October 17, 2019

The Lord of the Rings + The Hobbit Coming to 4K

Image result for lord of the rings 4K

A few days ago, the news broke that in Europe there is a listing for The Lord of the Rings + The Hobbit film trilogies coming to 4K.

The date mentioned was June 2020, however 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of The Fellowship of the Ring.

The article mentions that both theatrical and extended editions would be arriving.

Now, what would I like these release(s) to be like?

Here are some thoughts on how I'd like to see these released on 4K blu-ray (or UHD blu-ray):

- HDR & Dolby Atmos, possibly Dolby Vision as well
- both extended and theatrical editions to be included in the same set: not one set for theatrical, and one for extended.
- 3 releases: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy, and a set with both
- the packaging for The Lord of the Rings to be nearly identical to the 12-disc extended DVD trilogy set from 2004. The Hobbit extended trilogy on DVD also had similar packaging. The blu-ray release had some elements carry over, though it's not quite the same. Replicate the packaging, like how Rhino did in comparison for the complete recordings soundtrack, from the original CD+DVD release to the limited edition vinyls.
- no ads of any kind at the start of any of the discs
- Use a consistent colour tint. Some may have noticed that only the extended edition of The Fellowship of the Ring (on blu-ray, and some digital avenues) featured a different palette and colouring than the DVDs did. Please get rid of any colouring or tint issues, and possibly use the same company/team that worked on the extended DVDs. There have been some great 4K transfers done by WB lately - the Middle-earth films should be no exception.
- include all the special features, from both previous extended and theatrical sets. If possible, on blu-ray or 4K blu-ray discs, as opposed to DVDs (like what the special features were on for the extended Lord of the Rings boxed set)
- keep the same menus (and design style) that was featured on the DVD and blu-ray editions: very classy.

The 12 disc DVD set from 2004 was the crown jewel in my DVD library. The blu-ray - yes, The Lord of the Rings extended in HD is nice, but the packaging left a little to be desired, as well as the 'forced' ads in front of some of the discs. If the same care goes into the 4K release that went into the original DVD set, I'll be very satisfied.

I truly hope that Peter Jackson or Warner Bros reads this.

October 4, 2019

Hunger Games prequel Novel Officially Announced

The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes (a Hunger Games Novel) by Suzanne Collins

Earlier today, the prequel novel to The Hunger Games trilogy, titled The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was announced.

Here is the official - as of now - description:

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger Games Novel) will revisit the world of Panem sixty-four years before the events of The Hunger Games, starting on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games.
It is to be published on May 19 by Scholastic, and will be 624 pages.

I imagine many book retailers are now offering pre-orders, so providing an ISBN won't be needed - especially given the popularity of the series.

October 3, 2019

Letters From Father Christmas: Deluxe Edition Details Revealed


Earlier today, details from the forthcoming deluxe edition of Letters From Father Christmas have been revealed.

Here's the info:


ISBN: 9780008327729

"This beautiful, deluxe slipcased edition of Tolkien’s famous illustrated letters from Father Christmas to his children includes for the first time every letter, picture and envelope that he sent them, reproduced in glorious colour. The perfect Christmas gift for Tolkien lovers of all ages.

This classic festive book of Tolkien’s amazing Father Christmas letters written to his children between the 1920s and the 1940s has been reworked into a sumptuous, new deluxe edition. It contains brand new high-quality digital reproductions of his wonderful letters and pictures, including a number them that have never been printed before, a revised introduction by Baillie Tolkien, and a special full-colour, foldout frontispiece.

‘My dear children, I am more shaky than usual this year. The North Polar Bear’s fault. It was the biggest bang in the world, and the most monstrous firework there has ever been. It turned the North Pole black!’
Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J. R. R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in strange spidery handwriting and a beautiful coloured drawing or some sketches. The letters were from Father Christmas.
They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole:

• How all the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place.
• How the accident-prone Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house into the dining-room
• How he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden
• How there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house!

Sometimes the Polar Bear would scrawl a note, and sometimes Ilbereth the Elf would write in his elegant flowing script, adding yet more life and humour to the stories. From the first note to Tolkien’s eldest son in 1920 to the final poignant letter to his daughter in 1943, this book collects all the remarkable letters and pictures in one enchanting edition. No reader, young or old, can fail to be charmed by the inventiveness of Tolkien’s Letters from Father Christmas."

Looks lie pretty nice. I like how it's a "Christmas-ized" version of the deluxe edition format. For instance: the icicles, the silver and white lettering, the silver ribbon-marker, etc. Also given the style of the slipcase, it looks like it'll fit, height-wise, with the other titles (The Facsimile Hobbit (book from 2016, and the gift set from 2017), The Lord of the Rings 60th anniversary illustrated edition, and the deluxe edition of Jemima Catlin's Hobbit don't go with the rest of the deluxes, in terms of height.

It is highly unlikely that I'll get this edition, though: the paperback (my edition says 2015 on the copyright page, but the release date on some retailers says 2009...) edition will do me just fine :) Though I'd love to get the audio CD narrated by Jacobi.

This looks to be the finalized or definitive edition, as it'll have everything related to Tolkien writing as father Christmas that he ever made, as well as it'll combine all prior releases into one set. I do not believe that the art will be removable though - could be wrong.

I'm also curious which image will be used as the foldout frontispiece they mention: "...and a special full-colour, foldout frontispiece." I think it’ll be two images side by side: “Dressed for the Snow and the Cold” with ‘my house’ (sometimes as one image, but two “panels"). If those are next to each other, than those as the frontispiece could easily be foldout. Or, perhaps, the wider version of "The North Pole" :