Dec. 18, 2014 | 1:40 p.m.
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” filmmakers Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh are bidding Middle-earth goodbye after six films. “Five Armies,” which caps “The Hobbit” prequel trilogy, is in theaters, and though director Jackson says he’s “too close” to the movies to know if they’re good, fans of the series appear to be showing up in force at the box office. “Five Armies” grossed more than $11 million in domestic ticket sales for opening-night showings Tuesday, in addition to the roughly $125 million it has earned overseas. For Jackson and Boyens, who spoke to Hero Complex via phone prior to the film’s release, it’s been a long journey from “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” which introduced moviegoers to writer J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy world more than a decade ago, to […]
Dec. 17, 2014 | 3:33 p.m.
Peter Jackson’s big-screen adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” is coming to a close with “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” which opens in U.S. theaters tonight. “Five Armies” caps a saga consisting of six feature films set in Tolkien’s elaborate fantasy world Middle-earth — a project that began more than a decade ago with Jackson’s acclaimed “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The third film in that series, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” won 11 Oscars, including best picture, best director, best adapted screenplay and best visual effects. Although “Five Armies” does not seem destined for similar awards gold, fans of Tolkien and Jackson have already turned out in force overseas; the film has earned more than $122 million at the worldwide box office since opening last week. “Five Armies” […]
Dec. 16, 2014 | 12:09 p.m.
Few actors have been a part of as many celebrated genre stories as Andy Serkis. Following the success of the sequel “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” the English actor is slated to appear in next year’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” But if there were a pivotal moment in Serkis’ career, it was his portrayal of the tragic creature Gollum in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy more than a decade ago — a role that paved the way for the next chapter in his career and pioneered the performance-capture acting and technology that served as a launchpad for his London studio, the Imaginarium. Now, Serkis’ work on “The Hobbit” marks another turning point in his career — the transition from the screen to the director’s chair. In addition to […]
Dec. 12, 2014 | 12:51 p.m.
The villainous dragon Smaug brought fire, smoke and more than a few zings to “The Colbert Report” as Stephen Colbert’s guest on Thursday’s episode of the Comedy Central show. Colbert, an avid fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings,” introduced Smaug as “the last great fire-drake of the Third Age.” “My guest tonight has armor like tenfold shields, teeth like swords, claws like spears, a tail like a thunderbolt, wings like a hurricane and breath like death,” Colbert said, quoting Smaug’s self-description in Tolkien’s writing. “Though he might want to leave that last part off his Tinder profile.” Smaug then makes his CG appearance, thundering through the wall of Colbert’s stage and bellowing, “The chiefest and greatest of calamities is in the house!” Smaug, of course, is the evil and greedy antagonist in “The Hobbit: […]
Dec. 12, 2014 | 10:48 a.m.
The first trailer for “The Divergent Series: Insurgent” is out, offering a glimpse of Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) in action as they prepare to fight back against the cruel autocrat who tried to kill them in the first film. “Insurgent,” based on the second novel in Veronica Roth’s bestselling YA trilogy, follows young heroine Beatrice “Tris” Prior, a girl who discovers she doesn’t fit neatly into one of five rigidly divided societal factions in a dystopian future version of Chicago, but rather has aptitude for multiple factions — a dangerous trait known as divergence. INTERACTIVE: ‘Insurgent’ 3-D posters In the first film, “Divergent,” which drew more than $288 million at the international box office earlier this year, Tris tried to hide her abilities and joined Dauntless, the faction based on bravery, where she met love interest Four (James). […]
Dec. 11, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.
“The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness,” a documentary that offers a rare behind-the-scenes look at the famed Studio Ghibli in Japan, is out on digital platforms this week. Hero Complex readers get an exclusive first look at a scene from the film, which depicts the inner workings of the animation studio behind the acclaimed films “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Princess Mononoke” and the Academy Award winner “Spirited Away,” among others. In “The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness,” director Mami Sunada (“Death of a Japanese Salesman”) follows legendary director and Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki (“The Wind Rises”), co-founder and director Isao Takahata (“Grave of the Fireflies”), and producer Toshio Suzuki over the course of a year. Sunada documented the studio’s rush to complete Miyazaki’s “The Wind Rises” and Takahata’s “The Tale of The Princess Kaguya,” both released in 2013. The exclusive clip […]
Dec. 10, 2014 | 5:26 p.m.
One of the most controversial decisions “The Hobbit” filmmakers made was the addition of Silvan elf warrior Tauriel, an entirely new character not present in J.R.R. Tolkien’s story. And perhaps nobody was more suspicious of changes than Evangeline Lilly, the “Lost” alumna who portrayed the new character in “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” in theaters next week. “I was adamant that I wouldn’t see [‘The Lord of the Rings’] films because there was no way that anybody was going to be able to re-create what I had imagined in my mind on the screen,” the self-described Tolkien purist told Hero Complex last year. But the efforts of screenwriters Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens to craft a character whose presence “didn’t feel jarring” and “felt like she belonged” in […]
Dec. 09, 2014 | 8:08 a.m.
Adapting J.R.R. Tolkien’s 300-page story “The Hobbit” into a movie trilogy gave the filmmakers plenty of room to develop supporting characters into major players, not least of whom was Bard the Bowman, portrayed on the big screen by Luke Evans. Evans, whose previous titles include “Dracula Untold,” “Fast & Furious 6″ and “Immortals,” debuted as the devoted father in Middle-earth’s impoverished Esgaroth in last year’s “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” The film saw Bard, who possesses the last black arrow capable of killing the dragon Smaug (played through performance-capture technology by Benedict Cumberbatch), smuggling Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his company of dwarves into Lake-town — one step closer to reclaiming their homeland. But Bard’s decision to help Thorin and his company inadvertently leads to the destruction of his home after the dwarves unleash the dragon’s wrath. “The Hobbit: […]
Dec. 05, 2014 | 8:58 a.m.
Ho, Ho, Ho(dor)! It’s the time of year for geek-friendly holiday shopping. Whether you’re shopping for fans of “Game of Thrones,” “Star Wars,” Batman or Captain Marvel, the annual Hero Complex holiday gift guide has you covered. This year’s selections include some family-friendly video games for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Wii U; gorgeous hardcover books celebrating the anniversaries of Marvel Comics, Batman, the Teen Titans, “Alien” and Hello Kitty; a Godzilla toy that’s probably bigger than your dog; and a quadcopter camera drone, among other selections. Click through the gallery above for a peek at our selections. Items are listed below, sorted by cost. Under $25 “Living Language Dothraki,” $3.99 app, $19.99 audiobook, $30 online course: Athchomar chomakaan! The Khal or Khaleesi in your life must command the Dothraki language before commanding the troops, and thanks to Living Language’s new course (offered as an app, CD and guide […]
Dec. 05, 2014 | 5:30 a.m.
A new clip from “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” offers a glimpse of the dragon Smaug as he rains down fire on Lake-town. Hero Complex readers get an exclusive first look at the clip, which also features Luke Evans’ Bard, the bowman who smuggled the dwarf company into Lake-town on his barge in “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the second installment in Peter Jackson’s trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.” At the end of “Smaug,” Bilbo Baggins and Thorin Oakenshield looked on in horror as the villainous dragon flew from the Lonely Mountain, proclaiming, “I will show you revenge!” “Five Armies,” which ends the saga, picks up with Smaug’s fiery assault on Lake-town, where Bard is trapped in a cell. After Bard escapes, he finds his way to the rooftops of a burning Esgaroth, and […]