In case you missed it, news broke this week that Amazon is reportedly in talks with J.R.R. Tolkien's estate to produce a Lord of the Rings television series. Apparently, the company is looking for a hit show like Game of Thrones; in fact, the negotiations are getting pretty serious: Jeff Bezos himself is supposedly in on the deal.
Excuse my bluntness, but no, just no.
Call this an open letter of sorts--I don't really care. But for the love, please, Amazon, do not remake Lord of the Rings.
I hear the anguished cries of many diehard Tolkienites already. I know Peter Jackson's movies were not religiously faithful to the books, and even good portions of the books were omitted from the movies. I get that, and I realize that a television show would have the potential to explore some of those aspects of the original work (such as Tom Bombadil).
That said, though I consider myself a Tolkien fan, I'm also somewhat of a movie junkie--my family and I watch movies all the time. From a cinematic perspective, the films are incredibly well-done. Let's face it, too, even those of you who were Tolkien fans before the movies were released have a difficult time separating, say, Orlando Bloom from Legolas or Ian McKellen from Gandalf the Grey. This is especially true for those of us who became fans through the movies (I was three when Jackson's Return of the King was released in theaters).
As such, like it or not, these characters have become nearly inseparable from the actors, at least in popular culture. And pop culture does not appreciate recasting.
Aside from this (as I realize some will still not be convinced), it's inevitable that a television series is going to deviate from the original work in some fashion. Hollywood is quite good at doing that. If you were one who is hoping for a more faithful adaption in a TV series, don't hold your breath.
From the studio's side, a straight up Lord of the Rings adaptation would not attract the same audience as GoT, either, without an extreme (and I mean extreme) perversion of Tolkien's work. Frankly, Game of Thrones is far more graphic, especially with regards to sex, which unfortunately gives it a much wider audience. LOTR is not necessarily fantasy for the masses, despite its superiority to GoT in my opinion.
That isn't to say there isn't an audience for a LOTR television series (obviously, the movies grossed hundreds of millions at the box office). But it won't be the same audience as GoT, and recasted characters would undoubtedly be a turnoff for a good portion of the fans of the films.
Instead, I would like to see Amazon pursue another Tolkien work, such as the Silmarillion. Granted, some of the issues mentioned previously would persist (i.e., different viewership and unfaithfulness to the work), but at the very least, it would be a fresh story to television viewers. In addition, the Silmarillion is a collection of stories that even, at the very end, encompasses the Lord of the Rings. I would be far more interested in seeing a series that gives some background to something like the War of the Last Alliance, where the Ring passed to Isildur, rather than a rehash of LOTR. And the best part is that several other of Tolkien's works go hand in hand with the Silmarillion, providing an almost endless amount of storytelling material.
To me, the world has had enough remakes in recent years. It's time for something new. Mr. Bezos, pick another Tolkien book--he's so much more than just Lord of the Rings.
July has been a pretty busy month! Last week, I covered all the important stuff from Disney's D23 conference, from Star Wars to The Incredibles. This week, I'll be showing you all the most important and exciting trailers from Comic-Con 2017. Let's get started:
Marvel's panel at Comic-Con was apparently pretty good--with some exciting new Black Panther footage and all--but of course, us non-attendees of Comic-Con won't be able to see it. At any rate, we did get a few new trailers from Marvel, including for the upcoming film Thor: Ragnarok. Take a look:
There's definitely a Guardians of the Galaxy vibe to the film, and despite the serious plot, it manages to remain upbeat. We see Loki seems to be fighting alongside Thor (again), but of course his mischief is never done. More scenes of Hela's (Cate Blanchett) devastating power are revealed, but I can't neglect to mention that awesome end clip where Thor's eyes are glowing blue as he summons thunder from the sky. You can catch Thor: Ragnarok in theaters on November 3, 2017.
Disney owns essentially every franchise on the face of the planet--like it or not--and as such, there's always news from their annual D23 conference that stirs fandoms of every stripe. Whether you're excited about this December's release of The Last Jedi or some of Disney's farther-out releases, D23 brought plenty to get excited about.
More tantalizing TLJ material
I'll start with the film I'm personally most excited about, and that is Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. And boy, did D23 get me even more pumped than I already was. First off, you can't miss the behind-the-scenes video that was released. Take a look:
You might have picked out a couple things that dropped some hints about the upcoming movie (such as that short clip where Rey is fighting several people at once...Knights of Ren, perhaps?), however, there aren't any major spoilers, so far as I can tell, in this video. We still have no mention of Snoke, which is clearly intentional. What is becoming obvious, though, is that this is shaping up to be one of the most riveting Star Wars tales yet. Will it be just a clone of The Empire Strikes Back? I'm starting to think no. In fact, I'm getting kind of a bad feeling about what's going to happen in The Last Jedi.
Regardless, I must commend Lucasfilm on the promotional materials so far for this movie. It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of the teaser poster released a few months ago, but I'm tempted to say that the new posters released at D23 are just as good. You can flip through the slideshow below to see them all:
It wasn't exactly headlining news this week, but some new details were released about the new Jurassic World movie, including the official name (simply referred to as "Jurassic World 2" heretofore). Today, I'll be discussing some of the speculation going on about these new details.
New teaser poster leaves more questions than answers...
(photo cred: Entertainment Weekly)
The official Jurassic World Twitter account tweeted this teaser poster on June 22. As you can see, details are scant here, and we are left with a vague tagline for the movie: "Life finds a way." If your memory is a little rusty, this is a reference to Ian Malcolm's famous line from the original Jurassic Park movie, in which he speculates that the female dinos living in the park could produce offspring even with the absence of males. This quote was undoubtedly included in part as a reminder that Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) will be returning for the Jurassic World sequel after being absent for Jurassic Park III and the first Jurassic World movie.
Yes, you read that title right. Over forty years after his death, a new book by J.R.R. Tolkien hit bookshelves on June 1st. Entitled Beren and Lùthien, this book chronicles the adventures of an immortal elf and her mortal lover:
Here's the official synopsis:
The tale of Beren and Lúthien was, or became, an essential element in the evolution of The Silmarillion, the myths and legends of the First Age of the World conceived by J.R.R. Tolkien. Returning from France and the battle of the Somme at the end of 1916, he wrote the tale in the following year.
Essential to the story, and never changed, is the fate that shadowed the love of Beren and Lúthien: for Beren was a mortal man, but Lúthien was an immortal elf. Her father, a great elvish lord, in deep opposition to Beren, imposed on him an impossible task that he must perform before he might wed Lúthien. This is the kernel of the legend; and it leads to the supremely heroic attempt of Beren and Lúthien together to rob the greatest of all evil beings, Melkor, called Morgoth, the Black Enemy, of a Silmaril.
"Looks great," I'm sure you're thinking, "but how is this possible if he's dead?" Well, one of the things I admire most about Tolkien is the breadth of his work. The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are masterpieces of modern fantasy storytelling but are, in themselves, a small portion of the entirety of Tolkien's writings. Many stories written by Tolkien and compiled and edited by his son Christopher have been published in recent years, including The Silmarillion and The Children of Húrin. Both these tales record the detailed history of Middle-earth.
So what makes this story special, if it's just one of many Tolkien wrote? Here's four reasons why you should read Beren and Lùthien.
(1) This story was deeply personal to J.R.R. Tolkien. For him, the story of Beren and Lùthien was a representation of the love he had for his wife, Edith. In fact, after she died, he had "Lùthien" carved under her name on her gravestone. When he died, "Beren" was carved under his name.
(2) The manuscript has by and large been presented as Tolkien wrote it. Works such as The Silmarillion were compiled from a series of somewhat incoherent and unfinished writings by Tolkien after his death, but the description of Beren and Lùthien says, "In this book Christopher Tolkien has attempted to extract the story of Beren and Lúthien from the comprehensive work in which it was embedded; but that story was itself changing as it developed new associations within the larger history. To show something of the process whereby this legend of Middle-earth evolved over the years, he has told the story in his father's own words by giving, first, its original form, and then passages in prose and verse from later texts that illustrate the narrative as it changed. Presented together for the first time, they reveal aspects of the story, both in event and in narrative immediacy, that were afterwards lost." This fact alone makes it a must-read for Tolkien fans.
(3) This story is crucial to the Middle-earth narrative as a whole. The events in Beren and Lùthien eventually (spoiler alert!) lead to the downfall of Morgoth, which causes Sauron, his most important servant, to flee to Middle-earth. Thus began Sauron's long reign of terror of the peoples of Middle-earth, eventually culminating in the events described in The Lord of the Rings.
(4) The tale will feature some beautiful illustrations by Alan Lee, who also illustrated The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. If nothing else, you will surely appreciate the illustrations in this book. The front cover itself is a gorgeous representation of classic high fantasy art. I personally can't wait to see more of his illustrations once I get the book for myself (which, by the way, I already have my copy ordered to read after I finish The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis).
So, what do you think? Are you going to be ordering a copy of Beren and Lùthien? Let me hear your thoughts on the story in the comments!
I'm in high school, and I'm currently taking Spanish II. When I needed to choose what language I wanted to learn a couple of years ago, I really pushed my mom for Elvish or Klingon--no joke! Unfortunately, she said no, and here I am taking Spanish. Don't get me wrong--Spanish is a beautiful language, but c'mon! Who wouldn't like to know a little bit of an invented language to confuse your friends? Well, if you're open to learning a fictional language, you've come to the right place. Today, I'll be talking about some invented tongues that you can actually learn--by the end, maybe you will have decided which one is the best for you. Let's get started.
(photo credit: britannica.com)
If you've ever seen Avatar, you may recognize the Na'vi as the blue inhabitants of Pandora, but did you know that they have a functional language of the same name? As these aliens actually inhabit a system close to ours, knowing Na'vi might come as a useful skill should you encounter them in the near future. Here are some useful phrases:
Kaltxì - Hello
Zola‘u nìprrte’ - Welcome
Nga yawne lu oer - I love you
Kìyevame - See you soon
Interested? You can learn more at: https://learnnavi.org/
(photo credit: independent.co.uk)
Of course, as arguably the most well-known fictional language, Klingon had to be featured. Harsh and throaty, the Klingon language is spoken fluently by roughly a dozen people on Earth, and countless Klingons on Qo'noS. The fact that there are humans who speak the language gives this fictional tongue extra usefulness until humanity invents warp drives and can meet actual Klingons. Here are a few useful phrases:
nuqneH - (used as a greeting) literally translates, "What do you want?"
nuqDaq 'oH puchpa"e' - Where is the bathroom?
qoSlIj DatIvjajn - Happy Birthday!
(And, if you want to insult someone)* Hab SoSlI' Quch - Your mother has a smooth forehead!
*note: do not use this on friends...apparently, this is the worst insult you can give in Klingon!
Want to learn more? You can go to the Klingon Language Institute's website and get a membership! Check it out: www.kli.org/
(photo credit: lotr.wikia.com)
My personal favorite of the fictional languages is Sindarin, probably more commonly known as simply "Elvish." This language was actually invented by Tolkien himself as one of two languages for the Elves of Middle-earth. Sindarin is more commonly spoken than the second Elvish language, Quenya, and thus making it more useful, right? I suppose the likelihood of meeting an Elf is low, but speaking Sindarin is still an impressive skill to have. Some useful phrases include:
Mellon nîn! - My friend!
Yrch! - Orcs!
Elen síla lumenn’omentielvo - A star shines on the hour of our meeting.
Noro lim. - Run fast.
While the Sindarin language does not enjoy its own institute, sindarinlessons.weebly.com/ seems to be a useful resource if you wish to learn the language yourself.
(photo credit: wikipedia.org)
As a Star Wars nerd, I would be doing myself a disservice by not including a Star Wars language. While the Hutts, such as Jabba, were the most well-known speakers of the language, many also spoke it on planets controlled by the Hutts, most notably Tatooine (Anakin Skywalker was a fluent speaker). While Huttese is not as complete a language as the others listed here, you can still learn some phrases to help you secure a ship to smuggle goods out of your system.
H'chu apenkee! - Hello!
Ban gon wan she co, cah. - There will be no bargain.
Coona tee-tocky malia? - What took you so long?
Noah, noah! - No, no!
You can find a decent amount of Huttese phrases and words here: starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Huttese
So, have you decided what language you'd like to speak? Was there a language that you like that I left out? Let me know in the comments!
Well, we're past Thanksgiving now, and with Cyber Monday coming up, it's time to start thinking about Christmas gifts. Today, I'm presenting a few categorized ideas for your geeky friends and family (and hey, maybe even yourself).
Star Trek: Bluetooth communicator
Yep, this is 100% real--and I had an inner nerd meltdown when I saw it. It pairs with any Bluetooth-enabled phone. You can accept calls with it by flipping it open or use it as a speaker for your music. It features classic Star Trek sound effects (yes, even the communicator chirp). It's available for $119.99 on ThinkGeek, found here.
Star Wars: Han Solo fridge
This is perfect in so many ways. Let Han Solo's frozen body keep your drinks cool (or warm) this Christmas. It seems small, but looks are deceiving: it actually holds up to 18 cans of soda. I love how it lights up in the front, though you can turn it off if you're not into that. It's fairly portable, and at $99.99 right now, it's a pretty good deal. You can find it on ThinkGeek here.
Marvel: Captain America's shield backpack
Dude. That's all I can say. I already have a backpack, but I might reconsider. It fits up to a 15" MacBook (which is as big as they come these days), so it doesn't have any shortage of space. Just make sure you know the person you're buying it for is on Team Cap first. It's a little pricey at $59.99, but it would give anyone like 1,000 cool points. You can find it on ThinkGeek here.
DC: Desktop Bat-signal
You know how the saying goes: always be yourself, unless you can be Batman. Well, maybe you can't be Batman, but you can summon him with this desktop bat signal! This is great for Batman fans (and I know there are a lot out there). It's going for $29.99 on ThinkGeek right now. You can find it here.
Steampunk fans: Tesla watch
This is a little bit more general, but who doesn't like a little steampunk? It's got a leather wristband, two LED "vacuum tubes" (these can be turned on and off), and a winding key! Seriously, I need to get me one of these. It's going to cost you $46.99 on ThinkGeek--it's on sale today--but it'll make a great gift for the geek you don't know what to get. Click here to go to it.
So...did I miss anything? Would you buy--or are you buying--any of these items? Let me know in the comments!
In this week's post, in preparation for the release of my spy thriller short "Kill Code" this Thursday, I'm contemplating the best (and most useful) spy gadgets.
5) The shoe phone
(photo credit: quertime.com)
I rank the shoe phone at the bottom of the list. Now, I know when Get Smart came out that cell phones were rarely--if ever--used, and I also understand that many of you are fans of the shoe phone as an iconic gadget. But when the novelty of the shoe phone is removed, it ends up being a rather unnecessary device in the modern world. I suppose there is an element of convenience in that you don't have to carry around a mobile phone with you, but in reality, it's not that much extra baggage.
4) Exploding gum
(photo credit: deathbymovies.com)
Before you complain that I ranked this Mission: Impossible favorite at #4, let me explain. Is it an absolute marvel of chemistry? Yes. Is it totally useful for a spy? Yes. Really, the only reason this gets ranked at #4 is because I love the following gadgets so much. At any rate, if you're a spy, you should get in quietly and go out with a bang. The exploding chewing gum is the way to go out with a bang--discreetly.
3) Video contacts
(photo credit: ok.com)
In my mind, this gadget from I Spy is a must-have. The better feedback that the agents helping you back at HQ can get, the better off you, the field agent, are. The video contacts, with audio capability as well, free up field agents from the suspicion of wearing an in-ear comm or glasses. Granted, this isn't such a far-fetched idea: Verily, a subsidiary of Alphabet, Inc. (Google's parent company), has already filed a patent on this idea. Who knows, maybe one day contacts will rid us of cell phones forever?
2) Mask maker
(photo credit: movieviral.com)
That's right, another Mission: Impossible toy takes the number 2 slot. But this isn't just any old toy: this device can make anyone look like--well, anyone. Wanna look like Brad Pitt? Or Scarlett Johansson? This machine makes it all possible. We can all see the usefulness for a spy; but, admit it, at some point, you've wished that you could trick your friends into thinking you're someone else. (Side note: "Kill Code" will feature a similar device in Part IV, so stay tuned!)
1) The neuralizer
(photo credit: quertime.com)
Occupying the #1 spot is the infamous Neuralizer from Men in Black. The MIB swoop in, get what they need, and no one remembers a thing. Again, I rank this at number one for not only its usefulness in the world of espionage, but also its practicality in everyday life. We've all had embarrassing moments that we wish everyone would just forget. With the press of a button, this device accomplishes just that. Just make sure you have it pointed the right way...
There it is: the best spy gadgets ranked. So what do you think? Did I rank everything as you would have? Was there a device I should have featured? Let me know in the comments!
I'm a sci-fi/fantasy lover & writer who especially likes talking about Star Wars and futuristic tech. I like finding new things & finding the beauty in old things, especially in my "Everyday Snippets" series. I hope you'll join me on my blog and unleash your imagination!