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The epic "Lord of the Rings" film has been launched at a glitzy world premiere with critics already hailing the mammoth fantasy as a masterpiece. ... "The movie works. It has real passion," Newsweek declared. "I really got a sense of awe and grandeur," said the film critic for Entertainment Weekly. "The effects are blended in extremely well with the fabric of the movie," Variety said. ~ Reuters

"Rings" director Peter Jackson was joined by several cast members, including Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortenson, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd, Ian Holm, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Sean Bean and Andy Serkis. ... Cheers erupted at the film's conclusion. Attendees at the postparty lavished praise on the film, calling it "extraordinary" and "jaw dropping." One said that "the special effects lit up the imagination." ... The boxoffice feeding frenzy for advanced tickets is well under way, with the three main U.K. theater chains -- Odeon Cinemas, Warner Village Cinemas and UCI Cinemas -- declaring meltdown on telephone and online sales already. ~ Hollywood Reporter

Actress Liv Tyler and young heartthrob Elijah Wood have brought the magic of Middle Earth to London. ... They cast a spell on a crowd of 2,000 who were screaming for them as they arrived at the star-studded screening of the £76 million movie. Tyler was stunned by the reception. "I've seen nothing like this ever before," she said. ~ Ananova

Christopher Lee ... said he was seeing the film for the first time at the premiere but was confident it was going to be fantastic. "Someone asked me what my greatest ambition in life is and I replied that it was to live to see the third film," Lee said. Wood said the film was breathtaking and he hoped it would inspire a whole new generation to read the books. ... Sir Ian McKellan ... said making the movie was "everything I dreamed it might be." ~ Reuters

Although it took more than a year to shoot the three films in the $270 million production consecutively, McKellen says the commitment was well worth it. "I would have spent two years or three years doing this," he says. "It was a wonderful experience." ... All were in agreement that the aspect of the shooting they'd miss least was the makeup. Elijah Wood ... said he had difficulty keeping his big (prosthetic) feet — which are a hobbit's signature physical trait — from slipping off. "I have sweaty feet," he admits. ... Christopher Lee ... believes Tolkien would have been proud of their work. "I think we have put the spirit of Tolkien on the screen," says Lee, who met the writer in the 1950s. ~ USA Today

Critics were today acclaiming the new Lord of the Rings movie as "hotter than Potter" as last night's world premiere of the film opened to rave reviews. The adaptation of JRR Tolkien's classic is set to steal the thunder of smash hit Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, they said. ~ Daily Mail

Christopher Lee, who plays the dark wizard Saruman, said that he usually avoided premieres. ... Sir Ian McKellen, who plays Gandalf the wizard, flew into London by Concorde from New York to be at the premiere. ... With him was an executive producer of the film, Saul Zaentz, 80, a legendary Hollywood figure who told of how he bought the rights to the J R R Tolkien stories back in 1977. ... Zaentz said: "I spent around 20 million - dollars that is. "It was a hell of a lot of money in those days. The move, made in all innocence, is now looking rather smart." ~ Daily Telegraph

The cast of the fantasy epic "Lord of the Rings" united for a double celebration -- they all had a tattoo and all agreed director Peter Jackson was a genius. ... "It wasn't painful. In fact it was joyful. It was symbolic of the friendship that kept us together for over a year. For the rest of my life I will be proud to wear this little badge of Lord of the Rings," he [McKellen] said. ... The cast were all re-united for a raucous group photo on the steps of the Odeon Cinema in London's Leicester Square. Much rowdy jocularity greeted the late arrival of Hollywood star Liv Tyler. "Sorry, I was just going to the bathroom," she explained as they all cheered. ... Actor after actor -- from McKellen to Ian Holm, from Sean Bean to the star hobbit Elijah Wood, paid tribute to Jackson's directorship. ~ Reuters/Variety

No expense was spared for the party following the premiere of the movie adaptation of JRR Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings. Two thousand guests were bussed to the party at a warehouse in Tobacco Dock after the Leicester Square premiere. The warehouse had been specially modified as a 100,000sq ft arena built by a dozen set designers who had been flown in from New Zealand to recreate Middle-earth in Wapping. ... Director Peter Jackson decided to bring the debut of the trilogy to London, saying: "We had workers from the US, and plenty of Kiwis, but the man who started it all was from Britain." ... Elijah Wood ... said: "I felt we did a great job. We had ourselves branded with tattoos a week before the filming was ended. The marks we had done meant the nine members of the fellowship. It's Elven language for the word nine. We are really proud of the film." ... Christopher Lee ... said: " We made three remarkable books into three remarkable films." ... Sheffield-born Sean Bean ... said: "I have really never done anything like this before - it's an amazing epic." ... Holm said: "I think this film is a masterpiece and I think it will make more people read the book." ~ This is London

The Lord of the Rings has been years in the making, and on Monday it finally hit the world's screens. The Fellowship of the Ring, the first of three movies inspired by the work of JRR Tolkien and directed by Peter Jackson screened in London on Tuesday morning NZT, to almost universal acclaim. The biggest event in New Zealand's movie history was witnessed by an army of the world's media and a star-studded audience. ... Also starring is the special effects of Weta Productions, used to transform New Zealand into Middle Earth. ... Television talk show host Frank Skinner was impressed with the scenery. "I really want to go to New Zealand now because it looked really gorgeous. ~ TVNZ

Hobbits, wizards and orcs ran riot in London’s Leicester Square last night ... and that was just the fans. Onlookers donned all manner of Tolkien-inspired garb when they turned out to greet the stars of Peter Jackson’s adaptation of archetypal fantasy epic, The Lord of The Rings. ... Legolas the elf, Gimli the dwarf, Gandalf the wizard, Aragorn, Boromir and Hobbits four were all present and correct. The band were joined by elven beauty Arwen and dark wizard Saruman, all out of costume but fully in spirit for the film’s world premiere. ... In fact, the cast were universally energised about the film and the only regret seems to be that the whole experience is now behind them, with filming on all three films complete and the fairy tale scenery of the New Zealand shoot left behind. ~ Empire Magazine

[livejournal.com profile] not_alone's wonderful "A Journey with Frodo" has, of course, covered the premiere in such great detail. She has a ton of pics, some that I had but mine were much smaller and covered with watermarks, so please click through and take a look. What's she's collected is a must see.

When I first started saving Rings-related pictures about 5 or so years ago I was in such a film-obsessed frenzy I never thought to mark where I found something. If you recognize any of these pictures as coming from a particular site, please let me know so I can give credit. I have a few more but they are all horribly watermarked. But I know that other people have some amazing pics they've been collecting since long before I discovered these magical movies so please share them. There are some pictures in TORN's scrapbook as well.

WETA took a moment to look back at Fellowship this week as well. Share their memories, some great pics, and a small clip from the Wellington premiere.

And last, but certainly not least, Ian McKellen's memories of the premiere. He begins: "In my early teens, I had a daydream, based on the BBC radio’s programme A Seat in the Circle (or somesuch promise of romance) where new cinema and stage shows were previewed for avid listeners like me. So when I was about to open in a new play at school, perhaps during the long walk from the bus to the dress rehearsal, I would fantasize that our play was important enough to have me interviewed by the BBC’s entertainment correspondent. Pretending I was a famous actor, I would mumble a monologue of modest answers to non-existent questions, which baffled any passers-by, who could rightly have assumed I was a little loopy. Fifty years on, this forgotten memory returned last Monday, somewhere during the evening of the world premiere of Fellowship of the Ring at the Odeon Theatre, Leicester Square in the heart of London. Tolkien honoured, as Peter Jackson put it before the screening, in his own country first." Read the rest at The Grey Book.

Coming next: I hope to post some videos from the premieres, including one of the first I ever say of Billy and Dom together from New York.
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