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Dome Karukoski
Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins, Colm Meaney
Writing Credits:
David Gleeson, Stephen Beresford

A view of the formative years of the orphaned author JRR Tolkien as he finds friendship, love and artistic inspiration among a group of fellow outcasts at school.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$2,200,537 on 1495 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 112 min.
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 8/6/2019
• Audio Commentary with Director Dome Karukoski
• ďFirst LookĒ Featurette
• Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
• Gallery
• Previews
• DVD Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Tolkien [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 22, 2019)

For a glimpse at the life of the famed author, we head to 2019ís Tolkien. Set in the early parts of the 20th century, teenaged JRR Tolkien (Harry Gilby) finds friendship among outcasts at his school.

This group stays together as they age, but when Tolkien (Nicholas Hoult) reaches his 20s, a new challenge arises. World War I breaks out and these experiences stretch the bond among Tolkien and his pals.

In addition, Tolkien meets Edith Bratt (Lily Collins) and eventually falls in love. We follow Tolkienís romantic relationship and friendships, all while his future writings germinate in his head.

Mid-May seemed like an odd release date for an art house drama like Tolkien, but I guess the studio figured it might slurp up audiences tired of Endgame and the other summer blockbusters. They felt wrong, as Tolkien took in less than $8 million worldwide.

I guess audiences just donít really care about the path the author took to Middle-Earth, and I canít blame them. Perhaps a text biography of Tolkien would become compelling, but this film seems surprisingly dull.

To some degree, Tolkien follows the same approach as 2004ís Finding Neverland. In that movie, we traced the life of author JM Barrie, with an emphasis on how events impacted his creation of Peter Pan.

Tolkien comes with a broader scope, but it still works overtime to tie the authorís life to his famed creations. While some of this seems fun, a lot of it feels forced and contrived.

In a more problematic vein, a lot of Tolkien just seems dull. Even though Edith and Tolkienís pals inspired his legendary novels, none of them ever become especially interesting. They fail to receive enough exploration to feel like anything more than thin supporting roles.

As for our lead, Tolkien himself also never really develops. Hoult offers a credible performance but JRR ends up as such a bland, bloodless character that he never turns into someone about whom we care.

Tolkien attempts to spice up its story with WWI battles as well as some scenes that indulge in fantasy to foreshadow the authorís future work. These manage to rouse the viewer from potential slumber but they feel like windowdressing, futile attempts to enliven leaden proceedings.

To be honest, I canít call Tolkien a disappointment because I didnít expect much from it. However, I think it shouldíve been more interesting than this slow, bland effort.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Tolkien appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I felt pleased with this strong transfer.

Overall sharpness worked fine. A smidgen of softness crept into a handful of elements, but those instances didnít trouble me. Instead, the majority of the flick provided solid delineation.

The image lacked shimmering or jaggies, and no edge haloes materialized. As one would expect from a brand-new movie, print defects failed to mar the picture.

In terms of palette, Tolkien opted for a mix of heavy amber and teal. Those choices seemed unimaginative but the Blu-ray reproduced them well enough.

Blacks came across as dark and deep, while shadows seemed smooth and concise. Overall, the transfer worked in a satisfactory manner.

No one anticipates a dynamic soundscape from a character piece like Tolkien, but the DTS-HD MA 5.1 track occasionally sparked to life. War scenes became the most dynamic parts of the mix, as the handful of battles used the five channels in an involving manner. Sporadic flights of fantasy also managed to create a solid soundscape.

Most of the mix stayed within the expected confines of the biopic soundscape. This meant good breadth to the music and pleasing Ė but unimpressive Ė sense of place.

Audio quality seemed good. Speech remained concise and crisp, with no edginess or related concerns.

Music fared well, as the score appeared peppy and full. Effects remained accurate and dynamic, especially during the handful of louder moments. This became a ďBĒ mix.

A smattering of extras appear here, and we open with an audio commentary from Dome Karukoski. He offers a running, screen-specific look at Tolkienís life and historical elements as well as story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, and other movie-related topics.

For the most part, Karukoski focuses on the facts behind the filmís fiction, and he gives us a nice overview of these domains. He also adds some production notes to make this an informative and engaging chat.

Called First Look, a featurette runs 12 minutes, 59 seconds and offers info from Karukoski, producer Dan Finlay, and actors Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins, Harry Gilby, Tom Glynn-Carney, Patrick Gibson, and Anthony Boyle.

The featurette examines story and characters as well as cast and performances, and Karukoskiís impact on the production. This is a promo piece with very little informational value.

Seven Deleted Scenes fill a total of 12 minutes, 37 seconds. These tend toward minor character expansions, without much that qualifies as plot material. Nothing seems especially memorable, though we do get a hint of Tolkienís future writing when he mentions an ďarmy of the deadĒ.

We can view the scenes with or without commentary from Karukoski. He gives us basics about the sequences and why he cut them, but he doesnít dig into the clips in a substantial manner.

Within a Gallery, we see 17 shots from the set. It feels like a mediocre collection.

The disc opens with ads for The Favourite and The Aftermath. Sneak Peek adds promos for The Old Man & The Gun, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, The Shape of Water and Missing Link. No trailer for Tolkien appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Tolkien. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

As a depiction of the famous authorís life, Tolkien seems surprisingly dull. While we get a few insights related to his legendary creations, most of the movie feels sluggish and bland. The Blu-ray brings positive picture and audio along with supplements led by a useful commentary. Tolkien lacks much to make it compelling.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 3
2 3:
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main