Stephen Colbert with hobbit feet

As Stephen Colbert, the bombastic host of The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert says a lot of things that Stephen Colbert, comedian and family man, might not necessarily agree with. But one thing neither version of Colbert has ever been fake about is his enduring love for Middle-earth. No less an authority than Peter Jackson has declared Colbert the biggest “Tolkien geek” he’s ever met.

This year, Colbert’s decades-long obsession culminated in an actual role in the latest installment of Jackson’s Tolkien franchise, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. But you’d be forgiven if you failed to notice — Colbert, along with his family, appears for just the blink of an eye. Hit the jump to check out their cameos in GIF form.

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Peter Jackson in The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug Production Diary 14

As eye-popping as the glittering gold piles, sinister dragon eyes, and deep, dark forests of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug are, they wouldn’t be quite as impressive without an appropriate soundtrack. That’s where Howard Shore comes in.

The Canadian composer has scored every installment of Peter Jackson‘s J.R.R. Tolkien franchise to date. For his trouble, Shore has won three Oscars — Best Original Score for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, plus Best Original Song for Return of the King‘s “Into the West.” Now he and his music are the focus of the final Hobbit production diary of 2013, which you can watch after the jump.

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With Christmas vacation quickly approaching, odds are members of your family are going to want to take a trip to Middle Earth. Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is now in theaters, and it features some incredibly gorgeous creatures. Designer Andrew Baker posted a whole bunch of the original concepts and designs of the film’s characters such as Smaug, Beorn and more. Check them out below. Read More »

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DaveDevindra, and Jeff Cannata from Newest Latest Best discuss the scourge of Shia LaBeouf plagiarism, praise the mystery of the Interstellar trailer, and evaluate Peter Jackson’s newest Hobbit film.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Also, like us on Facebook!
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Peter Jackson‘s fifth J.R.R. Tolkien adaptation and second Hobbit film, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, is now in theaters. It picks up right where 2012′s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey left off, with Bilbo (Martin Freeman), Thorin (Richard Armitage), Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and a company of Dwarves en route to the Lonely Mountain to defeat the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) and rightfully reclaim Dwarven fortune and lands.

The Desolation of Smaug not only continues that storyline, but introduces a ton of new characters and also considerably ups the level of action, giving Jackson plenty of room to play with special effects. Characters like Bard (Luke Evans), Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), Thranduil (Lee Pace) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom, reprising the role) add even more scope, but also more story for the film to work through.

There’s lots to talk about in regards to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and here’s where you can do it. I’ve weighed in with my review but we want to hear yours. Did you think the film improved on An Unexpected Journey? Which format did you see it in? Was the effect of high frame rate any different this time out? How about the IMAX? What did you think of the additions and computer graphics? All spoilers are allowed below. Read More »

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With the next 2.5 hour iteration of The Hobbit (see Germain’s review) now hitting theaters amidst a wave of non-stop publicity and hype, it’s easy to forget how awe-inspiring Peter Jackson’s original Lord of the Rings trilogy was, both critically and commercially. Back in 2003, Return of the King scored a whopping 94% on Rottentomatoes, made over a billion dollars at the box office and won all 11 Academy Awards for which it was nominated,

This week, as I crammed myself into an outlandishly packed screening of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, I realized that for me, and for a few other critics, these films have lost their feeling of wonder and anticipation. And I began to think: why did this happen? I try to explore this in this week’s video essay reviewing the film. Check it out after the jump.
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Minor spoilers for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug follow.

Orcs have always been a primary obstacle to progress in Middle Earth. As Frodo travelled to Mount Doom, Orcs kept trying to kill him and his friends. The same goes for Bilbo in The Hobbit. The disgusting creatures are all over the lands of Middle Earth, with a thirst for dwarf and hobbit blood. In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the Orc leader was Azog the Defiler, a particularly large, treacherous white Orc brought to the screen with computer graphics.

As The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug begins, Azog is given a new task and his son Bolg takes over the job of tracking down Thorin Oakenshield and the dwarves company that is en route to the Lonely Mountain. Bolg is also CG, but his foot soldiers are practical, just like the Orcs of Lord of the Rings.

That’s the backstory; now to get to the point. In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, both Azog and Bolg are CG while the others Orcs are actors in practical makeup. But director Peter Jackson originally filmed Bolg in live action on set, and a photo has now shown up online. Check it out below. Read More »

Luke Evans Bard Hobbit Desolation Smaug

Right around the time of Comic-Con 2012, Peter Jackson and his team decided The Hobbit was going to be three movies instead of two. Originally, the movies were called The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There And Back Again, but when another movie was added the third movie took the title of the second and the second one was named The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. It’s in theaters now.

Obviously a third movie completely changed how Jackson and fellow writers Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh had to structure the films. Jackson has now revealed where the initial split between the two films would have occurred. Read More »

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