village. The armor is sooo detailed. Barrie took time to explain the importance to maintain the difference between the races. A special note, the Urak-hai are designed with differences from the Mordor orcs,a cool concept. Weapons, elf swords, human swords, dwarven axes...Christian and Barrie explained them all as they came onto screen. On a note, the elven armor was amazing!! We saw a shot of Elrond leading a charge of elves...he wore gold, while the others were wearing silver. The difference was shown between the CG armor and the real armor...no one could tell the difference. Next the shots of Lothlorien were shown...the entire city is set in the trees. It is filled with amazing detail. Next we saw filming shots of the crew on location all over New Zealand as Barrie and Christian spoke about each location. The one shot which was really cool was Peter walking into Bilbo's birthday party after leaving the set of Moria...all within about 10 feet of each other! It was too much all at once.

Still with me...good, the last part of the presentation went into the development and design of the cave troll. From basic drawings, to CGI animation. We saw pictures of its skeleton from the Internet trailer, adding on muscle, then skin. Next came the choice of weapons. Finally settling on a giant war hammer and chain. A short film was shown of the cave trill trying to smash a bouncing ball which was pretty funny. This led up to Barrie and Christian allowing us to see the Balin's Tomb sequence from the movie!!! Ok, we have all read the reviews of this footage, so I will not bore you with my interpretation, which is the same as everyone else...It's perfect...just too good for words. Small notes I have to mention are: size detail is perfect. Aragorn and Legolas shooting orcs through the holes in the door while they are breaking in...and then the fight in general. All looks great, Gandalf and Gimli fighting off orcs, Sting glowing, it's all there in full Fellowship goodness. A few questions were asked that were quite good, here are some things Barrie said which may clear up any rumors. He mentioned softly that the group does face the Watcher in the Water, the movies will be 2 hours and 45 minutes long. The DVDs are being worked on right now and will contain a LOT of extra footage. The score is also being worked on right now.

So on that note, thank you all so much for reading this far...I have to say a quick thank you to Xoanon and the gang who have given us the best coverage over almost three years! To Sir Manfred and all the Von Halsterns for being good sports, to Jer, Has and Vin, to Shawnda (the coolest Tolkein fan I know), and most of all to my dearest Padma for dealing with my excitement all day...week...months. We only have a few more months to wait, so relax and enjoy the build-up! Thanks again, see you all on December 19!!!!!

Garrett Fuller


Lincoln Center Report
Xoanon @ 11:34 pm EST
Ringer Spy Riskbreaker sends along this great report from the Lincoln Center LOTr footage screening! More coming in!!! Take a read!

OH... MY... GAWD!

I can't even bring words to this experience. It was religious.

I purchased tickets two weeks ago to this "Behind the Scenes of Middle Earth" at Lincoln Center. I figured "what the hell, we'll see some footage of the filming process and ask the producers a bunch of questions."

They started the night by showing the 2.5 minute trailer. The one that ends with Gollum. There was crazy applause afterward.

Barrie Osborne and the damned-if-I-can-remember-his-name Art Director also attended. They went for an hour and a half discussing the different locations and methods of filming they went through. We received an in-depth explanation of the "forced perspective" technique and how they made the Hobbits look smaller than humans. It was simple -- yet ingenious. The simple act of sticking the Hobbit a few steps back from the human and locking a single camera on him works SO much better than using CGI or some other overly-technical method. This one works because it's tricking the eyes.

In between a load of the behind-the-scenes footage, we got to see some actual film footage. We see Gandalf and Frodo riding on the cart in the Shire. We got to see the Hobbits running from farmer Maggot while arguing amongst themselves in very "Hobbit-like" simplicity. This scene was great. The corn stalks are up over their heads. Then, they roll down the hill. They showed this in about 6 different takes, showing the difficulties of the life of stunt-men and stunt-women (and stunt-Hobbits).

We saw a lot of footage regarding the massive army shots, including the Orcs and Elves. The Elves have very beautiful "hand-made" designs to all their armor, but no two look alike. Legolas uses a sword that has the flare of a scimitar at the tip, but doesn't have the huge curve in the blade. It's quite attractive.

We got to see the digital renderings that were made of all the "hero" (main) characters. We saw Gandalf and Boromir. Oh, man! These were so beautiful! They looked *almost* Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within quality, and these things will never be seen (at least in close-up) in the final film. I was amazed by this on it's own!

We got to see the Helm's Deep set. It looks great. It looks like 30 wars over 4000 years have been waged there. All cracked and broken bridges, but yet the castle still stands, and you know what it is.

They also showed the sales-reel that PJ used to sell the project to New Line after he began work with Miramax. It was pretty uneventful in terms of new information, but one got a great feel for the amount of work that was already put into the film before they even had a production company carrying it!

We saw some stunt work detailing the different races vs. their different fighting styles. There wasn't much detail on this, but they did say how they spent a lot of time making sure the Elves looked like immortals who had 1000 years each to practice their own fighting styles. Included with this were unfinished shots of Aragon fighting Orcs at what I think was Weathertop. I'm not really sure on this one. Viggo is amazing! He was killing three at a time. Throwing punches, kicks and wielding Anduril with absolute genius.

There was also footage shown of Arwen at the ford running from the Ringwraiths. This was brief. It looked great, though.

There is more, but this is all I can think of at the moment. I'm sure some of the other 535 people that saw this tonight will correct the blanks here.

The reason is that the following footage made me forget my name, where I lived and where I work. I don't think I'll go in tomorrow. I'll just stay home and work on screenplay #5.

The end of the presentation rolled around, and while it was great, fantastic (these people have a true and genuine love for the work they do. You can see it in their eyes) -- I was a bit disappointed because other than the theatrical trailer, we didn't see anything of the final film cut.

Well, right at the end, they said "We have the cave troll scene to show you guys. It's not finished, but it's close."

OH... MY... GAWD!

The Fellowship of Nine... in the Dwarven Mines of Moria. Gimli finds the remains of Balin, the fallen king. He cries like no dwarf should be seen crying. Pippin (a FOOL of a Took) knocks a skeleton into a well, stirring the Orcish Horde. Frodo draws Sting, the Elven blade. It glows a bright blue. The Orcs are near.

They come like a plague. Legolas and Aragorn hold them at bay with bow and arrow, but they come too fast. Gandalf draws his sword, valiantly standing in front of the Hobbits, Frodo and his precious cargo. Boromir draws his sword and slays four without blinking.

Aragorn flies into a fury with Anduril, the Flame of the West. Orc pieces fly left and right. Frodo's Hobbit comrades stab and hack at the Orcish horde as well. There is a bloodlust here not from desire, but from a need to survive. Peter Jackson captures it in the eyes of each of the nine in the space of four minutes. He's *that* good.

But then comes the Cave Troll. A nine foot hulking attrocity storms into the room, held at the neck by the iron-wrought chain the Orcs use to keep him at bay. Words can't do this justice, but as "Moriarity" from Ain't It Cool News said: "It's everything I hoped the Rancor would be. It's fast, it's agile. It doesn't hesitate."

It's true. The Cave Troll stomps with a single-minded desire to squish the annoying gnats at it's feet. Poor Sam has to do all he can to avoid the giant hooves and the six-foot stone hammer it wields.

And then it corners Frodo. Frodo backs himself against a support pillar. The Cave Troll sniffs to the right and Frodo slips to the left. The Troll sniffs to the left and Frodo slips to the right. Moments pass in uncomfortable silence. Frodo steps away with a false sense of safety and --

The cave troll ROARS a blood-curdling Jurassic-Park-on-steroids from-the-toes cry.

And the screen goes black.

I look down to make sure I haven't ruined another perfectly good pair of pants and I realize that my girlfriend has her nails dug into my arm. Not from fear, but from the sense of desperation and intensity that Peter Jackson created in a six minute unfinished two-tracks of sound clip.

Ho-lee shee-it.

This film will be like a hurricane. It will sweep away everything in it's path and climb to the top of every record that has ever been set. People will flow in droves to the theaters. Not just geeks like you and me, but every self-respecting fan of fiction that adores the importance of a fantastic story at the heart of every special effects orgasm. This film is that.

Episode II will come and go. George has lost sight of his fans and the taste of his original trilogy. Lord of the Rings will still stand. Twenty five years from now, producers and directors will be looking for that sci-fi/action/fantasy trilogy to top Lord of the Rings just as Lord of the Rings will soon do to Star Wars.

Buy your tickets now, my friends.


The Uneasy Voyage around David Wenham
Xoanon @ 11:43 am EST
From: Rallas

A Sixty Minutes interview for Australian Television was broadcast on Sunday 9th September.

One of the stories was an interview with David Wenham(Faramir) in the Peter Jackson movies. The following is a brief synopsis of the topics covered and some quotes from David.

Unfortunately The Lord of the Rings was not mentioned in the interview. The focus was on his new movie called “The Bank”.

The interviewer was Charles Wooley.

Charles Wooley started the interview with a character workup where it was mentioned that David hates giving interviews and finds it extremely difficult to play the natural character, himself.

David admitted to hating the prospect of interviews. “Let the dentistry begin” was how he treats the prospect of having to answer questions about himself.

He loves character acting and has played many off-beat characters over the years. A greens keeper in “Green Keeping”, a warped and twisted pyromaniac in “Copy” and the psychotic killer in “The Boys” that won him critical and peer acclaim.

In the same year as “The Boys” was released David commenced his time as Diver Dan in the Australian television production of “Sea Change”. During this show he became a national sex-symbol. This is a tag that does not fit or sit easily with him. He freely admits to a confidence problem and finds that slipping on “the veneer of a character” is the best thing about acting. It is then that the words, character and magic happen. He loves the “Alec Guiness” way of acting where he can walk down a street during the day and have nobody recognise him, and yet at night on the stage under the lights he is liberated to give the performance that the audience deserves.

His recent films “Better Than Sex”, “Moulin Rouge” and “The Bank” have opened him up to the “A-list” of Australian acting talent and have garnered much praise from audiences and industry pundits alike.

He states that he “has done the Full Monty on stage a few times…and tries to think about nothing while doing so” as that is the best way to get through the experience without providing the audience a little bit more than they paid for!

It was funny sees David being interviewed and comparing him, as Faramir, with Sean Bean. I would say that Peter Jackson has done another marvellous job of picking two actors which, when placed in-character within Middle-earth’s setting, will play beautifully as two brothers.

Once again, the interview did not have LOTR information but was very insightful into the character of a very good “character actor”.


More Story Confirmations!
Xoanon @ 2:17 pm EST
Morgoth1970 sends along the AMAZING story facts from the LOTR Calander...check out some of these facts and quotes we now KNOW will be in the movie!!

…The Ring yearns, above all else, to return to the hand of its Master: they are one, the Ring and the Dark Lord. Frodo, he must never find it! – Gandalf

You cannot offer me this Ring…through me it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine. Do not tempt me, Frodo. – Gandalf

My dear Frodo, Hobbits really are amazing creatures. You can learn all there is to know about their ways in a month, and yet, after a hundred years, they can still surprise you in a pinch. – Gandalf

*The Green Dragon Inn is mentioned or shown in the film.

Always remember this, Frodo: The Ring is trying to get back to its Master…it wants to be found. – Gandalf

If I take one more step, it’ll be the farthest from Home I’ve ever been. – Sam

It’s dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. …You step onto the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to. – Bilbo

Gilthoniel! O Elbereth!
Clear are thy eyes and bright thy breath!
Snow-white! Snow white! We sing to thee
In a far land beyond the Sea. – (Song of the Wood Elves)

Tell me, Gandalf the Grey, you – to whom so many look for guidance…how is it you can be so blind? – Saruman

The world is changed, Gandalf. A new Age is at hand…the Age of Men, which we must rule. – Saruman

Are we not the Istari? Within this frail human form does not the spirit of a Maiar live? – Saruman

I gave you the chance of aiding me willingly, but you have elected the way of pain. – Saruman, to Gandalf

*The Uruk-hai start life as maggots!!!

He’s one of them Rangers, dangerous folk they are. Wandering the wilds. What his right name is I’ve never heard: but he’s known round here as Strider. – Barliman

Frodo’s my second cousin once-removed on his mother’s side and my third cousin twice-removed on his father’s side, if you follow me. – Pippin Took

You’re drawing far too much attention to yourself…Mr. Underhill. – Strider

*Gandalf speaks to a moth while imprisoned in Orthanc, which ultimately leads to his escape.

*Gil-galad, Elendil, and Isildur are all mentioned (or shown). Elrond is mentioned (or shown) as Gil-galad’s herald.

*The hills of Emyn Beriad are mentioned as the place where Gil-galad built the White Tower for Elendil.

*By the time Sam leaves with Frodo, he is already in love with Rosie Cotton.

*Merry & Pippin steal vegetables from Farmer Maggot.

*The Grey Havens are mentioned as the place the elves go when they leave Middle Earth.

***The Elven name for the Grey Havens is Valinor!!!!!!!!!

*Saruman created the Uruk Hai.

*The Uruk Hai are all marked by the White Hand of Saruman.

Let him go or I’ll have you, Longshanks! – Sam

*Gandalf is carried from Orthanc by a great eagle.

You have a stout heart, little hobbit, but your courage alone will not save you. – Strider

They were Kings…great Kings of Men. Sauron gave to them Nine Rings of Power and with them the promise of eternal rule…unending life. – Strider

They took the Rings without question…and one by one, regardless of their strength to good or evil…they fell. – Strider

They are the Ringwraiths, the Nazgul, the Nine Servants of Sauron. – Strider

*At the Prancing Pony, the hobbits stuff thief beds with pillows and hide in Strider’s room.

Merry: How do we know Strider’s a friend of Gandalf’s

Frodo: I think a servant of the Enemy would look fairer but feel fouler…we must trust him.

To Rivendell, Master Gamgee – to the house of Elrond. – Strider

*Aragorn’s song is about Luthien and Beren.

The Ring…The Ring…The Ring… - The Ringwraiths

This is beyond my skill to heal. He needs Elvish medicine…we’ve got to get him to Rivendell. – Strider

*Strider uses Kingsfoil when Frodo is stabbed on Weathertop.

There is only one Lord of the Ring – only One who can bend it to his will. – Gandalf

*Athelas is also referred to as the “proper” name of Kingsfoil.

Give up the Halfling, She-Elf! – Witch King of the Nazgul

***Arwen’s horse is named Asfaloth.

Frodo, lasto beth nin, tolo dan na ngalad. (Translation: Frodo, hear my voice, come back to the light.) – Elrond

His strength returns…but the wound will never fully heal. – Elrond

Elrond: To what Frodo will come in the end, I cannot tell.

Gandalf: Not to evil, I think. He may become like a glass filled with a clear light…for eyes to see that can.

Time wearies all of us – even those who do not measure it. – Elrond

This is no mere Ranger. He is Aragorn, son of Arathorn…and you owe him your allegiance. – Legolas

Did I know the Ring would be found? No…it is what I feared. – Elrond

The Ring was made in the fires of Mount Doom…only there can it be unmade. It must be taken deep into Mordor, and cast back into the fiery chasm from whence it came. – Elrond

You do not just walk into Mordor…It is a folly. – Boromir

Let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy…He will not think that, having the Ring, we may seek to destroy it. – Gandalf

*Gandalf upsets Elrond at the Council by reading the inscription on the Ring in the Black Tongue.

I will take it…I will take the Ring to Mordor…though I do not know the way. – Frodo

***Gimli attempts to destroy the Ring with his axe at the Council.

So it often is with the deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must – Gandalf

I will help you bear this burden, Frodo Baggins, as long as it is yours to bear. – Gandalf

If by my life or death, I can protect you, I will – you have my sword. – Aragorn (I wonder if this was supposed to be “my word”?

You carry the fate of all of us, little one… - Boromir

*Sauron mixes his own blood with molten gold to create the One Ring.

Nine companions to match the Nine Ringwraits…So be it. You shall be the “Fellowship of the Ring”! – Elrond

The light of the Evenstar does not wax and wane…it is constant, even in the greatest darkness. – Arwen

I am Isildur’s heir, not Isildur himself; my fate is my own. – Aragorn

***The shattered pieces of Narsil rest in Rivendell in the hands of a statue.

The skill of the Elves can reforge the sword of Elendil – but only you can wield it. – Elrond, to Aragorn

It’s a pretty thing, isn’t it? Mithril…light as a feather, and as hard as dragon scales. – Bilbo

Nai Tiruvantel ar varyuvantel I Valar tielyanna nu vilya. (Translation: May the Valar protect you on your path under the sky.) – Elrond

This is indeed the hour of the Shire-folk. – Elrond

Farewell, hold to your purpose, and may the blessing of Elves and Men and all free folk go with you. – Elrond, to the Fellowship

*Elrond possesses the Ring of Vilya.

It is not the strength of the body that matters, but the strength of the spirit. – Gandalf

*Arwen is the last-born of her people.

Whom do you serve? – Saruman, to Lurtz

Do you know how Orcs first came into being? They were once Elves. Taken by the Dark Powers in the First Age-tortured, mutilated-a ruined and terrible form of life, bred into a slave race. – Saruman

It is a strange fate that we suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing…such a little thing. – Boromir

*The Crebain of Dunland are large crows used by the spies of Saruman.

Losto Caradhras, sedho, hodo, nuitho i ruith! (Translation: Sleep Caradhras, be still, lie still, hold your wrath!) – Gandalf

Moria - Khazad-dum! Greatest of the Dwarf Halls – what I would not give to look on its treasures! – Gimli

*Gandalf is sent to Middle Earth by the Valar.

One must tread the path that need chooses. – Gandalf

Dwarf doors are invisible when closed. Their own masters cannot find them if their secret is forgotten. – Gandalf

Pedo mellon a minno…Speak, friend, and enter. – Gandalf

Now you will see, Master Elf, one of the marvels of the Northern World… - Gimli

This is not a mine…it’s a tomb. – Boromir

*The Fellowship is attacked by tentacles from the pool before they enter the gates of Mordor.

Now we have but one choice…we must face the long dark of Moria. Be on your guard…there are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world. – Gandalf

*The Orcs of Moria have a Cave Troll under their influence.

The wealth of Moria was not in gold or jewels, but Mithril. - Gandalf

I wish the Ring had never come to me…I wish none of this had happened. – Frodo

Fool of a Took! Throw yourself in next time and rid us of your stupidity! – Gandalf

Let them come! There is one dwarf in Moria who still draws breath! – Gimli

I think you’ll find there’s more to this Hobbit than meets the eye. – Gandalf

You cannot pass! I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass! The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udun. Go back to the shadow! You shall not pass! – Gandalf

*Evidently, it is revealed that Gandalf, Saruman, and Sauron are all Maiar spirits.

The Grey Wizard is dead. His rag-tag Fellowship is leaderless. There is none left to defend it. – Saruman

Orcs have dared enter Lothlorien; they will not leave it alive! – Haldir

You carry a heavy burden, Frodo – don’t carry the weight of the world as well. – Boromir

Caras Galadhon…The heart of Elvendom on earth; realm of the Lord Celeborn and of Galadriel, Lady of Light. – Haldir

Your coming is to us as the footsteps of Doom. – Galadriel

The quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail, to the ruin of all…Yet hope remains while the Company is true. – Galadriel

*Elven cloaks, Elven bows, silver belts with small daggers, Elven rope, and the Phial of Galadriel are given to the Fellowship upon their parting.

What you will see I cannot tell, for the mirror shows many things – things that were, things that are, and some things that have not yet come to pass. – Galadriel

*Elven cloaks have the power to shield their wearers from unfriendly eyes.

In place of the Dark Lord, you would have a Queen, not dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Dawn!

Treacherous as the Sea! Stronger than the foundations of the earth…All shall love me and despair! – Galadriel

I pass the test. I will diminish and go into the West and remain Galadriel. – Galadriel

You are a Ringbearer, Frodo…to bear a Ring of Power is to be alone. – Galadriel

Even the smallest person can change the course of the future. – Galadriel

Galadriel: And what gift would a Dwarf ask of the Elves?

Gimli: Nothing, but to look upon the Lady of the Galadhrim one last time, for she is more fair than all the jewels beneath the earth.

*Gimli is given a lock of hair by Galadriel.

For you, I have prepared this…the light of Earendil, our most beloved Star. – Galadriel, to Frodo

May it be a light for your in dark places, when all other lights go out. – Galadriel

I have taken my worst wound in this parting, having looked my last upon that which is fairest. – Gimli

You are quick enough to trust the Elves. Have you so little faith in your own people? Yes, there is weakness – there is frailty – but there is courage also, and honor to be found in Men. – Boromir

Amon Hen – the Hill of Sight. They say that all that moves for hundreds of miles around is revealed to one who sits upon the Seeing Seat. Such was the power of the ancients. – Aragorn

A shadow and a threat has been growing in my mind. Something draws near, I can feel it. – Legolas

I know what I must do – but I am afraid to do it. – Frodo

I do not know what strength is in my blood, but I swear to you – I will not let the White City fall, nor our people fail. – Aragorn

More New LOTR Stills
Xoanon @ 2:07 pm EST
Ringer Spy Morgoth1970 sends along some more great LOTR stills, check them out!

Toy Biz Toy Scans
Xoanon @ 1:43 pm EST
Ringer Spy Michael sends along these great scans from the 'Origins' graphic novel. Take a look!


PJ Cameos - are there more than one?
Tehanu @ 10:24 pm EST
PJ's known for doing cameo roles in his movies. We know he was filmed in Bree - one of the extras we spoke to stood next to him for some scene (time and time again, all night, in the pouring fake rain, if I remember rightly.) But on the TORN messageboard, Silverlode noticed something in the stills we got recently from Morgoth:

"I was looking more closely at the first shot of Bilbo's Birthday party that Morgoth 1970 sent in, and I noticed something interesting.

Take a look at the hobbits in the upper right corner, in front of the tree. The hobbit in a white shirt looks like Elijah as Frodo to me. Look a little to the left...there's a bearded hobbit in a green shirt."

Winged Balrog guesses: "He could be playing one of Bilbo's Dwarves. Remember in the book? When Bilbo leaves, he whistles, and some dwarves show up, who he asks if everything is prepared. Maybe PJ is a dwarf."

Hmm, that dwarf appears to wearing one of those dark aquamarine polarfleece Kathmandu vests that the director, the crew, and TORN spies all wear. . The other hobbits have sleeveless cardigans/vests with a straight collar; the bearded one has the same neckline as my Kathmandu vest.


CANNES Footage Review
Xoanon @ 3:10 pm EST
This review comes by way of an insider somwhere in the world of corporate suits and meetings Ne wLine has with people all over the globe...and she/he is a HUGE Tolkien fan! So enjoy! Be WARNED it's FILLED with Spoilers!

So I went to a special screening where they had a mini-sized theater that was pumping people through. It was crazy. We talked to the Alliance people for a minute and then we headed into the theatre.

I don't know if you have them in Montreal but there are a few here called VIP lounges which hold about 24 people and have nice chairs and people come take your order from your seat...costs a little more and the screen is small so I never use them. Anyway, it was like that.

We sat on this big comfy couch and the screen wasn't huge and overwhelming like the way I like movies! It was still TOTALLY...and I mean TOTALLY awesome! Let's get to it:

The whole thing started with a little intro by Peter Jackson and Ian McKellan (dressed as Gandalf) riding along on a cart into the Shire. Peter apologizes to the audience for not being able to appear in person and then they laugh and ride off. Then the film starts and basically, I'm pretty sure that it IS the way the movie will start. We start at a mid level vantage point, Gandalf is riding into the Shire and then we close in on him as he gets out of the cart and knocks on Bilbo's door. Everything is beautiful and when Bilbo comes to the door, they laugh and hug and we all go inside. The Hobbit hole is beautiful and goes on forever with brightly lit corridors and beautiful furnishings. Gandalf has a few moments of slapstick when he hits his head in the low ceilings but it's a lot of fun.

The scene jumps forward to Bilbo's birthday cutting right into his speech. He puts on the ring and turns invisible before everyone and then jumps to the hobbit hole where he takes it off laughing and Gandalf is waiting for him. Bilbo struggles with giving up the ring and at this point we see the image the ring on the palm which is in the teaser trailer and the ring doubles in size and we shoot through it to the scene. In the cannes film, we see the ring as just a single ring in his shaking palm. It then jumps forward to Frodo deciding to run away with the ring and he and Galdalf have a short discorse.

We jump into Bree and Sam says to Mr. Frodo "That dark stranger has been watching us all night!" The camera shows us Strider with his hood up and a long pipe in his mouth. You can't see his face. AMAZING! It then skips ahead to Rivendell, to the Council meeting. Each person is volunteering in turn for their race. Awesome!

Then the hobbits break into the room, Merry, Pippin and Sam yelling that Frodo will go nowhere without them and they'll will have to be trussed up in sacks to stop them! Awesome! The scene jumps ahead to the teaser trailer with the Fellowship coming over the hill in the mountains one by one. Beautiful again! Gandalf talks about not being able to continue and Gimli suggests Moria. The film jumps to the doors of Moria which open and the party enters. We switch vantage points from on the lake watching the doors open to inside Moria watching the Fellowship enter! It was beautiful but they didn't seem to be rushing so I think the monster from the lake has been cut...that is totally a guess but they were slowly entering in a line. We'll see. So now we are in Moria and this is the part where I began to cry.

It was Moria. No word of a lie. It was Moria. When you all see it, the tears will flow. It's beauty and expansiveness and the sadness of what has happened there are all contained in the visuals. Jackson is a master and this is his master work. It was beautiful and I can't tell you much more than that...you will understand when you see it. The group move through Moria and the camera angles show just how huge and cavernous and empty Moria is. Then they find the final battle site and the grave of the Lord of Moria. Gimli is upset and great!

Gandalf is using a blue flame out of his staff to light the way. Gandalf reads the book, recounting the story of the last of the dwarves and then Pippin knocks a skeleton into the well...wrapped around the skeleton is a chain which the bucket to the well is attached to...all of this goes in and the sound is amazing. The camera sort of follows the sound, giving us shots of Moria that we haven't seen yet to show just how deep the well is and where the sound is going! Amazing! Gandalf delivers his "Fool of a Took" line with Ian McKellan mastery and then the drums of the deep begin. Frodo pulls Sting out slightly and it is glowing blue...Orcs are nearby!!!

This is where most of the 25 minutes is spent...on the battle and flight of Moria! They showed this entire sequence as Boromir (Sean is AWESOME!) and Aragorn bar the door and then the party sets for the charge of Orcs. They break the door slightly and Aragorn and Legolas fire arrows throw the hole...then the door bursts open and the orcs poor through. This is when you see the one image of the four hobbits with their backs all together (on that bookmark I sent in as well as a calendar image). In the images I have seen, Sting is normal but in the film, Sting is glowing blue...awesome!

So the Orcs poor into the room (some even climb the walls to get over other orcs) and there is total chaos. Legolas continues firing with the bow while Aragorn and Boromir hack and slice. Boromir with his round shield is amazing! Gimli cuts with his axe and Gandalf uses both Glamdring AND his staff in a two-weapon whirlwind that is amazing! Sam looses his sword and begins swinging with a cast iron pot, doing a great job! The hobbits fight well! Then the Cave Dweller busts into the room! It's HUGE and carries a huge hammer and a chain hangs from it's other hand. It whips at everyone and then decides it wants Legolas who has now moved up to a walking area above the melee. The chain whip comes at Legolas a few times which he dodges and then it gets wrapped around a pillar. Legolas takes the moment of confusion the Cave Dweller has and runs along the chain, up the arm of the Dweller to stand on it's stooped neck and fire point blank into it's back. He then jumps clear but the Cave Dweller isn't finished. Everyone is still fighting all around and the Dweller stalks Frodo around a pillar a few times...sniffing him. It grabs him and pulls him out. Aragorn sees this and charges grabbing a halberd with a spear point on his way and sticking the cave dweller in the stomach. But the dweller backhands Aragorn who flys away! It takes the halberd and sticks Frodo! With that the Fellowship finish off the Orcs and turn their attentions to the Dweller. Gimli and and Gandalf step in, hack and step back. The thing is huge and keeps striking out and screaming. We can see Legolas on one side though with an arrow knocked, biding his time. The dweller screams again and Legolas looses his arrow through its open mouth, through it's brain to stick out the back of it's head! AMAZING!! It crumbles to the ground and the group run to Frodo.

When Aragorn rolls him over though, he is fine and he reveals his mithral shirt! It looks beautiful! They quickly run and we go to a high shot of the Fellowship running past the massive columns of Moria. But Orcs are pouring out from all sides and even climbing down the columns like crazed monkeys!!! It's terrifying and exciting! The Fellowship are soon surrounded and prepare for a final battle where they will obviously die (there are thousands of orcs!) when a roar tears through and the shot shows columns further down the hall glowing with a red light. The source is undiscernable but you and I know who is making it! The orcs all scream and run off in terror. Aragorn asks Gandalf what it is while Gimli laughs, attributing their fear to the bands fighting prowess! Gandalf concentrates for a moment and then answers..."Balrog."

The party runs for a set of stairs. These stairs are amazing as they are MASSIVE and set in free standing squares the spiral down into darkness. You can see them for a split second in the second trailer as I will describe in a moment. So the party races down the stairs and come to a part where the stair has fallen away. Legolas leaps over the gap and helps Boromir and Gimli across. Suddenly arrows begin to be fired in and around them, none finding their mark. Legolas draws his bow and turns. There are orcs high overhead firing down on them. Legolas fires and the camera follows on the arrow's head as it strikes an orc. Legolas continues to fire, taking out each orc with beautiful precision!! It was amazing. Meanwhile, there is a huge shudder at the top of the stairs where the party came from a normal sized doorway. The Balrog is battering the wall to get through and at them. The Fellowship all make it across as bits of the stair keep falling away.

The hobbits are tossed across the gap to the people below until only Aragorn and Frodo are left on the top stairs and the rock falls away again so that they cannot make it. Another crash comes from the Balrog and a huge chunk of stone falls crashing through the stone stairs above Aragorn and Frodo. Now the chunk of stairway they are on is cracking loose for the main set of stairs and as Frodo and Aragorn move, the thing begins to topple! Aragorn yells "LEAN FORWARD!!!! FORWARD!!!!" and the pair do. The stairs fall forward towards the rest of the fellowship and the duo jump onto the stair and to safety. They quickly flee down the stairs as the Balrog thunders behind them. As they close on the bridge that will free them from Moria, Gandalf tells Aragorn to lead the party and turns to face the Balrog. The Balrog finally comes into view. It was still encased in darkness as it lands before Gandalf and it's HUGE...GIGANTIC!!!!!!

It's head is horned like a bulls...nothing like the Lion-headed one from Ralph Bakshi's version. Gandalf yells "You Shall Not Pass!" and the scene cuts to darkness. Then the party is in Loth Lorien and there is an expanded version of the discourse between Frodo and Galadriel and then they are given their cloaks and set out in the boats! It's beautiful and other-worldly!

The film then continues on showing us snippets from the other two films including Arwen riding a horse (I swear she is taking Frodo across the Ford to Rivendell. There is nothing else I can think it is!) We also see Eowyn making eyes at Aragorn. Frodo with Faramir and his men. Theoden King in a terrible state. Arwen looking ghostly white on a bed (like she was dead!). Grima Wormtongue being thrown out onto the stairs. The battle at Helm's Deep. Bits of Saruman and Gandalf's meeting when Saruman declares his true alligence. There was a scene of the sword being reforged for Aragorn. Aragorn putting on armor for the battle at Helms Deep (AWESOME!)

Sam fighting the Orcs on his own as he tries to rescue Frodo from their Tower in Return of The King. Sam holding Frodo (both look TERRIBLE like they should not having food or water for so long!) and saying he can't carry Frodo and the ring!

Then, the final sequence...which was almost too much of a spoiler for me...was Frodo in Mt Doom with the ring. "I will not throw it in. The Ring is MINE!" as he is about to put it on his finger. The End!

We didn't get to see any Ents or Gollum...not that I expected to. It was so amazing and I know within my heart of hearts that this movie is what we have all been waiting our lifetimes for. The music was perfect, the effects were seamless, the acting was flawless. Absolute perfection. Without doubt. All hail Peter Jackson, cast and crew...and that Tolkien guy too!

New Legolas Pic
Xoanon @ 2:06 pm EST
Ringer Spy MR sends along this great pic of Legolas, you can really see the details in the clothing, props, wigs...everything, if costumes and set designs do not get Oscar nods this year I'm gonna hit the roof.

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