Tag Archives: Balrog

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War Complete Achievement List (Xbox, Playstation, PC – 2017)

As much as I love Star Wars (and clearly I love Star Wars a lot), I love Tolkien’s Middle-Earth even more.  I was an enormous fan and sunk over a hundred hours into 2014’s Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor.  It was such a great game, but it had its glitches and frustrations.  The revolutionary thing in that game, and seemingly perfected in the sequel was the Nemesis System.  That the orcs and other enemies you ran into, remember you, become stronger if they defeat you, bear scars from you and can be impressed into your service.  It makes the world seem that much more of a living organism.  The reviews for Middle-Earth: Shadow of War make it sound like they ironed out the kinks and this is my most anticipated game of 2017.  It’s out today for Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC.  Cheevos below courtesy of the greatest site in the land: xboxachievements.com.

Continue reading Middle-Earth: Shadow of War Complete Achievement List (Xbox, Playstation, PC – 2017)

Top 5: Scenes from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (IMDB Top 250 #11)

Lord of the RIngs

Every month (or so…..I swear they’re coming more regularly) we take a look at a movie on the Internet Movie Database’s List of the TOP 250 FILMS OF ALL-TIME.  These are movies that transcend a simple “My Favorite Scene” column.  These are movies that are hard to just pry five gems from, but we do and examine the film overall.  We’re on our eleventh installment in this series.  Click on the links for The Shawshank Redemption, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Dark Knight, Pulp Fiction , Schindler’s List, 12 Angry Men, The Good The Bad and The Ugly, The Return of the King, and Fight Club to check out previous installments.

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Having made it through the top 10, we come to #11 on the IMDB Top 250: the opening chapter in Peter Jackson’s flawless adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.  Taking Tolkien’s masterpiece from the province of literary scholars and the kids who sat alone at lunch in high school, Jackson showed the whole world the scope of Middle-Earth (to such extent that New Zealand, where both the LOTR and Hobbit films were shot, pretty much considers itself Middle-Earth).  The Lord of the Rings is my favorite film, and I treat it as one 12 hour epic, not three parts, but this works out to my advantage as all three chapters are in the top 15 and I get to showcase fifteen scenes instead of just five. Continue reading Top 5: Scenes from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (IMDB Top 250 #11)

Top 5: Creatures from Lord of the Rings

Top 5

Part of what makes Tolkien’s Middle-earth such a fantastic realm are the creatures which inhabit it.  The phantasmagorical seems commonplace in a land of dragons, trolls, storm giants and wizards.  Looking back at just the original Lord of the Rings movies, here are my top 5 creatures (Gollum I did not count as a creature because he is literally in a class by himself).

5. The Cave Troll – The Fellowship of the Ring
Cave_troll

4. Shelob – The Return of the King
Shelob, The Lord of the Rings, The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

3. The Mouth of Sauron – LOTR The Return of the King
Lord of the Rings, Mouth of Sauron, The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

2. The Witch King of Angmar – All three films
Nazgul, The Lord of the Rings, The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King, The Witch King of Angmar

1. Balrog  – The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring
Gandalf, Ian McKellan, Balrog, The Lord of the Rings, Moria, The Lord of the Rings the Fellowship of the RIng

Gandalf vs. Balrog Art (YOU SHALL NOT PASS!)

Balrog, Gandalf, Moria, Tolkien, Middle-Earth
This fantastic piece is by artist Mark Lone and captures my favorite part of The Fellowship of the Ring: the showdown between Gandalf and the Balrog on the Bridge of Khazad-dum.  If you read the Silmarillion, which chronicles the 3,000 years before The Hobbit, you’ll read about Sauron’s lord, Morgoth, who had entire armies of Balrogs.  I don’t think we’ll ever get to see that visual onscreen, but it gives me geeky glee to contemplate.

My Favorite Scene: Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Last week, I said that the Balrog from The Fellowship of the Ring was the best movie monster of all-time.  I stick by that in terms of freaking awesomeness.  In the category of monster most likely to give you nightmares forever, there is nothing that comes close to The Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth.  Guillermo del Toro‘s masterpiece adult fairy tale is one of my favorite films and I had the privilege of screening it at the Arclight in LA with del Toro present when the film first released.  The scene is the most harrowing part of Ofelia‘s journey in the fantasy realm (though arguably her stepfather is far more the monster in reality, but he doesn’t have eyeballs on his palms).  It’s terrifying and phantasmic and my favorite scene from this modern classic.

Pan's Labyrinth, The Pale Man, Guillermo Del Toro