May 23rd, 2010 marked the end of one of the most talked about shows on television – ABC’s LOST. Created by JJ Abrams, Damon Lindelof, and Jeffrey Lieber, this supernateral, mystical, mythological, theological, science fictional drama relied on flashbacks and eventual flashforwards, mixed with the present, to tell watercooler television. When it ended 5 years ago today, it sparked outrageous controversy, reminiscient of the outcry at The Sopranos ending, three years before. Still today (and I think it still will be 20 years from now), there remains such a divide between those who loved and those who hated the series, especially that unexpected ending. For the most part, the majority of viewers tend to land on one side of endings – Dexter, most hated, while Sons Of Anarchy, most loved. Not so with this show.
The Lord Of The Rings – The Two Towers: Extended Edition Blu-ray Directed by Peter Jackson Written by Peter Jackson, Phillipa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair, and Fran Walsh; based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien Starring Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, and Sean Astin New Line Home Video Release Date: August 28, 2012
You can read Dr. Geek, Ph.D’s review of The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy Extended Edition from July 2011 here.
When you take a look back at some of the greatest second chapters in motion picture trilogies of all time like The Empire Strikes Back, The Godfather Part II, and (my personal favorite) Evil Dead II it is easy to understand why so many turn out vastly superior to their originals. Since most trilogies use their first story to act as set-up for almost everything that happens next the second is where things really start to take off. In successful film franchises it is also in the second installment where events begin to take darker turns, characters are forced to traverse a metaphorical – and sometimes literal – Hell to reach their personal Heaven, and the endings are very rarely happy or even conclusive.
Because the creators of the series – from the screenwriters to the studio executives with control over the green light to the bravura director and producer(s) who must assemble a crack team of actors and technicians to bring their mutual vision roaring to life – believe that the audiences who made the first movie a smashing success are invested in the ongoing narrative to the point where they will follow it wherever the filmmakers desire. Thus they are granted license to put their beloved characters through a series of traumatizing physical and psychological journeys where the only optimistic outcome is to survive to fight another day, nothing more.
The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring: Extended Edition Blu-ray Directed by Peter Jackson Written by Peter Jackson, Phillipa Boyens, and Fran Walsh; based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien Starring Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, and Sean Astin New Line Home Video Release Date: August 28, 2012
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring accomplished a feat that few films have ever been able to do: it made a believer out of me. When the movie was first released in December 2001 it proved that epic fantasy features that were not set in a galaxy far, far away could still break box office records. I didn’t see the movie during its blockbuster theatrical run because….I really thought it was going to be terrible. There, I confess. It took me until Fellowship‘s first DVD release in August 2002 to realize that my harsh pre-judging of the movie, mostly based on the simmering anger I felt towards the past few years of bloated Hollywood FX spectacles that offered fantastic visuals but little in the way of memorable stories and characters, was in haste and a huge mistake.
I remember the sweltering summer evening when I rented a copy of Fellowship from my local now-defunct Hollywood Video on the way home from work. Knowing in advance that it was a three-hour flick my initial plan was to watch the first half at the least before hitting the sack so I could get up the next morning for an early shift at the Tower Records I had been working at back then for more than three years. Twenty minutes following the start of my first viewing of Fellowship of the Ring and I was hooked; there would be no “To Be Continued” that night. Even though I risked getting barely enough sleep to pass for a member of the living the next day I watched the movie until its very end, and by the time Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee walked off into the sunset to more adventures I was a full-fledged Rings fan.
This year marks the tenth anniversary since The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring took the global box office by storm (one month after the first Harry Potter movie debuted). To celebrate that milestone, the British film magazine Empire is dedicating a chunk of its December issue to paying tribute to the LOTR movies in typical Empire style.
The issue will spotlight a reunion of the four actors who played the brave hobbits of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s fantasy epic – Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins), Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee), Dominic Monaghan (Merry), and Billy Boyd (Pippin). To promote the issue, Empire has put together a short video preview of the hobbit reunion which you can watch here below, as well as an image from the reunion.
Every year at Fantastic Fest, they hold an event called Fantastic Debate where celebrities, filmmakers, and film critics engage in a head–to–head battle. First, they have themselves a podium debate over a specific topic, and then they move to the boxing ring, where words are not necessary.
This year brings with it an interesting little match–up. Elijah Wood, star of everything from the new FX hit series, Wilfred, to films like Lord of the Rings, Sin City and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, threw down a challenge to LOST star and his LOTR co–star, Dominic Monaghan.
Continue reading for more and to check out videos of Wood’s challenge and Monaghan’s response.