Thursday, November 14, 2002
New Line Cinema hosts LOTR: FOTR Extended DVD marathon in L.A. - Xoanon @ 13:49 PST
From: Ringer Spy Wyvern

The Fans Converge

Well, there wasn’t any doubt that winning a ticket to the Extended DVD premiere in L.A. was a wonderful surprise. I found out about just four days beforehand via email. We were told to appear in costume in order to get our free DVD, and after getting out my Sam Gamgee costume I had been working on all year, and gathering up some of my artwork (just in case….you never know who you might meet at these events!) I quickly made plans to make the drive from San Francisco on Sunday and spend two nights at a friends apartment. Luck was on my side, as my best friend (with the scary Ringwraith costume left over from Halloween, lucky her!) happened to also win a ticket so I did not travel alone. We were both bubbling over with excitement and therefore the 7 hour trip went by quickly.

The morning of Nov. 11 we woke up at 6 and my makeup started. (Now I know how the actors feel somewhat, to get up early and get into a wig and get the feet done!) I was done a little before 9 and It was another 1 hour trip from the apartment to the Grove in Los Angeles proper. The Grove is a very large and beautiful shopping mall with an outdoor fountain. The line for this event was immediately obvious: there were fans dressed as Elves, wizards and other general fantasy-related characters. When we arrived there were about 50 fans already present in front of the grand Pacific theatre. I enjoyed meeting and talking to several people in line and we all took pictures of each other, and exchanged URLs and email addresses like the true geeks we are. We also enjoyed freaking the mundanes who walked by….

More fun than I ever expected to have: DVD Extras and Intermission

After a brief welcome from New Line staff, we were seated at around noon. The theatre was almost full when everyone had arrived. It was evident that many fans were not only film fans but longtime book fans as well. I noted a Radagast costume, a Goldberry costume, and an Eowyn costume which I found particularly impressive since The Two Towers had not even come out yet to use for reference!

The lights went down and the “Play All” feature was selected and we watched the DVD itself for the first half. So many, many features and extra goodies here, too many to mention in detail. The extras on this DVD are mostly devoted to showing how the film was made technically, from Visualization to Post-production. In terms of the technical /SFX videos, I thought I would not be interested in all of them but as it turned out, almost everything was fascinating. I really felt like I was given real insight into not only the making of this film but into the art of the filmmaking process as well. It was evident to me that LOTR:FOTR was a interesting combination of state of the art technology and good old Kiwi ingenuity.

My personal favorite was the Cast video. We get to hear Dominic do silly impressions of his fellow cast mates, hear about Sean Astin’s obsession with helicopter safety and in contrast, Sean Bean’s extreme fear of helicopters. Splinter injuries, insults, goofy outtakes and salmon curry… I seriously laughed my head off. The only thing I wanted was more….

My friend was one of the only Ringwraiths, and her face was invisible most of the time. She frightened children (like any self-respecting Nazgul would) and got interviewed by CBS during the intermission. I was surprised to be photographed and spoken to so often about my costume that I really didn’t get much of a break before we were moved to the next theatre for the Digital showing of the movie itself.

My Sam Costume wins the Costume Contest…. (see attached pictures)

The announcement of a Costume contest came as a complete surprise to me. There were really so many great costumes, I had actually never seen so many at an event. Beautiful elven gowns dominated, but there were several hobbits as well. There were at least three obvious Frodos, one of which was very good and was complete with rubber feet and cloth suspenders. My personal favorite was the Legolas costume I had seen earlier that spring, featuring a hand-made quiver and silver-decorated green suede tunic - I was certain it would win. First place DVD Boxed Gift set went to a Ringwraith: Black hooded, very tall, and quite scary. Two second place posters were given to the incredibly detailed Legolas and Frodo costumes. I took the other first prize award of the Boxed Collector's Gift set and was truly very surprised! I was told it was because the costume was so complete in terms of props: I did have a loaded pack with frying pan and elven rope on my back. So, I suppose that sometimes obsessions can really pay off!

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring Extended DVD review

I can honestly say I’ve never been to a movie with a more exuberant audience. It’s true: we had all seen Fellowship about ten or more times…..but it didn’t matter. The fans recited dialogue, gasped, cheered, booed, and whistled. But things got really exciting when we saw the new footage!!!!!

In a P.J. interview on this DVD set, he explained that the theatrical version was simply kept to around 2 hours for practical reasons. His editing decisions for the shorter version was based on what he felt were the key elements: Basically, if it didn’t have to do with Frodo or the Ring or was vital to the explanation of the plot, it was cut. It became evident that this new version was actually the film the fans should have seen to begin with.

To sum up what we get in the extended version: We get character development. What would the Fellowship be without Gimli’s love for Galadriel, Sam’s spontaneous recitations, or Merry and Pippin’s enduring friendship. I didn’t think I could weep for Boromir more than the first time around….but this time, I did, because with the added dialogue his character is even more sympathetic. Some new footage concerning Hobbits at the beginning, a couple of funny one-liners, and spectacular added Lothlorien visuals round out a perfectly wonderful Fellowship of the Ring which didn’t feel too long at over three hours.

Sean Astin at L.A. Sunset Blvd. Virgin Megastore, November 12, 2002

Completely terrified that I would miss Sean’s appearance, I tore out of there as fast as my furry little bare feet would take me, Ringwraith in tow. We were given maps and instructions about how to get to the Virgin Megastore, which were luckily very clear for us out-of-towners. We drove to the store where we were placed in another line to wait for 12 midnight for the official release date. At this point, I was not only exhausted and hot from the wig but I was a nervous wreck as well…just about falling apart. Sean hadn’t arrived yet, we were told, but would soon and we would be herded over to the street side of the Bookstore for the signature line. I spoke to fans from Utah and Washington and just generally all over! We were soon given our DVDs one by one and directed out to the street. The line slowly grew and grew, my friend and I were one of the first in. Sean had finally arrived and the line started moving, only about 5 people at a time were allowed to enter. Security was rather tight, and no photography was allowed (darn!) There was a very calm and orderly mood to the room.

I had my Sam costume, Sam sketch and prints ready, and when I got in he greeted me very warmly. I couldn’t help but gasp at how much weight he had dropped since filming, he looked in great shape. He signed my artwork and complimented it, and accepted my art booklet, and looked at my costume (particularly my woolly feet) with pleasant surprise. New Line called for us both to stand for a photo of “The two Sams” which we were both happy to do, Sean indicating that I should put my foot up on the table so it would be in the picture. Overall Sean was friendly and had a genuine willingness to please. Outside I got the full report from several others as they exited the building. One woman was all aglow, stating that Sean had slowed down and spent more time with her, thumbing through the DVD booklet and chatting about one scene or another. As it turns out, Sean had seen the line and humbly assumed there were only eight people left in it, and therefore he was able to give more time. He had to be informed that the line indeed continued around the block…..

Special thanks are owed to New Line Cinema for organizing this event. It was so well-ordered and comfortable, and it really meant a lot to everyone to see the extended DVD on the big screen and in Digital as well! Also a big thanks to Sean Astin for taking the time so late at night away from his family to make the connection with Lord of the Rings fans. Never have fourteen hours of my life passed so swiftly…..and alas, it was over far too soon….