We were lucky to have won tickets to the first public screening of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. We were seated quite close to the front, but the free popcorn and coke were a nice bonus. Because really, who wants to pay for popcorn? Free popcorn really does taste better.
Meanwhile, some excellent spot prizes were given away*, after which we settled in. But for what were we settling in? Many people at this screening (at 12:01 am, 12 December) were very excited, and appeared determined to love the film. We were a little more ambivalent — were three films necessary for the very slim Hobbit? is the fuss over the frame rate warranted? what about its troubled start in life? could Peter Jackson and his team create the same magic again?
So, a few days on, having had some time to ruminate, here are some thoughts on An Unexpected Journey. As a warning, there will be elements below that may constitute spoilers. If you don’t like spoilers, perhaps it would be wise to stop reading here.
In the weeks leading up to Wellington’s most recent world premiere, I was getting pretty excited, to be part of the spectacle (as a spectator!) and to soak up the atmosphere of the whole “Wellywood” celebration. But then work decided to rain on my parade and notify me that I would be needed in Auckland on the day of the premiere. What?! Nooooo! Disappointing, sure, but at least I got to experience it vicariously via PJD’s most excellent coverage here on foldedcranes. Seeing the way the city got into the spirit of the occasion and the joie de vivre shown by the city’s people has had me reflecting (from afar, up the island!) on what a truly lovely city Wellington is, and these photos, taken during the course of a long walk that we took together last weekend up Mount Victoria (one of the best vantage points from which to view the city panorama – and incidentally, a Lord of the Rings location site!), are a reminder that Wellington has a whole lot more going for it than just the odd world premiere or two. But those sure are cool, when they do happen. So, keep bringing it on Wellington, the world’s coolest little capital city for sure.
Halfway up Mount Victoria – looking towards Oriental Bay
Picnic in the long-grass? – further up Mount Victoria, looking towards Newtown, Brooklyn
At the summit – looking towards our compact little city
Look at that harbour! Beautiful.
Photos by CIA, Wellington, New Zealand, 24 November 2012.
The hours are counting down, and the preparation is proceeding at pace. The final touches have been made to the film, the actors have arrived, the red carpet is being rolled out, fans are already lining up. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey* is premiering tomorrow.
I was in Australia when the other movies provided Wellington with its last moment in the world’s filmy glare. No big deal. I’m here now. And trying to make the most of it. So check it out, the night before the night before the morning after.
Even my hard-bitten cynicism is being chipped away by enthusiasm and dedication.
Photos taken just now, minutes ago, by PJD, Wellington (the Middle of Middle-Earth).
* Not to say the first of unexpected parts
There’s more to the Middle of Middle-Earth than Hobbit-related paraphernalia and activities. So, to continue our series of found street art, here’s some graffiti from the skate park nearby. A little Middle-Earth graffiti I guess…
For anyone who is excited about the impending release of The Hobbit film (part one only, somehow they managed to string it out into two films… how?!), Wellington is certainly the place to be right about now. With just four days to go (as the billboard on the front of the Embassy Theatre reminds us! See below), all sorts of Hobbity kinds of events are kicking into full gear…
Today we checked out the Hobbit Artisan Market, in Waitangi Park.
Look who appeared on the front of the Embassy Theatre (our local cinema, definitely the best place to catch a film in town, as it is both beautiful on the inside and out) today. That’s right folks, Wellington is continuing to be Hobbit-ified (or should I say Tolkien-ised or Weta-fied?) more and more as the days count down to the world premiere of Sir Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. Overnight (street closure? Why not?!), the front of the Embassy (where the premiere will screen) was decorated with a new Weta Workshop creation, replete with over-sized hobbit-hole and Gandalf watching over Courtenay Place (if we can’t have Sir Ian McKellen in town for the premiere, we can have a giant sculpture of his character’s likeness, right?!). It’s definitely going to be a focal point in this city over the coming days and doubtless will look great at the end of the red carpet in nine days time…
… we had some fun taking photos of this latest Hobbit-related sculpture in the city tonight.
Photos by PJD and CIA, Wellington, 19 November 2012. Gollum is already in town too.
… a giant Gollum appears in your local airport. I really, really mean giant. It kind of gave me a fright as I got off the plane tonight. The bubbles (a little hard to see in my photo, apologies!) are a master stroke.
Gollum has certainly landed (or dived through the wall of the airport), which means that the countdown to An Unexpected Journey has begun…
Photo by CIA, Wellington Airport, New Zealand, 29 October 2012. This amazing sculpture was masterminded by fine art sculptor Masayki Ohashi of WETA Workshop, and weighs in at 1.2 tonnes, and is 13 metres long, 3 metres high. Check out an awesome time lapse video of the installation process here.