Overall, I liked it and was glad I went, the images were clearer and longer than many we have seen. Here’s what was in it;
It opened with a few scenes we have seen, but each just a few seconds more drawn out: the Fellowship on that crag of the mountains we saw in the first trailer, Gandalf’s fireworks (after they explode they fly over the water as if each is controlled), Gandalf entering Hobbiton and approaching Bag End, and the launching in Lothlórien of the boats.
They then went to a discussion of LOTR in the beginning showing actual letters to Allan and Unwin and a long interview with the late Rayner Unwin himself, quite charming (shame he died just a bit ago). They had a nice shot of all the different language versions of LOTR.
Then there were quite a lot of shots throughout that were of scenes being filmed. I can’t read my hastily scribbled notes here, but there was one of the Rohirrim riding, more of the Shire, etc. Most of this was interspersed with interviews. They began with PJ and he was saying many of the things we have [I]read[/I] him saying before – why he made the books, the difficulty of shooting three movies, etc.
This was followed by a shot of Saruman, a charge of Orcs I took to be Amon Hen, and Bree (again shots of the filming of scenes).
There was a lovely short snippet with Cate Blanchett – who looked FABULOUS by the way, talking about the devotion of the fans and the crew to the project. Then quite a bit about Alan Lee (man, he needs some dental work) and John Howe. You know we have read about how when they got to Hobbiton, it started to take shape when Lee and Howe drew the landscape as the Shire? They either recreated this or showed it – it was cool.
Then McKellen delivering his quote about how he really felt he was there at Bag End. Then they introduced a person at HM whose title is, get this, ‘Director of Tolkien Projects’!
Back to Lee at Rivendell saying when he designed it he tried to ‘think like an elf’. We then cut to WETA, and they showed scenes with lots of Elves at Rivendell, and you’ll be happy to know that many of them had dark hair. Of course then shots of mail and Orcs, with Orlando Bloom (in Mohawk) commenting on the attention to detail. Then they had an intriguing shot of Boromir in Rivendell, which I take to be at the statue with the sword – can’t be sure of this, though, it was fast.
A real highlight was a shot of them filming Astin as Sam reciting a part of his poem about Gandalf and his fireworks in Lothlórien – the purists will like that (though I do not think it was word for word). They showed Sam in the snow, then Frodo and Sam walking in Rivendell. Cut to Elijah Wood interview with scenes of Gandalf and Saruman interacting (almost a regular conversation – must have been before the imprisonment).
McKellen repeats his claim that the book became his bible and he was always pulling it on people to prove his point.
One of the coolest sequences followed with Frodo training in sword fighting and Bloom practicing his archery and celebrating some very good marksmanship – this was great.
Then a brief snippet from the serious Viggo Mortensen with shots of Anduin and the Moria door and Gandalf acting as if feeling his way through Moria although it was filmed in good light of course.
Then followed the best moment, a 20 second sequence of Gandalf knocking on the door and Ian Holm as Bilbo coming out to greet him. It looked great, the sizes were perfect, the acting was perfect. I giggled out loud as did most everybody else… Then standard shots from the last trailer.
Went to the Waldenbooks in the mall here near Wilmington, VA. I think there were about six people here. They set us up outside the store with a 17" screen and the sound turned fairly low. They gave away the magnets and pins and had a raffle for a Black Rider t-shirt (who won??). They started a second showing immediately after the first and had a third planned for 7:30. I hope more people showed up. Based on this turnout I guess I will be able to walk up to the ticket window a few minutes before showtime on 12/19.
Anyway I really enjoyed the footage. Pictures of Rivendell were great and I was impressed to see Alan Lee himself touching up the set with paintbrush in hand. The interview with Mr. Unwin was particularly interesting.
I live in the middle of the Loop in downtown Chicago. The second biggest city in the nation. Yesterday, at about noon, central time, I remembered that it was Lord of the Rings day! I nearly flipped. I couldnt believe that i had forgotten. So, i jumped onto the internet and checked, once again, for the location in Chicago where i can view the behind the scenes footage. I didnt have much time, so I notice the address and hit the road. As im walking, Im realizing that this address is really far away! Plus, i couldnt believe that the place I have to go is a ma and pop bookstore on the upper west side in a small area of Chicago called Oak Park! I figured, well, it's too long of a walk so ill hail a cab. I take a cab to the address that was indicated on the bookstore's web site. Now, maybe im an idiot, dumb or just real bad with directions, but i was dropped off at the exact address, but found myself in meat packers heaven! The "L" was riding directly above my head so it was constantly loud, and of course windy and cold! I walked up and down the street all over the neighborhood looking for this bookstore-I even asked a mailman and HE didnt know where it was! My point is, folks, I am very disappointed (and slightly jealous) that the Lord of the Rings could not have been properly brought to the city of Chicago. I checked the locations of where LOTR day was being held in other cities across the country and they were all held in big bookstore chains AND some cities were even lucky enough to have guest appearances! I know for a fact I am NOT the only Tolkien fan in this city! Chicago has a very large fan base. I live in the middle of the city and you would think they (whoever "they" are) could have found a much more central or more recognizeable location to let LOTR fans take part in a national celebration of our beloved book. I realize you all at TORN are unable to do anything about this, but I figured you would at least be able to show more empathy than others. I just hope that the city of Chicago is not overlooked when celebrating the release of the biggest film in Hollywood history. Best Wishes.
OK, I attended the Los Angeles event at the Brentano's in the Beverly Center. I've read what everyone else has written, so I'll just fill in the areas that weren't already mentioned.
First off, I got there a bit late, since I had to drive over 50 miles to get there, and lunchtime in LA is not a great time of the day to be driving. I missed the video presentation and was quite bummed about that, but the store manager was very sweet and played it again after everything was done with.
Sean Astin was just beginning his discussion when I showed up, so I found myself a spot to stand and then had to keep moving around all the video cameras from news crews. There was even a French news crew there, and the on air guy started speaking quite loudly in French right next to me, reviewing the event, even while Sean was speaking. Finally someone shushed him and he backed up a bit and continued in a lower voice. This French crew then ended up walking through the crowd during the autograph time and talked to all the fans. So, there's a chance I will end up on French entertainment news someplace. The guy in front of me was asked something about languages in the book, and was able to quote some Dwarvish phrase, which was cool. I was then asked if I spoke any languages, and I answered Chinese, which got a laugh from the interviewer. I then talked about the similarities in some of the characters and words to Norse mythology, which I happen to be reading right now, and was amazed to note these similarities. Makes sense, though, since the Norse, Saxons, Germanic peoples contributed to our language and history when they arrived in England all those centuries ago.
Sean said a few things in his English accent, which was cool. He said it's somehting along the lines of a Gloucester accent, something from Western England, so it's nice to know he paid attention to what he was trying to emulate. He then recited a line from the end of Return of the King, the one where he notes that the Elves are leaving Middle Earth and he doesn't know why or where they are going. You could see that even now, this sequence choked him up a bit. He said it was when he filmed this scene he really understood all that Tolkien was getting at in the books. The loss of innocence, the value of life and happiness, sacrifice, etc. It was quite moving to see that he was still emotionally bonded to this project.
Regarding the video, darn it if I can't recall the sequence of Sam speaking about Gandalf's fireworks. Everyone mentions that as being something they remember the best from the clips, but I must have been looking at something else, like costumes, or sets, or something, because I just don't remember it at all. I do know that I loved the sequence when Bilbo greets Gandalf with such joy. And it was interesting to see the aspect ratio between them and know this was one of the times when they must have used the oversized standin for Gandalf. The fight choreography sessions looked interesting, coming from a combat background myself, I love stuff like that (I'm a 3rd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do). Legolas's sword looked really cool, and he looked like he really was comfortable with it, and with the Bow too. It was funny seeing the Orc actors in street clothes, but still acting like Orcs in the practice sessions. Rivendell looks gorgeous, and I loved seeing Alan Lee drawing it while sitting in the woods. Viggo talking was a bit of a surprise, as it's been a long time since I saw one of his movies. I'd forgotten what a soft spoken man he is, very quiet, unasuming voice, so he should just rock as Aragorn. It was very nice of the store manager to show the video a second time, so I hope she doesn't get into trouble with New Line over it.
Last but not least, I really enjoyed meeting the other fans. Some of them were from TORN, like Calisuri, and some were from the Tolkien Society and TolkienOnline. At the height of the event, I'd say there was close to 100 people there, I think, but I could be wrong. Not bad for such a small store. How many days left until we get to see this movie for real?????
Thought I would chime in from Seattle. I can't add to what's already been said about the footage, but I can say that my long lunch hour was well spent. As was my $$ on the Movie Guide. They setup about 30 chairs, but about 60 showed up. It was a pretty intellectual college crowd, but the age range was what struck me: young father with an 8-year old daughter, 60-year old professors, 20-something "grungers"... and me, the Microsoft employee who drove across the lake to attend.
They rolled in a TV on a cart that was far too low for us all to see. Enough of a stink was raised that they took the time to rig up a higher stand for the TV so all could see. No real hoop-la or give-aways, but you could cut the anticipation with a knife.
I attended the event at the Castleton Corner store on the northeast side of Indianapolis. My wife and I only heard about it because of the Fox 59 morning show this morning. At 1PM it was a small crowd (20-25 people), but I felt a connection with these people who had all come out of busy days to experience this. The store had a drawing (of which I won nothing) and they had free candy to enjoy during the video (I grabbed a theater-sized box of Whoppers, one of my wife's favorite treats). About the upcoming movie -- it will be a truly GLORIOUS experience. I think glorious is a better choice than awesome because this movie will not just be a treat to the eyes but also to the heart. Tolkien's story is so much about living by hope and faith in a tough place where evil is a very real danger not just to our bodies but also to our souls. The producers, directors and actors seem to understand this and I believe that the film(s) will inspire while they entertain.
This was a great event in Denver. I got there about an hour early expecting a big crowd, but there was only about thirty people. About 45 minutes later they handed out magnets with the picture of the Black Rider framed by the blue light, a black pin with "Frodo Lives!" on it, and a little LOTR reading guide. They also raffled off those nice posters as mentioned by Liz above, but alas, I didn't win one. :-( They had a big-screen TV set up on a table so everyone could see, which was nice. After a few minutes of not being able to find the vcr and the tape the B&N lady got it going. Wow! I can't wait for this movie! I was really hoping there would be a lot of new footage, but there wasn't that much. Bits of Rivendell and Hobbiton was about all they showed. But that was reason enough to make it worthwhile! :D Rivendell is beautiful; the attention to detail is just amazing!
The interview with Mr. Unwin was interesting, I've never heard that he was actually the one that was responsible for spliting LOTR into three books. For me, the best parts about the preview was seeing more of Rivendell and hearing the soundtrack with the Moria bridge scenes. I really think the soundtrack fits the movie well.
LOTR DAY at Barnes & Noble 33 E. 17th St. NYC
I was pleased to see a good turnout for the event as well as some media types with heavy cameras lined up waiting for interviews with Sir Ian to follow the presentation. Dan and I took seats and looked around trying to figure out if THIS was what Tolkien Geekdom looked like (including ourselves of course). Quite a variety of both old and young, mostly tending toward the literate or bookish types but a few blue-collar folk as well.
A pleasant British lady (I think from Houghton Miflin) told us what was about to happen and I wondered if the "never before seen" footage might be what I already saw at Lincoln Center but it was different and very good. It begins with a nice interview with Raynor Unwin. It was a bit poignant as most in the room knew he had died so recently. Then came shots from the sets in which you could see the cameras and cranes as well as the action. I was worried there would be more about "how they did it" but this tape was really more flavor rather than recipe so I was happy. There was lots I have not seen and it all looked good: the Bilbo-Gandalf meeting scene, part of Sam’s poem about the late Gandalf’s fireworks and various stunning outdoor shots, especially Aragorn trudging through deep snow on a high mountainside.
There were interviews interspersed, all of which were interesting but far too short. Some of my other favorites included a short scene of Elijah (I think) in sword-fight practice, and a charming scene of Orlando enthusiastically practicing his archery. Another nice shot is one I’ve seen pieces of elsewhere but only here altogether, of the hobbits running through woods then hiding in the roots of a large tree as a Black Rider approaches. I think I counted four hobbits in the shot (instead of three) so perhaps this sequence is a substitute for their adventures in the Old Forest. The only downside was the announcer voice-over which I found immensely annoying and unsuitable. I always wonder, with the vast numbers of excellent actors available, why such an overblown, unattached-to-reality voice is chosen for ANY promotional tape, much less this particular one.
The tape includes some wonderful material about Alan Lee and his designs including that his design of Rivendell was accomplished in the actual forest location, rather than at his drafting table in his office. He said he tried to "think like an Elf" and designed in a way that incorporated as many trees and as possible in order to minimize the impact on the natural environment as much as possible, as he felt the Elves would. He was also shown on the completed set, adding detail at the last minute. When I see such attention as
this paid to a part of the set no-one may ever see, my heart just soars. The tape ends with scattered shots that are now familiar from the current trailer but I was happy to see yet again. I wish they had left the lights off as there was a bright enough spot on the podium for us to have seen Sir Ian but I suppose the camera-men asked for and got the lights restored.
The nice British lady then introduced Sir Ian (the poor woman got very nervous and nearly all her composure at this point) and then up he strode, pausing to acknowledge our enthusiastic applause with a broad smile. He said a few words about what it was like to make this film in the beautiful land of New Zealand and then began to take questions. Twice he was told "two more" and twice he ignored it. The second person called upon was (in my view) a mildly wacko woman who began by praising him with a list of his credits that she had seen herself and then announced she had baked him a cake which she then carried over to him. I was worried for him (and the event) at that moment but Sir Ian is so gracious and composed that he took the plastic goodie bag, thanked her and got right back to business. I can’t imagine him actually eating a cake baked by a needy stranger (and presented in so public a manner), especially these days. I suppose this is a glimpse into the life of a celebrity.
Most of the following questions were fairly informed and a lot were about acting. I was about to ask the tattoo question but was not called upon and I am happy that "Jim" did. We learned that it was the elvish word for "nine", that they did not all get it placed in the same spot, that it was supposed to be a secret and that Elijah was blamed for spilling it. Sir Ian said that his was on his shoulder and was on display nightly on Broadway in "Dance of Death" (I may splurge for tickets after all!) He also joked that reading it upside down, it seems to spell "Gucci". We had an "allegory or not" question, an "exclusion of Tom Bombadil" question and "when does the second movie come out" questions. Others were more interesting (to me) about difficulties faced or favorite moments. He told us that Peter Jackson, as a director, is not a "control freak" but that he is in control. That if an actor had a question, PJ would have the answer, yet that answer could be challenged and argued and that his mind was open to suggestion all the time.
I got my nerve up and asked whether he knew if we could expect any glimpses from the First Age to be shown, specifically the tale of Beren and Luthien. Sadly, his answer was "no". Too bad but at least now I know. Dan slunk down in his chair and whispered that I had just asked the geekiest question of all. I was happy to hear several even geekier questions asked later, restoring me into Dan’s good graces. Finally Sir Ian had to give in to the publicists’ demands for interviews, answered the last question and then he kindly thanked us for coming.
There were several books for sale - the Brian Sibley and the Jude Fisher, (both hard and soft cover versions), as well as a calendar. I didn’t see the "Official Movie Guide". They gave out free refrigerator magnets (!) and "Frodo Lives" buttons. All in all, the event was low-key and dignified, and not too blatant an attempt to sell the movie tie-in books. I’m glad I went. As we left the store and walked to the subway we both said I can’t WAIT to see the movie!
I was at the bookstore, Brentano’s in Los Angeles, at 11am and Robin, a gentleman who works there, said to come back after 11:30, since he had no idea how things would take shape. I cam back just after 11:30 to meet Gail and Steve, who had started the line! Gail was kind enough to catch a couple of seats for us to sit on. So we sat, talking Tolkien, and many other fans showed up to get in line.
But you want to good stuff, right?
Since others have reviewed the preview clip, I’ll get to the good stuff.
Sean Astin was awesome. So down to earth, kind and really caring about the part he played as Sam. He said when his agent first called about the part, he ran out and got LOTR and ripped through the first 180 pages, focusing mainly on Sam, reading it really as homework, not for pleasure. It was only after he stopped, read the Hobbit, loved it, then went back to LOTR he could really appreciate it.
He was kind enough to show us the “nine” tattoo, and he asked those with cameras NOT to photograph it, saying it was something special the nine of them shared, after living together for 15 months. He said he couldn’t imagine getting on the airline to go home and not having something tangible to remember the filming with. I think, once the film is out, he’ll have a lot more.
I asked Sean about injuries, expecting he probably got some doing “The Two Towers,” or “Return of the King” when Sam’s parts are so physical. On the contrary: He was sitting, reading LOTR on the Rivendell set when a huge Elven loom fell on him, knocking him out. He had to stay and finish a few scenes that day, but says he had a headache for a few days after.
Sean’s next terrible injury was crossing through water. He stepped with his rubber Hobbit foot, on something that put a nice big hole in his foot. He said they were up in a remote “alpine’ region, and Jacques Cousteau’s Helicopter pilot flew him out for stitches.
I also heard some of the interviews that went on after the main talk. The ID badge on one reporter said CNN and he was asking about Academy Awards. Sean humbly said something about voting for Elijah. Which went hand in hand with his responses to questions about whether Sam or Frodo was the real hero. He said, “Sam would say Frodo is the hero.” He went on to add, he enjoyed reading essays that expound how Sam is the hero.
As to him being the Injury Man, he told the story of how Viggo was surfing with them and got thunked right on the right side of his forehead above the eye. He showed up on set with a big bruise and Peter Jackson looked and they decided to do all of Aragorn’s shots on the left that day. He also told the story of how Viggo got hit during a staged fight scene, lost a took, and said to just glue it back in so he could finish the scene! I guess he really got into his character!
Part of the preview as about Alan Lee and John Howe, and Sean told how incredible it was to have Alan Lee there, and that Peter Jackson kept referring to the artwork. They were filming a scene where Sam attacks Gollum, then is attacked in return and Frodo has to run up and put Sting to Gollum’s throat to save Sam. P.J. watched a few run-throughs, then had someone run and get Alan Lee’s artwork of that particular scene, and he used it to choreograph the shot.
There were some shots of Lee at the Rivendell set, doing touch-up paining on a post, and Sean told the story how poor Lee broke his arm on that set. Luckily, it wasn’t his drawing arm.
Sean was a real gentleman, answering questions from real newbies like “What character do you play?” and saying, since he was short, he could relate to Hobbits. He also told how he had run the L.A. Marathon 4 days before trying out for Sam, and when they told him to gain 30 pounds, it was hard. He said he lost the weight since then, gained some back, and is in the process of losing it again. I’m sure someone will send in photos. Sean has a beard going now, something his Hobbit counterpart can’t do. (So I guess the hair has migrated from his feet.) He was a real gentleman.
I got to go the B & N in Alpharetta, GA today. There were about 30 or 40 of us there, all bunched in a corner in front of a big screen TV. They had chairs and couches set up, but a lot of kids sitting up in the front on the floor. They gave out popcorn and had a short trivia session with small prizes (I got a magnet!). All the behind the scenes clips were very interesting. If I had to sum up what was covered, I would say just read the movie guide, because it covers basically the same things as the film today. I really enjoyed seeing Elijah and Orlando practice swordfighting and archery. Also, Sean Astin gave a line about the fireworks (I think). At any rate, it was worth the drive. I got to meet Jincey from TORN, which was cool. I have to say that today, the thing that convinced me most that this film is going to be awesome is seeing the faces of the kids in the front row reflected off of the shiny surface of the screen during the film. They were spellbound, as I imagine the rest us will soon be as well!
I attended the LOTR day at Book People in downtown Austin Texas, along with my mom and younger brother. We arrived around 12:20--and were some of the first to show up. They had some cool 'Frodo Lives' buttons, and magnets with the Ringwraith on a hill shot they were giving out to everyone who came--along with a neat poster of artwork by Brother's Hildebrandt. There were maybe 15 people there--ages ranging from 10-50, until a group of 30 6th graders came in. At least they sat on the floor and weren't bugging anybody(I was next to two police officers who had come their lunch break to see this--one was ready with his poster to wack anyone who was messing off).
Finally, 1 o'clock rolled around---but before they started the video, one of the employe's, read an excerpt from 'The Hobbit', the whole riddle passage with Bilbo and Gollum. After that, do they start the movie? No, they decide to do their give aways then. They asked simple questions about LOTR (ie: Who is Gandalf? Who found the ring?) and gave away some cool prizes--a LOTR poster(not sure which one), 2 bags with LOTR stuff in it(a book and trading cards), The Tolkien Companion, a Brother's Hildebrandt book, and a very cool poster with Frodo on one side, and Ringwraiths on the other, which I won(glad I know Gollum's real name). Needless to say, we were glad when the movie finally started at 1:30. While there wasn't a great deal of new scenes, I enjoyed the video, especially the interview with the late Rayner Unwin, and the two lines we got to hear from Sam. All in all--a fun time that we all enjoyed, and hey--I got another LOTR poster to hang up in my room.
My friend and I arrived a bit before 1 PM. They had set-up a 35" inch TV near the front of the store in Cleveland, Ohio. There were between 20 and 30 people there, but all the cute girls were either New Line reps or Booksellers. Sigh. The video started promptly at 1 PM but the sound didn't. The TV was rented, and the Bookseller folks hadn't tested the sound beforehand. They frantically fiddled for a bit, and then I stepped in and resolved the volume issue (the internal TV speakers has been somehow switched-off). I loved seeing Brian Sibley on the video. Even HE is very enthusiastic about the films, and that removes almost all doubt. The sequence of Bilbo and Gandalf at the door of Bag-End was great too. After the presentation, a guy from the Bookstore gave me a $20 gift certificate in appreciation for me fixing the TV, so I decided to support my man Brian Sibley, and I bought the Official Movie Guide. My buddy got the Visual Companion. Good time had by all.
I just returned from the 20-minute show in Tacoma (which will be replayed at 7:30pm for those who are interested), and I was left breathless! It's everything I wanted it to be! I believe it will be on television on the 29th, or that may be a different special (but I think it will be the same show). The University Bookstore was very welcoming, very friendly, and had a 60" TV for our mere 30-odd seats, that and the free popcorn and giveaways, and it was a better experience than most movies I saw this last summer. Sure, we didn't see much that we die-hard internet-junkies haven't seen before, but we got to see MORE of it, and that's more than enough for me. Now for my shameless plug: For those attending (earlier today or later tonight), I did leave fliers for our Tolkien-inspired role-playing game.
Eric M. Van
[Kenmore Square, Boston, did it right -- a nice, fairly large TV, set high up; decent sound, perhaps 50 chairs, most of them filled -- the blurb in today's Boston Globe only mentioned the original location, downtown. And free popcorn!
A camera crew of two arrived after it was over to interview the Houghton Mifflin rep who introduced it -- wish I knew where they were from.]
Anyone who says "nothing new" about the promo film reveals himself as a fan of the movie more than the book! And realize that the film was made not by New Line but by Houghton Mifflin, Tolkien's American publishers since 1938.
The interview with the late Rayner Unwin alone was, for me, worth the trip into Boston (a bus and two subway lines). He told the well-known story of reading_the Hobbit_ at age 10 for his father, who published it on his sole advice. Then he admitted that he was the one that split the single novel into three volumes -- which Tolkien hated, at least at first.
What he didn't stress, in his own defense, was that there was *no other way* to publish the book (he only alluded to this briefly). And for those who still think that Tolkien was ill-treated thereby, consider this: despite the huge subsequent boom in fantasy and sf publishing, despite the end of the post-war paper shortage, *this still happens today*: Gene Wolfe's massive and brilliant science fiction novels (_The Book of the New Sun_, _The Book of the Long Sun_, _The Book of the Short Sun_, the only long books in the universe I would shelve with Tolkien) have all been split into three and four volumes, though it pains both him and his publishers and editor. That's just the commercial reality.
The highlight of the Unwin interview was the shot of the letter from his father giving the go-ahead to publish the book -- Rayner had warned that they might lose 1000 pounds on the enterprise; Dad says, we can do that if, indeed, the book is a work of genius as you feel it is.
As for the movie footage, most of that has been well descibed by others, but, yeah, I got chills when Bilbo went to hug Gandalf. And it was a very pleasant treat to see Sam reciting his doggerel about Gandalf's fireworks -- more evidence, I think, that Turgon's fears about the script straying too far from Tolkien in the direction of Hollywood are mostly unfounded.
I just wanted to let you know that I went to the Tolkien event at a Denver, Colorado Barnes and Noble and had a really nice time. The documentary that they showed was really cool. It started out with a bit with Raynor Unwin recounting how he had approved "The Hobbit" when he was a child and later had the say as to whether "The Lord of the Rings" would be published or not. There was some really interesting stuff with Alan Lee and John Howe. Shots of Hobbiton and Rivendale in that section. They talked a lot to cast members and Peter Jackson. I thought one very funny part was when Peter Jackson said that he could never understand before why no had shot three movies together at the same time, but now he did.
The best part of the presentation for me was that they held a drawing for some really nice posters and I won one!
They had one three different ones: mine has Gandalf on one side and Saruman on the other, There was one with Frodo on one side and I think Galadriel on the opposite, and one had Aragorn on one side and I didn't get to see what else on the other. There were probably about thirty people seated and standing around a big screen television that they had brought in for the event. I think most of them were customers that were simply book shopping and wanted to see what the event was. They all seemed very interested though, whether they were there specifically for the event or just happened to be there.
Hey thanks for posting about the event, by the way. I had totally spaced it and I just checked the site this morning and decided to go. Now I have a great poster and got to see some really cool exclusive video! I am including pics of my poster. The quality of the photos I shot is really bad, but it is really nice and big (about three and a half feet long, a foot and a half wide) and the paper is extremely high quality. Thanks for all of the great Lotr movie news over the past few years....Keep up the excellent work!
It was a modest affair at the Center City Barnes and Noble (Philadelphia), across the street from the autumn-touched trees in Rittenhouse Square. Around thirty people showed up, pretty evenly divided between women and men; the age range appeared to run from the early twenties to the late forties. They began drifting in to the open space between Reference and Film/TV Criticism where the chairs were set up twenty minutes before the presentation was due to start. I chatted with an older fan who had tales of attending a showing of the original _Star Wars_ in New York City: a group of friends in costume startling the drunks on 42nd Street and stopping traffic when they jaywalked. Another fan mentioned hearing from a woman who was hiking in New Zealand last year -- to her annoyance, she found a LOTR set in the way of the scenery she had come to admire. (De gustibus non est disputandum.) A few minutes before one o'clock, the staff rolled out a cart holding a 29" television and VCR and set them up next to a small table covered in copies of _The Lord of the Rings_ and the film tie-in books. Promptly at one, and without fanfare, they popped the tape into the VCR and away we went.
The video was sixteen minutes long and clearly a marketing tool, but the most blatant plugs were received good-naturedly: we laughed at the overblown superlatives ("the greatest book ever written!") and only a bit more derisively at the segment featuring the Houghton Mifflin executive in charge of the Important Task of arranging the publication of the _Visual Companion_. The group showed more interest in the interview with the late Rayner Unwin. It was a treat to hear him read his now-famous initial review of _The Hobbit_, although its recommendation of the book for children aged five to nine had some of us overgrown children grinning at each other. Also provoking sympathetic laughter were Alan Lee's deadpan reminiscence of being asked to work on the film for twelve to twenty weeks -- two and a half years ago, and Peter Jackson's wry comment to the effect that *now* he understood why people had said making a movie of _The Lord of the Rings_ would be impossible.
A regular reader of TheOneRing wouldn't have found much that was new in terms of behind-the-scenes information or comments from the actors and production staff, but a few tidbits did catch my eye. The shots of Rivendell gave me a much better sense of that lovely set than I had previously developed from stills. I'm less interested in orcs than some fans, but I wouldn't have missed the actor trying (and failing) to give a "Hi, Mom!" grin through his ghastly mask. It was also nice to get another glimpse of Marton Csokas as Celeborn and to hear Sean Astin deliver two lines from Sam's addendum to Frodo's lament for Gandalf in Lothlorien.
Other than Dominic Monaghan, Astin was the only one of the principals whose in-character voice I hadn't heard (yelling wordlessly at a cave troll doesn't count!) and I was pleased to hear a passable accent. Oddly enough, Orlando Bloom seemed to get the most screen time. The mohawk he sported in his interview segment drew titters from those who hadn't heard about it. He looked a lot younger out of makeup and the enthusiasm he displayed over a good shot at a practice target shaped like a boar -- "That's Legolas's pull, that is!" -- was endearing. (He also appears to have learned how to twirl a knife very handily.) About three-quarters of the way through the presentation, Christopher Lee as Saruman and Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey were shown working on a scene that will probably trouble the text purists: McKellen, delivering a line about the possibility of being overheard, tosses a swath of material over an object on a pedestal. The palantir? Giving Gandalf prior knowledge of it forebodes interesting changes in _The Two Towers_. What makes it even more ironic is that this scene was shown very close to the interview segment in which Ian McKellen makes such a point about using "what Tolkien wrote" as a touchstone for the film's interpretation. Still, nothing's certain until the film's in the can (and in this era of director's cuts and additional footage, sometimes not even then).
Very little finished footage was shown that hasn't already been released in the trailers or the commercials -- in fact, the closing minutes of the video were lifted straight out of the most recent trailer. The one standout exception to this was a brief cut from the scene where Ian Holm's Bilbo greets Ian McKellen's Gandalf at Bag End -- designed, no doubt, to impress us with WETA's ability to turn full-sized humans into hobbits. And I was impressed, even as I recognized that the scene required only the most low-tech of cinematic tricks and that the real goodies were being withheld until December 19.
The presentation came to an end with the same lack of fanfare with which it began, and the crowd dispersed quietly and thoughtfully. I got the sense that people were quite impressed with the film's look -- several had already acquired copies of the _Visual Companion_ and were showing them around -- but were perhaps withholding judgment on other aspects. (As I was leaving, I walked past a reporter interviewing a young man who was looking forward to seeing the movie but wasn't sure it would make money.)
The staff at this Barnes and Noble kept in the background and, perhaps recognizing that there were few Tolkien virgins in the audience, commendably did not try to hype the available products, but simply directed us to the display elsewhere in the store. All-in-all, a low-key performance; not much meat, but not overmuch fluff, either.
I won't add anything about the actual content of the program as enough has been said. I was at the Georgetown B&N and there were probably 60-70 people. The highlight for me was that after I arrived (about 40 minutes early), the next two individuals who came in to get a seat were two women clearly in their seventies, and possibly older. I would also note that they are showing it again, at least at this store, tonight at 7:30 (I think--people could call the store to be sure).
I was lucky enough to go to the LOTR day in Orlando, Fl, which was a thrill for me because I used to live in the middle of nowhere...and now I'm 15 min away from exclusive LOTR footage! Anyway...there were only 20-30 people there, which surprised me, because I got there an hour early just in case. Everyone who got there on time recieved the LOTR poster with the boats and the statues, and either a "Frodo Lives" button (my favorite!) or a LOTR magnet. The people that showed up were very varied, from the teenagers (even younger than myself) to the many 30-40yr old guys, to the older man (sitting next to me) who had never heard of LOTR but decided to come upstairs and watch it because he heard the loudspeaker announcement. I explained the storyline to him, and then he promptly fell asleep! :) (Though he did say he was going to read the books...) The first half of the video was a brief history of the novels, with a lot of Houghton Mifflin plugs. Then it got to the good part! I can't give you a detailed outline, but I can do the highlights:
-There was some info/interviews with Alan Lee and (I can't remember his name...) the other production design people. Numerous shots of the art of Rivendell and some great shots of Hobbiton. Also some Weta info/interviews.
-A great behind the scenes shot of Elijah Wood and Sam Astin praticing their swordfighting moves, and a shot of Orlando Bloom practicing his archery skils.
-Interviews with Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Viggo Mortensen, and probably some others I've forgotten... They discussed the fan following of the film, the trials of putting it on screen, working in remote areas of NZ, the amazing detail put into the film, etc.
-They showed a short line of Sam's that I couldn't place (I don't that photographic LOTR Memory...). He was around a campfire and said something about "The best fireworks in the world, green and red and...." He said it with (what seemed to me) an Irish-like/influenced accent...with an accent on the "r's".
-The end of the video showed the typical scenes from the trailer, with the addition of Gandalf walking up to Bilbo's door, and their first meeting.
The wonderfully B&N nice lady running things realized how happy it made many of us, and showed it a second time :) After the show, I bought the "Official Movie Guide" (I'm on a college students budget...so only one book) and it has some amazing pictures in it, which I'm sure we'll see all over the net in the coming days. I swear I'm wearing my "Frodo Lives" Button until Dec. 19th....:)
I went to the LOTR Day at the Barnes & Noble in
Alpharetta, Georgia. They gave away The Official Movie Guide, The Visual Companion, and a big double-sided poster of Galadriel/Aragorn. They also had a trivia contest with prizes like Frodo Lives buttons and Black Rider magnets. I won a Frodo Lives pin!
Yes our very own Calisuri is in Los Angeles for the Barnes & Noble event with the one and only Sean Astin (Sam).
Sean mentioned some very cool things during his Q&A session:
- The Hobbits do indeed meet Gildor on the East/West road, Sean mentioned that it is a highly emotional scene for his character.
- While filming at the Rivendell set, and set piece fell on him and knocked him out, cold.
- While filming at the Moria set, a piece of metal pierced his hobbit foot and made a gash into his 'real' one.
- Needless to say his set nickname was 'The Injury Man'
In case you're interested--I'm sure you'll receive tons of reports like this--I've just gotten back from the LOTR video screening at the Books-a-Million in Birmingham, AL.
The only problem was that they wouldn't turn the lights in the magazine section off, which was a great detriment, but otherwise the video was great: a large projection screen set up in the magazine section, with about 30 chairs (about half of them filled). I had a clear view from the second row.
The video had some large streaks of book promotion (yes, Houghton Mifflin is a fine company. We know), but it opened with shots of Gandalf in his cart, Galadriel at her mirror, and Arwen riding away from the Ringwraiths (film stock, i.e. scenes from the film).
Then, an interview with Rayner Ulwin and his story of how he got The Hobbit published in 1935 by writing a book report of his for his publisher father; then, how he was responsible for dividing the book into three parts when he himself grew up to be a publisher. The video also noted that Ulwin "sadly passed away shortly after the filming of this interview."
More shots of the Ringwraiths tearing through the forest on horseback (video stock, behind the scenes).
The cheery voiceovers are terrible. But moving on: Peter Jackson talks as we see behind the scenes/video stock of the hobbit actors hiding from the Ringwraiths in the forest and some shots of armies charging. PJ observes that he now knows WHY no one has ever tried to film three movies simultaneously.
Brian Sibley, author of the Official Movie Guide that they're hawking, speaks. A film scene of Galadriel's kiss to Frodo, and then Cate Blanchett talks about the extraordinary love she felt on the set among the cast and crew for the books and the project.
A segment about Alan Lee and John Howe: they say that PJ and Fran Walsh wrote from an edition illustrated by Alan Lee and thus wanted to hunt him down for the project, because his illustrations showed "the bittersweetness" of the book. Cut to Alan Lee, who says he was supposed to stay for several weeks, "and that was two and half years ago."
PJ talks about John Howe's illustrations looking like a still frame from a movie: "He's very good at portraying action." So we then have several scenes showing Howe and Lee sketching Hobbiton in a farmer's field, sketching the field as if it were Bag End.
Ian McKellan pops up, describing what he saw on the set: "....and I saw the smoke coming out of holes in the ground...**and I believed.**"
More advertising of the Visual Companion book. Lee says that he sketched Rivendell not in his office but *in* the forest, "trying to think like an elf," to design the buildings "around the trees," not interfering with nature--as the elves would have, basically. PJ (or the voiceover guy, I can't remember) notes that Lee was often on set doing last minute touch-ups before the camera rolled (we see him dabbing at a Rivendell pillar with a paint brush).
On to Weta Ltd., and an interview with Richard Taylor, the president and PJ's collaborator. Orlando Bloom pops up--with a dark mohawk!!--and talks about how beautiful his weapons were (I think he was referring to a knife or a sword that his character uses, because you see engravings on a blade). They also discuss what went into the making and design of the orcs. It was very important, they reiterate, that this not feel like fantasy but like history (a point that's been brought up in Prankster's report of Casa Loma, as I remember--if you didn't print it, it was on AICN or CHUD or both).
We see video stock of Sean Astin speaking, in a scene, about Gandalf's beautiful fireworks. Then an interview with Elijah Wood, with scenes of him and Sam in Rivendell.
Next, a scene of Saruman and Gandalf speaking in Orthanc--there was some film stock, I *think*, and I know there was some behind-the-scenes video of it as well. McKellan notes that he was famous on the set for being the one with the book on hand, and how if there was a question of what to do, he'd always pull it out and say, "It's in Tolkien."
We see some battle choreography in a white-walled studio--I think we see Elijah Wood fighting an Orc, and then Orlando Bloom. It's hard to tell, because they both have dark hair at this point, but I'm almost sure I saw both of them at different points. Everyone is just wearing T-shirts and jeans or sweats, so it's really funny to see the Orc actor moving his head around like a cat and hissing. If we didn't see Bloom in the studio, we see him now outside--practicing his archery (with a full head of dark hair, by the way--no mohawk), and he's very proud of his new ability. There's a couple of wooden cows standing out in a field and they're stuck full of arrows, thick as pins in a pincushion. "Look at that one!" he whoops back to the camera. "That went right in the middle! That's some real archery right there!"
We have an interview with Viggo Mortensen, talking about how important it was to film outside, how you can really see the elements working onscreen.
The voiceover narrator (grrrrrrr) talks about how the cast and crew felt there was a parallel between the quest of the book and the quest to bring the film to life.
We see them filming the lake outside the doors of Moria, and Gandalf running his hands over the wall, searching for the door (video stock).
A bit of the party scene--and then there's an astonishing scene from the film in which Ian Holm--Bilbo--opens the door and Ian McKellan is standing there in full wizardly regalia. "Gandalf?" he gasps, and you can see that they're filming over McKellan's shoulder, to make Holm look smaller, and it works in a really bizarre way--and then Holm runs forward and hugs McKellan, and I'll be damned if they didn't preserve the play on perspective. I think McKellan kneeled down a bit--I suspect he was already standing on a box--and the camera moves down with him, so it looks like he's having to reach down to hug Holm. I mean, I was able to figure out what they did after a great deal of puzzling, but the effect in the scene is absolutely flawless.
We're winding up the video now--some more voiceover narration, and we see film clips that are basically that last major trailer that came out, the one with McKellan bellowing, "YOU--SHALL NOT--PASS!!!!" And with that line, they end the video. I only wish they'd turned off the lights. I know that in Birmingham they *are* reshowing it at 7:30 pm our time; I heard some bookstores weren't doing the night show.
Hey, I won a book. at the one in St. Louis, so I can't complain much. Oh, and the video was OK too. I rather liked seeing the late Mr. Unwain read from his coorespondence withhis father regarding "The Hobbit" and "LOTR."
And I have to admit a certain amount of smugness in being able to say, sotto voce, "been there, seen that" at some of the location shots. The thing of which I was most glad, though, was the fact that it did not turn into Houghton-Mifflin explaining why anyone already owning the trilogy should buy the new edition with the movie covers. :)
We went to the promo in Nashville, TN - not much to add that hasn't been mentioned in other reports. There were about 35 people there. Small TV, very little seating, so most people were standing. They did the trivia quiz for the giveaways, and didn't have enough prizes to go around, probably expecting fewer attendees. The footage was great! Even though the narrative was a little cheesy at times, and there were a few "not-so-subtle" book commercials (like saying many of the art concepts came from the "Centennial edition, which contains 50 illustrations by Alan Lee" - as if Peter Jackson hadn't heard of Alan Lee before stumbling across that edition). But that's why they call it a promo. All in all, I'm very glad we went, and the general feeling I got from the people leaving was that they were very impressed!
Myself and two fellow workers made our way out to Joseph Beth Booksellers, here in Lexington Kentucky around 12:45 to find a small crowd had gathered around a 27" TV, waiting for the presentation. We took our seats and were given opportunity to sign up for a raffle drawing for a gift certificate and some of the promo posters and such after the video viewing. At the time the video started there were probably 30 or so people around watching. As in other reviews, you can pretty much tell what the video included. My friends and I were all a bit disappointed that the video didn't have more exclusive footage from the film, but otherwise we thought it was well done and we were glad we attended. We all received bookmarks, the BBC sampler CD and the "Frodo Lives" buttons, but none of us won the raffle for the posters or gift certificates. Oh well, still a good way to spend Thursday lunch. Thanks for your time.
Eru The One
I just got back from the at Barnes & Noble event at the Borders bookstore in Mesa Arizona and I must say that it is a great feeling to be in a room full of people who love Tolkien's works in ways similar to my own. The event was a smash hit with those attending (aprox. 40-45 people).
The 20 minute "making of" video gave me goose bumps during the opening scene, and many times throughout. The footage contained much that I've never seen before, so it was a treat to all, even the person who was with me and saw the Canes film festival preview.
Just got back from the event at Barnes & Noble in Union Square, New York City. The new footage was excellent – a great behind the scenes look that was quite a bit different from the behind the scenes footage I saw in July at Lincoln Center. The best scene (chills): Bilbo answering the front door of Bag End and greeting Gandalf – amazing!
Sir Ian was his usual witty self and when the questions got a bit too inside (how does filming this movie compare to playing Othelo or whoever in the West End, type of thing) I asked him about his fellowship tattoo, what it was, where it was and could we see it. I guess everyone knows by now (although I did not) that it’s the word “nine” written in elfish and his is on his right shoulder. Other members got theirs other places on their body. John Ryes Davies doesn’t particularly care for tattoos so his stand-in stood-in.
The crowd looked to be about 500 and everyone is pumped for 12/19.
PS The books Houghton Mifflin were promoting were quite nice. I got there early and spend a half hour looking over the “Making of” one. Nicely done.
Attachment: Sir Ian waiting to be introduced.
I went to the screening at Sam Goody Central in the Mall of America, MN. Once I figured out where Sam Goody Central WAS, the rest was easy. Unfortunately, there were only about 15-20 people present out of probably one hundred seats set up.
They were handing out cd samplers of the BBC LoTR dramatization. I declined, explaining that I already owned the set, with the resulting honor of being called a "Tolkien fanatic" At least we got better than a 13 inch screen at the Mega-Mall. They had a set of nine screens joined to display the picture. Unhappily, the color/contrast settings were slightly different on each, which was very distracting overall. The poor quality of the picture made the whole experience much less enjoyable than I hoped.
The promo itself extensively used clips already seen in the trailers/teasers. One new thing for me--I caught a bit of Sam quoting his poem about Gandalf in Lorien. (The verse he wished to add to Frodo's poem). The NZ landscape was AMAZING; I think it will have a great impact on the movie.
The promo also showed a brief clip from the beginning of the movie that was new to me. Gandalf comes up to the door of Bag-End and knocks. Bilbo opens the door, and the contrast in size was just fantastic! They greet each other--I wish I could remember the precise words. But it was delightful--two friends meeting again after years apart. I really got that feeling when I saw it.
Riskbreaker here with a report on 'Lord of the Rings Day' from Route 17 South in Paramus, New Jersey.
I think it would be best for you to all imagine me speaking with the voice of 'Comic Book Guy' from THE SIMPSONS when reading this report.
Unfortunately, the folks at B&N were terribly unprepared for the hefty out-pouring of either unemployed or frantically-stapling-those-reports-while-making-up-a-medical-excuse-and-running-out-on-a-two-hour-lunch-break LOTR fans. Guess which one I was.
First of all, even if the promo had been good (which it really wasn't), no one would have known because the geniuses in B&N management decided that all they really needed was a 13 inch TV (and that's not hyperbole) with speakers smaller than those in the headphones on your walkman.
It didn't help that there was this whining 5 year old there that mommy wasn't keeping quiet. Sigh.
I was lucky enough to attend the Lincoln Center event. That was amazing. If you've seen that, there's nothing new to see here.
If you haven't, there was probably some new stuff. The fifteen minute tape started out with the son of the publisher who originally printed The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. This was the man responsible for dividing the single book into what is now mistakenly called 'the trilogy'.
He talked about how when he originally read the Hobbit that he thought it was perfect for the 5-9 age group. This got a good laugh from the audience. He then talked about dividing the book into three parts and how Tolkien hated the idea originally, but then embraced it as he truly trusted this man (whose name escapes me, sorry).
We saw some high-up publisher for Houghton Mifflin (who spoke as though she never learned to read, ironically) who did about a three-minute subliminal message for the two new books. I own both (bought 'em yesterday) and they are great. Pick them up.
Peter Jackson talked for a while about the undertaking and the passion involved. Nothing you haven't heard before if you follow this stuff like we all do. I was interested to hear that the narrator gave NO credit to Ms. Bowens for the script, only acknowledging Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson (and not mentioning their eternal union). I hope Ms. Bowens is comforted by the fact that I am specifically recognizing her hard work and genius here. Screenwriting credits are very important to me ' I am one.
We saw a cool interview with the mohakwed Orlando Bloom. We also saw him learning how to fight and handling the 'long knife' he uses, as described in Tolkien's works. It's a beautiful piece, ornately detailed with the gold leafing you see on his quiver and on Frodo's Sting.
There were clips of interviews with Ian McKellen. He spoke a lot about how he was the on-set Tolkien authority and was often the 'last word' on a particular decision. 'It's in Tolkien,' he would say.
They had a short clip from Weta. Nothing we haven't seen before, really. Some suits of Orc armor, blah blah blah.
Oh, and they had this whole part with Alan Lee. This was probably cool if you didn't see it at the Lincoln Center show. Alan Lee is a famous Tolkien illustrator who was brought in for conceptual set-design. He said that originally it was a 12-20 month assignment 'but that was 2 and a half years ago,'; he jested. Another laugh.
Am I sorry I went? No. Should I have taken my time getting there and not done all that weird stuff to get out the door of my accounting firm that I am now sitting at, typing this report? Yes. Not really that great. The ineptitude of planning was the real bummer here. A 13-inch screen? Pishhhhh.
One final note. I was very pleased to see the diversity of age groups there. There were plenty of people there that were around my age (I'm 22). I noticed plenty in their 40's and 50's, as well as a smattering of 14 and under. It's good to see that the audience here is nicely diversified. I'd say there were about 50 ' 75 people there. B&N made a point of saying that they expected 20, if that much. Sigh again.
They passed out a pamphlet that I forgot to grab. It was like 4 pages and said something about 'A guide to Tolkien.' It looked like excerpts from the Greenbooks Q&A sessions. Ah, well.
It's too bad they didn't put more planning into this or make the promo better. I would have really enjoyed a nice 30 minute reel of stuff I haven't seen before. That DVD player with the Lord of the Rings stuff is on its way to me, though, so there is always hope.
Oh, and I got United Cutlery's Sting yesterday. It's man-sized (so it's a small dagger). It's quite beautiful. I can't wait for Glamdring
I just got back from the Barnes and Noble event today here in NYC. Unfortunately, I couldn't stay for the whole time because I was just on my lunch hour, but I thought I'd let you know that after the 20-minute behind the scenes video, Ian McKellan stepped up and talked for a while about his experience in New Zealand, and how the beauty of the land alleviated the need to use a lot of special effects in the creation of Middle Earth. He said New Zealand was a paradise, only inhabited by humans for 800 years, and that before humans ever came there, the birds of the land walked rather than flew because they did not fear predators. Or something like that. Anyway, the behind the scenes stuff included a talk with the son of the first publisher of The Hobbit, some brief interviews with members of the cast, and a few clips I hadn't seen before, including the moment Gandalf greets Bilbo at the beginning of the movie and Sam spouting some dialogue in awe of Gandalf's fireworks.
Just got back from my local Joseph Beth (Cincinnati, OH) LOTR Day event. Just thought I'd let you know, in case people missed it, that my bookstore was repeating the event at 7:30pm this evening; I don't know if that's the norm for this event nationwide, but people might want to contact their local bookstore and find out.
My store was also giving away lots of freebies -- two-sided bookmarks (Gandalf/Saruman, Arwen/Ringwraiths, Boromir/Lurtz, Frodo/Orcs), buttons (the original 'preview' poster -- Frodo looking at the ring in his hand), mini-posters (18"x24" maybe?) of the "official" poster of the Fellowship approaching the Pillars of Argonath. They also had a small trivia contest after viewing the video, where the prizes were: a"Frodo Lives" button, a magnet of the Argonath poster, and a CD -- excerpts from the BBC 13-CD audio production of LotR. They were giving that combo away for each question. Samples:
- How did Gandalf discover that Bilbo's ring was the One Ring?
- What gift did Galadriel give Frodo?
- How many hobbits joined the Fellowship?