Meet the man who remade Middle‑earth

Ethan Gilsdorf interviews John Howe, Tolkien Illustrator and Conceptual Designer of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Movie Trilogies

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The physics of dwarves in barrels

In which professor and blogger Rhett Allain uses physics to prove that Thorin Oakenshield probably stole some gold from the wood elves. (At least, the movie version of Thorin Oakenshield.)

The Office: An Unexpected Journey

(Video link) Considering how long we've known about Martin Freeman starring in both The Hobbit and The Office, I'm a little surprised I didn't see this sooner. However, I am not at all surprised that Gareth was cast as Gollum. I hope there are three parts to this! By Eager Beaver Productions. (via Slate)

Denny's "The Hobbit" Menu Video Review

What could be more enchanting to a J.R.R. Tolkien fan than hearty meals which evoke the rustic grandeur of The Shire?

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Mixed early reviews for The Hobbit

Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy says "it's a bit of a slog" but quite likes the overall tone of the picture:

There are elements in this new film that are as spectacular as much of the Rings trilogy was, but there is much that is flat-footed and tedious as well, especially in the early going. This might be one venture where, rather than DVDs offering an “Expanded Director's Version,” there might be an appetite for a “Condensed Director's Cut” in a single normal-length film.

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See what the Hobbit dwarves are really about: shots

(Video link) If The Hillywood Show is not on your radar, kindly insert them there for your own good, because their music video parodies are serious when it comes to production value. In their latest, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Parody, watch Bilbo Baggins get adventurously drunk with those hard-partying dwarves in what was probably a deleted scene not just from the movie, but from J.R.R. Tolkien's book. This is what I'm going to pretend to believe is true. (via Laughing Squid)

Tolkien superfan Stephen Colbert will do an entire Hobbit-themed week of shows

To celebrate the release of The Hobbit, Stephen Colbert will have a full week of Hobbit shows on The Colbert Report starting this coming Monday, December 3 on Comedy Central. A die-hard fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, his guest lineup will consist of Sir Ian McKellan, Martin Freeman, Peter Jackson, and Andy Serkis. Other Hobbit-related segments or plans have not been revealed yet, but I'm going to guess that Colbert (who speaks some Elvish and filmed a cameo for one of the latter two movies in New Zealand) will walk away with some sweet swag. Like swords or a free elf!

Photo credit: The Colbert Report on Twitter

(via Spinoff Online)

Peter Jackson responds to rumors of animal cruelty on the set of The Hobbit

Accusations are flying that 27 animals died of mistreatment on the set of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, causing PETA to get up in arms and protest the movie. PETA will protest just about anything, but is there some truth to this story? Jackson and his fellow producers have responded (through an official representative), saying that the 150 animals at the New Zealand location were treated well, and that the vast percentage of deaths that did occur were due to natural causes. But were there any deaths that could have been prevented? Or is this a case of disgruntled former wranglers? Jackson's rep says the animals were overseen by the American Humane Association after two "avoidable" incidents (including a horse found dead after falling over a bluff), and hundreds of thousands of dollars went into improving the animals' living conditions. Here is the full statement, via The Hollywood Reporter:

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We will get our first glimpse at Star Trek Into Darkness when The Hobbit comes out

When The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hits theaters on December 14, moviegoers will be treated to an unexpected preview. (Well, I guess it's not unexpected anymore, what with it being...announced.) Paramount broke the news this morning that the first nine minute of the highly-anticipated, stupidly-titled Star Trek Into Darkness will be shown on around 500 IMAX 3D screens across the United States. That makes it the first preview footage to ever be screened in IMAX 3D, and it almost makes up for the dumbass title! (I'm kidding. It doesn't.) But it is said to be "absolutely incredible," according to IMAX chairman and president Greg Foster, and it is nine brand new fancy minutes of J.J. Abrams' new Star Trek movie that we get to see before it comes out next May. So, get ready to head to the Shire, fellow Trekkies! (via Deadline)

Fan-created poster found on Tumblr

You can listen to the entire soundtrack for The Hobbit right now

If you want to hear the whole soundtrack for Peter Jackson's upcoming The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (composed by Howard Shore), but don't want to wait until December 10 to buy it, Empire is streaming the entire thing right now. The movie comes out December 13, but this is your early chance to hear the whole score apart from the movie. (via The Huffington Post)

Denny's hopes to woo geeks with a Hobbit-themed menu, will probably be successful

As if you actually needed an excuse to have "second breakfast," Denny's -- home of the mozzarella stick grilled cheese sandwich -- will be offering up a new menu inspired by The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey starting on November 6. (The movie itself opens December 14.) Among the eleven Tolkien-themed items are Bilbo's Berry Smoothie (with real bilboberries!), the Hobbit Hole Breakfast (which sounds filthy and is probably delicious), Radagast's Red Velvet Pancake Puppies (because if there's anything Radagast is known for, it's red velvet, pancakes, and puppies), and Gandalf's Gobble Melt (which I'm sure Ian McKellen thinks is hilarious). AdAge has a page from the menu as well as a nerd-baiting TV spot. (via Blastr)

Update: There will be a third Hobbit movie released in 2014

Remember that time I said there might be a third Hobbit movie, but not to get excited? Well, feel free to get excited: Peter Jackson has confirmed that the summer of 2014 will see the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Trilogy. (That title, by the way, is not confirmed.) Says Jackson: "[W]ithout further ado and on behalf of New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Wingnut Films, and the entire cast and crew of The Hobbit films, I’d like to announce that two films will become three." (via Film Junk)

Attention Tolkien fans: There might be a third Hobbit movie (maybe)

Don't get too excited yet, but Peter Jackson is talking about possibly turning the two Hobbit movies he just completed filming -- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again -- into a trilogy. Why? Because 1. Warner Bros. has the rights to the additional notes from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, which has all this groovy stuff in it that relates to The Hobbit, and 2. Jackson has all this extra footage lying around, just waiting to be seen. He spoke with Collider, warning that all of this is only in the earliest of stages:

Well, it’s very, very premature. We have got incredible source material with the appendices. There’s the novel, but then we also have the rights to use the 125 pages of additional notes where Tolkien expanded the world of The Hobbit. We’ve used some of that so far, and just in the last few weeks, as we’ve been wrapping up the shooting and thinking about the shape of the story, Philippa [Boyens], Fran [Walsh] and I have been talking to the studio about other things that we haven’t been able to shoot and seeing if we could possibly persuade them to do a few more weeks of shooting. We’d probably need more than a few weeks, actually, next year. The discussions are pretty early, so there isn’t anything to report, but there are other parts of the story that we’d like to tell, that we haven’t had the chance to tell yet. We’re just trying to have those conversations with the studio, at the moment.

I have a question: How hard would it be, really, for Peter Jackson -- a person who is Peter Jackson -- to "persuade" Warner Bros. that he can give the studio yet another epic Tolkien trilogy? Because that other one did fairly well, doncha know... (via Geek Tyrant)