Tuesday, May 31, 2011

An Unexpected Journey

This will be the title of the first of two Hobbit movies produced and directed by Peter Jackson.  New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM have announced the titles and dates of the two-film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved classic The HobbitThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again will arrive on screen a year apart.  An Unexpected Journey will premier on December 14, 2012 and There and Back Again will release on December 13, 2013.  Mark your calendars.  These are going to be good.

These films take place 60 years prior to Jackson's adaptation of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  The Hobbit follows the journey of Bilbo Baggins, a gentle hobbit who is reluctant to get involved with a group of 13 dwarves.  The dwarves' goal is to return to their ancestral home in the Lonely Mountains and reclaim a stolen fortune from the dragon Smaug.  He is ultimately convinced to join the quest because he believes it to be a noble mission.  Through this quest for good, Bilbo learns that courage, honesty, and imagination count far more than physical power.

In the film, you can expect to see many of your favorite characters from the trilogy.  They return to the screen alongside a great new face.  Martin Freeman, Watson from the BBC series Sherlock, takes on the central role of Bilbo Baggins.  Also returning to their roles from The Lord of the Rings movies are: Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey; Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Orlando Bloom as Legolas; Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; and Andy Serkis as Gollum.  A star-studded cast to be sure.

Now I know it seems like ages from now until we get to see these amazing films.  And most of us have been anticipating this film since its first whispers of production, but fear not.  In the months leading up to The Hobbit's release, I have a few suggestions to pass the time.  For those of you who wish to see The Trilogy in theaters again, it is being released in a 3 night event in select theaters.  "The Academy Award®-winning trilogy will be featured in an exclusive series of three in-theater events including The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring™ on June 14, 2011; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers™ on June 21, 2011; and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King™ on June 28, 2011. Each event will begin at 7:00 p.m. local time."

If you live in the Boston area here is a list of local theaters that will be participating.
AMC Boston Common 19 with IMAX,  BOSTON MA 02111
AMC AMC Liberty Tree Mall 20 with IMAX,  DANVERS MA 01923
NAM Legacy Place,  DEDHAM MA 02026
NAM Patriot Place,  FOXBORO MA 02035
AMC AMC Framingham 15,  FRAMINGHAM MA 01701
NAM Lowell Showcase Cinemas,  LOWELL MA 01851
REG Solomon Pond Mall 15,  MARLBOROUGH MA 01752
AMC AMC Methuen 20 with IMAX,  METHUEN MA 01844
Check out Fathom Events for more info and for theaters in your area.

If Games are your thing, then boy are you in luck!  Fantasy Flight has a slew of great Lord of the Rings titles.  Whether you are looking for an epic battle, cooperative experience, or a light family game, they have it all.  One of my all-time favorites is the Lord of the Rings Board Game by Reiner Knizia.  In this game you must work your way through four boards, cooperating to overcome challenges and prevent the Ringbearer from being corrupted.

A new favorite of mine is The Lord of the Rings LCG (Living Card Game).  This is a cooperative card game that allows players to customize their characters.  There are four distinct spheres of influence that offer different benefits to the party.  Through cooperation, players overcome the obstacles drawn from the encounter deck on their quest for victory.  This unique game has countless combinations of settings and enemies, and players can build their party from 16 different characters. 

If you are looking for something lighter and appropriately themed, let me suggest The Hobbit Board Game also by Reiner Knizia. This great family game allows players to take on the roles of the dwarves, aiding Bilbo in his monumental quest to defy the odds and become a legend.

If a more epic battle is what you seek, then let me suggest War of the Ring or Middle Earth Quest.  Both of these immerse players in the world of Middle Earth where they must struggle to survive in a land full of chaos. Which side will be victorious?

Any of these games would be fitting for any game night.  And might I suggest a basket of Lembas Bread to share at the gaming table?  Happy Gaming!

American Geek Mom's Lembas Bread:

2 1/2 cups of flour                                         1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt                                       8 tablespoons of cold butter (1 stick)
1/3 cup of brown sugar                                  1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup/honey                    2/3 cup of milk/heavy cream (or more, if necessary)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
2) Mix the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
3) Add the butter and mix with a fork or a pastry cutter until the
mixture resembles fine granules.
4) Add the sugar and cinnamon, and mix them thoroughly into the mixture.
5) Add the milk/cream, honey and vanilla and stir them in with a fork
until a nice, thick dough forms.
6) Roll the dough out about 1/2 in thickness.
7) Cut out 3-inch squares and transfer the dough to a cookie sheet.
8) Criss-cross (DO NOT cut all the way) each square from
corner-to-corner with a knife.
9) Bake for about 12 minutes or more (depending on the thickness of
the bread) until it is set and lightly golden.
10) Wrap in a Mallorn Leaf or store in a sealed container.

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.  Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort." -J.R.R. Tolkien  

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