Monday, March 30, 2015

MELO Round 1 - The Last Goodbye

The Last Goodbye was another popular one, inspiring several MOCs.

Jacob Pennington showed Bilbo on his trip out of the Shire after his eleventy-first birthday party. He advanced.

Jared depicted Boromir's death. I'm surprised, but he just missed advancing to round 2.

Forlorn Empire advanced with Thorin's death scene from the movie.

As did John Smith.

Micah the Fire Breathing Hobbit did not go directly to a book or movie scene, but instead gave us an unnamed warrior and his fallen comrades after an orc-raid. He advanced.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

MELO round 1 - I See Fire

I See Fire inspired a lot of entries into the MELO round 1. Here are some of my favorites. Perhaps predictably, most of the entries were Smaug-centric, either his original attack on Erebor, or the destruction of Lake-town.

My favorite of these was actually very different. Finn Tegotash's Fate of Merry and Pippin shows Strider, Legolas and Gimli coming to the smouldering remains of the Uruk-hai, and perhaps, they fear, their friends as well. Finn advanced.

Here are some of the best (IMO) depicting Smaug's assault on Erebor. Caleb Walker advanced with his entry.

Jamie Hampton showed the breaching of the gates. Nice idea, but it did not advance.

Thomas' entry, on the other hand, did advance.

Dunedain98 is the first of my favorite Lake-Town entries. This advanced.

Brick Madness also advanced.

Zach Lucia also moved forward with this entry. Frustratingly, none of his photos really do justice to both his dragon creation and the building.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

MELO round 1 - Song of the Lonely Mountain

I'm kind of surprised that Song of the Lonely Mountain did not inspire many entries in round 1 of the MELO. It seems like you could have legitimately built any scene that is set in or around Erebor, or keyed off of one of the lines in the song to make something else altogether. For instance, the stanza "Some folk we never forget, Some kind we never forgive, Haven't seen the end of it yet, We'll fight as long as we live" could easily be invoked to build a great scene of the Battle of Azanulbizar. Oh well, here were my two favorites based on this song.

Vladimir van Hoek made the Golden Anvil.

A nice MOC by itself, but it opens up to reveal a stage for the loudest dwarfmetal band in Middle Earth. He advanced.

Luc Johannesen built a nice micro of Erebor and Dale but did not advance.I have to think that better photography might have helped here.

Friday, March 27, 2015

MELO Round 1 - The Misty Mountains Cold

Our next song, The Misty Mountains Cold, inspired a lot of builders in round 1 of the MELO. Here are some of my favorites.

IMO the best of these was Dodge's The Journey Begins. I love how he made this so it could hang on a wall. He advanced to round 2.

Andrew JN's Goblin Town was my other favorite of these and also easily advanced.

Timothy Post had an interesting take on Thorin, but did not advance

Jack the Jedi's Escaping the Goblin Kingdom was a nice scene but did not advance.

Moving ahead in the Hobbit, Trevor Turco was inspired by the phrase "dungeon's deep" to make the Elvenking's dungeons. He advanced.

Joepwnage brought us to the doorstep of Erebor but went no further.

And at last A Sargent brings us into the mountain itself, also advancing to round 2.

Another nice scene of the treasure chamber by Xander, but this one just missed advancing.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

MELO Round 1 - Into the West

The next song for round 1 of the 2014-2015 MELO was Into the West, the closing credit song from Return of the King. Can I go off on a little bit of a rant here? There is no way that this song, or any closing credit song - or, a more proper name would be "music to leave the theater by" - should ever be considered for best song Oscar. It's simply lazy for the director to get some great songwriter/performer to come up with some great song and then do the easy layup and get an oscar. IMO for a movie to be "best song" it should actually be part of the movie proper (i.e. the movie before it fades to dark and credits start rolling). Another nominee that year, A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow, from A Mighty Wind. If you've seen that movie (and if not, you should), you'll know that that song was an integral part of the story of that movie, and perfectly fit its role. Also that year, the Triplets of Belville was driven by the music rather than dialogue, and the key song from that was another one better worthy of "best original song". Okay, rant over, Into the West is certainly a beautiful song and the lyrics point to the final journey of Frodo. Three different builders gave us Grey Havens scenes. Sadly, no one was gutsy enough to build a scene from the TNT miniseries Into the West set on the American frontier during the late 1800's.

Joseph Olsen built this excellent Grey Havens scene and sailed into round 2.

Jacob Syrups built the same scene, but did not score quite as well and so his ship has sailed away.

Tomsche Murrath took a micro approach to the Last Ship's sailing, but also did not advance.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

MELO Round 1 - Edge of Night

The next song to inspire round 1 entries of MELO 2014-2015 was Edge of Night. This is a really interesting song, where context and melody really shape the tone. The original poem from Fellowship is all about going out for a walk before coming home to a nice warm fire. In the film, the lines about home and hearth have been removed, but still if you just read the lyrics, there is a lot of hope:

Home is behind, the world ahead
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadow to the edge of night
Until the stars are all alight
Mist and shadow cloud and shade
All shall fade, all shall fade
A straight-forward reading says that, yes, night is falling, but the stars are coming out, and night shall fade away come morning. But in the film this is sung with that haunting tune by Pippin while we see scenes of Faramir's forces being slaughtered, intercut with an uncaring Denethor, so the tone is completely different. Watching it on screen you get the feeling that everything is falling into darkness, and all that is good and noble in the world will fade away in the coming triumph of Sauron. It's that feeling of despair that drove most of the MELO entries. Here are a few of my favorites.

Mate Paton thought of the siege and near-fall of Minas Tirith and advanced to the next round.

Dominik the Builder also went to the RotK context, illustrating the charge of Faramir - a nice scene though it did not advance.

J-rod Smith went to a different context altogether, seeing Lake-town as being on the edge of disaster. His was the third-highest score of the round 1 entries and easily advanced.

Ian Diller left Tolkien's world altogether, simply keying off the song's tone of imminent disaster with his Last Stand in the Badlands. He advanced.

A few of the entries looked more at the lyrics, suggesting setting out from home on an adventure. Saequis still stuck to movie inspiration, showing Pippin singing to Denethor, but he illustrated the line "Home is behind, the world ahead", but he did not advance, so faded from the MELO.

Jake Andrews took this line as reason to justify Bilbo setting out on his adventure, illustrating different scenes from the Hobbit. He advanced.

Kevin Moyer did much the same with Frodo's journey. He also advanced.

Graham Gidman also advanced with an unnamed figure leaving home to set off on adventures.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Smaug's awakening

I'll go back to MELO in my next post, but I just saw Sweetsha's Smaug's awakening and had to post it first.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Still more MELO round 1 - Gollum's song

The next source of inspiration in the MELO Round 1 was Gollum's Song. Here are some of the best, IMO.

Tim W. built Gollum's Cave. This was my favorite of these and easily advanced to round 2.

My second favorite was Graeme Straughn's To Catch A Fish... So Juicy Sweetttt!!. This illustration of the scene from the Two Towers also easily advanced.

I'm not sure where exactly Bane of Seagulls' End of the Road is set--presumably when Sam and Frodo first meet Gollum at the edge of the Emyn Muil. This also advanced.

Theomatic's Forbidden Pool was a nice entry, though it did not advance.

Finally, Pieter Dennison had a very different take. Rather than illustrate a scene from Gollum's life, some of the lyrics in the song made him think of the story line of the video game Middle Earth; Shadow of Mordor. His unique take, You are banished from death.. was one of the top scoring entries in round 1, moving on into round 2.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

More MELO Round 1 - May it Be

Continuing with Round 1 of the 2014-15 MELO. Here are a couple of the entries inspired by the song May It Be.

This song got several builders thinking about Aragorn. P Andrei was the most impressive of these and advanced to Round 2.

Professor B interpreted this with a figure (maybe Gandalf?) pushing away the shadows of the night, and he advanced to Round 2.

Monday, March 16, 2015

MELO 2014-2015 - In Dreams

Hey, the Middle Earth LEGO Olympics is just about done, and now I'm finally getting around to blogging about it. You've probably already scene the finalists, but rather than jump straight to them, let's go back to the beginning. The first round was open ended - anyone could build a MOC based on one of six songs from the Peter Jackson movies. 73 entered, and the best 32 went on to the head-to-head match-ups in round 2.

I think there were only two entries inspired by In Dreams.

Mark McPeek's In the Dreams of the Hobbit advanced to Round 2.

Reese Hawthorne's When the cold of winter comes.. just missed advancing.