Tuesday, 11 December 2012

At the risk of being the party pooper,This is Wellington,not Middle Earth!

The other day I flew into Middle Earth or should I say Wellington Airport. I passed by a giant figure of something I should know-Gollum?.I collected my luggage from the Hobbit baggage collection centre and caught a Bus to Middle Earth Railway station.
A few days later,in a surreal chain of events I found myself 20 metres from the stars of the Hobbit as they alighted their shiny cars to the screams of the crowd-this was Courtenay Place in Wellington city. I felt one of the crowd, my son on my shoulders;one of the cast,sharing in their glory, rubbing a bit of gold off them onto me.Only problem was I didn't know any of them.I'm not sure that the crowd did either,but they just as happily cheered and held up their camera phones.The other weird part of this story is that the movie hasn't even come out yet.In an unprecedented move, merchandising is in full swing before the movie has come out.  I've seen T-shirts in the Warehouse, posters,models, swords and a whole lot more besides.Here in Queenstown, where I'm staying on holiday,there is a Hobbit horse trek.Its not visiting movie set  locations.Its just riding horses. Not accidentally though, there are LOTR movie set locations near here.People are talking as if they have seen the Hobbit Movie,saying how great it all is.Has anyone seen it yet? Nope.Um, what if its a lemon, I asked my children.What, dad? You party pooper! You are just jealous blah blah...... its ok dad,its gonna be awesome!
Before I break into my Bored of the Rings eulogy-I withstood a full screening of the first movie- I had better be fair minded about it all. Ok I don't like it. Peter Jackson hasn't made a good movie since the one about the girls who murdered their mother..But it has done good things for NZ.It has for the few thousand who work on it and it must inject money into the local (Wellington) economy.But the government has backed these movies made by Sir Peter. That means New Zealand citizens.We still pay full price for tickets,which goes to show that we dont mind being ripped off,as long as we're made famous in the process.And being strung along we are.Yes thats right; 3 movies of the Hobbit. You have to see them all.That's like going for a burger and being charged 3 times- for the bun, then the meat,then the filling.
The other thing that concerns me is that the movie industry is notably fickle.Its here today gone tomorrow. Peter Jackson himself said that movie making companies are right now competing for movies to be made in their countries,and governments are subsidising their efforts.Should we be investing so heavily in this industry? Probably; every other industry seems precariously sitting on the ledge.Even new Zealands pride and joy Fonterra could go down the tubes on the global dairy market. As John Key rightly pointed out though,no one can compete with New Zealand on Location.We have stunning natural places as yet unspoilt by humans.
Its almost an act of treason to say you don't like LOTR..All very worrying crowd behaviour if you ask me.

Two of my children,Ina and Toby on a Hobbit location high above Queenstown
Tonight I'm walking my children and their mother down to the local Queenstown cinema where they will queue up and join in the fun and excitement of the first showing of the Hobbit.Good on them.I did the same for the Harry Potter opening. It will be a fabulous movie.How could I think otherwise?

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