The Hobbit Epilogue

February 19, 2016

Mirroring our Lord of the Rings Prologue recorded all the way back in 2012 and leading us into the Peter Jackson and Weta Middle-earth series, this is the bookend that marks its closing.

Less of a celebration of the immense achievement pulling off this second trilogy was (for that you can listen to the individual review shows), this is instead a post-mortem where myself, Sharon and Chris Eason of GameBurst (who has been with us for every one of the Tolkein shows) dissect the carcass of the lesser film adaptations of Tolkein's lesser work. 

Far from jump-starting a second wave of fascination with fantasy, these three movies seem to have put a lid on the entire genre, with great success at the box office but lukewarm critical and audience response. This leaves it to other movie series' to reinvigorate public interest, a task made far harder by the existence of these films. 

We adore Weta Workshop and the cast and crew of this whole saga (listening to the five hour reviews of each of the Lord of the Rings movies should make that clear), so this is deeply painful for us, but it is an investigation and a conversation that needed to happen as we account for the good, the bad and the ugly, over-designed troll with spiked maces on his amputated legs, cleavers on his amputated arms, and chained hooks through his blinded eyeballs.

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The Return of the King

February 28, 2014

[SOM #59]

The board is set, the pieces are moving and the final battle for Middle-earth begins. In this episode we discuss the thankless task of expertly performing Denathor, Arwen’s ultimate decision and some of the shakier moments in the trilogy. This final film was the product of an insane amount of high pressure, respite-free work for Weta and it is testament to their brilliance that this still became the box-office triumph of the series.

By far the most emotionally draining of all the podcasts in this series and maybe the most complicated editing process for a film podcast that I've undertaken. There were several occasions where I fell apart and had to pick myself up again here. The most epic battle of all time concludes and the ring-bearer reaches Mount Doom. I can only hope that myself and my team did these films an iota of the true depth of discussion they deserve. 

With me at the end of all things are Sharon Shaw of DorkCast, Chris Eason of GameBurst and Paul Gibson of Gonzo Planet. This is the last of the Lord of the Rings movie reviews but not the final podcast. We still have an Unexpected Journey to discuss as a new trilogy begins, followed soon after by a sound of Gonzo episode devoted to the wonderful scores by Howard Shore.

With me for the concluding film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy are Sharon Shaw of DorkCast, Chris Eason of GameBurst and Paul Gibson, web wizard of Gonzo Planet.

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The Two Towers

February 28, 2014

[SOM #58]

The middle of a trilogy is always going to be a tall order. You can't start and you can't stop. What you're delivering is an episode and the best you can hope for is some great characterization and memorable events, broadening the scope of the world you've already introduced. The Two Towers, especially in its extended cut manages this and more.

Things get tense as the battle for Helm’s Deep begins. Merry and Pippin try their best to motivate the most boring creatures on Middle-earth and Frodo meets a character given entirely new depth and purpose by the film series. We learn about Theoden’s complex relationship with both shame and pride, and what moment really pushed Smeagol over the edge, never to return from the powerful grip of Gollum.

With me for more Lord of the Rings are Sharon Shaw of DorkCast, Chris Eason of GameBurst and Joshua Garrity of Cane and Rinse.

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The Fellowship of the Ring

February 27, 2014

[SOM #57]

The Lord of the Rings begins in earnest. Starting with an epic retelling of Middle-earth history we set out to balance the attention to detail of major fandom with critical analysis, discussions on character development and notable aspects of the production. Setting out from the Shire, this episode will take you all the way to Rivendell meeting Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Gandalf, Saruman, Strider, Elrond and Arwen along the way. The operatic scoring of Howard Shaw remains an emotional touchstone throughout. 

Continuing where we left off, the Ring goes south, over and under the Misty Mountains culminating at Amon Hen where the Fellowship is broken from within. Character discussions include Boromir and Galadriel and the epic confrontation with shadow and flame. 

With me are to continue the Lord of the Rings exploration are Sharon Shaw and Chris Eason of GameBurst.

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Lord of the Rings [Book]

February 2, 2013

[Gonzo #109]

In 2001 Peter Jackson, along with Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Richard Taylor, Tania Rodger, everybody at Weta Workshop and an astonishingly dedicated and talented cast and crew brought us the first of three (later to be six) movies covering the events in Middle Earth as told in the books of J.R.R Tolkien. These films had a profound effect on my life. They inspired me, transported me and made me sad that I couldn't be part of that production team. Everything I have done since then has been part of an ongoing effort to create something even one iota as special. Now the second trilogy is mere weeks away from starting and it's time to celebrate with some truly epic podcasts.

So we come to it at last, the Gonzo journey into these incredibly significant collaborative projects, masquerading as mere movies. In this episode we look at how this story has been told through other media. This is a specialised show and might be a bit heavy-going for some. So I've time-coded the different sections in case anyone wants to skip to the bit they want to hear covered.

00.00: Introduction/Timeline/Tolkien
00.13: Differences between Tolkien's books and the films.
01.26: The 1977 Hobbit Movie
01.44: The 1978 Lord of the Rings Movie
02.07: The 1980 Return of the King Movie
02.18: The 1981 Radio Play
02.38: The Video Games

It's an extremely long and detailed podcast and rabid fans of the book who were disappointed with the Peter Jackson films should probably steer clear. We don't pull our punches and there are some frankly hilarious moments. You will also definitely find out new and interesting things and hear music both cringe-worthy and powerful. Joining me for the long haul are Chris Eason of GameBurst and Sharon Shaw of DorkCast. 

In a few days time: The Fellowship of the Ring [Part 1]

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