MIDDLE EARTH

THE LORD OF THE RINGS

The Lord of the Rings is a film trilogy consisting of three epic fantasy adventure films directed by Peter Jackson and based on the three-volume book of the same name by English author J. R. R. Tolkien. The films are, by subtitle, The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003). They were distributed by New Line Cinema.

Considered to be one of the biggest and most ambitious movie projects ever undertaken, with an overall budget of $285 million, the entire project took eight years, with the filming for all three films done simultaneously and entirely in Jackson’s native country, New Zealand. Each film in the trilogy also had special extended editions released on DVD a year after their respective theatrical releases. While the films follow the book’s general storyline, they do omit some of the plot elements from the novel and include some additions to and other deviations from the source material.

Set in the fictional world of Middle-earth, the three films follow the hobbit Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) as he and a Fellowship embark on a quest to destroy the One Ring, and thus ensure the destruction of its maker, the Dark Lord Sauron. The Fellowship becomes divided and Frodo continues the quest together with his loyal companion Sam (Sean Astin) and the treacherous Gollum (Andy Serkis). Meanwhile, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), heir in exile to the throne of Gondor, and the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) unite and rally the Free Peoples of Middle-earth, who are ultimately victorious in the War of the Ring.

The trilogy was a great financial success, with the films collectively being the ninth highest-grossing film series of all time (behind Harry Potter, James Bond, Star Wars, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Pirates of the Caribbean, Batman, Shrek, and Spider-Man). The films were critically acclaimed and heavily awarded, winning 17 out of 30 Academy Awards nominated in total. The final film in the trilogy, The Return of the King, won all 11 of the Academy Awards for which it was nominated, tying it with Ben-Hur and Titanic for most Academy Awards received for a film. The trilogy received wide praise for its innovative special and visual effects.

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THE HOBBIT

The Hobbit is an upcoming film series consisting of three epic fantasy-adventure films directed, co-written and produced by Peter Jackson and based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy novel of the same name. The films are, by subtitle, An Unexpected Journey (2012), The Desolation of Smaug (2013) and There and Back Again (2014).

The series will act as a prequel trilogy to Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy and will star Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug, as well as several actors who will reprise their roles from The Lord of the Rings, including Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, and Orlando Bloom. Also returning for the production are a significant part of the production crew: among others, co-writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, illustrators John Howe and Alan Lee, art director Dan Hennah, and cinematographer Andrew Lesnie. As with the original trilogy, props will generally be crafted by Weta Workshop and visual effects managed by Weta Digital. Additionally, composer Howard Shore, who wrote the score for The Lord of the Rings, has confirmed his involvement in the first two parts of the film project.

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FILMOGRAPHY (SUBLIMINALS)