One of the best things about using an iPad is the great apps that we can run on it. There are excellent apps for just about any purpose you can think of. Better still, there are lots of great free apps for the iPad. Our Best Free iPad App of the Week posts celebrate these apps.
This week’s pick is Hobbit Movies, the official companion app for the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – the upcoming Peter Jackson directed movie that continues his series bringing Tolkien classics to the big screen. This is the first of a trilogy of films from Jackson adapting Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
Here’s a little background via its App Store page:
Explore Middle-Earth and experience the epic adventure of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” with the official iOS app. Learn about Bilbo Baggins’ quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor and the band of thirteen dwarves that join him and Gandalf the Grey as they embark across the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain through exclusive artwork, interactive character galleries, and production videos presented by director Peter Jackson.
View a selection of animated character portraits, travel through a detailed map of Middle-earth and explore the stunning narrative imagery of “The Scroll” artwork to immerse yourself in the world of Hobbits, Dwarves, Elves, Orcs, deadly Wargs, giant Spiders and a fearsome Dragon.
The images in the app are superb and gripping right from when you first open it – where you’re greeted first by an image of the announcement trailer for the movie, then by the striking image of Gandalf shown at the top of this post.
From the app’s main screen you can tap to explore its four sections: Index, Explore Middle-Earth, The Scroll, and Social.
The Index section offers these sub-sections: Featured, About the Film, Characters, Locations, Downloads, and Behind the Scenes.
The Featured area includes a set of Vlog videos done by Jackson and other members of the cast and crew that offer an excellent behind the scenes look at just about every aspect of making these films. There are 8 of these titled Production Video 1 through Production Video 8 – and they span all the way from pre-production to the last day of filming.
The first one of these starts with pre-production and includes some wonderful scene walkthroughs with Jackson and some of the great actors like Ian McKellen and James Nesbitt. Another one offers a tour around the film studio in New Zealand – Peter Jackson starts it off, followed by lots of production people and lots of actors talking about their trailers in the studio’s trailer park and the amount of time they’ve spent there.
In others in the series of Vlogs you get a behind the scenes look at the sets, the grueling filming schedule, the makeup and incredible amount of yak hair used, the stunt work, the costumes and lots more – including a lot of talk about the great camaraderie from the cast and crew.
We also get a look at the workshop where weapons for the movie are made, the model making department, and the art department. The art department tour includes a room with two guys who do drawings for the films – and it’s mentioned that they have done ‘3 years of it, couple thousand drawings each’.
An there are some superb moments form an emotional last day of filming.
The Featured section also includes the announcement trailer, and if you have even a minor interest in the Lord of the Rings movies this is bound to get you pumped up for The Hobbit
The Characters section shows a series of images and bit of Bio text (which can be toggled on and off with a single tap) for 15 of the film’s main characters.
The Explore Middle-Earth section lets you browse an interactive map of Middle-Earth and includes 360º views of some of the film’s locations.
The Scroll section is a set of panoramic images from the film to scroll through.
There’s also a Downloads sub-section within the Index section – which includes iPad and iPhone wallpapers, Facebook banner images, and an avatar sized image.
The About the Film sub-section has a Synopsis of the film and a listing of the cast and filmmakers
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is due out on December 14, and after spending this time with this app I am even more psyched up to see it and to see it on opening day.
Here’s an App Store link for Hobbit Movies; it’s a universal app designed for both iPad and iPhone.
If you’re after more great free iPad apps, be sure to check out our previous choices for Best Free iPad of the Week. We’ve also recently put together a best of the best of our selections from the last year in a Top 25 Best Free iPad Apps list.