Even though some critics are Hobbit-bashing as of late, everyone has to agree that at least one thing cam out of the Peter Jackson adaptation: it gave us this video of the stars of The Hobbit reading the lyrics to Leonard Nimoy’s awesomely craptacular “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins”
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MOVIE REVIEW: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

REVIEW SYNOPSIS: Despite a relentless pace and impressive effects, most notably bringing to life the impressive dragon at the heart of the tale, part two of Peter Jackson’s adaptation seldom engages and often bores.

MY REVIEW:

SYNOPSIS: The hobbit Bilbo Baggins and a pack of dwarves continue their quest to liberate dwarvish treasure hoarded in the Lonely Mountain by the dragon Smaug.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: The dragon Smaug, arrestingly realized by CGI and voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch; well-realized renditions of the Elf Kingdom and Lake-town; winning if hammy performance by Stephen Fry as the Master of Lake-town; impressively staged action sequences…
CONS: …that go nowhere for most of the movie; needless chases that serve little purpose; blending of elements from both Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Silmarillion that fit together too unevenly; forced love story between elf Tauriel and the dwarf Kili; dialogue and character development that sit poorly with the action sequences.

In a niche in world letters there lived The Hobbit.  Not an unknown, unobserved niche filled with the trite borrowings of second-rate hacks and uninspired tales palely reflecting J. R. R. Tolkien’s much-loved children’s book, nor yet a dry, bare, desiccated niche where fantasy fans sucked dry the marrow of their favorite genre: it was The Hobbit, a groundbreaking work that, despite countless imitators (and outright theft), still holds the power to enthrall readers of all ages today.
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TRAILER: The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug

The-Desolation-of-SmaugI found the first Hobbit film to be enjoyable, if a bit too long. After watching the trailer for part 2, I’m left to wonder what extra stuff Jackson has added to pad this out to get to film three. Sure it looks good, but I bet we get to Smaug at the end, right before the credits roll. I may or may not go see this in theater, thought I think it will look best on the big screen.


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Video: How The Hobbit Should Have Ended

Posted without comment.
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Came across these and wanted to share. Both are wonderful versions/interpretations of ‘Over The Misty Mountains Cold. by J R R Tolkien.

Check them out after the jump.

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From the YouTube description:

When Tolkien visited a friend in August of 1952 to retrieve a manuscript of The Lord of the Rings, he was shown a “tape recorder”. Having never seen one before, he asked how it worked and was then delighted to have his voice recorded and hear himself played back for the first time. His friend then asked him to read from The Hobbit, and Tolkien did so in this one incredible take.

Loving the Gollum voice…

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Through Sunday, the book Deconstructing Tolkien: A Fundamental Analysis of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit is available as a free Kindle download (for Kindle devices, Kindle smartphone apps and Kindle computer applications).
Here’s the synopsis:

“DECONSTRUCTING TOLKIEN has something to offer just about everyone, no matter where your particular passions may lie. In this collection of essays, stories, discourses, and tributes, Ed McFadden has gathered together a wide range of topics, perspectives, and outlooks on some of the most intriguing factors concerning THE LORD OF THE RINGS. LORD OF THE RINGS is a masterpiece that can be examined and re-examined through the course of one’s life. The complex narrative, written with nonlinear gambits, plot-twists, stratagems, and a fusion of secondary stories, offer themselves up to continual review and analysis.” -from the introduction by Tom Piccirilli, author of Mean Sheep, The Night Class and Grave Men

This special e-book edition contains new analysis of The Hobbit not available in the print edition.

Praise for Deconstructing Tolkien: A Fundamental Analysis of The Lord of the Rings-

Nth Degree Magazine – “[DT] is one of the most approachable analyses of Tolkien that I’ve read. McFadden alternates between his own opinions on Tolkien and fiction from authors that he feels had some influence on The Lord of the Rings. I found myself disagreeing with McFadden’s points almost as often as I agreed with them but, most importantly, McFadden’s analysis always made me look deeper at a story that I thought I knew pretty well already. And isn’t that what all good analyses should do?”

YBFREE.com by Jennifer Walford. “Mcfadden’s choice of layout for this book using essays and short fiction is innovative and works quite well for the purposes of providing a rich understanding of the Tolkien phenomena. Blending essay with notable fiction, Mcfadden provides thought provoking evidence on Tolkien’s inspirations, especially from his contemporaries and friend C.S. Lewis, and the influence of writers like H.G. Wells. Even more impressive was the inclusion of a story by self-proclaimed protégé of the Tolkien school of style, Jane Yolen. This inclusion solidified McFadden’s arguments on how pervasive LOTR has been, and in light of the films, will continue to be for many generations.”

Mythgard Institute has posted the schedule for their Spring 2013 courses.

They include the following juicy programs for genre lovers:
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The Five Most Influential Books in my Life

A meme going around recently in the genre blogosphere is to name the five most influential books in your life, and how they changed your life.

Some examples recently include : Ian Sales), Justin Landon , and Aidan Moher.

I can never resist a chance to talk about books, and so here are mine:
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VIDEO: “The Hobbit” The Way It Was Meant To Be Read: By Andy Serkis

I wish this was more than a news clip!

Funny how Serkis mentions how people have mimicked the voice back to him in the intervening years sine Lord of the Rings. There’s a certain someone I know (looks at Tim) who will do the Gollum voice on command. I think I will hand him my copy of The Hobbit and ask him to read the good parts.

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TRAILER: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

A new trailer is out for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey!

“…far to the east, over ranges and rivers, lies a single, solitary peak…”

Check it out after the jump!

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Before the 1977 Rankin And Bass production…there was this 1966 version by Gene Deitch. Originally planned as a full-length feature film before the Tolkien craze hit, a screenplay was written that took several heretical liberties with the story. Unfortunately the deal fell through with 20th Century Fox. But then, just one month before the rights were set to expire, the property value of Tolkien’s work skyrocketed and Gene put together the version you see here:

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SF Tidbits for 7/29/09

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