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Posts Tagged ‘The Lord of the Rings’

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES – Howard Shore

December 20, 2014 3 comments

thehobbitbotfaOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

And so, at last, after an astonishing 13-year trip across Middle Earth in the company of director Peter Jackson, through three Lord of the Rings films and two Hobbit films, we come to the conclusion of the saga with The Battle of the Five Armies, the third and final film based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy story The Hobbit. The film picks up immediately where the second film in the trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, left off last year, with the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his dwarf cohorts looking on helplessly as the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch), having emerged from under the mountain of Erebor, decimates the city of Laketown, before finally being brought down by the brave Bard (Luke Evans). In the aftermath of the devastation, the survivors of Laketown regroup in the ancient city of Dale, while the newly-crowned dwarfish king Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) jealously guards his new wealth from inside his impregnable stronghold. However, news of Smaug’s death quickly spreads across Middle Earth, and before long numerous different armies are massing outside Erebor’s gates, each claiming a valid right to the treasure inside, or having insidious ulterior motives of conquest and destruction. Read more…

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG – Howard Shore

December 15, 2013 6 comments

thehobbitdosOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The second film in Peter Jackson’s new Middle Earth trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is The Desolation of Smaug; it picks up immediately where the first film in the trilogy, An Unexpected Journey, left off last year, with the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) journeying to the ancient dwarf stronghold of Erebor in the company of the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), dwarfish king-in-waiting Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), and his band of adventurers, to take back their homeland from the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). Along way, however, the heroic company must traverse any number of dangers, including vicious orcs, unfriendly elves, a treacherous forest, and the inhabitants of an impoverished lake town in the shadow of the lonely mountain. Meanwhile, much to Gandalf’s consternation, the shadowy threat of a mysterious necromancer continues to grow, looming large over all of Middle Earth, and threatening its long-lasting peace. The film is a significant improvement over the first installment, eschewing some of its comic action material and embracing a more serious tone that befits a story that touches on much more adult themes involving obsession and corruption. It’s visually spectacular, of course (although the orc leader Azog still looks like a bad video game rendering), has a wonderful supporting cast that includes Stephen Fry, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans and a returning Orlando Bloom as Legolas, and – most importantly from this website’s point of view – sees Howard Shore returning to Middle Earth for the fifth time as composer. Read more…

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY – Howard Shore

December 17, 2012 13 comments

thehobbitaujOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

They say you can never go home again, but that’s not true for Howard Shore, the multi-award winning Canadian composer of the music for The Lord of the Rings. Prior to the release of the first LOTR film, The Fellowship of the Ring, in 2001, Shore was a respected but generally little-known composer, best known for writing a series of dark, brooding scores for director David Cronenberg, and thrillers like Seven and The Silence of the Lambs. Even when he was first announced as the composer for Fellowship, many commentators questioned whether Shore had the thematic strength to write the broad and expansive music the films required. Fast forward a decade, and Shore is a three-time Oscar winner and international film music superstar, with impressive album sales, sold-out concerts, and massive critical acclaim. When director Peter Jackson announced that he was making a new Middle Earth trilogy based on JRR Tolkien’s book The Hobbit, it was never a question of whether Howard Shore would return to score the films, but whether the music would stand up to the massive hype and sense of expectation that inevitably came with it’s release. For better or worse, the Lord of the Rings scores have become some of the best-loved of the new millennium, and for many fans whose first experience of film music came through those films and Shore’s now-iconic themes, there was bound to be an unimaginable sense of anticipation. So does The Hobbit continue the trend of excellent music in Middle Earth? The answer is yes and no, but not for reasons you might think. Read more…

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING – Howard Shore

December 19, 2003 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

And so, five years after his journey began, Howard Shore’s travels through the musical word of Middle Earth and the spectacular Lord of Rings trilogy comes to an end with The Return of the King, the final installment of Peter Jackson’s groundbreaking adaptation of the classic fantasy novel by J.R.R. Tolkein. To say that Shore has come a long way is understatement indeed. Before Lord of the Rings, Howard Shore was “the David Cronenberg guy” who specialized in dark, tortured scores for dark tortured movies. Now, he is the undisputed king of the epic adventure, with the potential to become the benchmark by which all future sword-and-sorcery scores are measured. Before Lord of the Rings, Howard Shore was a well-respected, but largely unheralded member of the film music world. Now, he is a household name, with an Oscar on his mantle, who sells out concert halls worldwide. It’s been one massive ride for the quiet, unassuming Canadian – and with the strength of this final score, his stock can only rise. Read more…

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS – Howard Shore

December 20, 2002 Leave a comment

lotrtwotowersOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Howard Shore, welcome to the world of film music pressure. It’s a peculiar phenomenon, akin to the “second album” syndrome faced by rock and pop musicians whose debut works are hugely successful; John Williams faced it when embarking on the follow-up scores in the Star Wars saga. Jerry Goldsmith and James Horner, such is their popularity and fan base, face it each time they write a new score. Other composers face it when they write music for a beloved piece of fiction – especially in the fantasy or comic book genres – or have scored a major hit with their last effort in a series. With The Lord of the Rings, Howard Shore has joined this latter group. Read more…

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING – Howard Shore

December 21, 2001 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

To say that Peter Jackson took on a mammoth task in undertaking a 9-hour, three-film cinematic version of The Lord of the Rings is an understatement indeed. Adapting J.R.R. Tolkien’s mammoth literary work for the screen took three years of the affable New Zealander’s life, and as the first part of the trilogy hits the world’s multiplexes, his vision and talent are for all to see. The Fellowship of the Ring is quite possibly the best fantasy film ever made, putting to shame Ralph Bakshi’s lamentable 1978 attempt to tell the same story through animation.

The story of The Fellowship of the Ring – for those who don’t know – is set in a fantasy land named Middle Earth, where a great war has taken place for control of nine rings, the owners of which wield the power to dominate the world. Read more…