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by JC Alvarez
Wednesday Aug 14, 2019

Behind every legend...

It is perhaps one of the most read, if not beloved, works of fantasy literature ever: "The Lord of the Rings" Trilogy and its prequel short story "The Hobbit" build an intricate world of Middle Earth inhabited by creatures of all manner and size, of magic and myth, many of which are called upon by exterior forces to band together in fellowship and protect their world from an ageless evil that means their utter obliteration. In the biopic "Tolkien," based on the life of J.R.R Tolkien, the man who wrote those cherished works comes to life.

In a star turn from Nicholas Hoult as the legendary scribe, "Tolkien" pulls the curtain back on the young boy and his brother who are orphaned and turned to wards of the church. Tolkien excels at languages, displaying an uncanny gift, and spends much of his time immersed in his books, or creating fiction of his own. He soon finds himself a core group of friends, and their bond continues into adulthood, until the perils of World War I pulls them across the dangerous campaigns fought all through Europe.

Tolkien also finds himself enamored of Edith Bratt (played by Lily Collins), whom he has grown up with; living as wards, the pair find a great deal of solace in one another — but it isn't long before life intercedes and the pair find themselves caught in the folly of war. Before his deployment, Tolkien musters the strength to reveal his true love to Edith, and it is that devotion, to her and his friends, that gives him the strength to push through, even at his darkest moments.

Embellishing and interweaving familiar aspects of his fantasy novels, with depictions of the changing world dynamics of the early 20th century, struggling in the depths of a world war and a society wrestling with its own evolution, "Tolkien" is a beautifully evocative snapshot of a visionary man who has since inspired many with his words. Hoult is able to imbue the myth of the man with weight that is both enlightening and entertaining. "Tolkien" is a visual a feast, choosing a very lush palette to envision a world that is both familiar and beyond belief.

Exquisitely shot and well directed with enthusiastic performances, and moving at a relaxed pace, "Tolkien" is a romantic and epic-feeling biopic of a figure of extraordinary vision, whose love of language gave us a classic story filled with imagination. The Blu-ray includes several bonus special features with special audio commentary from its director Dome Karukoski, a "First Look" featurette with a revelatory behind-the-scenes look at the movie. Also included are Deleted Scenes and a still Gallery of the best moments from "Tolkien."

Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital

Special Features include commentary from the filmmakers, deleted scenes and a "First Look" with the cast.

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".

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