March 19, 2013 | 2:30 p.m.
For his turn as dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” actor Richard Armitage drew inspiration from a very different regal figure created not by J.R.R. Tolkien, but rather William Shakespeare. “I was in a production of ‘Macbeth,’” Armitage told Hero Complex on the occasion of the film’s release last December. “So I went back to all my notes about ‘Macbeth,’ because I just felt there was something about that character unwinding that was relevant to Thorin unwinding in this story.” Thorin, of course, plays a key role in the first of Peter Jackson’s planned three-part adaptation of Tolkien’s beloved 1937 children’s novel, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which makes the trek to Blu-ray and DVD this week. Audiences have a new opportunity to enjoy Armitage’s performance as the mighty warrior who joins forces with […]
March 04, 2013 | 12:57 p.m.
Bilbo Baggins, you’re in some pretty elite company. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” crossed the $1-billion threshold this weekend, boosted by the film’s recent opening in China where it raked in $37.3 million in 10 days. The box-office haul means that the first installment in Peter Jackson’s planned trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel stands as one of the most successful movies of all time. PHOTOS: 60 images from ‘The Hobbit’ “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” opened in the U.S. in December and went on to gross more than $300 million at the domestic box office. The film chronicles the initial leg of Bilbo Baggins’ (Martin Freeman) trek over the Misty Mountains to help Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his band of dwarf followers reclaim their lost treasure and their homeland. Despite its outsized performance around the world, it still […]
Feb. 28, 2013 | 6:45 p.m.
It’s going to take a little longer to get there and back again. Warner Bros. confirmed today that ”The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” the third film in Peter Jackson’s planned trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s landmark 1937 children’s novel, will be released Dec. 17, 2014. The film originally had been set to open July 18, 2014. PHOTOS: 60 images from ‘The Hobbit’ The first of Peter Jackson’s planned three-part expedition, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” opened in December and went on to gross more than $300 million at the domestic box office. The film chronicles the initial leg of Bilbo Baggins’ (Martin Freeman) trek over the Misty Mountains to help Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his band of dwarf followers reclaim their lost treasure and their homeland. For the films, Jackson utilized a groundbreaking 48-frames-per-second technology, a new projection technique […]
Feb. 05, 2013 | 9:10 p.m.
Middle-earth fans who buy “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” when it is released on Blu-ray and DVD March 19 will be privy to a sneak preview of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” — the second movie in Peter Jackson’s planned trilogy based on the book by J.R.R. Tolkien. But those hoping for an extended edition of the first film will have to wait until the holidays. “An Unexpected Journey” will go on sale March 19 in three different combinations — a Blu-ray combo pack ($35.99), a Blu-ray 3-D combo pack ($44.95) and a DVD two-disc special edition ($28.98) — but all of them will feature the 169-minute theatrical version of the film, Warner Bros. announced Tuesday, adding that an extended edition will be available in time for the holidays. So why would any self-respecting “Lord of the Rings” fan […]
Jan. 16, 2013 | 2:57 p.m.
The visual effects world has never been the glamorous side of Hollywood, but the artists at Weta Digital charged with creating the grotesque Goblin King in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” surely have the best claim to hard labor in this year’s Oscar race. In order to craft the character’s uniquely bloated and beastly look, the team at Weta examined medical journal images of herpes, boils, gangrene, tumors and rashes. They worked overtime to make the Goblin King’s bulbous neck goiter jiggle just so, and to conserve the subtleties of an alternately comic and menacing motion-capture performance delivered by Australian actor Barry Humphries (better known — minus goiter, plus purple wig — as Dame Edna). “He’s a giant, evil goblin,” said Weta visual effects supervisor Joe Letteri. “It was all about making him as disgusting as possible, and fine tuning […]
Jan. 08, 2013 | 4:44 p.m.
With “The Avengers,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and more sci-fi and fantasy films, 2012 was a landmark, record-breaking year for spectacle entertainment. But 2013 looks just as promising with a host of big, anticipated sequels — including “Iron Man 3″ and “Star Trek Into Darkness” — and such smart new offerings as “Pacific Rim” and “Elysium” on the calendar. With that in mind, here’s a look at Hero Complex’s 13 must-see movies in 2013. “Oz: The Great and Powerful” (March 8) Sam Raimi’s upcoming “Oz: The Great and Powerful” promises viewers a journey down the yellow brick road that will include a breathtaking array of dazzling visual effects. The Disney film stars James Franco as the man who will become the Wizard of Oz, and takes place well before Dorothy arrives in the faraway fantasy […]
Dec. 20, 2012 | 5:00 a.m.
San Diego’s Comic-Con International is always full of hype and bombast for movies and TV projects designed to appeal to lovers of genre entertainment. But even in the extensive annals of Hall H lore, the 2010 Marvel panel in which the cast of “The Avengers” assembled on a public stage for the first time still holds a special place in the history of the 6,500-seat auditorium. As the wild crowd cheered stars Robert Downey Jr., Clark Gregg, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo, writer-director Joss Whedon departed from the usual script — one in which filmmakers vow that their upcoming movie will be nothing short of awesome — with typical self-deprecating wit. “I am going to blow it,” he said amid the cheers. “I’m not up to it.” No surprise, really. He […]
Dec. 18, 2012 | 11:41 a.m.
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” broke a December box-office record by collecting $84.8 million over its debut weekend, but Hero Complex didn’t need the figures to know that J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” prequel would be popular. The first of Peter Jackson’s planned three-part adaptation of Tolkien’s landmark 1937 novel, “Unexpected Journey” chronicles the initial leg of Bilbo Baggins’ trek over the Misty Mountains to help Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his band of dwarf followers reclaim their lost treasure and their homeland. The second movie, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” is due next year, with the final chapter, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” due for release in 2014. We’ve counted down to the film’s theatrical release with exclusive interviews and photo galleries. Now that the spoiler-wary have had a chance to see “An Unexpected Journey” in […]
Dec. 17, 2012 | 5:00 a.m.
It’s technically a small part in a big movie, but that’s just because Bilbo Baggins isn’t that large. For Martin Freeman, who plays the diminutive title role in Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” trilogy, the actor has never stood taller. Best known for his current role as Dr. John Watson in the BBC’s modern-day “Sherlock” and past work on Britain’s “The Office,” the 41-year-old actor will be a presence in American multiplexes for a long time to come. In addition to starring in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which opened to a strong $84.8 million in its first weekend, Freeman returns in next December’s “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and 2014’s “The Hobbit: There and Back Again.” Because the story unfolds several decades before “The Lord of the Rings” takes place, the production was unable to recast the 81-year-old Ian […]
Dec. 14, 2012 | 1:47 p.m.
Ian McKellen speaks in a wise, mellifluous baritone that contains just a hint of impish glee. Over the course of his decades-long career, he’s used that voice to command armies on stage and on screen, holding audiences rapt in an array of roles, though McKellen, 73, might be most closely associated with characters devised by an unlikely quartet of dreamers — Shakespeare, J.R.R. Tolkien and Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Of course, it’s Gandalf the Grey — rather than Kings Lear or Richard, or even Magneto, the electrifying foil to the X-Men’s Professor Charles Xavier — who’s occupied McKellen’s thoughts in recent weeks. The actor has undertaken the fairly daunting work of promoting his role in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which arrived in theaters Friday amid mixed reviews, though early criticism was hardly sufficient to quell fan enthusiasm. The first […]