Unexpected Worlds Collide and All Boundaries Are Broken in “LEGO Dimensions”

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment today released the story trailer for LEGO Dimensions, the upcoming entertainment experience that merges physical LEGO brick building with interactive console gameplay.  The game features an original story that combines characters and worlds from 14 of the most popular entertainment brands including DC Comics, The Lord of the Rings, The LEGO Movie, The Wizard of Oz, LEGO Ninjago, Back to the Future, Scooby-Doo, LEGO Chima, Doctor Who, Jurassic World, Ghostbusters, The Simpsons, Portal and Midway Arcade.

In the game, there is an ancient planet at the center of the LEGO Multiverse inhabited by an evil mastermind, Lord Vortech. It is said that he who controls the Foundational Elements that this planet is built upon, controls all of the Multiverse. Lord Vortech has vowed to be that ruler, summoning characters from a variety of LEGO worlds to help him find these building bricks of LEGO civilization. Some have agreed, others have rebelled, and only the combined powers of the greatest LEGO heroes can stop him.

When a mysterious and powerful vortex suddenly appears in various LEGO worlds, different characters from DC Comics, The Lord of the Rings and The LEGO Movie are swept away. To save their friends, LEGO Batman, LEGO Gandalf and LEGO Wyldstyle journey to locations beyond their wildest imaginations, and they soon realize that Lord Vortech is summoning villains from across different LEGO worlds to help him gain control. As his power grows, worlds mix, unexpected characters meet and all boundaries are broken. Our heroes must travel through space and time to rescue their friends before the vortexes destroy all of LEGO humanity.

Launching September 27, 2015, LEGO Dimensions will be available for Xbox One, the all-in one games and entertainment system from Microsoft and the Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation4 and PlayStation3 computer entertainment systems and the Wii U system from Nintendo.

Follow LEGO Dimensions at:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LEGODimensions
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LEGODimensions (@LEGODimensions)
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/LEGODimensions (@LEGODimensions)
Tumblr: http://LEGODimensions.tumblr.com

Blu-ray Review “Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Starring: Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Zach Galifianakis, Naomi Watts
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: February 17, 2015
Run Time: 120 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

“Birdman” was easily one of my favorite films of 2015. Michael Keaton gave the performance of a lifetime. I am writing this review after the giant snug from the Academy denying Keaton the Best Actor award. This was a huge mistake because this was finally Keaton’s time. He really gave his all to this role and was not great but mesmerizing. What I loved about this film was that besides the performances, I loved the way it was shot with long and in what seems like unedited takes. This was a very unique and smart film. It may not be for everyone but it is certainly quite amazing.

Official Premise: “Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” is a black comedy that tells the story of an actor (Michael Keaton) – famous for portraying an iconic superhero – as he struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career, and himself.

Fox is releasing this as a combo pack with a Blu-ray and digital HD copy included. The 1080p transfer looks fantastic. Even though the film has that sort of handheld feel to it, it looks outstanding nonetheless. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who not only won the Oscar for “Gravity”, also just won for “Birdman” last week, really nails the shots in this film. As for the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, it works with the dialogue really well. I am still not 100% sold on Antonio Sanchez’s score. Random drumming doesn’t really work for me as an effective score.

The special features are decent but a bit of a letdown to be honest. I was really hoping for a jam-packed commentary track to discuss the deeper aspects of this film but no luck. There is a solid feature called “Birdman: All Access” which runs over 30 minutes and has some great behind the scenes footage. There is also a fun feature called “A Conversation with Michael Keaton and Alejandro G. Iñárritu”. Lastly there is a quick photo gallery included called Chivo’s On Set Photography.

Film Review “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Starring: Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton and Naomi Watts
Directed By: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Rated: R
Running Time: 119 minutes
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I feel like thousands of future theses will be written about “Birdman”. It’s a movie that definitely necessitates multiple viewings because of how much is stuffed into its nearly two hour run time. Besides being a contemplative piece of filmmaking, it’s a true joy to watch something so self-conscious and fully aware of what it’s doing. “Birdman” is not the latest box office juggernaut, but more like a powerful awards force.

Could there have been a better choice than Michael Keaton? He plays Riggan, an aged actor living off the memories of being the lead in the powerful superhero franchise, Birdman. He’s nearing the end of his life and reaching the last remains dollars of his checking account. The only thing he can do to recoup his financial, mental and acting losses, is directing, writing and starring in a play adaptation of “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”. Keaton puts on the acting performance of his life by portraying Riggan, the man who hopes to put on the acting performance of his life. Do I even have to mention Keaton was the original movie Batman? Seriously, how meta can you get?

I’m barely clawing at the surface and that’s just by pointing out the most obvious symbol in this movie that’s full of literary devices. Working with Riggan on his comeback performance is one of the best method actors in the land, Mike (Norton). Mike is a philosophical mess who confuses his on-stage performances with his own personality. He’s able to dish out some harsh truths, but when it comes to his own personal life, he finds more relief and comfort in the people he portrays. Leading to a lot of moments where he’d much rather face an audience than face the music.

Along for the ride as well is Sam (Stone), Riggan’s daughter, a recovering addict that has a gloomy look at life and covers her emotional wounds with teenage sarcasm and put downs. She’s kind of like a personal assistant to Riggan although she spends most of her time reflecting and being mopey. Starring in the production itself is Lesley (Watts), who’s constantly saying the wrong thing and half the time on the verge of crying. She’s aspiring towards Broadway infamy. Laura (Andrea Riseborough) is Riggan’s girlfriend who’s not utilized as well as she should be considering she’s a psychotically clingy.

Then there’s Keaton…again…the voice inside Riggan’s head. It’s his Birdman persona constantly reminding him that he’s wasting his time, and needs to strap on the leather suit again and take flight. He gives Riggan an added layer of mystery and throws in some more commentary to the happenings around him and gives the audience a little jab about why we, the movie goer, are even in the theater watching this movie to begin with.

Everyone is outstanding in this. Even Zach Galifianakis gets to stretch out his acting legs. Keaton has been in a lot of movies, but it’s hard to think of one where he’s this amazing. His scenes with Edward Norton are some of the best in the movie and while I personally hold Norton in high regard in terms of acting, Keaton blows him out of the water. I’m hoping Keaton has more performances like this left in his tank.

The direction by Iñárritu is imaginative and genius. The entire movie is put together as one long tracking shot, giving it an on-stage production feel. Obviously there are some clever editing tricks to make this long shot effect real, but when you have characters talking at great lengths as the cameras spins around the room and follow them down the narrow halls of the theatre, it’s quite astounding to experience. Iñárritu employs a jazzy bass and drum soundtrack to match the tension of our characters and by the end starts mixing in some classical tones when it’s time to get a little more abstract.

“Birdman” is a movie that indie and Oscar voters are sure to remember come award season. It’s definitely not a movie for everyone as many, including the gentleman in front of me, were yawning or rotating their neck to prevent stiffness. Some of its more grand ideas may be lost and some of the rapid fire dialogue might not come across as witty without your full and undivided attention. So please, experience “Birdman” undistracted and bask in one of the cleverest movies of the year.

Blu-ray Review “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Extended Edition)”

Actors: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis, Graham McTavish
Directors: Peter Jackson
Number of discs: 3
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: New Line Home Video
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Run Time: 183 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 5 out of 5 stars

If you are a fan of “The Lord of the Rings” series then you should be no stranger to Peter Jackson’s famous extended editions. Before “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” was even released in theaters there was already talks of an extended edition that would be released. Obviously, the extended cuts of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy are a must if you are a fan of the films. “The Fellowship of the Ring” had an extra 30 minutes included in it’s extended cut. “The Two Towers” was 42 minutes longer and lastly “The Return of the King” was 50 minutes longer. Even though they are longer, I have always preferred the extended cuts. So why I saw that the new cut of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” was only 13 minutes longer, I was a little taken back but overall I still enjoyed it very much. I didn’t feel like it any better than the theatrical cut but it certainly wasn’t any worse either. It does deliver some great new scenes but in exchange the pacing issues are still at hand.

If you are a fan of this film I would recommend checking out this new cut but more importantly though the main draw for me is the fact that this extended edition Blu-ray actually includes an additional nine hours of new bonus features, which was not on this film first Blu-ray release. If you were like me, I was pretty pissed with the lame lack of extras in the theatrical cut Blu-ray release. So I was very pleasantly pleased to find this new release to be jam-packed with new goodies. This is a must for any fan of the series, especially if you didn’t race out back in March for the theatrical cut. All I know for one thing is that I was excited for the December 13 theatrical release of the second film of the trilogy, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”…and now I am very excited for this film and so is my wife who didn’t even originally want to see the first film in theaters.

Official Premise: The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain, first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of ingenuity and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

Like the theatrical cut the the 1080p transfer is just outstanding. It is stunning whether it is presented in 3D or not. The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 audio track is also flawless like the theatrical cut my walls were shaking during the action scenes. Warner Bros delivered this film as a combo pack including a Blu-ray and UltraViolet Digital Copy. There are three BD-50 discs included for this release. The 183-minute extended cut fills one disc and the other two Blu-rays include the massive amounts of special features included.  Kicking off the special features there is a must listen audio commentary track with Peter Jackson and co-writer Philippa Boyens. Not a shock that this track is very engaging and very informative. They cover just about everything possible about the production.  Next up we have a short feature called “New Zealand: Home of Middle-Earth” in which Jackson talks about the shooting locations that were transformed into Middle-Earth. This extra is the only one that was included on the theatrical cut Blu-ray release since the 127-minute, ten-part Video Blog series is not included here.

“The Appendices Part 7: A Long Expected Journey” includes over four f hours of extras covering the production from end to end. This 14-part chronological history of the filming of “An Unexpected Journey” covers everything from pre-production to working on the digital effects. The featurettes included are “The Journey Back to Middle-Earth”, “Riddles in the Dark: Gollum’s Cave”, “An Unexpected Party: Bag End”, “Roast Mutton: Trollshaws Forest”, “Bastion of the Greenwood: Rhosgobel”, “A Short Rest: Rivendell and London”, “Over Hill: The Misty Mountains”, “Under Hill: Goblin Town”, “Out of the Frying Pan: The Forest Ledge”, “Return to Hobbiton: The Shire”, “The Epic of Scene 88: Strath Taieri”, “The Battle of Moria: Azanulbizar”, “Edge of the Wilderland: Pick-ups and the Carrock” and “Home Is Behind, the World Is Ahead”.

On the third disc, we get “The Appendices Part 8: Return to Middle-Earth” which includes another four plus hours of bonus features. There are a bunch of additional featurettes focusing on the film’s production including “The Company of Thorin”, “Mr. Baggins: The 14th Member”, “Durin’s Folk: Creating the Dwarves”. “The Peoples and Denizens of Middle-Earth”, “Realms of the Third Age: From Bag End to Goblin Town” and “The Songs of The Hobbit”. I think that Peter Jackson realized that the March Blu-ray for the theatrical cut wasn’t up to par in terms of extras and he really set it right with his fans with this release. Hopefully though, they will still be willing to make the purchase and double dip for this extended edition release since the extras are worth the price of the Blu-ray alone.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition arrives on Digital Download October 22nd and on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD on November 5th!

Get your copy here: http://bit.ly/HobbitEE

Book Review "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles II: Creatures and Characters"

Author: Daniel Falconer
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Harper Design
Release Date: April 9, 2013

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Last year when I reviewed Harper’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles – Art & Design”, I was blown away.  It was easily one of the best film companion book I had the privilege checking out last year. Click here to see our review. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles II: Creatures and Characters” is another amazing book from WETA Workshop designer Daniel Falconer. My wife’s response was “Another one?” but from the moment I picked up the book, I was unable to put it down. There is so much amazing content in here that I can spend hours and hours looking it over. If you are a fan of “The Hobbit” or “The Lord of the Rings” series, this book is really a dream come true.

The first “Chronicles” focused broadly on the “Art & Design” from “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” with over 1,000 images of every aspect of the production from concept artwork to photographs and development paintings.  “Chronicles II” hones in a little bit and focuses specifically on the aspects of the “Creatures and Characters”.  Easily there is no stretching of content here there is enough to fill two books on these topics.  Here we get an additional 500+ previously unpublished photographs, behind-the-scenes photographs, digital renders and film stills, which are absolutely breathtaking. We get a chance to go through “The Hobbit” species by species and character by character. If you like the Hobbit’s then you will enjoy the sections on everything from their accents to their feet to their ears were created.  Literally, every aspect is covered in this book. We don’t get stop as the Hobbit’s though, we get chapters on the Wizards, Dwarves, Trolls, Elves, Stone Giants, Goblins, Orcs, Beasts and of course we can’t forget Gollum.  Along with that we have exclusive interviews with the designers, cast and crew to accompany and describe these beautiful photos. 

I should also point out that “Chronicles II”, comes with a great send off from Andy Serkis.  He is so extremely talented and his work on this series, should be awarded. By the time you get to the end of the book and you think you are done…there is still more goodies including a special fold-out Character Size Chart. This chart takes a look at all the major creatures and characters of the film ranging from Radagast’s hedgehog friend to the towering Stone Giants! Like in the first “Chronicles”, Weta Workshop designer Daniel Falconer has access to these wonderful collection of images and really leave you just starring at the pages. You really get an inside look at how much work and hard labor really went into this film. It makes you have a new appreciation for the talented people involved. Harper really delivered these images in the highest possible quality as well as complete book presentation. I hope that they are planning the same thing for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again”, because I will be first in line.

"Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony" Blu-ray Combo Pack Giveaway [ENDED]

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EACH WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

Calling all Bronies and fans of “My Little Pony”!!! To celebrate the release of “Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony”, Media Mikes would like to giveaway a two Blu-ray Combo Packs! If you would like to enter for your chance to win this great prize, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite pony. This giveaway will remain open until April 5th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to everyone in the whole world!! One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

One would be hard-pressed to find a cultural sensation as unique and as unexpected as Bronies. Why are these grown men and women attracted to a cartoon intended for little girls? And why are they willing to brave society’s ridicule for their love of the show?

Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony is a feature length documentary film that explores the cultural phenomenon of Bronies. The film chronicles Bronies from around the world, each with their unique story, as they make their way to My Little Pony conventions in Germany, England, and the biggest of all, BronyCon in the USA.

This documentary discovers that the essential story elements of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic – Honesty, Kindness, Laughter, Generosity, Loyalty and Magic – have a universality that extends beyond age and gender, and that Bronies are pushing the boundaries of what society deems appropriate in their quest for a kinder, gentler future.

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" Blu-ray Combo Pack Giveaway [ENDED]

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EACH WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

To celebrate the release of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”, Media Mikes would like to giveaway a Blu-ray Combo Pack! If you would like to enter for your chance to win this great prize, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your post their results from the Are You 100% Hobbit Quiz below. This giveaway will remain open until April 5th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to residents of the United States only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.
Have your readers

J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic adventure follows the journey of Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an amazing quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Sorcerers.

From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first of a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Blu-ray Review "Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony (The Complete Edition)"

Actors: John de Lancie, Tara Strong, Lauren Faust
Number of discs: 4
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: BronyDoc, LLC.
Run Time: 267 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Are you a brony? Do you know what a brony is? Well according to Urban Dictionary: a brony is “a male fan of the series, “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.” I have heard about this group of fans before watching this documentary. I wasn’t very exposed to “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” but I knew about the 80’s show from when I was growing up but was never a big fan since it was obviously aimed at girls. Since having watched “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”, I understand why people are really latching on to the show. This documentary is a really interesting look this cultural sensation. If you are obsessed with this show then you must see this. But also if you have no idea yet curious, this is also the answer for you.

I recently had the chance to chat with “Star Trek: The Next Generation” star John de Lancie, check it out here, who is also the character voice of Discord in “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”. He told me about how his involvement with how the show lead to developing this documentary. One point that he made about the show, which I really agree with is that the show has a nice message of showcasing the elements of “harmony, being kind, generous, loyal and tolerant”. The documentary was funded by a Kickstarter project raising over $322,000 dollars, which was a record at the time. This told us not to underestimate the power of the fans. Anyone see what happened with “Veronica Mars” on Kickstarter? I think this project really brought a lot of attention to the idea of being a brony.

“Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony” really gives the male fans of “My Little Pony” a chance to tell their story. We get to meet people from all over the world ranging from the United States to Germany to Israel to the United Kingdom. These fans show us their passion and their love of “My Little Pony”. We go to BronyCon, a convention focusing specifically on “My Little Pony” and get to see how fans have come together for their love of this show. There we get to meet the voices of the characters including John de Lancie, Tara Strong and series creator Lauren Faust. We also get to meet and see fans who have created numerous works of art including music, art and animation. It really delivers a nice message of why these people are obsessed with this show and gives them a voice.

The Blu-ray comes available as two separate releases including the Main Edition and the Extended Interviews. Both are available in a single discounted bundle under “Complete Edition”. The Main Edition is feature documentary with two bonus segments covering two European conventions: B.U.C.K. in the UK and Galacon in Germany. The Extended Interviews discs including longer interviews with Producers Lauren Faust, John de Lancie, and Tara Strong totaling over three hours. So there is a lot more than just an 80 minute movie here. To be honest, I think it would have been easier to just include these interviews on the Main Edition Blu-ray, instead of being packaged in two different discs/cases. Nonetheless, the fans are going to eat up this documentary and the additional bonus material for sure.

Blu-ray Review "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"

Actors: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott
Directors: Peter Jackson
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: New Line Home Video
DVD Release Date: March 19, 2013
Run Time: 169 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” series.  They are easily some of my favorite films that if I see them on, I just lost a day since I can’t not watch them. “The Hobbit” was also quite amazing and one of my favorites from 2012.  There has been much speculation on whether it is up to par with the film’s that it follows and I believe that it is.  “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is the beginning of another trilogy with Peter Jackson behind all three.  This film is followed by “The Desolation of Smaug” and “There and Back Again”, which will be in theaters respectively in 2013 and 2014. So basically if you know J. R. R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel, which only runs just over 300 pages, that their is a little bit of embellishment here in order to span three films.  I like to look at “The Hobbit” as a way to lure us about to Middle Earth and get you ready for the following three films.  Is it as good as “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy…no, but did you really expect it to? Don’t forget what the power of a film earning a BILLION dollars will do! Stand alone, this is an amazing well-made film and I will be first in line for the next two and fingers crossed for an Extended Edition release in the future.  Be sure pick up this this first installment and begin your Hobbit collection! Keep ’em coming Peter Jackson!

Official Premise: The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain, first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of ingenuity and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

This edition from Warner’s comes as a Blu-ray combo pack with a Blu-ray disc, a DVD copy and also an Ultraviolet digital streaming copy. When this film was released, there was a lot of focus on the 3D, since it was the first film to be released theatrically in the new 48FPS 3D (double the projection speed of regular 3D).  I had the privilege of seeing this film in 3D and I have to say it is really the way to go if you have the option.  Peter Jackson really sets up the Middle Earth to look amazing in the third dimension. Easily add a half a star to the film’s rating for the 3D added in. Nonetheless, the 2D version still works, it is just missing the added depth. I have to say Warner still delivers easily one of the best Blu-rays of the year in terms of audio/video.  The 1080p is stunning and absolutely crystal clear.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track is a real beast.  Get ready to write that apology letter to you neighbors since this shit is going to break the windows and shake the walls.  The action and score are perfectly balanced and will blow your speakers if you are not careful.  You have been warned.

Now on to the special features, which are very disappointing for a release of this stature. There majority of these extras aren’t even new since they have been available online. I am assuming that they are either holding out for the extended edition or the inevitable trilogy collection.  “ew Zealand: Home of Middle-Earth” is a short look with Peter Jackson and the production crew of New Zealand being turned back into Middle Earth. Next is ten “Video Blogs” from Jackson that were available previously that were made to tease us during the production. They run about an collective two hours and are very fun and informative still but as the only main extra included, I am a big taken back. Here is a breakdown of the blogs “Start of Production (April 14, 2011)”, “Location Scouting (July 9, 2011)”, “Shooting Block One (July 21, 2011)”, “Filming in 3D (November 4, 2011)”, “Locations Part I (December 24, 2011)”, “Locations Part II (March 2, 2012)”, “Stone St. Studios Tour (June 6, 2012)”, “Wrap of Principal Photography (July 24, 2012)”, “Post-Production Overview (November 24, 2012)” and “Wellington World Premiere (December 14, 2012)”. There are also a few film and game trailers included as well. Lastly there is a sneak peak access code included for an exclusive online sneak peek at “The Desolation of Smaug”, hosted live by Peter Jackson on March 24th at 3pm EST/12pm PST.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey available on Blu-Ray 3/19/13 at WB Shop http://bit.ly/WzQwcw


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"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" Gets Officially Dated for Blu-ray

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
  
  
  
  

“THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY,” A PRODUCTION OF NEW LINE CINEMA

AND METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER PICTURES, ARRIVES ON DIGITAL DOWNLOAD ON MARCH 12 

AND ON BLU-RAY COMBO PACK, BLU-RAY 3D™ COMBO PACK AND 2-DISC DVD SPECIAL EDITION ON MARCH 19 FROM WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Unlock a Sneak Peek of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” on March 24 When You Purchase the Movie on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download at Select Digital Retailers

Burbank, CA, February 5, 2013 – From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), arriving on Digital Download on March 12  and on Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack and 2-Disc DVD Special Edition on March 19  from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. All disc versions feature UltraVioletÔ and more than 130 minutes of bonus content. The first of a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which is nominated for three Academy Awards*, is an epic adventure that immerses audiences once again in the fantastical world of Middle-earth. The March 19 home entertainment release will be followed by an Extended Edition available just in time for the holidays.

In addition, Peter Jackson will host a live first look at “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the second film in The Hobbit Trilogy, on Sunday, March 24 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern/Noon Pacific. Content will be streamed live and an edited version will be archived on the Trilogy’s official website. Access to the live event will be limited to holders of an UltraViolet code available by purchasing “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack or 2-Disc Special Edition DVD. Select digital retailers will issue access codes upon purchase of the film.  Visit www.thehobbit.com/sneakfor more information.

Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy, with Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. Also reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” in “The Hobbit” Trilogy are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Ian Holm as Old Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; and Andy Serkis as Gollum. The international ensemble cast also includes James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Sylvester McCoy, Barry Humphries, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Graham McTavish, Adam Brown, Peter Hambleton, John Callen, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, William Kircher, Stephen Hunter, Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Manu Bennett and Conan Stevens.

The screenplay for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro, based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. Jackson also produced the film, together with Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner and Fran Walsh. The executive producers are Alan Horn, Toby Emmerich, Ken Kamins and Carolyn Blackwood, with Boyens and Eileen Moran serving as co-producers.

New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Present a WingNut Films Production, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” All three films in “The Hobbit” Trilogy, also including “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” and the final film, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” are productions of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), with New Line managing production. Warner Bros. Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution being handled by MGM.

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” was released on December 14, 2012, with the second film, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” releasing December 13, 2013, and the third film, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” slated for July 18, 2014.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” will be available on 3-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack for $35.99, on 5-Disc Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack for $44.95, and on 2-Disc DVD Special Edition for $28.98. The Blu-ray Combo Pack features the theatrical version of the film in hi-definition on Blu-ray, and the theatrical version in standard definition on DVD. The 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack features the theatrical version of the film in 3D hi-definition on Blu-ray, the theatrical version of the film in 2D high definition on Blu-ray and the theatrical version in standard definition on DVD.  The Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack and the 2-Disc DVD Special Edition all include UltraViolet, which allows consumers to download and instantly stream the standard definition theatrical version of the film to a wide range of devices including computers and compatible tablets, smartphones, game consoles, Internet-connected TVs and Blu-ray players.*

SYNOPSIS

The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome Dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the Wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of 13 Dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild, through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins, Orcs and deadly Wargs, as well as a mysterious and sinister figure known only as the Necromancer.

Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain, first they must escape the Goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever…Gollum.

Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of ingenuity and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities…A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

BLU-RAY AND DVD ELEMENTS

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack and DVD Special Edition contain the following special features:

  • Full Suite of Peter Jackson’s Production Videos. Enter Middle-earth of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” as Academy Award-winning Director Peter Jackson takes you behind the scenes, on location and amidst the star-studded cast in a series of video journals that puts you in the forefront of latest in filmmaking with more than two hours of additional content. Highlights of the journals include:

o   Start of Production

o   Location Scouting

o   Filming in 3D

o   Post-production Overview

o   Wellington World Premiere 

EST Release Date:  March 12, 2013

Standard Street Date: March 19, 2013

DVD Languages: English, Latin Spanish, Parisian French

BD Languages: English, Latin Spanish,

DVD Subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish, Parisian French

BD Subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish

Running Time: 169 minutes

Rating: Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images

DLBY/SURR   DLBY/DGTL   [CC]

CD Review “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Special Edition)

Composer: Howard Shore:
Original Release Date: December 11, 2012
Number of Discs: 2
Format: Special Edition
Label: WaterTower Music

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

If you are a fan of “The Lord of the Rings” scores, then I am sure that you do not even need my thoughts for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”.  This fits right in line with the past Middle Earth adventure scores from the master composer Howard Shore.  When I saw this film in theaters, I was literally blown away from the score and I am one to keep an eye out for a good score.  I love the blend that this score has between the action and the drama from the film.  I think it really captures the film very well and should leave any fan very satisfied.

The Special Edition of the soundtrack includes six bonus tracks that are not on the regular version. I have to say these tracks actually add quite a bit to the overall score and even include an additional track sung by the Dwarfs – “Blunt the Knives”. Also what is a Peter Jackson film, without an Extended Version? This soundtrack includes seven extended tracks as well. They really add to the scale of the film, especially on the first disc including “An Unexpected Party”.

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” sounds unique from “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy while still visiting certain cues that hang on to that special feeling. I found myself smirking and repeating the certain tracks that had that aspect. I have to admit though, ever since watching the trailer over a year ago and hearing the Dwarfs singing “Misty Mountains” in Bilbo’s house. I have been obsessed with that song. It is literally my favorite track on the album that is not a orchestral piece. If you go with this album I highly recommend this Special Edition release for sure!

TRACK LISTING:
Disc 1

1. My Dear Frodo
2. Old Friends (Extended Version)
3. An Unexpected Party (Extended Version)
4. Blunt the Knives (Exclusive Bonus Track) – The Dwarf Cast
5. Axe or Sword?
6. Misty Mountains – The Dwarf Cast & Richard Armitage
7. The Adventure Begins
8. The World is Ahead
9. An Ancient Enemy
10. Radagast the Brown (Extended Version)
11. The Trollshaws (Exclusive Bonus Track)
12. Roast Mutton (Extended Version)
13. A Troll-hoard
14. The Hill of Sorcery Howard Shore
15. Warg-scouts Howard Shore

Disc 2:
1. The Hidden Valley
2. Moon Runes (Extended Version)
3. The Defiler
4. The White Council (Extended Version)
5. Over Hill
6. A Thunder Battle
7. Under Hill Howard Shore
8. Riddles in the Dark
9. Brass Buttons
10. Out of the Frying-Pan
11. A Good Omen Howard Shore
12. Song of the Lonely Mountain (Extended Version) Neil Finn
13. Dreaming of Bag End
14. A Very Respectable Hobbit (Exclusive Bonus Track)
15. Erebor (Exclusive Bonus Track)
16. The Dwarf Lords (Exclusive Bonus Track)
17. The Edge of the Wild (Exclusive Bonus Track)

Book Review “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles – Art & Design”

Author: Daniel Falconer
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Harper Design
Release Date: December 14, 2012

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

If you are a fan of “The Lord of the Rings” franchise and what Peter Jackson has done to the series, then “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Chronicles” is definitely for you.  The book focuses the art and design of the first film in the new trilogy “The Hobbit”. With Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson behind this film you know that it is going to hold the same charm that he brought over 10 years ago. I have to admit that Harper Design delivered here my favorite making-of film adaptation of the year. This is sure to leave every fan of the series literally drooling for more and counting down the days till next December for “The Desolation Of Smaug”. Perfect gift for the holiday season!

When you hold this book you just feel like you are holding a map of Middle Earth.  The cover is edged with a lot of detail and overall quality. Inside the book is jam-packed with over 1,000 images of every aspect of the production from concept artwork to photographs and development paintings.  Amongst the images is commentary from their artists including the concept art directors, Alan Lee and John Howe and others from the Art Department and Costume Department at Weta Workshop. I also need to point out that the book also has a very cool bonus fold-out map printed in glow-in-the-dark ink and a giant four-page fold-out of Bilbo’s contract. I mean that is worth the purchase alone.

I feel like the this book acts like a visual special features in book form. The detail of these pictures are just amazing.  We get to meet and learn about every aspect of the film’s characters, especially those awesome dwarfs. You see everything from costumes to hair to make-up etc.  Since this book was put together by Weta Workshop senior concept designer Daniel Falconer, you know that that means quality. This is official and guarantees that this book comes back with insider information and the top notch visual imagery. If you are a fan of this movie, then this book is a perfect companion and will hold you over until the extended Blu-ray release in 2013…or until you see the film again in theaters.

Film Review “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

Starring: Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage and Ian McKellen
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 2 hours 49 mins
New Line Cinema

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Sometimes we build up our expectations, often to the point that we can never be satisfied. Francis Ford Coppola has made some film masterpieces but they are often compared, unfairly, to “The Godfather.” Michael Jackson’s “BAD” is a great album. But it’s no “Thriller.” After “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy Peter Jackson could have said “sorry, no more Tolkien stories for me.” But he’s back with the first of three films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.” Is it “The Lord of the Rings?” No. But you already knew that.

Taking place about 60 years before the adventures chronicled in “The Lord of the Rings” films, the story begins with an elderly Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) writing in a notebook. He is recounting his younger days for other Hobbits to learn from. The story is one of adventure, dwarves and a certain creature who goes by the name Gollum. What follows is a jaw-dropping visual carnival courtesy of Peter Jackson and company!

Full of everything from giant spiders to goblins, from Orcs to a giant dragon, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is a two hour-plus adventure into a world never seen before. The tale finds young Bilbo (Freeman) being visited by the great Wizard, Gandalf (McKellen) and thirteen Dwarves, led by the great warrior, Thorin (Armitage). Along the way they come across virtually every creature that Jackson and the people at WETA could devise. And this is the drawback of the film. It is almost TOO crowded with strange and exotic creatures. Like “King Kong” before it, it seems like Jackson decided if it can be made let’s put it on film.

The film is also shot in a process that’s is explained as such: normally film goes through a projector at the rate of 24 frames through the gate per second. Jackson has filmed “The Hobbit” at the rate of 48 frames per second, which gives the film an incredible clarity that is actually off putting for the first 20 minutes or so. However, once you get used to it the images are quite breathtaking, especially during the battle sequences.

There are two more films planned to tell the story of “The Hobbit.” Will they be better than “The Lord of the Rings?” Probably not. But if they’re anything like “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” that should be just fine.