Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, 2001

Fellowship of the Ring.jpg

December 19, 2001
Dir. Peter Jackson
Prod. Barrie M. Osborne, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Tim Sanders
Genre: Epic High Fantasy
Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Sean Bean, Ian Holm, Andy Serkis

I love Lord of the Rings. The whole series is amazing and it’s definitely what kicked off my love for New Zealand.

I’ve seen the first film in the trilogy more times than I can count and think it’s absolutely brilliant. I recently bought the extended edition (finally) and have really enjoyed seeing all the behind the scenes stuff that went into making the film.

If I were to ask you to name a film (or several) that you thought was truly great I’m sure everyone would have a different answer. However, I don’t think anyone can deny that Fellowship of the Ring is definitely on that list.

Fellowship brings together an intriguing plot, fascinating characters, and a beautiful landscape and creates what is probably one of the best films of all time.

The film follows Frodo Baggins, a hobbit from The Shire, as he embarks on a quest to destroy an all powerful ring. A ring that could bring an end to Middle Earth if it fell into the wrong hands. With the help of several companies along the way, Frodo takes great steps on his journey to saving all of Middle Earth.

Now, as I mentioned before Lord of the Rings is full of interesting characters and in this first film we meet the original ‘fellowship’: Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Gandalf, Aragorn, Boromir, Legolas, and Gimli.

All of these characters are very different and not only do they each bring something unique to the fellowship, but they bring something unique to the screen that makes the film all the more enjoyable.

On the surface each character appears very simple, Frodo is the hero, Sam the loyal companion, Merry and Pippin the comic relief, Aragorn the warrior, and Boromir the traitor. But they are all so much more than that. Each character, from Gimli to Gandalf, offers comedic moments and heart wrenching moments; moments where you admire their bravery and moments where you want to slap them for their stupidity (you know who I’m talking about).

However, even at their lowest moments you can’t help wanting these characters to succeed. Maybe not at everything they attempt to do (like, you know, stealing the ring from Frodo), but at most things. You want to see what happens next, where these characters are going, what they’re going to encounter.

And what they encounter is a whole lot of adventure and a whole lot of beauty as they travel across Middle Earth aka New Zealand.

Over the years my dream destination has changed drastically. As a child of course I wanted to go to Disney World. Then as I got older I wanted to go to England and Scotland, two places my family comes from.

Well now I’ve been to Disney World and I’d still love to go to England Scotland one day, for many years now I’ve wanted nothing more than to go to New Zealand. And Lord of the Rings played a big part in that.

Fellowship was my first memorable view of New Zealand and every time I watch the film and the ones that follow I desperately want to walk the same paths the fellowship follows over mountains and trails.

 New Zealand is Middle Earth, it is magical and mysterious and full of creatures that don’t exist anywhere else.

Kiwi 2.jpg

Fellowship of the Ring is a cinematic masterpiece. Not only does it contain all the things required to make a good film (interesting plot, characters, etc.), but it also contains something that keeps the audience completely entranced. I don’t quite know how to describe it, but anyone who has watched Lord of the Rings will know what I’m talking about.

There’s just something about these films, and Fellowship in particular, that keeps you watching over and over again.

Near the start of this review I called this film one of the best films of all time and I stand by that statement. There are many films that could fall into that category, but for all the reasons stated above and many more, I think you can see why Fellowship belongs there.

What do you think of Fellowship of the Ring? Which character is your favourite?

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The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, 2014

Battle of the Five ArmiesDecember 17, 2014
Dir. Peter Jackson
Prod. Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner, Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson
Genre: Epic Fantasy Adventure
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Lee Pace, Graham Mctavish, Ken Stott, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, William Kercher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Sylvester McCoy, Manu Bennett, John Tui, Billy Connolly, Mikael Persbrandt, Stephen Fry, John Bell, Peggy Nesbitt, Mary Nesbitt

****Warning: This post contains MAJOR spoilers for The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies and The Hobbit book****

This is it. The final Hobbit film. Probably the last film to ever be based on any work by the brilliant J.R.R. Tolkien. The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies.

In this final installment of The Hobbit trilogy, loyalties are tested, families divided, and battle fought. We see death, love, and a war of epic proportions, pretty much everything that makes a good Tolkien/Jackson film.

And let me tell you, this was a good film. I actually think of all three films, Battle of the Five Armies might have been my favorite. It’s pretty close with the first one, some days it’s one and some days it’s three, but it’s definitely up there.

This is because of many reasons, the first of which is the special effects. It’s kind of funny because I know special effects (at least in regard to CGI) was something a lot of people hated about it this film, but personally it didn’t bother me.

I really can’t tell the difference between an army made up of thousands of CGI soldiers and an army of thousands of real soldiers. You know, since I’m typically more focused on the main characters and not the extras in the background. But I mean, if the CGI were really bad you would notice so I think it probably says a lot that I pay about as much attention to the armies in The Hobbit as I did in Lord of the Rings.

Besides, I think any displeasure over the use of CGI can pretty much be annihilated over the glorious being called Smaug.

I’ll admit I was kind of disappointed at how little Smaug there actually was in this film. I thought Desolation of Smaug ended in a great place, but it left so much hype for Smaug that the scene in BotFA just didn’t quite meet the mark.

However, the lack of Smaug in film three was not down to Peter Jackson and the rest of the crew, but rather the plot of the book which is something they followed very closely.

This is something I’ve always loved about Jackson’s adaptations. He sticks to, and honours, Tolkien’s story. If you look at other film adaptation like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson the story is there, the ideas are there, but there are so many changes that the emotions readers got from the book isn’t the same.

This is the total opposite of what The Hobbit does. Even when they have to cut scenes for time, Tolkien’s world and voice still shines through.

Of course, not everything is the same. Several characters were added into the films who either weren’t in the book at all or only had small roles. The most notable of these was probably Tauriel, who Jackson added because he said it didn’t feel right to have this huge film come out with now strong females characters in this day and age.

Now I did already talk about Tauriel in my review of Desolation of Smaug and I stand by what I said there, but I did a difference between films two and three that I quite liked. Tauriel is such a badass. Her character is spectacular and Evangeline Lilly did a phenomenal job bringing her to life. But in the second film, this badassery is overshadowed a bit by the love triangle she was thrust into with Kili and Legolas.

While the love triangle is still there, it didn’t feel stifling in the third film. It didn’t overpower or overshadow any of the characters and didn’t stop them from fighting or their lives when the time came. I loved what they did with Tauriel in the third film because she felt much more like the badass female character Jackson had been aiming for and less like an object of desire.

A character I wish we could have seen more of though was Fili. This was actually probably the thing that bugged me the most. They added in a love story, but Fili really didn’t get very much screen time.

Dean O’Gorman is a phenomenal actor (seriously, check out The Almighty Johnsons, it’s great) and we didn’t get to see that much in this film. But only that, but (*Spoiler Alert*) they totally changed his death scene which, in turn, changed Kili’s and Thorin’s.

In the book Kili and Fili die defending their uncle. In BotFA they die totally separately and, while both death scenes were incredibly sad (I cried), I feel like it would have been a lot more powerful if the brother had died together.

That being said, I thought Thorin’s death scene was pretty good. I thought at first it was really lame when Azog just slips off the ice and into the water. First time I saw it I was like, “Are you kidding? All that build up and… what? He just drowns?” But no, it was fine. They brought it back and Thorin’s death ended up being even more emotional than I’d thought it would be.

Overall I felt like Battle of the Five Armies was a great film, but I was a little disappointed (confused) by the ending. I feel like they really left things handing, especially if you haven’t read the book.

Like, now that Thorin, Fili, and Kili are gone, who will rule The Lonely Mountain? What happens to Bard and his children? What about Thranduil? I’ve read the book so I know all these answers, but it just really felt like their were a lot of loose ends when the credits rolled. It just didn’t feel finished.

Honestly though, I did love the film. For all the things I think could’ve been improved, Battle of the Five Armies really was a great movie and I will be watching it over and over and over again.

Have you seen Battle of the Five Armies? What did you think?

Which is your favourite out of the three?

Are you ready to say goodbye to Middle Earth?

 

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25 Books to Read Before You’re 25

25 BooksI am not 25 (yet) nor am I probably qualified to tell you all you should read these books before you reach 25. But hey, it’s the internet and even if you’re already past 25, you should read these books anyway.

1) Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter

Does this one really need an explanation? It’s Harry Potter, even if you haven’t read the books or seen the films yet, you know what it is. I don’t think it’s possible to go through life anymore without knowing what Harry Potter is. This seven-novel series influenced entire generations and it continues and will continue to do so for decades (probably centuries) to come.

Buy Harry Potter on Amazon


2) Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to be a Grown Up, Grace Helbig

Grace's Guide

What better way to enter adulthood than with a guide to adulthood? Grace Helbig is exactly the same in writing as she is on Youtube and her guide to pretending to be an adult is exactly what you would expect. It’s witty and funny and totally relatable.

Buy Grace’s Guide on Amazon


3) Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is like the ultimate fantasy series. It combines magic with epic battle sequences and family drama and is unlike anything else I have ever read. I highly recommend starting it as soon as possible, but don’t worry about finishing the series before you’re 25. By the time the final two novels are published, you’ll probably have passed that age already.

Buy Game of Thrones on Amazon


4) The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien

Hobbit_cover

The Hobbit is one of those books that everyone needs to read. Whether you’re five, fifteen, or twenty-five, The Hobbit is a timeless classic. It is also surprisingly relatable despite the fact that majority of the main characters are dwarves, hobbits, and elves.

Buy The Hobbit on Amazon


5) Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

Lord of the Rings

If you read The Hobbit you should probably read Lord of the Rings. Tolkien’s trilogy is an adventure pack series that, if anything like The Hobbit, you’ll be sure to enjoy.

Buy Lord of the Rings on Amazon


6) F*ck! I’m in My Twenties, Emma Koenig

Fck Im in my Twenties

Similar to Grace’s Guide, Emma Koenig created a relatable guide to getting through adulthood. The perfect book for anyone entering their twenties, F*ck! I’m in My Twenties perfectly encompasses all the emotions and happenings of being a new adult.

Buy F*ck! I’m in My Twenties on Amazon


7) Chicken Soup for the Soul, Various Authors

Chicken Soup for the Sul

They have Chicken Soup books for everything: kids, teens, parents, certain careers, and even pets (which is great cause my dog loves to read). The stories in these books all come from real people which makes them easy to relate to and probably some of the best books to read as you start your journey as a real life adult.


8) Anything by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult

I could probably fill four or five spots on this list with books by Jodi Picoult. She is an amazing author and her books are great reads even for people who may not read much outside a certain genre. They deal with real people with real issues and you won’t be able to put the book down until you’ve reached the very last page.


9) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

This coming-of-age novel should be a mandatory read for all high school students. It is probably one of the most realistic portrayals of what it’s like to be a teenager. The main character, Charlie, deals with friends, bullies, family, suicide, depression, drugs, and so much more. Through a series of letters he describes his first year of high school in a way that you sit back and go, “Hey, yeah, I get that. That happened.”

Buy The Perks of Being a Wallflower on Amazon


10) The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Great Gatsby

Most have you probably read/will probably read this book at some point as I’m pretty certain it’s a mandatory read in most schools. As it rightfully should be, though you probably won’t enjoy it very much because it’s assigned reading. Gatsby has a lot of messages and meanings behind it, including how a person can be lonely and miserable even if they have almost everything they could ever want.

Buy The Great Gatsby on Amazon


11) Matilda, Roald Dahl

Matilda

It’s a book about a little girl who loves to read and finds solace in books. Need I say more? Read it as a child, a teen, an adult, and then read it to your own kids. Whatever you do, read Matilda.

Buy Matilda on Amazon


12) Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

Alice in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll’s novel is a like The Hobbit, a timeless classic. It is a novel that can be read by anyone of any age and enjoyed just the same (though some of the stuff will probably go over the heads of kids). Carroll wrote a book that is comprised of colourful characters and fun songs that will have you reading cover to cover.

Buy Alice in Wonderland on Amazon


13) Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet

This is another one you’ll probably read in school and again, because it’s required reading you probably won’t enjoy it. So, once you’re done school read it again. Before you enter your twenties and start thinking logically about the whole situation, read it while you can still romanticize it and enjoy it without the boundaries of reality. Plus, it’s Shakespeare, you need to read Shakespeare at some point in your life.

Buy Romeo and Juliet on Amazon


14) Grimms’ Fairy Tales, Grimm Brothers

Grimms Faitytales

Everyone loves a good fairytale, right? I don’t think I know a single person who hasn’t read/seen at least one. But what about the older, more gruesome versions of the stories? Well if you want those, look no further than the Grimm Brothers book. You read the ones with happy endings as a child, now as teen/young adult, read the versions with not-so-happy endings. You’ll probably enjoy those just as much, if not more, than the cheerful ones.

Buy Grimms’ Fairy Tales on Amazon


15) The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye

There are two strong reasons as to why you should read this book. First, reading it as a teen or young adult instead of waiting until later in life will allow you to understand Holden Caulfield and all the things he talks about and deals with. Second, it’s a banned book and what better book to read than one people really don’t want you to?

Buy The Catcher in the Rye on Amazon


16) Keeping You a Secret, Julie Anne Peters

Keeping You a Secret

It’s 2015, do you know what that means? Not every couple comprises of one man and one woman. Keeping You a Secret is a very real portrayal of two girls, one who is out and confident and the other who has no idea who she is, trying to find a place in the world together despite everything that’s against them. This novel is a great coming-of-age read for anyone trying to find exactly that.

Buy Keeping You a Secret on Amazon


17) A Series of Unfortunate Events, Lemony Snicket

Series of Unfortante Envets

Snicket deals with some pretty horrific situations in his 13-novel series, but he manages to do so in a way that keeps it humorous while still making you think about things. His writing style is so unique and you will be laughing out loud as you read and learn alongside the Baudelaires.

Buy A Series of Unfortunate Events on Amazon


18) The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

The_Fault_in_Our_Stars

John Green is kind of like Jodi Picoult in the sense that I could fill several spots on this list with his novels. While he is known as being an author of Young Adult novels, his books aren’t just for young adults. If you haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars yet go get it and read it now. Stop reading this blog post and go get the book. Go.

Buy The Fault in Our Stars on Amazon


19) Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice

A classic. The story about Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, and Elizabeth’s crazy family is one that, whether you’ve read the book or seen the film, you most likely know what it is. Before you reach the age where your whole life becomes consumed with real life issues, take the time to sit down and read about one of the greatest romances written.

Buy Pride and Prejudice on Amazon


20) Inkheart Trilogy, Cornelia Funke

Inkheart

Inkheart is essentially three books written about books and it is wonderful. There is a book the characters read called “Inkheart” inside the book you’re reading called Inkheart. Not going to lie, that messed with my head a bit the first time I read it. The book also has quotes from other books and authors at the start of the chapters and it was definitely one of my favourite parts.

Buy Inkheart on Amazon


21) The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, John Boyne

Theboyinthestripedpyjamas

This is one of the most powerful books I think probably exists out there. Talking about the holocaust from a child’s point of view was a risky move, one that had people talking which is exactly why people need to read this. The best sort of books are the ones that leave people talking after they’ve put it down, and that exactly what The Boy in the Striped Pajamas does.

Buy The Boy in the Striped Pajamas on Amazon


22) We All Fall Down, Eric Walters

We All Fall Down

A book that detail the events of 9/11, We All Fall Down is an important read for any and all middle and high schoolers. It is the sort of book that, like The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, deals with a serious and difficult issue in a way that makes younger generations understand the gravity of the situation without scaring the living daylights out of them.

Buy We All Fall Down on Amazon


23) Save the Humans, Rob Stewart

Save the Humans

Technically this falls under the category ‘biography’, but this is such a good and important read that I felt it deserved it’s own spot on the list. Rob Stewart is a long-time environmental activist, speaking out especially against shark finning. He has directed two films on environmental issues and his book goes into even greater detail about why all of this is so important. Basically, if the oceans die, people die. Everyone should read this book, but I’m including it on this list because it’s especially important for young people to read things like this as they’re the ones that are going to fix things.

Buy Save the Humans on Amazon


24) Anything by Lurlene McDaniel

Lurlene McDaniel

Lurlene McDaniel is kind of like Jodi Picoult except her books are more aimed at kids and teens rather than adults. Dealing with the same sort of issues as Picoult does, McDaniel’s books are fantastic reads. It explains so-called “adult situation” in a way younger people can understand with dumbing it down so much that they feel stupid.


25) Twilight, Stephenie Meyer

Twilightbook

I debated a lot about including this on the list and was actually slightly worried I’d be smited for putting it on here. But you know what? You take a moment to forget the teen obsession, forget the faces of the actors playing the characters, forget the fanfiction that followed. Twilight was actually a pretty good series. It gets a lot of flak, but I read it before it was the best thing since sliced bread and before there were shirts with “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob” written on them and you know what? I’m really glad I read this and I think you should read it too.

Buy Twilight on Amazon

But why you should read these before you’re 25? Why not 30? Or 35?

Well first of all I couldn’t think of 30 books along with reasons to go with them. And second these books have already had such an impact on my life whether it was because they’re relatable or it was just because the story was enjoyable. Either way, I highly recommend the books on this list. There are so many others too that I almost included, but maybe I’ll save those for future posts.

Have you read any of these books? Do you have a book you would recommend reading before 25? Or any age for that matter?

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The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

The HobbitThirteen dwarves, a hobbit, and a wizard are walking to a mountain. While this may sound like the start of a good joke, it is actually a key point to JRR Tolkien’s, The Hobbit.

The writing of this brilliant novel originally began in the 1930s and I think it’s a safe bet that Tolkien had no idea people would still be reading it almost a hundred years later.

The Hobbit follows Bilbo Baggins of the Shire as he is swept off on a journey with Gandalf the wizard and thirteen dwarves: Fíli, Kíli, Balin. Dwalin, Oin, Gloin, Dori, Nori, Ori, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, and their leader, Thorin Oakenshield. Lost yet? I definitely was when I first started reading and I will admit it took me several tries to get past the first couple chapters because I kept getting confused. However, I am incredibly happy that I finished the book because it is just as amazing as I had always heard.

The Company are on a quest to take back The Lonely Mountain, a place that was once home to the dwarves before it was taken by the dragon, Smaug. They are traveling across rough lands in the world of Middle Earth, a magical place created by Tolkien. On their journey they encounter elves, goblins, and a creature that some of you may know (hint: My precious). They must fend off orcs, spiders, and giants made of stone. All the while there is constant chatter about food (or lack thereof as the dwarves like to point out).

JRR Tolkien truly produced a masterpiece with this novel. His descriptions of the land and the distinctions between the characters helps the reader to visualize what is happening. He has created an entirely new world that is both a confusing and wonderful place to get sucked in to. I didn’t want Bilbo’s journey to ever end because I never wanted to leave Middle Earth (Thankfully I have The Lord of the Rings waiting on my bookshelf for me).

An incredible novel for everyone. It is something that you can read on your own or to children for a bedtime story. Tolkien has created something very magical with this novel that I would highly recommend to anyone.

Have any tips for how to make the review better? Have anything you want reviewed?

 

 

Buy The Hobbit on Amazon

 

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