New Zealand announces Middle Earth – DW – November 27, 2003

New Zealand announces Middle Earth – DW – November 27, 2003

There is no place in the world better equipped for the decisive battle between good and evil than New Zealand's sleepy capital, Wellington. When the world premiere of The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King – the final part of the film trilogy – flashes across the screen of the venerable Embassy Theater on Monday (December 1, 2003), everyone is thrown into a state of confusion. Fantasy Fever: All The landmark venue in the city, with a population of just 400,000, aims to bear witness to the fact that one of the greatest feature film successes of recent years is not in Hollywood, but in remote New Zealand.

Capital of Middle Earth

When the first part of “Comrades” was released in 2001, Wellington renamed itself “Middle-earth” by decree, and the largest newspaper published a special edition of the premiere. When the film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's best-selling novel is completed, city leaders and the New Zealand government will step up to the plate: 15 actors, including Liv Tyler (Arwen), Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Elijah Wood (Frodo), and Orlando . In the show, Bloom (Legolas) will parade through the streets of Wellington while an Air New Zealand jumbo jet painted with “Lord of the Rings” motifs will vibrate 300 meters above their heads and the heads of fans, of whom the organizations expect several thousand. .

A cinematic scene from “The Lord of the Rings, Part III – The Return of the King”Photo: New line production

Five webcams will broadcast the lead actors' walk, which will eventually lead a 470-metre-long red carpet, around the world via the Internet. Meanwhile, a six-metre-tall Gollum sits at Wellington Airport, while a nine-metre-tall one sits down

Swinging cave clubs are placed on the roof of City Hall.

New Zealand instead of Hollywood

All three parts of the saga were filmed in New Zealand between October 1999 and December 2000. The stunning landscape with its green hills and rugged mountains gave the look of “Middle Earth”. All of the award-winning special and digital effects did not come from computers in the faraway United States of America, but were the work of Weta Ltd. In Wellington, where post-production also took place – in a country famous for its kiwi birds, dairy products, lamb and sailing regattas, with a population of around four million.

Director Peter Jackson is also a real New Zealander who grew up in Wellington. It was he who asked the American production company New Line Cinema to transfer the world premiere to his hometown for the first time – and make the “Embassy Theater” the venue. In the neoclassical building from 1924 Jackson saw his first film as a boy. Since the 758 seats are naturally insufficient, the 3-hour and 12-minute on-screen adventure about the final battle for Middle-earth will be shown in parallel in the 10 screens of a nearby multiplex cinema on opening night.

Do great things and talk about them

What seems like a small country's pride in its cinematic triumph, which has so far won six Oscars, is of course also the state's calculations. “We want everyone to know this is a New Zealand film, made by New Zealanders,” Peter Hodgson, the minister responsible for the government's “Lord of the Rings” projects, said a year ago. Since the release of “The Companions” two years ago, the stated goal has been not only to attract more tourists to the country with the help of the film trilogy, but also to use the saga “as a showcase for our technology.”

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