The Bridge Direct - The Hobbit

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Holy cow, talk about a resurrection!

For a while I would drop by their Facebook page and remind them that they suck, but they now delete any posts that have to do with the Hobbit. Jerks.
If only real life was that easy, to delete one's opposite opinions.
 
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I still think Bridge Direct got screwed pretty hard by the studio, so I find it hard to give them so much blame. Especially since I’ll always be grateful they gave me a 4” Gandalf, Bilbo, Legolas and Gollum. Sure, all the dwarves would have been cool, but the movies were so awful I don’t even care.

The bigger disappointment is that Bridge Directs figures were very good, and this debacle seems to have chased them out of the market.
 
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I believe they merged/got bought out by another toy company. That being said, it was 100% TBDs fault. Their distribution was horrible. The figures were never found at over half of the retailers where their website claimed they would be sold.

A few years doesn't make people forget the incompetence.
 
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Maybe it was simply fate. You can't make such great looking figures for at such a low price and expect to surviv the market right. At least that's what Hasbro has told us.

And IMO, the Movies don't affect figure sales. Look how well Star Wars Movies do, transformers etc. But toy sales are down across the board.
 
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I guess time doesn't heal all wounds. :)

Interesting, Bridge Direct as a company no longer exists. They merged multiple business units/companies to rebrand as Basic Fun.

Basic Fun
 
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I guess time doesn't heal all wounds. :)

Interesting, Bridge Direct as a company no longer exists. They merged multiple business units/companies to rebrand as Basic Fun.

Basic Fun
Basic Fun may be one of the worst company names I've ever heard. What, was Run of the Mill, Inc. already taken?

And yeah, still annoyed that I don't at least have all 13 dwarves.
 
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To be honest, I can't even remember what we...did...get. I seem to recall seeing more coming but they never got released. If I recall correct, we never got many of the Dwarves (in either scale), Bard, Thranduil, the Master, Dain Ironfoot, Beorn (bear or human form), Mirkwood Spiders, the three Trolls, Bolg and others.

I will say though, the figures they did make were surprisingly nice. I liked them, though I've said I only got the larger scale stuff to match the Toybiz LOTR line.

To be honest, I have very...mixed emotions...on the Hobbit trilogy. I'm mostly OK with An Unexpected Journey, but things really started going downhill for me once you get to The Desolation of Smaug. Then (for me) it's just a massive drop in quality once you hit The Battle of Five Armies. Some issues I have are:

1. Now I completely understand that Legolas wasn't created at the time The Hobbit was written, but he indeed probably would have been among the Mirkwood Elves in the story. Heck the Elven king wasn't even named by that point. So I was fine with a small addition of Legolas, my issue is what they DID with him. Keep him very limited, more like a cameo, and I'd have had no problem. Instead he becomes almost a major player and I just totally disliked that. It felt like selling out, overly shoving him in our face to get female butts in the seats. Legolas in the LOTR trilogy becomes increasingly more ridiculous as the films progress. I always argued, the perfect Legolas was in Fellowship. He's bad***, but he's not pulling absurdist stunts. He's more grounded. Once you get to Two Towers, you have the eyerolling shield skateboard scene, but fine. I can stomach it since it's so short. Then Jackson felt this odd need to one up THAT, having Legolas solo kill an entirely Mumikil by himself. That is the one moment in the entire trilogy that actually had me check out for a second. It's so Hollywood. What is he, Spider-Man?

.....but then you get to him in The Hobbit and it's this whole NEW level of SILLY. He's like a cartoon character, defying gravity and such and just this invulnerable killing machine. It's too much. I strongly dislike that Bolg's death was given to Legolas and taken from Beorn. I half expected Jackson to have Legolas shoot the Black Arrow at Smaug. Hah!

2. I actually think it was very wise to visually differentiate the dwarves as, in the novel, outside of Bombur (the fat one), Thorin (the leader), and Fili and Kili (the young ones), they're all fairly interchangeable. Making them more unique and individualized was a smart move. It works better on film. My nitpick is, God do some look downright silly. I get that The Hobbit is far more whimsy, but some just look...kind of stupid. Some don't even especially look like Dwarves. Kili just looks like a really short dude. What's up with the one with the ax embedded in his head? I def. think the best designed Dwarf was Balin, which kind of makes me a hypocrite as he is probably closest to how they're all described in the book.

3. It's kind of sad that the Orcs/Goblins (for example) look SIGNIFICANTLY better in LOTR then they do here. Just way too much CGI. I think I read somewhere that they were going to go with all prosthetic Orcs and Goblins, but due to Del Toro bailing last minute they just didn't have the time anymore. Not sure if that's true.

4. The Story...oh Boy.

I'll get what I did like out of the way first. Riddles in the Dark was perfectly captured. Bilbo meeting Smaug and his subsequent attack on Laketown was fantastic. Martin Freeman was excellently cast as Bilbo, he basically is Bilbo. Their cover of the Misty Mountains song is utterly bone-chillingly beautiful. I can never here it differently now. Like I said, I do like the dwarves were individualized...albeit not caring for some of their designs. Just the whole introduction of all the Dwarves and Gandalf was very well done. I think it was a good choice to expand Bard into more of a character as he is the hero who defeats Smaug...but really is barely in the novel. The Trollshaw scene is very similar to how I visualized it. Laketown looks gorgeous, very Dickens. I also adore the set designs for Mirkwood and the Elven Kings hall, Erebor, and Beorns home. The flashback to the battle of Moria was great. McKellen, as always, is brilliant as Gandalf.

However, I just have way more issues than not. Perhaps my biggest issue is that The Hobbit is Bilbo's story, but as the films go on...he's very much sidelined and overshadowed. I might go as far as to even say, he's almost forgotten by the end of it. A good example is, Bilbo's real moment of action in the novels is when he saves the Dwarves from the spiders. In the films, this is mostly taken away from him and given to others.

The films just seem very disjointed to me. Jackson seems obsessed with bridging The Hobbit to LOTR, hence the inclusion of the White Council and appendix. Now I know, that stuff mostly does happen in lore during the events of The Hobbit...just was it truly necessary to the immediate story OF The Hobbit? The Necromancer subplot just makes the films overly complicated. This really causes tone issues IMO as The Hobbit is not as serious as Rings, but he seems conflicted as to go with a more serious Rings tone or with the more lighthearted Hobbit novel tone. It keeps swapping back and forth and just doesn't seem to know what it wants to be.

Jackson also seems obsessed with overly heightening events from the book. Everything is now running on some cocaine-infused action movie level. Good examples are: In the novel, the stone giants are really up for interpretation. A lot seem to think it's just a metaphor for a particularly harsh storm causing boulders to fall. It's a very small passage in the book. In the films, this passage is interpreted as very literal stone giants fighting and creates some mega action scene. It's...fine...but just highlights what I think is an issue with the scripts. Jackson didn't want to do The Hobbit and his concerns seemed to more so be less with story and more in visual spectacle. The Dwarves can't just run from the goblins, they have to go through a sort of swinging trapeze segment. The barrel ride segment is now made into some adrenaline rush theme park ride riddled with a battle made up of facepalm level cartoon goofiness. Smaug was fantastic, but the Smaug "fight" in the climax of the second film is utterly pointless and just complete time filler. With or without it, the results end the same: he attacks laketown.

Now I do understand that book Bilbo is our POV character and he's knocked out near the beginnings of the Battle of Five Armies, but on film you most certainly have to SHOW the battle rather than have it recapped to him after. I'm fine with that, that makes sense to me. But yet again, it's just HOW it was done. It's filled with bizarrely over-the-top sequences. God there's the scene when Bofur takes control of the Troll that has weapons for hands, legs, and in blind. Just so much of the battle, especially the extended version, is filled with gags. A good case in point are the Wereworms. When that happened, I legitimately said "What?" out loud. I actually had to go home and look them up, I didn't recall them. Turns out, Wereworms are mentioned once in a single sentence and are actually considered a myth or fairy tale within the context OF the book itself. They don't actually exist. I didn't know Tremors were in Middle Earth! I mean everything was so heightened. The trollshaw now has ACTION! The spider sequence is now made up of 50% more ACTION! You can't just meet Beorn, he has to try to kill them first. ACTION! I'm shocked he didn't have Gollum and Bilbo have a sword fight. The White Council FIGHTS the Nazgul...ghost...things...whatever the heck they are?! Plus I've always found it strange that Peter seems obsessed with making Galadriel some super-powered being or sorts. She's not to my knowledge, magical perhaps...but she's most definitely not as powerful as the Istari wizards.

Then there's the stuff they just completely made up. Tauriel and the cringe-level love story, it's so tacked on. I was even fine with making a Mirkwood elf a larger role, perhaps some of the guards there were female. Just yet again, it's what they did with it I disliked. Apparently even Evangeline Lily even hated it. She's a major Tolkien fan in real life and signed on under the pretense that she would NOT be used in some added on and concocted love triangle...only to be used in an added on and concocted love triangle. Apparently she was NOT happy. The romantic subplot was very clearly a suits idea, some business type looking at test results and crunching numbers and seeing "Oh we'll get such and such percentage more women and teens in seats if we include this." Azog is kind of cool, but again seems tacked on just to make a more immediate threat all throughout. Granted Azog did exist in Tolkien lore, but in books he's been long dead by the time of The Hobbit. Alfred AKA "Not Wormtongue" is like the Jar Jar Binks of these films. Wait...I take that back. Radaghast is! While it's kind of cool seeing him visualized...why is he really here? And why is he so animated and ridiculous? I understand he's described as eccentric, but yeesh ...a bunny sled?! What?! Radaghast is portrayed more like a Harry Potter character than a Tolkien wizard.

Just overall, I've seen worse movies and there is stuff to be enjoyed...but I'm not sure I've seen a worse adaptation. It's rare for me to say, but while the live-action Rings is vastly superior to the animated, the old animated Hobbit is the better in this case. It's so much truer to the spirit of what Tolkien wrote. Jackson always did confess, he's not a big fan of The Hobbit...and it shows IMO. The troubled production shows too, as does the last minute change from two to three films in the pacing issues. Opening with Smaug attacking laketown is an odd decision. Of course this is just my opinion, but overall they're very disappointing films, particularly when compared to LOTR. The films just seem so plagued with half-notions and last minute decisions and additions. From what I understand, that's not even my opinion...but fact.
 
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While I enjoyed all the films, yes - way too much over the top action where it wasn't necessary. And too much Legolas and Tauriel. No problem them being in the movie, just shouldn't have been such a focal point.

Of course, the switch from two to three movies may also have doomed Bridge Direct. Not sure how given all the dwarves were in all three movies but release date changes can certainly impact a smaller company. Maybe not Hasbro or Mattel, but definitely Bridge Direct.
 
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To be honest, I can't even remember what we...did...get. I seem to recall seeing more coming but they never got released. If I recall correct, we never got many of the Dwarves (in either scale), Bard, Thranduil, the Master, Dain Ironfoot, Beorn (bear or human form), Mirkwood Spiders, the three Trolls, Bolg and others.

I will say though, the figures they did make were surprisingly nice. I liked them, though I've said I only got the larger scale stuff to match the Toybiz LOTR line.

To be honest, I have very...mixed emotions...on the Hobbit trilogy. I'm mostly OK with An Unexpected Journey, but things really started going downhill for me once you get to The Desolation of Smaug. Then (for me) it's just a massive drop in quality once you hit The Battle of Five Armies. Some issues I have are:

1. Now I completely understand that Legolas wasn't created at the time The Hobbit was written, but he indeed probably would have been among the Mirkwood Elves in the story. Heck the Elven king wasn't even named by that point. So I was fine with a small addition of Legolas, my issue is what they DID with him. Keep him very limited, more like a cameo, and I'd have had no problem. Instead he becomes almost a major player and I just totally disliked that. It felt like selling out, overly shoving him in our face to get female butts in the seats. Legolas in the LOTR trilogy becomes increasingly more ridiculous as the films progress. I always argued, the perfect Legolas was in Fellowship. He's bad***, but he's not pulling absurdist stunts. He's more grounded. Once you get to Two Towers, you have the eyerolling shield skateboard scene, but fine. I can stomach it since it's so short. Then Jackson felt this odd need to one up THAT, having Legolas solo kill an entirely Mumikil by himself. That is the one moment in the entire trilogy that actually had me check out for a second. It's so Hollywood. What is he, Spider-Man?

.....but then you get to him in The Hobbit and it's this whole NEW level of SILLY. He's like a cartoon character, defying gravity and such and just this invulnerable killing machine. It's too much. I strongly dislike that Bolg's death was given to Legolas and taken from Beorn. I half expected Jackson to have Legolas shoot the Black Arrow at Smaug. Hah!

2. I actually think it was very wise to visually differentiate the dwarves as, in the novel, outside of Bombur (the fat one), Thorin (the leader), and Fili and Kili (the young ones), they're all fairly interchangeable. Making them more unique and individualized was a smart move. It works better on film. My nitpick is, God do some look downright silly. I get that The Hobbit is far more whimsy, but some just look...kind of stupid. Some don't even especially look like Dwarves. Kili just looks like a really short dude. What's up with the one with the ax embedded in his head? I def. think the best designed Dwarf was Balin, which kind of makes me a hypocrite as he is probably closest to how they're all described in the book.

3. It's kind of sad that the Orcs/Goblins (for example) look SIGNIFICANTLY better in LOTR then they do here. Just way too much CGI. I think I read somewhere that they were going to go with all prosthetic Orcs and Goblins, but due to Del Toro bailing last minute they just didn't have the time anymore. Not sure if that's true.

4. The Story...oh Boy.

I'll get what I did like out of the way first. Riddles in the Dark was perfectly captured. Bilbo meeting Smaug and his subsequent attack on Laketown was fantastic. Martin Freeman was excellently cast as Bilbo, he basically is Bilbo. Their cover of the Misty Mountains song is utterly bone-chillingly beautiful. I can never here it differently now. Like I said, I do like the dwarves were individualized...albeit not caring for some of their designs. Just the whole introduction of all the Dwarves and Gandalf was very well done. I think it was a good choice to expand Bard into more of a character as he is the hero who defeats Smaug...but really is barely in the novel. The Trollshaw scene is very similar to how I visualized it. Laketown looks gorgeous, very Dickens. I also adore the set designs for Mirkwood and the Elven Kings hall, Erebor, and Beorns home. The flashback to the battle of Moria was great. McKellen, as always, is brilliant as Gandalf.

However, I just have way more issues than not. Perhaps my biggest issue is that The Hobbit is Bilbo's story, but as the films go on...he's very much sidelined and overshadowed. I might go as far as to even say, he's almost forgotten by the end of it. A good example is, Bilbo's real moment of action in the novels is when he saves the Dwarves from the spiders. In the films, this is mostly taken away from him and given to others.

The films just seem very disjointed to me. Jackson seems obsessed with bridging The Hobbit to LOTR, hence the inclusion of the White Council and appendix. Now I know, that stuff mostly does happen in lore during the events of The Hobbit...just was it truly necessary to the immediate story OF The Hobbit? The Necromancer subplot just makes the films overly complicated. This really causes tone issues IMO as The Hobbit is not as serious as Rings, but he seems conflicted as to go with a more serious Rings tone or with the more lighthearted Hobbit novel tone. It keeps swapping back and forth and just doesn't seem to know what it wants to be.

Jackson also seems obsessed with overly heightening events from the book. Everything is now running on some cocaine-infused action movie level. Good examples are: In the novel, the stone giants are really up for interpretation. A lot seem to think it's just a metaphor for a particularly harsh storm causing boulders to fall. It's a very small passage in the book. In the films, this passage is interpreted as very literal stone giants fighting and creates some mega action scene. It's...fine...but just highlights what I think is an issue with the scripts. Jackson didn't want to do The Hobbit and his concerns seemed to more so be less with story and more in visual spectacle. The Dwarves can't just run from the goblins, they have to go through a sort of swinging trapeze segment. The barrel ride segment is now made into some adrenaline rush theme park ride riddled with a battle made up of facepalm level cartoon goofiness. Smaug was fantastic, but the Smaug "fight" in the climax of the second film is utterly pointless and just complete time filler. With or without it, the results end the same: he attacks laketown.

Now I do understand that book Bilbo is our POV character and he's knocked out near the beginnings of the Battle of Five Armies, but on film you most certainly have to SHOW the battle rather than have it recapped to him after. I'm fine with that, that makes sense to me. But yet again, it's just HOW it was done. It's filled with bizarrely over-the-top sequences. God there's the scene when Bofur takes control of the Troll that has weapons for hands, legs, and in blind. Just so much of the battle, especially the extended version, is filled with gags. A good case in point are the Wereworms. When that happened, I legitimately said "What?" out loud. I actually had to go home and look them up, I didn't recall them. Turns out, Wereworms are mentioned once in a single sentence and are actually considered a myth or fairy tale within the context OF the book itself. They don't actually exist. I didn't know Tremors were in Middle Earth! I mean everything was so heightened. The trollshaw now has ACTION! The spider sequence is now made up of 50% more ACTION! You can't just meet Beorn, he has to try to kill them first. ACTION! I'm shocked he didn't have Gollum and Bilbo have a sword fight. The White Council FIGHTS the Nazgul...ghost...things...whatever the heck they are?! Plus I've always found it strange that Peter seems obsessed with making Galadriel some super-powered being or sorts. She's not to my knowledge, magical perhaps...but she's most definitely not as powerful as the Istari wizards.

Then there's the stuff they just completely made up. Tauriel and the cringe-level love story, it's so tacked on. I was even fine with making a Mirkwood elf a larger role, perhaps some of the guards there were female. Just yet again, it's what they did with it I disliked. Apparently even Evangeline Lily even hated it. She's a major Tolkien fan in real life and signed on under the pretense that she would NOT be used in some added on and concocted love triangle...only to be used in an added on and concocted love triangle. Apparently she was NOT happy. The romantic subplot was very clearly a suits idea, some business type looking at test results and crunching numbers and seeing "Oh we'll get such and such percentage more women and teens in seats if we include this." Azog is kind of cool, but again seems tacked on just to make a more immediate threat all throughout. Granted Azog did exist in Tolkien lore, but in books he's been long dead by the time of The Hobbit. Alfred AKA "Not Wormtongue" is like the Jar Jar Binks of these films. Wait...I take that back. Radaghast is! While it's kind of cool seeing him visualized...why is he really here? And why is he so animated and ridiculous? I understand he's described as eccentric, but yeesh ...a bunny sled?! What?! Radaghast is portrayed more like a Harry Potter character than a Tolkien wizard.

Just overall, I've seen worse movies and there is stuff to be enjoyed...but I'm not sure I've seen a worse adaptation. It's rare for me to say, but while the live-action Rings is vastly superior to the animated, the old animated Hobbit is the better in this case. It's so much truer to the spirit of what Tolkien wrote. Jackson always did confess, he's not a big fan of The Hobbit...and it shows IMO. The troubled production shows too, as does the last minute change from two to three films in the pacing issues. Opening with Smaug attacking laketown is an odd decision. Of course this is just my opinion, but overall they're very disappointing films, particularly when compared to LOTR. The films just seem so plagued with half-notions and last minute decisions and additions. From what I understand, that's not even my opinion...but fact.
Yeah, I mostly agree with this.

First of all, there should never have been three films. And certainly not three 3-hour films. There's just not enough story to fill that much time, even with the additional material. So much of it feels drawn out that it makes the movies very hard to sit through in some spots. Two films would have been more than enough, and I kind of think you could actually do it in one 3-hour movie. That one movie would have to move fast, but I think it would work.

The special effects in The Hobbit Trilogy are not good, especially compared to the LOTR films, which were made over a decade earlier and look ten times better. Jackson used every trick in the book on LOTR. I remember a behind-the-scenes documentary that said sometimes that meant CGI, sometimes it meant forced perspective, sometimes it meant having an actor stand on a box to appear taller. But it all worked. The mix of practical effects and CGI is fantastic and largely seamless. In The Hobbit, CGI is the default setting, and a lot of it winds up looking dated almost immediately. It takes you right out of the movie.

Like you said, the action sequences are all ratcheted up several notches, but still somehow wind up completely boring in many cases. The Goblin Town scene is utterly ridiculous. As is the barrel ride. At no time do I feel any real sense of urgency or danger in those scenes because it's all just so over-the-top and silly. Not to mention fake because of the questionable CGI. And they're also not even fun. They feel like video game sequences, and not even very good ones. I realize we're dealing with a fantasy world, and I'm not demanding 100% realism from a Tolkien movie. But when dwarves, who are still mortal beings made of flesh, bone, and blood, are flying around like they're made of paper, falling down great distances and getting up and walking away like they just stubbed their toe, or bursting through a barrel with ninja moves, it stretches the movie's credibility.

I don't have a problem with Tauriel's character. I completely understand the instinct to add a female character to the story. Otherwise, we're looking at a big Middle Earth sausage fest. And Evangeline Lilly is a natural in these kinds of roles. I don't even really mind the love story too much, but I would have preferred if it was a bit more subtle and not an actual subplot. I also don't mind Radagast. Sylvester McCoy is a lot of fun. But as you pointed out, he doesn't really have much of a purpose. And yeah, a Legolas cameo would have been enough.

I also totally get the need to address Sauron/The Necromancer. The audience is aware he's a thing, so it would almost seem out of place to NOT mention him. But I almost wish Galadriel and Saruman didn't appear at all, and instead there's just a conversation between Gandalf and Elrond about Sauron and the threat he poses. I kind of like Gandalf and Radagast going to investigate and maybe having a brief encounter with the Necromancer, but I agree the fight sequences are a bit much.

Why the hell does the Master of Laketown's assistant get his own subplot? If that doesn't demonstrate how padded these movies are, I don't know what does.
 
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I mean, had Legolas existed at the time of The Hobbit's writing...he'd likely be seated next to the Elven king Thranduil. If not, he'd at least be there somewhere. I get it. I wasn't opposed to him showing up, but they just went waaaaaaay too far with him. In fact, a lot of the references were cringe. Referencing Aragorn AKA Strider seemed so pandering and random. Plus, does that even really add up timeline wise? Showing a sketch of Gimli was a bit more understandable, but still felt somewhat forced. I found Gandalf saying "Sauron" to be almost insulting to the audiences intelligence. Yeah Peter, we know who it is. I still don't know what is going on with the "ghost" Nazgul things. Like what are the rules there, what are they and how are they able to be interacted with...but also...not at the same time? Huh? There's just strange stuff like that all through the films, like that odd moment when Thranduil shows Thorin he's somehow secretly scarred. It's like, wait what? Is he magical or something? It's so random. how is he doing that? But it's never even shown or brought up again. Why is Azog the villain anyway? Why didn't they just stick to the books and make Bolg the main Orc villain? Rewrite it as Thorin killed Azog in the Moria flashback and his son, Bolg the Orc, has a lifelong vendetta. At least it's a little more accurate to the lore.

Just so many strange decisions were made that really bogged the films down.

I have to be honest, aside from just overly CGI, I'm not even really a fan of a lot of the designs for the Orcs/Goblins in the Hobbit films either. I really think they went a little...too...far with this trend of making them sickly, amputated, or deformed. Back when it was just Gothmog from Return of the King it worked, but here it's like every other Troll, Orc, or Goblin. Azog gets a literal weapon arm, Bolgs skull is riveted back together, Goblins seem to have a bad case of herpies, there's the one Troll that has a tiny little deformed baby arm, etc. The design on the Goblin King was just a bit too much for me, were they aiming for the Middle Earth version of Jabba the Hutt? But he's not even that bad when compared to some of those Trolls in Five Armies. Just horrible designs! Case in point, the one I mentioned earlier that has spiked ball peg legs, flails in place of its amputated hands, and eyes sown shut. What IS that? Bad designing!

I mean I understand that, when Gandalf leaves the company in The Hobbit before they enter Mirkwood, the appendix in Rings tells us he's looking into Dol Guldor and this supposed Necromancer who, ultimately, ends up being Sauron. I get it's mostly accurate, though not necessarily in all the details because the appendix is just that...sparknotes...so they had to fill in gaps. What I don't get is, did it really need told here? Now I understand he did some similar things with the LOTR films. He shows Gandalf imprisoned at Orthanc, he shows the Ents attack Isengard, he shows Theodred dying...etc. But those are all pretty integral to the immediate plot of LOTR, doing what the book does and having them simply be recollected and never firsthand shown doesn't work on film. But that's the difference, those are important to that story... the Necromancer subplot is...NOT...necessary to the immediate plot of The Hobbit. Realistically, it's not even part of the plot to The Hobbit at all. The Dol Guldor stuff is more part of the prologue to LOTR, it could really be added to that and likely fit better. I mean honestly, at the time of The Hobbit's writing...the Necromancer was just a dude and not Sauron anyway. He was only later altered into a persona of Sauron's for it to fit into the now larger Tolkien universe. So it just bloats the film and distracts from the focus of what should be Bilbo's adventure. Jackson was so preoccupied with tying this to LOTR he seemed to forget what really mattered, "There and Back Again: A HOBBITS tale." It's not Thorin's tale, it's not Gandalf's tale, it's CERTAINLY not Legolas's tale, it's not the Necromancers tale...

For me, I think perhaps THE worst sequence is the barrel escape. It really DOES feel like a video game or theme park ride. You could sincerely throw in cartoon sound effects and it would fit right in. When Bombur turns into the barrel ninja, I just shook my head. Plus it's in very hard bright daylight, making the Orcs look that much more overtly CGI. And oh look, here comes gravity defying surfs up Legolas the God killer again. The Smaug battle in Erebor with the Dwarves isn't much better, same with escaping Goblintown. At least the Laketown attack turned out great. And yes, "Not Wormtongue" as I call him (Alfred) is utterly awful. He's even worse in the extended versions. His death scene is made a literal joke.

I sincerely agree, this story could have easily been told in two films and technically speaking likely even one 3 hour film just with some cuts.

Someone once told me, if you imagine the Hobbit films as Bilbo's writing as opposed to what really happened, hyperbolic and exaggerating the events for perhaps comedic or overly adventurous purposes, it makes the ridiculous moments a bit more bearable.

But despite all my issues, had Bridge Direct done 6'' figures for all the dwarves, Bard, Beorn, Thranduil, Dain, and some others...I'd have gotten them.
 
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Blame Warner Bros. Both for the trilogy and what happened to this figure line. They forced an extra film and effed up the released schedule.
 
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Dagnabbit - after all this discussion, I'm just going to have to watch the LOTR and Hobbit trilogies.....again.

Thanks DeathByMonkeys for resurrecting this thread. :)
 
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Dagnabbit - after all this discussion, I'm just going to have to watch the LOTR and Hobbit trilogies.....again.

Thanks DeathByMonkeys for resurrecting this thread. :)
It's so funny you say that, because that's also EXACTLY what I started doing. Hah! I'm never really "out" of Tolkien, used to even run a Tolkien group on ye ole Myspace, but in recent years I've become a bit rusty. Gosh in my prime, I used to be able to offhand recite full on Tolkien lore poems. I still can some, but not like back then. In fact, God I'm confessing this...hah...in my early 20's I always used to sign to girls I like "elen sila lumenn omentielvo." How cornball! Hah!

Please tell me it's the extended versions though, else you've let me down, my friend. =P Hah! For me, the extended LOTR is like the extended Aliens. It's the ONLY version. Ironic I actually think the extended Hobbits are worse rather than better.

But to be honest, I've seen some films so many times...I just don't watch them anymore. I need to take breaks. Some of those would be: Ghostbusters, Aliens, Jurassic Park, the OT SW, the Indiana Jones Trilogy, Batman 1989, and (of course since the topic) the LOTR trilogy. I watch CLIPS of all of these ALL the time, but I never really sit down and watch watch them in their entirety anymore. I guess it's because, really, I can almost close my eyes and see and hear them. Heck, I listen to their scores often, my favorite music genre actually being film scores. They're so ingrained in me. But every, say, five years or so...I sit down and watch one of those fully again. What shows me how timeless they are? It never feels old, despite knowing practically every line and beat.

So here's a fun one: as a DIEHARD fan, I'm always fascinated by this. What was your experience upon seeing Return of the King first time. While Fellowship (EE) is my personal favorite of all three, just having it end was very profound for me. And my biggest film confession is, well, ROTK. I don't think I've ever cried harder at a film and the funniest part is, so many men tell me the same. At least got choked up. "My friends, you bow to noone," I was SLAYED! And prior, I think I've only ever wept to two others movies: Shawshank and Green Mile. So I'm not a crier, but man these films got me emotionally.
 
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Extended versions of course. It's funny, I will put on Fellowship of the Ring sometimes just to have the musical score going in the background while I am working around the house.

First time I saw Return of the King was the midnight premiere. Our company had booked an entire theater. Which means I got home at 4am only to have to be back at work at 8am. It was worth it (though I kept thinking the movie was over, then it flipped to a new scene).

"You bow to no one" - one of the greatest lines and scenes ever. If the movie is ever on, or I've put it on, and time is limited, I'll forward to that scene.
 
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So I dug out my old Bridge Direct figures and watched Unexpected Journey. The figures are fantastic. Head and face sculpts are great, and the use of soft goods is great. Which makes it all the more frustrating all the dwarfs were never finished.

IMG_8869.JPGIMG_8824.JPGIMG_8839.JPGIMG_8840.JPGIMG_8852.JPGIMG_8855.JPGIMG_8860.JPGIMG_8865.JPGIMG_8868.JPG
 
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Extended versions of course. It's funny, I will put on Fellowship of the Ring sometimes just to have the musical score going in the background while I am working around the house.

First time I saw Return of the King was the midnight premiere. Our company had booked an entire theater. Which means I got home at 4am only to have to be back at work at 8am. It was worth it (though I kept thinking the movie was over, then it flipped to a new scene).

"You bow to no one" - one of the greatest lines and scenes ever. If the movie is ever on, or I've put it on, and time is limited, I'll forward to that scene.
Yeah the Extended Editions are even better! At this point, I can't even fully remember what is and isn't in the Theatrical anymore, I only watch the Extended. I do remember some though. Some things I was particularly please to see included:

- Concluding Saruman: That was such a bizarre cut in the theatrical. Wrapping that up was so important, Isengard a MAJOR point of conflict and story in the first two chapters, yet they left it almost abandoned. I knew Christopher Lee was not please, he took it very personally. Theatrically it was just so anticlimactic. So I was happy to see it completely addressed withva satisfying closure. Now as for how it's done, I know some take issue...but I didn't mind the alteration. Since the Scouring of the Shire was completely cut (something I actually don't mind being omitted entirely), basically in many ways it's a combination of the chapter "The Voice of Saruman" with how he and Wormtongues die on the doorstep of Bag End in the Scouring. It's just transplanted to Orthanc. Sure they added the rather gory impalement, but I was fine with it.

- The House of Healing: I was please that Eowyn and Faramir weren't just kind of forgotten in the extended. I do understand the cut as they're not as large of roles and you do see them at the Coronation briefly, but it was nice to see where their future lay. Also, the scene where Gandalf, Pippin, and others are walking the battlefield and just seeing the devastation were excellent. The price of war! But what got me somewhat choked up was when Eomer sees Eowyn, believing she dead, and just that raw and powerful gut reaction.

- The Mouth of Sauron: I also understand why it was cut, but man am I glad it was included here. Very interesting design. It's not how I personally imagined the character, but I really like the concept. It's another one of those interpretation things, neither wrong nor right, just one take. What I seem to gather, the idea here is that he's sort of a vessel channeling the literal words of Sauron rather than a kind of simple messenger or dignitary. Neat idea! The Mouth has always been a very vague and mysterious character to begin with. Like...what is he? It seems most agree, can't remember if confirmed, that he was once a Black Numenorean.

Those are probably my favorites, but there's so many more great additions. They all seem to add something of context, nothing really seems frivolous. There's lots of really endearing character moments that really make you become so attached to the roles. Every character really feels so fleshed out and intricate, you really invest in and care for them. The dialogue in these films are just so emotionally resonating and powerfully written. Chilling! Some good examples:

- I adore the added scenes between Merry and Eowyn, there's the one where Eomer and Gamling are mocking the Hobbit behind his back and Eowyn defends him. "Why should Merry be left behind, he has as much cause to go to war as you? Why can he not fight for those he loves?" It really foreshadows her eventual decision to disguise herself and participate, both eventually becoming key factors in that outcome of the battle. Then there's the conversation they have on the eve of, Merry discussing his feelings, just wishing to see his friends again and willing to fight in order to do so. It's just a very endearing scene.

- I really love the montage of Isengard preparing for war, there's the Orc that says "But my lord, we do not have enough fuel to feed the fires!" to which Saruman looks ominously out and replies "The forest of Fangorn lay on our doorstep. BURN IT!" I really enjoy that scene because it shows THE moment where Saruman's downfall began...with that one decision.

- Another really great scene that just explores character so well is the flashback Faramir has of his brother Boromir. It really highlights their differences, but the deep love they had for one another. It also helps to truly explain just how powerful the ring is over some, particularly Boromir, in that here he's such a valiant leader and adoring brother. It reveals who he truly was and only adds to the tragedy of his departure.

- There's a great scene in Fellowship where the Hobbits are sleeping and Strider returns from a hunt, he begins singing quietly to himself the poem of Beren and Luthien and Frodo wakes and inquires. It def. helps parallel his feelings toward Arwen and just adds a deeper emotional level to that of Aragorn.

- The added world building and exploration of Lothlorien was wonderful, I especially like that they go one by one through most Galadriel's gifts to the Fellowship. In the theatrical cut, they just get all this gear out of nowhere. You can kind of put two and two together and assume they were given it by the Elves, but it's nice to actually witness it. I particularly am fond of Gimli's gift. "I asked her for one hair from her golden head...she gave me three," it's just so charming. It's also really the beginning roots of the life-long bond Legolas and Gimli develop.

- I've always been very fond of the moment Aragorn and Gandalf, upon reappearing as Gandalf the White, share the night before entering Edoras. When Gandalf is recapping Frodo's quest, to which Aragorn informs "But he's not alone. Sam went with him." "Did he? Did he indeed...good. Yes, very good." Just an excellent piece of acting.

- I always liked Sam's sort of naive and child-like curiosities and excitements as a character when it came to Elves and Oliphants, so I was very happy to see the scene where he and Frodo witness the Elves passing through the woods near the beginnings of their departure from the Shire. While it's much shorter than in the book as in the book they actually meet them, it's nice to see it at all and just really shows how much Sam grew and experienced on the journey.

- l also have a soft spot for the scene where Faramir gives Pippin his childhood armor. It really feels so much more like that kindhearted book Faramir that they altered for so much of The Two Towers. Plus it shows a growing maturity and responsibility in Pippin.

There's so much more, then there's just the really cool stuff thrown in for book lovers. Things like the Entdraught and it causing Merry and Pippin to become the tallest Hobbits to ever live, Old Man Willow (in essence) being transplanted to Fangorn and even giving Tom Bombadil's lines to Treebeard, the vandalized statue Frodo and Sam see in Ithilian, Frodo and Sam getting caught in a horde of marching Orc in Mordor, Gandalf facing the Witchking (albiet a bit changed but epic) and that incredible flaming sword, Wormtongue and Saruman discussing Aragorns ring of Barahir and him showing Anduil to Sauron through the palantir, showing Gollum follow them out of Moria, revealing who won the kill contest between Legolas and Gimli, Gandalf more in depth explaining some of the history of Gondor and Minas Tirith, added battle scenes and gore (still baffled as to how ROTK isnt rated R), and so much more.

Without a doubt the EE versions are the best extended films l've ever seen. Then throw in HOW much care went into the the extras and behind the scenes...they spared no expense.

SORRY! I just RARELY have anyone to talk LOTR/Hobbit with. Hah. I get excited. =P

So I dug out my old Bridge Direct figures and watched Unexpected Journey. The figures are fantastic. Head and face sculpts are great, and the use of soft goods is great. Which makes it all the more frustrating all the dwarfs were never finished.

View attachment 361499
You know, it is really a shame. They are pretty nice figures, especially when you consider they came from such a smaller company. I'd have to say, Balin is my favorite and the stand out. Also great minds think alike, I uses tackle boxes for figure storage as well. They're so ideal.

There's always been an inherent issue with LOTR figures though and that's so many characters are robed or skirted or in a sort of tunic that it makes it really difficult to engineer them below the waist but retain any functionality in the legs.

It's such a shame we never got ALL the Dwarves. It truly is, even if I don't really care for all their designs. P.S. He's an easy trick I use to remembering all 13. Think of it this way, there's three parties of rhyming two, there's two parties of rhyming three, and Thorin. Each one has one more relevant than the other. Fili and Kili are the youngest, Balin for Balin's tomb and just think of the rhyme, Gloin for Gimli's father and think of the rhyme. Bombur is the fat one, think of the two rhyming. Then lastly, hardest, think of Ori who wrote the book of Mazarbul in Balin's Tomb and his rhyming kin. It's SURPRISINGLY impresses people when you can actually recite them all. Hah!

Extended versions of course. It's funny, I will put on Fellowship of the Ring sometimes just to have the musical score going in the background while I am working around the house.
Oh man! I don't think anyone can deny that what Howard Shore did for the scores was unparalleled. I'm a massive film score buff, but perhaps THE most beautiful scores I've ever heard are for the LOTR and Hobbit films. I get chills! The LOTR films came out when I was in late High School and I used to listen to the score on CD to go to sleep. I think the Isengard theme really could come to rival the Empire theme someday, very similar tone to them. The Isengard theme has such an air of industrialization. I have actually heard HS marching bands play it at football games, just like how you'll occasionally hear the Imperial March. The Shire theme is so quaint, wholesome, homely, peaceful. One of my all-time favorites is the Rohirrim theme, I get goosebumps. Then sadly this version is not in the final films, but this variation on the Gondor theme that played for the trailer always gets me. It's a score that, when you listen to, you just go...wow. Takes your breath away.


But if I had to pick one and only one, my absolute favorite is from A Journey into the Dark, particularly this segment:


Then there's the songs they did, which for the most part I enjoy them all. I think In Dreams is my favorite from the LOTR's, they lyrics almost make me want to cry:


...and then I heard this one...and did cry. Heck, I'm confident enough to admit it. Hah!:

 
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I'm sure there is a list somewhere in this thread but this is what I came up with researching Ebay on what was actually produced.


3-3/4 Figures

Single Packs

Bilbo
Gandalf
Thorin
Legolas
Tauriel
Goblin
Invisible Bilbo

2 Packs
Legolas and Tauriel
Fimbul the Hunter and Warg
Bolg and Gandalf
Fili and Kili
Balin and Dwalin
Thorin and Goblin King
Bilbo and Gollum

5 Packs - as you can see, mostly all repacks except for Thranduil
Deluxe Collector Set - 5 pack - Bilbo, Thorin, Fili, Kili, Dwalin
Mirkwood Hero - 5Pack - Thranduil, Legolas, Tauriel, Fili, Kili

"Deluxe"
Smaug


6 inch
Gandalf
Bilbo
Radagast
Azog
Azog Deluxe Exclusive - SDCC 2013 - comes with Thror's head
Thorin
Legolas
Tauriel
Invisible Bilbo - SDCC 2012 Exclusive

I also had to chuckle when I saw post 2 and 3 from this thread:


Oct 7, 2011
Morgan4242 said:
The Bridge Direct, who are they?
What else have they done?
Justin Bieber and Zhu Zhu Pets.

I wish I was kidding.






 
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I'm sure there is a list somewhere in this thread but this is what I came up with researching Ebay on what was actually produced.


3-3/4 Figures

Single Packs

Bilbo
Gandalf
Thorin
Legolas
Tauriel
Goblin
Invisible Bilbo

2 Packs
Legolas and Tauriel
Fimbul the Hunter and Warg
Bolg and Gandalf
Fili and Kili
Balin and Dwalin
Thorin and Goblin King
Bilbo and Gollum

5 Packs - as you can see, mostly all repacks except for Thranduil
Deluxe Collector Set - 5 pack - Bilbo, Thorin, Fili, Kili, Dwalin
Mirkwood Hero - 5Pack - Thranduil, Legolas, Tauriel, Fili, Kili

"Deluxe"
Smaug


6 inch
Gandalf
Bilbo
Radagast
Azog
Azog Deluxe Exclusive - SDCC 2013 - comes with Thror's head
Thorin
Legolas
Tauriel
Invisible Bilbo - SDCC 2012 Exclusive

I also had to chuckle when I saw post 2 and 3 from this thread:


Oct 7, 2011

Justin Bieber and Zhu Zhu Pets.

I wish I was kidding.
I didn't realize the invisible Bilbo had actually been released in 3 3/4. And I think there was a 3 3/4 Radagast, and maybe an Azog, released somewhere but not in the U.S.

And I remember when there was talk of Bridge Direct potentially doing 3 3/4 LOTR figures at some point. Little did we know we weren't even going to get all of the dwarves, Bard, and Beorn.
 
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I didn't realize the invisible Bilbo had actually been released in 3 3/4. And I think there was a 3 3/4 Radagast, and maybe an Azog, released somewhere but not in the U.S.

And I remember when there was talk of Bridge Direct potentially doing 3 3/4 LOTR figures at some point. Little did we know we weren't even going to get all of the dwarves, Bard, and Beorn.
I found one invisible Bilbo on ebay today from a seller in Costa Rica. Maybe it wasn't released in the US.
3-3/4 inch Radagast and Azog were shown at Toy Fair but never released.
Yes - reps from BD stated at Toy Fairs that they have the license and will be making LOTR figures, but when Hobbit caved, that went up in smoke as well.
 
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I found one invisible Bilbo on ebay today from a seller in Costa Rica. Maybe it wasn't released in the US.
3-3/4 inch Radagast and Azog were shown at Toy Fair but never released.
Yes - reps from BD stated at Toy Fairs that they have the license and will be making LOTR figures, but when Hobbit caved, that went up in smoke as well.
Au contraire Mon Brave, May have only been in limited numbers but Azog and Radagast were definitely released in UK. I have both 😀
 
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I found one invisible Bilbo on ebay today from a seller in Costa Rica. Maybe it wasn't released in the US.
3-3/4 inch Radagast and Azog were shown at Toy Fair but never released.
Yes - reps from BD stated at Toy Fairs that they have the license and will be making LOTR figures, but when Hobbit caved, that went up in smoke as well.
From Amazon Canada:


And I was actually at that Toy Fair. I saw all that stuff in person.
 
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What a shame we never got the rest of the dwarves. I didn't buy them initially, but picked up a few for pennies later.

Honestly, Anyone that read The Hobbit and then saw the trailer knew that this was going to be loosely based on the book. I'd like to see someone do an actual telling of the book and make it less of an action thriller and more like the cartoon. I'm still haunted by Brother Theodore's screeching "WE HATES IT.... FOREEEEVVEEEERRR".
Part 2
 
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I managed to buy a Radagast on Amazon.UK just now.

There is one Azog on Amazon.UK but the seller won't ship to US. Any UKers want to PM me and we can work out a purchase and ship to US? Thanks!

Azog 4 inch
 
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3-3/4 inch Radagast and Azog were shown at Toy Fair but never released
I also managed to find both 3 3/4 inch Azog and Radagast figures at retail, here in New Zealand - so they did randomly end up being released in places. They were also released by a UK company, that wasn’t TBD, but of course I now forget their name completely!...
 
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Interest in this line will pick up in time. Test Shots of the unproduced line have also begun to appear on the market.
So keep your eyes peeled.

It's not a massive line, and extremely assessible for collectors to put together.
The second series 'desolation of smaug' however appear to be rather more difficult to track down than the 'unexpected journey' packaging.
 
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I received the Rankin Base illustrated book of the Hobbit in fourth grade. I had never heard of it before. Read it and loved it. Then I remember checking the record of the movie out of the library. Did not know there was a movie. We didn't have a VCR yet. I remember listening to it over and over again, having memorized most of the lines and songs. Years later, I lost the book. Probably donated or sold at a garage sale but I remember the illustrations.

It wasn't until about five years ago where it clicked that the illustrations were from the movie but I couldn't remember Rankin and Bass. I searched on Amazon for years - there are so many copies of The Hobbit available. I don't think I actually even saw the Rankin-Bass movie to that point. Once I saw the movie, I did an easy search and found it immediately. A typical hardcover copy goes for over $100. Book has over 200 illustrations.

It is pretty cool that Jackson made Smaug look exactly like the Rankin-Bass version.

The last photo is a 50th anniversary hardcover.

IMG_8996.jpgIMG_8997.jpgIMG_8998.jpgIMG_8999.jpg
 
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I have a total soft spot for the Rankin Bass animated movie!

i still have the VCR - and prior to getting it, frequently got the book based on the movie out from my local library.

One reviewers description of the movie, akin to watching an animated ‘Rembrandt movie, while on acid’ is quite apt (for the record, I’ve partaken in neither of those activities - although I am partial to a Rembrandt!).

The animation style of rotoscoping live action elements into the film, and hand painting the cells works so incredibly well to give certain scenes a nightmarish quality - especially any Involving orcs or Nazgul.

Would highly recommend to any Tolkien fan!
 
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So much Hobbit stuff today. Offline in the real world. What's going on lately. I quite like it.

How great would a 3 3/4" Hobbit and Lord of the Rings toy line be. Too bad about the Bridge Direct figures ending too soon. So much potential for a sprawling line of figures. If only that sort of thing could happen today.
 
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I have a total soft spot for the Rankin Bass animated movie!

i still have the VCR - and prior to getting it, frequently got the book based on the movie out from my local library.

One reviewers description of the movie, akin to watching an animated ‘Rembrandt movie, while on acid’ is quite apt (for the record, I’ve partaken in neither of those activities - although I am partial to a Rembrandt!).

The animation style of rotoscoping live action elements into the film, and hand painting the cells works so incredibly well to give certain scenes a nightmarish quality - especially any Involving orcs or Nazgul.

Would highly recommend to any Tolkien fan!
I think you might be confusing the Rankin Bass Hobbit movie with Ralph Bakshi's Lord of the Rings. It's LOTR that used the rotoscoping. The Rankin Bass version of The Hobbit and The Return of the King use traditional animation.
 
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So much Hobbit stuff today. Offline in the real world. What's going on lately. I quite like it.

How great would a 3 3/4" Hobbit and Lord of the Rings toy line be. Too bad about the Bridge Direct figures ending too soon. So much potential for a sprawling line of figures. If only that sort of thing could happen today.
If they did 3.75" figures from that Rankin and Bass Hobbit toon I would be throwing my money at them. I am all about the group though. I HATE that we got 4 dwarves from TBD........... It's like getting all the separatists except Tikkes and Rogwa Wodrata. Or getting 2 Imperial Dignitaries but not an update of the original. OR not having all the skiff guards to fill out my skiffs!!!!!!!!!
 
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If they did 3.75" figures from that Rankin and Bass Hobbit toon I would be throwing my money at them. I am all about the group though. I HATE that we got 4 dwarves from TBD........... It's like getting all the separatists except Tikkes and Rogwa Wodrata. Or getting 2 Imperial Dignitaries but not an update of the original. OR not having all the skiff guards to fill out my skiffs!!!!!!!!!
Yeah, I would have gone nuts for a line of Rankin Bass Hobbit toys when I was a kid and I'd go nuts for them now. And what the hell, let's throw in figures from their version of Return of the King while we're at it. It's a little goofier than it should be but it has some cool character designs that would look great as toys.

And I would absolutely love a better and more expansive line based on Bakshi's LOTR. I know that movie gets some mixed responses, but for me, before I read the book, and before Jackson's films, that WAS The Lord of the Rings.
 
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I remember the Lord of the Rings action figures from Knickerbocker being advertised in comic books. Never saw them in the stores but I was focused on Star Wars at the time anyway. $25 for the whole set.

lotr-action-figure-ad.jpg
 
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I remember the Lord of the Rings action figures from Knickerbocker being advertised in comic books. Never saw them in the stores but I was focused on Star Wars at the time anyway. $25 for the whole set.

View attachment 361791
Those old comic book toy ads are awesome. I mean, they're not great for showing you exactly what the figures look like, but they're just so cool to look at.

I saw the LOTR figures in a store one time. My parents were always cool about buying me toys. We saw these on the shelves and I loved them. My parents didn't even say "no," they just said "we'll get them next time." Problem was, there was no next time because these things disappeared from the stores really quickly. I never let them live it down.

But wow, 25 bucks for the whole line.
 
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