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The Hype of the Rings 626

With the Fellowship of the Rings just around the corner, the Slashdot Submissions bin is overflowing with stories about the film since it premiered in the UK already for you lucky brits. If you don't mind a little spoilage, here is the guardian's review, the BBC review, the telegraph review, some pictures from the premiere, and one last review. Also, Scifi.com is reporting that the film has already been pirated. The reviews have their nitpicks, but on the whole its looking good. M : LOTR tattoos!
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The Hype of the Rings

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  • are they going to make a Hobbit movie to go along with them ?
    • Screw the Hobbit. I want a movie version of the Silmarillion!

    • by Marcus Brody ( 320463 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @12:19PM (#2687316) Homepage
      Actually quite an insightful comment.

      Why has the Hobbit been ignored for so long, whilst they are making LOTR for the second time?

      In contrast to LOTR, the Hobbit is ideal film material. Its short, nice tight storyline, gripping throughout, doesnt lag anywhere, get tired or have dull spots and is a kids classic.

      I dont see why they didnt make the Hobbit first as a primer/tester for the LOTR.
      • by utdpenguin ( 413984 ) <john@@@kendrick...com> on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @12:25PM (#2687350) Homepage
        "I dont see why they didnt make the Hobbit first as a primer/tester for the LOTR."

        Because The Hobbit is a fundamentaly differnet story. It is not the prequel, it is a chidlrens book. It was designed and written as one, and thats what it is.

        LOTR is a much more complex, muhc darker and much more involved story. There are LOTR fanatics, but few Hobbit fanatics, although there are the real men, Tolkein Fanatics who study both.

        All the same, the Hobbit is not so well loved, adored, fantasized over, obssesed over etc. It is an inferior bok and an inferior story, if onyl relative to the true masterpeice. :)

        • by gamgee5273 ( 410326 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @04:44PM (#2688965) Homepage Journal
          Hmmm...I couldn't disagree more. The Hobbit is a children's story, agreed, but it is a prelude of things to come in The Lord of the Rings. For example, the LOTR we know and love would be a different book without its predecessor. Bilbo, the dwarfs (or is it dwarves...I can never remember Tolkien's disclaimer in the front of Hobbit correctly...), Gandalf, Gollum, and much more of Middle-earth were first fleshed-out in Hobbit. If a reader were to pick up LOTR without reading Hobbit I suspect that they would have a difficult time orienting themselves into their surroundings. I just re-read all four books last year and was very happy and satisfied to see how all four still stand up in an adult reader's mind and still complement each other.

          I would argue that, while Tolkien probably didn't plan it, the four books help draw the reader into an unwilling adventure, much like Gandalf had to with Bilbo. Going from a children's book - with Bilbo's much less severe adventure - preps you for the detailed and difficult adventure Frodo must face. Children's books - good children's books - are often marked by a quality that makes them good reading for all ages. Thus, children's books by Dr. Suess, J.K. Rowling, Tolkien, etc. are still readable and enjoyable by adults. It's the same impulse that allows many Disney and Pixar movies (and even Sesame Street - remember H. Ross Parrot?) to be enjoyed by parents and their children, while Barney or The Teletubbies don't exist on that level and aren't designed to elicit emotion from parents while entertaining them, too.

          I think it is safe to say that Tolkien realized this when writing LOTR and realized that he had characters and a story that were strong in the first book, and that allowed him to build upon that and create a more "adult" book many years later for the readers of the "children's" book of years past.

          Basically, what I'm saying, is that the two go hand-in-hand, The Hobbit and LOTR. Just because one was written for children doesn't mean that it doesn't have a major part in the groundwork and preparation of the other.

      • > Why has the Hobbit been ignored for so long,
        > whilst they are making LOTR for the second
        > time?

        Ignored? Rankin-Bass did the Hobbit back in
        1977. A travesty, granted, but no worse than
        Bakshi's LotR.

        Chris Mattern
  • Sci-Fi channel is also running a one hour "Making of LOTR" program which is really quite good. I think that Peter Jackson has "got it", although I'm waiting in dubious anticipation for the lists of "All the things that suck about this movie". A whole new generation of drooling fanboys lurks.

    It opens next Wednesday -- wanna try to /. a movie theatre???

    • > I think that Peter Jackson has "got it", although I'm waiting in dubious anticipation for the lists of "All the things that suck about this movie".

      From my limited exposure to the trailers, the impression I get is that it's strangely lacking in "atmosphere". Kind of like a made-for-TV movie.
      • From my limited exposure to the trailers

        One thing you have to remember about trailers is that they come out before the film has finished post production. So they may have quite a different look and feel from the real movie, as atmospheric effects and colour balance is tweaked in post production.
  • Glasses At BK (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 )
    I saw an ad for collectors glasses at Burger King.

    This sort of thing often drags some of the enjoyment out of these films. Sell. Sell. Sell. I guess, someone's gotta come up with crap for eBay and Flea Markets.

    • by d.valued ( 150022 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @11:52AM (#2687151) Journal
      (Lemme open up by saying I may or may not agree with what I am about to say. This sort of duplicity makes me an excellent candidate for political office.)

      So far, I've seen the Burger King glasses, the action figures, a great many re-published copies of the book with the movie as the cover. I've seen the board game, the cartoon, the ten-minute TNT blip, the one-hour Sci-Fi blip. The bedsheets are on order at my local K-Mart, the costumes are being put on back-order, the card game is selling briskly, and the pornographic feature based upon the film is in high demand at the local adult bookstore.

      All this stuff (with the possible exception of the porno) goes to help defray the insanely high intial costs of the trilogy. Keep in mind, for those of you who've been living in a cave since, oh, the last millenium, that they a) shot all three films at once and therefor WILL be released; b) they cost a LOT of money. If you think that $6000 for a Microsoft-proof laptop [naturetech.com.tw] is a painful yet fun investment, think that the studio coughs up mega-million dollar budgets with shocking regularity. In fact, I'm torn on whether the casinos or Hollywood are the folks to duplicate for the handling of insanely large quantities of cash.

      The crap has a double purpose. It gets people Movie Stuff, and simultaneously promotes the film.
  • Sellout... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by don_carnage ( 145494 )
    I'm just sick of seeing those commercials for the light-up goblets; it cheapens the film before it's even out. Not that it will prevent me from seeing it, but GEESH people give it a break. Same goes for all the lame Shrek commercials. I really liked that movie, but hate the fact that they sold out to a fast-food chain.

    • > I'm just sick of seeing those commercials for the light-up goblets; it cheapens the film before it's even out.

      <cynical>Yeah, but if they wait until after it's out they'll miss the Christmas action-figure rush.</cynical>
    • by Fatal0E ( 230910 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @11:55AM (#2687176)
      I think Space Balls had one of the more astute observations when it comes to movies...

      it was the scene where Bill Pullman meets Yogurt in the underground desert complex and he's showing off all the SpaceBalls stuff..."Moychendising, Moychendising, Moychendising!"

      so expect LOTR The Toilet Paper, LOTR The bedsheets, LOTR The Crayon Set and best of all, LOTR The Flame Thrower (the kids love this one).

      • Well, I had LOTR calendars several years as a boy, but frankly I find the Burger King tie-in disgusting. J.K. Rowling (author of Harry Potter, for anyone who is a little slow) refused the fast food stuff. Good for her! Only wish Tolkien's estate would have had the same level of sense.
    • That's what it cost to produce the films. That's a 'bet the studio' cost. If they don't recover most of that cost early, then The Two Towers and Return of the King will be straight to video releases.
      • Oh yeah...they're going to recoupe that cost in cheap, light-up goblets from BK. ;^)
        • Re:$300 Million (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Tassach ( 137772 )
          Actually, the studio recoups [part] of it's money by selling BK the *rights* to make cheesy light-up goblets. BK hopes to recoup thier investment by luring people into their resteraunts to buy overpriced sugar water and greasy potato sticks along with the offensive drinking vessels.
      • Re:$300 Million (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Squirrel Killer ( 23450 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @12:33PM (#2687416)
        I doubt it. They probably expect to recover between a third and half the cost on the first movie (ie $100-150 million) then the mostof the rest of the up-front costs on the second movie, leaving the third movie to be mostly or pure profit. Merchandising dollars, which they've been for several months now with movie related books, etc..., help pad the bottom line.

        Straight to video would waste the potential theatrical take, even if the first movie tanks, there's still enough die-hard Tolkien fans and pure fantasy fans for the second and third films to bring in enough revenue to cover the theatrical release and some money on the side. Hey, didn't even "Dungeons & Dragons" make money?

        My guess would be that if the first film tanks, the second film would be released with the same production values (maybe not as much hype), but would be released to video much sooner. The third film would probably be rushed out the door with much lower production standards (worse special effects, cheaper soundtrack, no redubbing lines to cover on-location mistakes, certainly no more new photography (yes, I know they're done with principle shooting, but I could see them going back for more if need be)) and go to video quickly as well. That way, New Line will still get the theatrical take, but can start bringing in video revenue quickly to start making up the losses. Never the less, all three will be made and will make it into theaters.

        Note that I don't expect the films to tank. I expect "Fellowship of the Ring" to do quite well, "Two Towers" to do a little less well, and "Return of the King" to do better than "Fellowship". I don't know if the theatrical take will reach $300 million, but I wouldn't be surprised. Even if it just breaks even in the theaters, New Line wins big with all of the merchadising and potential video revenues.


        • Re:$300 Million (Score:3, Insightful)

          by btellier ( 126120 )
          They probably expect to recover between a third and half the cost on the first movie (ie $100-150 million)

          I hope you're not implying that the movie will make only $150 million. There's as much hype around this movie as there was for Episode 1, and the reviews are actually good! Even if the movie was a total stinker it would take $200M, which it isn't, so one can expect the total revenue for the movie to hit at least $300M. When you consider that Episode 1 made something like $450M it isn't ridiculous to see a figure like that.

          Straight to video

          Straight to video is impossible. According to interviews with New Line execs theatres which want to show LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring MUST purchase all three installments and show them for a minimum of six weeks.

          I expect "Fellowship of the Ring" to do quite well, "Two Towers" to do a little less well, and "Return of the King" to do better than "Fellowship".

          Any particular reason you say this? I found Two Towers to be my favorite installment of the trilogy. The action was always non-stop, the ending is absolutly epic (but i won't spoil it) and the potential for great CGI abounds. If anything I'd say that this first installment will gross the least, if for no other reason than Fellowship was my least favorite volume.

          • Re:$300 Million (Score:3, Interesting)

            I hope you're not implying that the movie will make only $150 million.
            What I'm implying is that New Line, when they greenlighted this project figured that they would need to make $100 million/movie to break even. I'm sure they planned on making some money, so they want to gross at least $150 million on this one. That's not bad, it's a $50 million profit.

            Remember, I'm responding to a guy who said that if New Line didn't make most of the initial $300 million on FotR, the other two would be released straight to video. I was merely pointing out that the studio made a decision that they would need to only make $100-150 million per movie to do well. They wouldn't judge that a movie is a flop just because it didn't break into the Top 20 Grossing Films of All Time. Also remember that Gladiator only made $180 million. $150 million isn't that shabby. Do I think it will make more? I think FotR has a good shot to break $200 million, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it.

            Look at the Top 20 Grossing Movies of All Time [imdb.com] (US Box Office - yes it's Amerio-centric, sue me). One of the things that they have in common is that they were all social phenomenon. Everyone saw Staw Wars and Forest Gump, every teenage girl saw Titantic 20 times, everyone talked about Sixth Sense, everyone cried when Home Alone got a sequel. Ok, ok, Twister is an exception (how did that get in there anyway?) Now, will FotR become such a phenomenon? It very well could, but to say that it will is to set yourself up for Pearl Harbor. New Line isn't betting that FotR will out-gross Independence Day, it's betting that it will out-gross Die Hard 3, and hoping it'll out-gross Jerry McGuire. But if it only outgrosses Crocodile Dundee II, they still win.

            Straight to video is impossible.
            That was essentially my argument. Thanks for backing me up. Again, I'm responding to a guy who said that if New Line didn't make most of the initial $300 million on FotR, the other two would be released straight to video. I was saying that straight to video would be stupid because of the loss of potential money out there for a theatrical release. Now I know that a straight to video would be stupid also because of the contract involved. (BTW - don't think the contract is a complete assurance that all three will get the six week theatrical release. If FotR were to be a complete flop and only bring in $1 million revenue, you can bet New Line will be renegotiating the contract sooner than you can say, "But the contract says...!")
            I found Two Towers to be my favorite installment of the trilogy.
            I didn't mean any disrespect to TT. Revenue doesn't have any relation to quality though. Empire Strikes back was the lowest grossing Star Wars film (including Ep. 1) but is arguably the best of the four so far. I think FotR will do well because of all of the hype over the past two years, RotK will do well because people will have had two years to see the other two and get primed for the finale. TT will do less well if for no other reason than because it's stuck in the middle. No offense, but basing revenue projections on your own like or dislike of a book or script is a sure-fire way to be wrong.


      • Re:$300 Million (Score:3, Informative)

        by Rogerborg ( 306625 )
        • That's a 'bet the studio' cost. If they don't recover most of that cost early, then The Two Towers and Return of the King will be straight to video releases

        Tsk tsk. The studio has already secured the money. Big studio films are pre-sold to theatre chains years in advance, often just on the basis of one big name or even (gasp) the budget. Films with a budget of $20 million+ don't lose money any more, ever.

        The LotR trilogy will already have made its money back for the studio. The actual box office take/DVD/VCR/Book-of-the-film/collectible figures/card game of the film are just gravy.

    • by devphil ( 51341 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @12:36PM (#2687434) Homepage
      Three drinks for the Burger Kings under the sky,

      Seven burgers for the Dwarves who are stoned,
      Ninety million consumers doomed to buy,
      One cut for the Dark Lord, the franchise he owns.
      In the land of Mordor where the Whoppers lie.
      Onion ring to rule them all, onion ring to dine them,
      Onion ring to bring them all and in the deep-fryer bind them
      In the land of Mordor where the Whoppers lie.

      I would give an attribution if I had seen one. Probably it's evolved from several sources.

  • by L41N14L ( 205602 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @11:48AM (#2687129)
    "All members of the cast have got a tattoo. When we had it done in a tattoo parlor in Wellington, New Zealand, we all swore never to tell anyone,' he told Reuters Television

    What part of "swore never to tell anyone" did he not understand?
    • They've been telling people for a while; it was mentioned in this month's (print) issue of Empire Magazine [empireonline.co.uk] as well. Maybe what they swore never to tell was where on their bodies the tattoos are located (which he refused revealing to Reuters)? On the other hand, who would want to think about tattoos in funny places on old british actors?
      • Well, Sean Bean has caused directors enough problems with his "Blades Forever" (or is it "Forever Blades" - "Blades" being the nickname of Sheffield United Football Club - as Sheffield has a history of knifemaking) tattoo having to be covered up when in historical dramas ("Sharpe" for example).
        Maybe they had them done on their backsides so they wouldn't show in most things....!
    • Well, I think that they swore never to tell what the tattoo's image was. Imagine if the secret got out that they all had huge 12" pink unicorns inked onto their backs for the rest of their lives. I mean, the shame....
  • Corrected URL (Score:5, Informative)

    by blamanj ( 253811 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @11:49AM (#2687133)

    Actually, the text of the Guardian review is here. [guardian.co.uk]

    • Re:Corrected URL (Score:3, Informative)

      by gowen ( 141411 )
      Thats not the usual Guardian critic, either, just one of their media weenies. They'll certainly have a much less superficial review (probably by resident film critic Peter Bradshaw) in Friday's edition. I'd check back later [guardian.co.uk].
  • pirates (Score:3, Interesting)

    by osiris ( 30004 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @11:49AM (#2687134) Homepage
    No shit its been pirated already. im sure ive seen some releases of it floating about the divx/vcd trading groups for at least a week. i mean, this has got to be one of the biggest films for a long time, its hot stuff to get your hands on.

    some of these people have links right in the film industry and can easily get films before they are released. just dont count on dvd quality though.

    so its no suprise that people are flogging copies of it already. its probably been running rampant through south east asia for weeks. i know when i lived there it wasnt hard to get movies on vcd before they were released.

    cant wait to see this movie in the cinema though :) i wouldnt watch a crappy copy of it.
  • by Hairy_Potter ( 219096 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @11:50AM (#2687141) Homepage
    Please, let us geeks do one thing right, for once, and respect the memory of J.R.R Tolkien and his family and pay to see this movie, instead of rushing off to edonkey, KaZaa, or alt.binaries.erotica.furry-feet to download a crappy handheld Sonycam divx of the film.

    Please, geeks, leave your computer, go to a theater, mix with fellow geeks and lovers and LOTR and watch this in a theater, 40 feet wide in Dolby, as it was meant to be seen. Who knows, you may even like meeting other people!

    • I will respect J.R.R's memory and to the producers and actors and (almost) everyone else who made this movie possible and deserves to profit from it, but I do not believe even for one minute that his family should own the rights to his work after his death. *Let the flaming begin*...
      • Well, Christopher Tolkien has done a fantastic job of cleaning up his father's manuscripts and notes and putting them out in a readable form. He deserves to profit from his labors.

        That little caveat aside, I have to agree with the general sentement that copyright law has gotten well out of control and far exceeds it's historical basis. As it says in the US Constitution, the law should secure exclusive rights for the author or inventer FOR A LIMITED TIME.

      • I think you'll find the family aren't getting a penny: Tolkien sold the film rights to pay off a mortgage.

        Onto your wider point: I think the system we have, with copyright expiring after a while, is the correct system: that way the artist knows his immediate family profit from his work and not faceless corporations.

    • by Bonker ( 243350 )
      I mean, if you're a big enough fan to spend however long it takes to download a 700mb DiVX AVI, aren't you probably going to go to the theater several times, just so you can see it on the big screen, the way it was 'meant' to be seen? Aren't you also going to buy the 2 DVD Box Set collector's edition next year and have all-night Fellowship of the DVD parties watching it over and over again with all your closest geek buddies?

      Case in point.... if your an anime fan: I just bought 2 $25 DVD's this week. One was the Utena Movie and the other was the 'Oh My Goddess' movie. Neither is 'perfect' in the way that most fanboys will perceive any one of the 3 LOTR movies. Still, they are fun movies. Before they were released in the U.S., however, I obtained low-quality DivX and VCD anime fansubs of these two titles.

      Even though I 'pirated' the movies, the American dub/sub houses and indirectly, the Japanese studios, still got their money from me.

      Therefore, I encourage *true* Tolkein Fanboys and everyone else who plans to eventually legitimately see or buy this movie to download it to your heart's content
    • False delimma (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cduffy ( 652 )
      Trust me, I'm going to pay to see the movie.

      I might also download the crappy DiVX, but I'll pay to see it first.

      The two aren't necessarily exclusive, 'ya know? I can't see *any* fan of Tolkien being happy watching only a low-quality copy of LoTR on a computer screen.
    • Funny you should mention real-life theaters...

      There's a small crew where I work that burns all kinds of movies and swaps 'em. I've watched a few, but for me there's nothing like sitting third row center at an AMC Torus screen with the THX thumpin'.

      My wife and I average 2 movies per month and almost all of those are full-price Friday evening shows. And you know what? I don't care. I get that much value out of the sensory and crowd experience. Obviously, YMMV.

      - I hate storm drains

    • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @01:28PM (#2687784) Homepage
      • let us geeks do one thing right, for once, and respect the memory of J.R.R Tolkien and his family and pay to see this movie

      Oh, I'm going to. I should be getting my region 0 DVD grey import this week, but I won't be watching it until the 19th. But I'm doing this out of respect for Peter Jackson and the cast and crew of this film, not because I'm deluding myself that J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of the similiarly themed book would have cared, or that his estate has any interest, rights or say in this film.


      Michael White, biographer of the Oxford professor and Lord of the Rings creator, said the author would have hated the film.

      "I think he would have just closed his eyes to it," White said of Tolkien, who died in 1973 aged 81.

      "He had a hatred of all things Hollywood and did not believe in the idea of imitation being the best form of flattery."

      However, Tolkien's son, Christopher, who owns the rights to his father's literary legacy, denied reports that he was unhappy with the way The Lord of the Rings films are being made.

      He had remained silent about the films, but reports claimed he was unhappy with the way the film-makers interpreted his father's books.

      Tolkien sold the film rights to his cult fantasy books in 1969 for just £10,000 - meaning his family, and those in charge of his estate, were left with no control over how the movies were made.

      It looks like a good adaptation, and I'm completely OK with the removal of elements and the filling in of backstory (like Gandalf's imprisonment by Saruman). However it's had too much added and changed (without the input of the creator) to be an actual canon version.

      A petulant rock chick defending a passive Frodo is most definitely not the same as an elf lord unveiled in his fury and a desparate but defiant Frodo. It denies Frodo an important piece of character development just to get some tits and ass on screen.

      A troll that appears in the book as a foot and an arm didn't get turned into a frenzied CGI showcase by accident. This is the most minor of my quibbles, but it's an easy way to add drama, and I'm a little disappointed that Jackson chose it rather than playing within the limits of the original source.

      Replacing the elemental hatred of Caradhras with machinations of Saruman is a major shifting of the characters, not a minor plot tweak. This is implied as being on the limit of Sauron's abilities, let alone Saruman's. It actually demotes Saruman to a simple "bad assed mofo" role, rather than taking the harder but more rewarding route of focussing on his delightfully sinister powers of persuasion.

      A skeleton knocked down a well accidentally is not a stone thrown down it on purpose. Again, minor point, but why change it, other than ego? The original situation is functionally identical and leads to exactly the same result.

      And those are just the changes and additions that I know about. Don't get me wrong, I'm completely stoked about this adaptation, but on its own merits, because of the cast (petulant rock chicks aside), the crew and the director, and not because I think I'll be seeing the book "Fellowship of the Ring". The destination appears to be the same, but the journey looks to be different enough to jar.

      Roll on the 19th when I can find out for sure.

      • by sphealey ( 2855 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @01:56PM (#2687928)
        Funny, I just happened to re-read Tolkien's view on a movie version of LOTR last night. In a 1957 letter to his agent in response to an offer from an American studio, he basically said two things (a) he had no philosophical objection to movies and wouldn't mind if someone tried to create a screenplay/movie version (b) however, since he didn't trust Hollywood, his specific instructions were "either Art or Cash", meaning either full artistic control, or enough cash up front to drown his sorrows.

        So I would say ol' JRR had pretty clear vision in these matters.

      • > not because I'm deluding myself that J.R.R.
        > Tolkien, the author of the similiarly themed
        > book would have cared, or that his estate has
        > any interest, rights or say in this film

        This URL [guardian.co.uk] seems to differ with you:

        It is a myth almost as cherished as JRR Tolkien's tales of Middle Earth: that nearing the end of his life, and under pressure from the taxman and a wolfpack of sharp Hollywood suits, the cloistered Oxford scholar signed away the rights to The Lord of the Rings for a mere £10,000.
        But like many good yarns that have grown in the telling, it is - the Guardian can reveal - just that, a myth.


        Far from the £10,000 of lore, he got $250,000 (then worth about £102,500) and a percentage of the royalties, which could eventually be a massive fillip to his estate, already fat from the sale of 100m books around the globe. The estate's solicitors confirmed yesterday that it would get more royalties if the film took two and a half times its costs.
    • Please...

      I own a copy of the Lord of the Rings, but I still went to alt.binaries.e-books and downloaded the trilogy in several electronic formats. Same thing with several other books I own. Hell, I'm even scanning in a book (for personal reasons) that's been out of print for a decade and won't come out of copyright for another 75 years if the author were to keel over today. In 75 years, there might be only a handful of physical copies of the book, but the electronic version will continue to live.

      You know what, I still plan on buying at least one more physical copy of LotR at some point, if not more. If the authors and publishers would offer the books in their own electronic format that I was confident I could reuse when I upgrade to a new machine, I'd buy them (no typos after all.) The electronic format allows me more freedom to enjoy the writing without having to lug around an eight pound book along, especially since I've already got the laptop/pda/whatever. The holier-than-thou freaks in alt.fan.tolkien be damned, I want a more useful version of the book I've already paid for, and will pay for again if only they would put it in a format I want it in.

      If I'm so inclined, I'll d'load a DivX rip, thank you very much. Because I'll go see the movie in the theater, probably more than once. And once the DVD comes out, I'll probably get that as well, and when the Director's Cut Special Boxed Edition of the film trilogy comes out, I'll get raped again (There's no more surefire way to ensure a DVD gets a "new, enhanced" edition than to buy the "old, crappy" version.)

      The Tolkien estate, Peter Jackson, and New Line will get enough of my money on this that I think they'll overlook if I've got a DivX version sitting in drawer somewhere (I'm not going to watch it again after I get the DVD.) I've got a rip of a certain big sci-fi movie that I never watch anymore thanks to the DVD, but I don't think any 'stormtroopers' are going to knock down my door. I think of it this way: Since the USSC ruled timeshifting was legal in the Betamax case, I'm just timeshifting in reverse.

      Look, I agree with you that if someone grabs a rip and doesn't see the movie in the theater or buy the DVD, they're an ass. But to make a blanket statement that everyone who d'loads it is an ass is a little myopic. For many of the rippers, the powers that be are going to get their money, but they just want to see it now. Just because someone rips it, doesn't mean that they aren't going to leave their computer, go to the theater, mix with fellow geeks and lovers and LOTR and watch this in a theater, 40 feet wide in Dolby, as it was meant to be seen. So get off your high horse and let me infringe copyright seeing as I've paid and will pay enough to enjoy something in my own way.

      Ah, hell...there goes the karma...

  • spoilers? (Score:5, Funny)

    by rudiger ( 35571 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @11:51AM (#2687147)
    what self-respecting /.'er doesn't know how this movie ends?
  • by __4096 ( 526163 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @11:54AM (#2687168)
    I just hope they didn't recycle Jar Jar Binks and use him as Gollum.
  • Anyone know how many extra bits have made their way into the film? The trailors have had enough crap-looking not-in-the-book moments to put me off seeing the film (Nazgul chasing hobbits on a dock, some bint with a bow challenging the Riders at a ford, and a complete fuck-up of the creepy Moria tapper-in-the-well scene).


    • You'll hate it (Score:2, Informative)

      by wiredog ( 43288 )
      If you want it to be absolutely true to the book, the way Harry Potter was, don't see it. Arwen has a much bigger role, as a sort of warrior princess (Eowyn like) from what I've heard. Also, they dropped Tom Bombadil.

      Nazgul chasing hobbits on a dock

      Probably at the ferry after they leave Farmer Maggot's house.

      • If you had to drop anything, Tom was the way to go. That would have added about 35 minutes of strangeness that added little to the story, IMHO. I enjoyed reading it very much, but if they were going to make the movie fit into one sitting, dropping him was the way to go.

      • > If you want it to be absolutely true to the book, the way Harry Potter was, don't see it.

        IMO that took HP down a couple of stars in my ratings. What makes a good book is not the same as what makes a good movie.

        I haven't read the HP books, so I'll concede that they might be very good. But I went to see the movie with my n&n, and commented to their dad that I thought it was overlong and full of fluff that didn't contribute to the movement of the flick. He said it's because the movie was previewed to audiences of kiddies who raised hell about it not being faithful to the book, so they went back and 'fixed' it. That 'fix' is probably exactly what I didn't like about the movie.

        So I'm dubious about LOTR. Where they're not faithful to the book (Arwen the Warrior Princess) I'll hate it for that reason; where they are faithful to the book, I'll hate it for being overlong and stuffy.

        The best way to go would be to read good books that aren't derived from films and watch good films that aren't derived from books. Alas, Hollywood's formulaic writing doesn't produce many good yarns that way.
    • I can just see Jones internal struggle:


      Be true to the book....

      or more Liv Tyler

      Be true to the book....

      or more Live Tyler


      I had to be a tough choice.
  • by ThePurpleBuffalo ( 111594 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @11:55AM (#2687175)
    We name our servers after LOTR caracters... one day someone asked what type of network we were using. The answer:

    Tolkien Ring

    Beware TPB
  • I'm not sure I quite understand why New Line decided to open the movie earlier in UK? Peter Jackson is a Kiwi and most of the other principal characters behind the movie are not Brits, except of course Tolkien himself. So, was Peter Jackson over-anxious to hear it from the Brithish high priests? Or was it plain simple strategy following Harry Potter's early release in the UK. And while on that, its interesting to ponder that British literature is all of a sudden stealing the spotlight from cheap American paperback-films. It did take Tolkien and his modern-age counterpart, Rowlings though :)
    • by Malc ( 1751 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @12:25PM (#2687349)
      Um, just going through the first 10 or so of the main characters listed on IMDB for this film [imdb.com], you might like to reconsider:

      Elijah Wood - American
      Ian McKellen - British
      Viggo Mortensen - American
      Sean Astin - American
      Liv Tyler - American
      Cate Blanchett - Australian
      John Rhys-Davies - British
      Billy Boyd - British
      Dominic Monaghan - German
      Orlando Bloom - British
      Hugo Weaving - Nigerian/Australian
      Sean Bean - British
      Ian Holm - British
      Christopher Lee - British

      The characters aside, this is a very British film. The rights to the films were sold in 1969, but the Tolkien family/estate still has a lot of influence.
  • by DaoudaW ( 533025 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @12:04PM (#2687226)
    I'll admit I was worried after reading stories like Feedback: Not the subtractions, but the additions [guardian.co.uk] about changes made to the story during the making of the film.

    But after hearing last nights interview with Peter Jackson on World News for Public Television, my fears have been allayed. Jackson was asked what John Ronald Raoul would have thought about the movie. Peter said (approx.), "I hope he'd see the love we put into it over the years. But I think he'd be grumpy about many of the changes we had to make."

    He seemed to have a deep understanding of Tolkien the man, and was quite aware that he'd meddled with literature that had been canonized. The seriousness with which he approached his task impressed me.
  • The tattoos (Score:5, Informative)

    by OblongPlatypus ( 233746 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @12:08PM (#2687249)
    The Yahoo article doesn't mention this, but this month's print issue of Empire Magazine [empireonline.co.uk] did. The Fellowship actors' tattoos all depict the Tengwar symbol for 9. (Tengwar being Tolkien's Elvish alphabet; you can see what it looks like here [io.com].)
    • Re:The tattoos (Score:2, Interesting)

      by synaptic ( 4599 )
      > The Fellowship actors' tattoos all depict the
      > Tengwar symbol for 9.

      Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
      Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
      Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
      One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
      In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
      One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
      One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness band them
      In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
      • Well, there's a much more direct reason to choose the number nine: There were nine in the Fellowship, so nine actors got the tattoo.

        But then again, they were nine because they were chosen to match up against the nine Ringwraiths, and the wraiths *are* those nine Mortal Men from the poem.
  • As a LOTR enthusiast on slightly the wrong side of fanatical, what should I do?

    [ ] Not go and see any of the films - it would corrupt my imagination

    [ ] Wait until 2002, and see all three films in one 9 hour sitting.

    [ ] Stop being a nincompoop and go and enjoy the film.

    This may look like a joke, but I am serious. I will stand bye the /. majority. So go ahead, please cast votes 1, 2 or 3 as an AC.

    Also, some more purist than me are apparantly a bit pissed off. They cook tomatoes in the film (gasp - a new world fruit!) and the elves have a penchant for polyurethane garden accessories. Furthermore, how come is it that I post all but one of the links given in the parent (about 12 hours ago), but my comment gets rejected?
  • by streetlawyer ( 169828 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @12:15PM (#2687287) Homepage
    Just one question that's bugged me for years about this book, and seeing the trailers only reminded me of it.

    If this ring was so incredibly important, why did they give the job of getting rid of it to a small person with no military experience, who had never been outside his home village before in his life? Why didn't they at least give him a frekaing map?

  • by iabervon ( 1971 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @12:18PM (#2687313) Homepage Journal
    It was brilliant chosing for Boromir someone who wanted to play Aragorn. That's the perfect way to get into the character...
  • Stop the MPAA! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msm1th ( 68753 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @12:19PM (#2687319)
    Oh, wait. This movie looks cool. Never mind! Give them your money!
  • The other day, on hearing from a friend of mine that his local IMAX would be showing Fellowship on opening night, I called the one near me (the Branson IMAX) to see if they were doing the same.

    The person I talked to had apparently never heard of either the book or the movie. It was all "Fellowship of the what?" And this person works at a movie theater. Sheesh.
  • New world foods (Score:2, Informative)

    by foistboinder ( 99286 )
    There are mistakes. Merry and Pippin cook tomatoes, and Tolkien had taken care when revising The Hobbit in 1966 to remove mention of tomatoes - an alien, New World fruit

    So are poatatoes and tobacco.

  • Ash nazg durbatulúk,
    ash nazg gimbatul,
    ash nazg thrakatulûk
    agh burzum-ishi krimpatul

    Interesting that they've had some serious linguists working on the film though - here's [elvish.org] the discussion site for their languages.

    I gave up waiting for their merchandise, and just had the ring poem printed on some of my own-design T-shirts. Much cooler than having corporate-inspired stuff!

    I am very tempted by the replicas of Sting [bytheswordinc.com]. Unfortunately they weigh far too much to fight with, and they're really easy to dint. Oh well...

    maegnass ess nin, dagnir yngyl im (my name is Sting, I am slayer of spiders)

  • Lovely links (Score:2, Informative)

    by mip ( 534317 )
    This place [flyingmoose.org] has lots of interesting and, generally, light-hearted links to LOTR stuff. Check out the E-book [flyingmoose.org] especially.

    p.s I thought the Bashi film was terrible.

  • If I get nothing more from this movie than Gimli wreaking havoc, spilling orc blood, and splitting orc skulls with his axe, it will be worth the seven dollars for the ticket.

    Of course I don't expect it to be completely true to Tolkien's writing. Movie makers tend to take liberties with everything. (I would say that Pearl Harbor and Titanic come to mind, but that would mean I would have to admit having seen them!) I'm going to go see this movie with the sole purpose of being entertained. I'm not going to analyze how it deviates from what Tolkien wrote. I'm going to see this movie purely for the entertainment value. Unless they MAJORLY change the story, I think I'll be happy with what I see. Then again, the wrong filmmaker could MAJORLY change the story.

    I'm waiting to pay my $7 until the week AFTER it opens though, just to miss most of the hype.
  • I didn't read the review myself (I hate when they give away the ending! ;-) ), but Entertainment Weekly [ew.com] gave it a grade of "A". Click here for the full review [ew.com].
  • Download the fonts! (Score:5, Informative)

    by PsiPsiStar ( 95676 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @12:38PM (#2687444)
    There's a page out there where you can download the font for the various tolkein languages.


    It dosen't look quite as cool as the guilded cursive elven runes on all the merchandise, but what do you want for free?
  • Does anyone know if they plan to release the DVD of the first film soon after the movie premiere, or if they wait releasing all the DVDs until all the films have been shown?
  • I am really disappointed to hear of the changes that have been made to a story that has stood on it's own for 50+ years. One of the things about the story is the depth that Tolkein gave to the characters, and the variety of characters (ie Tom Bombadil)

    I think changing the characters is even worse. Having Arwen take the place of Glorfindel is a MAJOR change, one which can and probably will ruin the movie for me.

    Yes, I am a fanatic about this. But after waiting for 20 years for someone to have the nerve to make this movie, the least we can expect is that they remain true to the story.
    • Re:Changes etc... (Score:3, Informative)

      by zzyzx ( 15139 )
      "I am really disappointed to hear of the changes that have been made to a story that has stood on it's own for 50+ years. One of the things about the story is the depth that Tolkein gave to the characters, and the variety of characters (ie Tom Bombadil) "

      depth? Hmmmmmm different strokes I guess. 300 pages into FotR, I'm finding them all pretty much interchangable - in large degree again because no one ever says anything other than reciting 3 page long poems or giving dire warnings.

      As for Tom Bombadil, he was dropped for a reason. If he appeared on a movie screen, half of the audience would start laughing at him and the spell would be ruined.
  • Install bos.games, then look in /usr/lib/fortune/fortunes.dat:

    "I cannot read the fiery letters," said Frodo in a quavering voice.

    "No," Said Gandalf, "but I can. The letters are Elvish, of course, of an ancient mode, but the language is that of Mordor, which I will not utter here. They are lines of a verse long known in Elven-lore:

    "This Ring, no other, is made by the elves,

    Who'd pawn their own mother to grab it themselves.
    Ruler of creeper, mortal, and scallop,
    This is a sleeper that packs quite a wallop.
    The Power almighty rests in this Lone Ring.
    The Power, alrighty, for doing your Own Thing.
    If broken or busted, it cannot be remade.
    If found, send to Sorhed (with postage prepaid)."
  • My Sort of Review (Score:5, Informative)

    by west ( 39918 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @01:28PM (#2687781)
    I was fortunate enough to see the movie in late November. (no spoilers follow)

    They did not do the impossible. The length and breadth of Fellowship of the Ring could not be compressed into a 3 hour movie. Nor could they manage to please of all us Tolkein fans, each of whom brings a mental picture of what Elves/Frodo/Gandalf/Dwarves/ Aragorn/etc. *really* looked/acted like.

    I will guarantee that each of you will walk away disappointed in *some* aspect of the movie. I also expect it to be a *different* piece of the movie for each person.

    What they managed was the remarkable. The movie works, and works well. They have successfully translated a book almost totally unsuited for a movie into a rivetting, astonishingly beautiful piece of cinema.

    In other words, keep expectations in check, and you should enjoy yourself immensely. Go, waiting to see what part they adulterated/messed up, and you risk letting your inevitable disappointment in one section overshadow the considerable success of the movie as a whole.

    As an aside, I suspect that there's a lot of (non-existent) advertising revenue in a site that allows each user to vote on the five things that they feel the film did wrong. I figure there'd be at least five hundred possible complaints. On the other hand, my comparison with other people's list have found an almost complete lack of unity about what the points are! (How could nobody else realize that they've totally destroyed the Shire scenes by making Bilbo's eyes the wrong color :-))
  • by Dr.Dubious DDQ ( 11968 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @01:43PM (#2687860) Homepage

    It goes like this. A bunch of peaceful little guys are minding their own business in their village at the beginning of the first book. The mysteriously disappearing/reappearing wizard Gandalf shows up and says bad things are coming. Several of the little guys decide to head off from the village. Here's where the story gets underway.

    1. Good guys head for some destination or other.
    2. Good guys notice they're being chased by really mean but mysterious bad guys of some sort
    3. Good guys flee, alternately running and hiding
    4. Bad guys nearly catch them, but just in time, Good guys stumble on a group of other Good guys, and the Bad guys leave.
    5. The newly-met good guys give them all magic food and they all sing songs and recite poetry.
    6. Repeat as necessary.

    Disclaimer - YES, I'm kidding, dammit! But you've got to admit, there IS a grain of truth to it...

    Anyone who DOESN'T know the story (both of you), it actually IS a good, complex tale. I just couldn't help noticing this pattern in it...

  • by MikeyLikesIt! ( 313421 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @02:52PM (#2688284) Homepage

    I read The Fellowship Of The Rings for the first time this summer in anticipation of the movie. I have to say that it was one of the most boring books I have ever read.

    Don't get me wrong! The story was great - there were many memorable moments - but it was told in a very tedious manner.

    For example, you could probably edit out everything 95% of the text between the death of Gandalf and the arrival at the elvin village without losing any coherence.

    All of this probably means that the movie will be better than the book, so I haven't lost all hope!

    Any thoughts?

    • by egomaniac ( 105476 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2001 @05:01PM (#2689073) Homepage
      I have to agree. I'm sure this will go down as Flamebait / Troll (take your pick), but I found LotR mind-numbingly boring.

      I've read long books before -- the Wheel of Time series comes to mind, weighing in at something like 6,000 pages so far -- so I promise that it has nothing to do with a short attention span or lousy imagination. They're just boring.

      The writing is mediocre, and Tolkien *really* likes listening to himself talk. The books just aren't that good. Fine, they helped set the direction for modern fantasy. I won't dispute that. Study them for the historical value then, but all of this gushing about them being the best fantasy novels ever is, IMNSHO, misplaced.

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson