How do you like your Hobbitses?

Living in New Zealand, and especially Wellington, it’s impossible for me not to be aware of and interested in Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth films.


Scary thingies on the Embassy movie theatre, where The Return of the King premiered

Scary thingies on the Embassy movie theatre, where The Return of the King premiered

I first came to New Zealand as a student the year that The Return of the King came out, and Wellington had its first international film premier.  I really didn’t come for that – I was probably the only American student to come to NZ on foreign exchange that year who wasn’t madly interested in either LotR, extreme sports, or rugby.  In face, I barely knew that any of those things were happening until I got on the airplane (the rugby and extreme sports were a bit of a nasty shock actually).

But in New Zealand I was constantly thrown in the company of students who had specifically come so they could visit all the LotR filming sites and attend the premier, so I travelled with them, and did all these things.  And took lots of pictures, which I’ve illustrated this post with, because I’ve been really lazy and haven’t gotten good photos of any of the Hobbit stuff in Wellington  this time around.

NZ Post advertising

NZ Post advertising

These days, living within walking distance of Weta Workshops and the Park Road Studios, and with everyone I know contributing to the films in one way or another, I pay attention.  I know everyone from the embroider, to the candle-dipper, to sound technicians, to major art designers, to the glitter supplier.  The studio has been really good about hiring locals, and it shows.  Everyone’s played a part, but me.  I haven’t tried to play a part – the hours are grueling and I like what I do.

Anyway, on Wednesday Shell (the really tall hobbit) and I went to see the first Hobbit film – at the theatre just down the road from the studio.  I’m too lazy and not enough of a fan to have tried for a midnight showing, and I don’t like 3D, so we saw it at a very civilized 1 in the afternoon, without 3D, but we did get to see it at a the darling Weta designed theatre just down the road from where all the movie was made, so that was nice.

The Green Party gets in on the action

The Green Party gets in on the action

There is tons written about the movie, so I’m not going to give a full review, but are five thoughts:

  1. New Zealand looks amazing in the film – so gorgeous, but….we giggled every time there was a running/travelling scene and the group travelled from the middle of the North Island to the far South in a few steps.
  2. Wow.  Dwarves can be HOT!  I definitely do not remember that in the book!  As long as you can get past the niggling reminder that they have the best excuse in the world for always looking at your bust, it’s quite entertaining.

    If you like them dark and brooding you can swoon over Richard Armitage as ‘Thorin Epicsmolderingshield’ (as Cindy calls him).  If blonde and cheeky is more your thing than Kiwi actor Dean O’Gorman as Fili is quite delicious (though, having seen him in lots of NZ TV shows, and particularly as Anders in the Almighty Johnsons, I couldn’t help snickering every time he spoke).  On the sad/hot side, I was a huge fan of Aidan Turner in Being Human, and was a bit disappointed in his portrayal of Kili.  It just seemed flat.

  3. Speaking of disappointment, the huge costuming low point were Galadriel’s dresses.  They were just a little too white, and too literal – missing the bit of mystery and subtlety that made her frocks in the LotR films so effective.  They looked like they were made for a Lord of the Rings themed ‘Miss America’ pageant.  Also, I’m pretty sure you could see Cate Blanchett’s bra in some angles.
  4. Gollum/Smeagol = brilliant.  Nuff said
  5. I’m looking forward to the next one!  I can’t wait to see how the Necromancer storyline plays out, and more of Smaug, and to spend more time with the Dwarves.  I guess that’s the best recommendation you can give a film, especially if it is 3 hours long.

    Air New Zealand advertising

    Air New Zealand advertising

If you want a little more LotR stuff, I’ve blogged about visiting Edoras, and showed images of the Hobbit decorations at the airport.  Also, I can tell you what a weta is!




  1. I am a big Tolkien Fan and I wish some day I will visit NZ. Must be amazing to have all this around.
    You are right about Galadriels dresses, they don’t have the magic they had in lotr days.

    By the way, i love your blog!! Costumes and NZ, two things i’ m interested in 🙂

  2. I just loved the film, I’m a big fan of tolkien’s work, I would love to visit the Hobbit’s land in New Zealand ^^

    Have a nice week!

    • We’d love to have you come visit too! It’s so fun watching all the people who come for Middle Earth – they are just so happy!

  3. I saw the Hobbit last night and was mildly confused by the thought that the 3 dwarves were hot. It did not compute. Dwarves and hot are not words I had considered putting together before. Didn’t happen in the other movies. But it did in this one….

  4. Elise says

    Oh…Aidan Turner…oh..

    For realz, though, it IS pretty fun living around a successful show. I lived on the same island they were filming “Lost” on (The Hawaiian Astronomy club stargazes right next to the fusilage) Currently, I live *three houses down* from Walter White’s house on “Breaking Bad” and watch them film all the time (No, I don’t give spoilers, and I don’t watch the show, anyway)

    It’s fun to spot local places, and I appreciate the boost to the economy–especially when they hire locals. Breaking Bad has always featured local family businesses. Good to do. Glad to know that Weta studios is similarly local-minded.

  5. Cheyene says

    The dwarves were not at all how I imagined. Not at all. Not that I really mind the change, though! 😀

    But I was disappointed in some of the liberties they took with the book.
    My sister and I went to see the movie with friends, and we both agreed that they made Bilbo a bit too heroic for what he was in the book at the point of the story they were telling. I understand if they change some bits in the storyline or add or take away, but I can’t stand it when they edit a character!!!

    Excellent movie, but I’m irked by many of the changes they made. Can’t wait to see the rest! 😀

    Also, during the movie I was in awe of how beautiful it was! NZ is absolutely gorgeous! 🙂

  6. I’m one person who would not come to New Zealand for Middle Earth. I avoided the films, and will avoid these, too, because I simply love the books too much… My vision of Middle Earth is fundamentally different from the vision in these films (proven by all the still photos & trailers & the bits I could not escape on a bus tour to France), so me and these films just do not work. I can admire the costumes as costumes, and such, but that’s about it.
    And I think I would love New Zealand as New Zealand too much to do that, too. The New Zealand I’m learning about from your blog is too precious to be completely stamped over by a franchise.

    I think I would only kind of want to see The Hobbit because of Martin Freeman. If I could somehow get Martin Freeman as Bilbo without all the rest of it, I’d go watch it… Martin Freeman in a theatre production of The Hobbit, that would be awesome.

    Oh, and: Candle dippers? How Pratchettian!

  7. Demented Seamstress says

    I would love to visit New Zealand someday. The scenery in the Lord of the Rings movies is absolutely fantastic.

    Also, wetas are awesome! I love huge weird bugs.

  8. I can’t say I ever envisaged the dwarves as being hot. That surprised me. But hey, I’m not complaining!

    I do like the 48fps format. I love it. It’s so much easier on the eyes than the slower frame rate! But then some people say the exact opposite, so that appears to be an area where individual results may vary.

    I’m interested to hear you had that reaction to Galadriel’s outfits too. I just didn’t think the attention to design we saw with the LotR costumes was there this time. Clearly they put a lot of effort into designing the dwarves’ clothes, but poor Galadriel missed out. So the feeling I got was that relatively late in the game someone decided Galadriel had to be in this movie too, and the people at Weta had to put together a couple of costumes for her in a hurry. She’s not in the book, so it makes sense that she might not have originally been included in the screenplay.

  9. I was very intrigued by your review, and somehow I missed seeing those aspects of Galadriel’s costume entirely! I think I was too bewitched/distracted by the way the fabric flowed behind her, and wondering how on earth I could replicate her jewelry despite knowing nothing about metal-working.

    Visiting NZ one day is my dream, although I can’t say that about seeing a weta in person…good to know what they are, though! I’ve always wondered what Weta Workshop’s name came from, and I guess now I know!

    Lastly, how cool is it that you know who the candle-makers were!

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