I went to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug the other day. I had been disappointed with much of An Unexpected Journey, and after seeing the sequel, I now realize that there is an underlying problem with these two movies.

This problem has been highly detrimental to the success of The Hobbit films: Simply put, Peter Jackson is telling the wrong story.

I think this can be proven in the philosophy of the script. In the behind the scenes interviews for The Lord of the Rings, Philippa Boyens, one of the screenwriters, says that there was one simple thing that drove them in writing the script. This was that The Lord of the Rings is at its bare bones the story of Frodo carrying the Ring to Mordor, and hurling it into Mount Doom.

Because they had this simple goal in mind when they wrote the script, it helped them cut away things that didn’t aid to the plot. Perhaps more crucially, it stopped them from adding unnecessary original material to the movies. The Hobbit movies lack the necessary bare bones plot outline, which should really be quite simple: Bilbo goes on an adventure to help reclaim The Lonely Mountain, during which he discovers his true mettle.

That’s it. Done. We have points A and B. End of story. The book was called The Hobbit for a reason. Yet Peter Jackson wanted this to be so much more than The Hobbit. He wanted this series to be a prologue to The Lord of the Rings, which is never a healthy way to go about writing movies (cough *Star Wars episodes 1, 2, and 3.* Cough), and it created splintered plot lines which instead of stopping at B, mosey along to plot lines C, D, E, etc.

Because of this, much of what was added to the movie failed. Gandalf’s fight with the Necromancer/Sauron was particularly unforgivable as it really does not make sense if you are not familiar with The Lord of the Rings. The fight is not built up to at all, and relies upon cheap movie tropes to explain – Gandalf is super good and awesome, and Sauron is super bad and evil. So let’s have them duke it out, and it’ll be awesome! – Though perhaps what was most egregious was the oh so unsubtle “light vs. dark” visualization of the battle.

Another flawed addition to the movie was Tauriel the elf, a character who could have been really great, but was weakened by a silly love triangle. The filmmakers felt that it was important to add a strong female character since it is such a male driven movie, and they were completely right. What they got wrong however, was putting in a love story.

Let’s imagine Tauriel sans Legolas, and Kili. She’s a vicious fighter who’s not afraid of orcs, or (perhaps more impressively) Thranduil, and who is one of the few elves unwilling to sit by and let the world burn. Put back in Legolas and Kili, and what we get is a series of coy and shy glances, and a jumble of confusing motives. Is she chasing the orcs to kill them, or to save Kili? Not that they have to be mutually exclusive, but why can’t she simply want to save Kili because he doesn’t deserve to die, not because she has feelings for him?

The additions to the storyline that worked did so because they enhanced that bare-bones story and the characters. For instance, in the scene where Bilbo viciously attacks the spider, and then realizes that he did it for the Ring, he is horrified and rightly so. It is a wonderful wordless moment that shows much about his character. We also get a longer interrogation scene between Thranduil and Thorin than in the books. The dialogue and acting was great, and it exposed us more to Thranduil, who becomes very important during the Battle of the Five Armies.

Unfortunately, the effect (and cause) of this inconsistency of added material was an inherent marginalization of (what should have been) the movie’s basic plotline. Peter Jackson was essentially saying, “look, some stuff in here is pretty cool I guess, but you know what’s even cooler? THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Lets play with that some more!”

No Peter. I love The Lord of the Rings too, but Tolkien did not tell us the story of Sauron in The Hobbit because that story belongs in a different book. And even though yes, The Hobbit is technically a prelude to The Lord of the Rings, it is very much its own stand-alone entity, and deserves to be treated as such.

Director James Gunn confirms the name of a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 creature with the release of some concept art from the film.

The Guardians of the Galaxy have been pretty busy lately while they gear up for Vol. 2. On Friday we learned that they’ll be showing up in Avengers: Infinity War, and tonight we got a sneak peek of a creature the team will be taking on in the GotG sequel.

Taking to Twitter, Gunn showed off a piece of concept art created by Andy Park.

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Director James Gunn confirms the name of a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 creature with the release of some concept art from the film.

The Guardians of the Galaxy have been pretty busy lately while they gear up for Vol. 2. On Friday we learned that they’ll be showing up in Avengers: Infinity War, and tonight we got a sneak peek of a creature the team will be taking on in the GotG sequel.

Taking to Twitter, Gunn showed off a piece of concept art created by Andy Park.

guardians-of-the-galaxy-2-concept-art

In his replies, he names the creature and states that, no, they aren’t fighting in space.

Then taking to Facebook, Gunn replied to fans who had questions about the image.

An updated synopsis for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 reads:

“Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.”

So it looks like for those who were lucky enough to see GotG 2 footage at San Diego Comic-Con this year, you’ve already seen this guy in action.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ lands in theatres on May 5, 2017

Maisie Williams freaks out over ‘Game of Thrones’ season 7 scripts

"Nothing will prepare you for this."

7:45 pm EDT, August 22, 2016

Maisie Williams finished reading the scripts for Game of Thrones season 7, and totally lost her sh*t on Twitter.

Williams, who plays Arya Stark, is no stranger to shocking moments on the HBO epic fantasy series. But it seems like the events of Game of Thrones‘ penultimate season are so intense, even the seasoned young actress is left flabbergasted.

Earlier this evening, Williams summarized her experience of reading the Game of Thrones season 7 scripts on her Twitter feed. Suffice to say, the stream reads something like a thrillingly ominous preview of what fans will experience when the show returns next year.

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Maisie Williams finished reading the scripts for Game of Thrones season 7, and totally lost her sh*t on Twitter.

Williams, who plays Arya Stark, is no stranger to shocking moments on the HBO epic fantasy series. But it seems like the events of Game of Thrones‘ penultimate season are so intense, even the seasoned young actress is left flabbergasted.

Earlier this evening, Williams summarized her experience of reading the Game of Thrones season 7 scripts on her Twitter feed. Suffice to say, the stream reads something like a thrillingly ominous preview of what fans will experience when the show returns next year.

At first, Williams warned fans to steel themselves for the epic events to come.

…but apparently, no amount of mental toughness will be enough for season 7.

To summarize, Game of Thrones fans the world over are now sizzlingly jealous of Maisie Williams… and also, apparently, well and truly screwed.

With George R.R. Martin’s next installment in A Song of Ice and Fire still achingly absent, there’s almost no way to predict the major events of Game of Thrones season 7. Our only theory is that we should probably say goodbye to the feelings we managed to resuscitate after Jon Snow came back to life.

Williams isn’t the only member of the cast hinting at madness to come. Maisie’s on-screen sister Sophie Turner revealed that she too had advance knowledge while pondering Sansa’s future.

“I’ve actually just got the scripts for seven,” Turner tells Variety. “So I don’t want to say too much, because I’ll probably end up slipping some truths out!”

Seven forbid, Sophie. Seven forbid.

Game of Thrones season 7 will air some time in 2017, but not soon enough.

What madness do you think ‘Game of Thrones’ season 7 has in store?

Netflix adapting ‘Anne of Green Gables’ for new TV series with additional themes

Anne Shirley is returning to our screens!

2:45 pm EDT, August 22, 2016

L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables book series is being adapted for television by Netflix and Canadian network CBC.

The new series will begin filming next month in Ontario, Canada. Though CBC will be airing it in America’s neighbor to the north, Netflix will be distributing it in the United States and the rest of the world.

Breaking Bad writer and producer Moira Walley-Beckett is penning the entire eight-episode series and will run the show. It is expected to air on the CBC in 2017, and presumably it’ll run on Netflix around the same.

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L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables book series is being adapted for television by Netflix and Canadian network CBC.

The new series will begin filming next month in Ontario, Canada. Though CBC will be airing it in America’s neighbor to the north, Netflix will be distributing it in the United States and the rest of the world.

Breaking Bad writer and producer Moira Walley-Beckett is penning the entire eight-episode series and will run the show. It is expected to air on the CBC in 2017, and presumably it’ll run on Netflix around the same.

The eight-book Anne of Green Gables series has been adapted numerous times over the years (including the well-known, two-part 1985 televised miniseries), but this will arguably be the biggest adaptation to date thanks to the potential audience Netflix could pull in.

anne-of-green-gables-book

According to Deadline, “the coming-of-age series will focus on a young girl who, after an abusive childhood spent in orphanages and the homes of strangers, is mistakenly sent to live with an elderly spinster and her aging brother. Over time — and thanks to her unique spirit, fierce intellect and brilliant imagination — 13-year-old Anne will transform their lives and eventually the small town in which they live.”

The new adaptation “will honor the foundation of the book, but will incorporate new adventures reflecting themes of identity, sexism, bullying, prejudice, and trusting one’s self.”

The series will be set in 1890. The first book was published in 1908 by Lucy Maud Montgomery and has gone on to sell over 50 million copies worldwide.

Will you watch Netflix’s ‘Anne of Green Gables’ series?

If you’ve ever been interested in reading the series, now’s a great time to start!