On Thursday evening, hundreds of excited movie-going fans--some in appropriate costume--gathered at Concord Mills AMC Theaters in Concord, NC to catch the midnight premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. This long-awaited prequel to director Peter Jackson's rendition of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy is the first installment in a series of three films based on J.R.R.Tolkien's book The Hobbit, and is a visually stunning adaptation of the novel's story. Several familiar faces can be seen in returning roles from the Lord of the Rings, most notably Ian McKellan as Gandalf , Hugo Weaving as Elrond, and Andy Serkis as Gollum, along with brief but enjoyable appearances at the film's start by Ian Holm as the older Bilbo and Elijah Wood as Frodo.
"While the film remains faithful to Tolkien's original tale, with entertaining visual recreations of scenes mentioned only in passing in the novel, there is definitely additional material (courtesy of Jackson) that alludes strongly to the future events that take place in Lord of the Rings. Some almost seems to border on too-contrived foreshadowing, but the familiar landscapes from the Ring trilogy definitely create a strong connection between the films. The entire cast puts in a solid performance that also adds to the film's enjoyment, in particular Martin Freeman as the young Bilbo."
From Con-Tour Magazine (out of print) for Paramount Parks, September/October 1997, pg. 43:
"Imagine stepping into the 24th century, to the time and world of Star Trek. You enter a transporter which beams you to the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, where you receive instructions on your upcoming mission. From there you take the TurboLift to the shuttlecraft launch bay, and board a shuttle for a journey through open space. After successful completion of your mission, you disembark on the promenade of Deep Space Nine, for dining and relaxation at the station's games, restaurants, and shops.
Although this may sound like a scene straight out of one of the Star Trek television series or movies, it is soon to become very much a reality. Paramount Parks and the Las Vegas Hilton have teamed up to create Star Trek: The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton, a $70 million joint venture that includes a variety of entertainment elements such as a themed restaurant and retail shops, interactive video, computer games, and simulator rides. Star Trek: The Experience will allow visitors, for the first time ever, to see, hear, and feel what it would be like to live as a Starfleet crew member in the 24th century."