Lord of the Rings – Wellington, New Zealand

We passed the Embassy Theater where the LOTR Trilogy Premieres are held. I was impressed by the giant Golum crawling over the roof towards the street. His head must have been the size of a truck! Over top of the box office a large golden ring that I probably could have stood inside of was spinning around and around and around.

I finally watched Two Towers and am now even more (is it possible?) excited to get down to the South Island. I know that most of the film was made there and that many of the locals got a chance to contribute to it. Almost everyone knows someone who was in the movie, even if they were just a tree. But in Middle Earth even the trees talk and walk like the rest of us. Apparently, they did a call for very short people and very tall people. Looking around Wellington I don`t think they should`ve had a problem. Almost everyone is hobbit size or elf size with a few in betweens.

Keneen and I went to the Lord of the Rings exhibition at the Te Papa Museum, which has been held over an extra month. After, I believe they will be taking the exhibit on the road and I would highly recommend it. A bit on the pricey side (12 dollars) but seeing that the rest of the museum was free, I thought it would be fair.

As you walk into the basketball court sized room, you immediately notice the music and lighting creating a mysterious and fairytale-ish atmosphere. The room is more or less divided into halves with one side being the good characters and the other hosting the evil.

At the center of the exhibition, there lies a dark and eerie cylindrical room painted in fiery flames with the One Ring showcased in the center. The costumes and props are displayed with explanations of their use and construction. I was surprised to see the attention to detail and the quality of workmanship. Many of the costumes used materials such as silk, silver, hemp and wool.

As well as the story being explained, the ins and outs of digital technology was laid out in a very easy to understand manner. Interviews and video clips of the making of the movies were amusing and informative. I was in awe of the techniques and meticulous attention to detail used as well as the ground breaking special effects. They showed how the character Golum was developed as well as a 10-hour prosthetic application.

A spacious farmland in the North island was completely reconstructed to create the realistic Hobbiton which reminded me fully of Teletubbyland, rolling golf course turf covered hills and hobbitholes. The technology behind the scaling and miniatures was brilliantly thought out. Sometimes surprised me at how simple some camera tricks can be and how elaborate some of the set ups were to create Middle Earth.

They did such a good job of portraying this fantasy wonderworld that I had no trouble imagining that such a place really did exist. Maybe it did…some where…some time…Really, its all about perspective isn`t it?

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