Go back to Special Reports Archives

March 27, 2006 - April 19, 2006

4-19-06 Latest News

Xoanon @ 4:45 pm EST

The opening weekend for the return of The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy The Exhibition has exceeded visitor targets and surpassed the opening days of the exhibition in 2002. Since opening to the public on Good Friday, the exhibition has already achieved nearly 11,000 visitors, which is 2000 more visitors compared with the first five days of the original season in 2002.

“We are delighted with the numbers so far,” said Mr Paul Brewer, Director Marketing and Communications.

“There continues to be a fascination with the film trilogy. The vision of Peter Jackson, and the creative talents of the many behind-the-scenes people – from model makers Weta Workshop to Ngila Dickson’s costume designs – it has all been so beautifully crafted together to create an entirely holistic Middle-earth. The behind the scenes stories of the extraordinary technology and special effects are also a popular part of the exhibition and one of the reasons it has been in demand from science museums world wide. It helps to make science and innovation in a broad sense popular with large audiences. Te Papa is very pleased to be able to show New Zealand this exhibition for one last time,“ Mr Brewer said.

The exhibition first opened at Te Papa in December 2002 attracting 220,000 visitors (New Zealand’s most successful exhibition to date), and since then seen by over a million people worldwide. The exhibition has been significantly refreshed for this final New Zealand showing to include impressive new items from the film trilogy. These include the impressive and large scale 3.5 metre high ‘miniature’ of the great fortified city Minas Tirith and Corsair’s boat on display for the first time, preliminary sculptures of Gollum’s facial expressions used to develop his character. Other additions include Aragorn’s coronation crown, Arwen's coronation crown and dress, and Gandalf the White’s robes

This second season of The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy The Exhibition at Te Papa has been made possible though the support of New Line Cinema, Peter Jackson, and principal sponsor Air New Zealand.

The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy - The Exhibition
Until 20 August 2006
Level 5, Te Papa
Admission charges apply.
Adults $12, Children (4-14 years) $6.50. Family concession available.

Developed and presented by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in partnership with New Line Cinema.

4-12-06 Latest News

Te Papa's LOTR Exhibit Preview!
Xoanon @ 12:09 am EST

Xoanon here, this morning my wife and I were lucky enough to get an advanced look at the new Lord of the Rings exhibit at the Te Papa Museum in Wellington, New Zealand.

The Te Papa Museum is the pride and joy of Wellington, boasting some half dozen events, it sits on Wellington Harbour like a jewel in a crown.

Housed on the fifth floor of the sprawling building this exhibit features something for everyone, costumes, weapons, bigatures and more. Each character from the story is given his or her own small section of the museum with costume displays, photos, props and other items seen in the film. TV screens at every stop play small clips from the DVD documentries that tie into the display. There was an entire room dedicated to armour from every race, hidden speakers gave us battle sounds from the film, and the mood lighting really got you into the spirit of the moment.

There was another section devoted totally to the One Ring. The ring insignia floated around the room as the One Ring floated in mid air. Another section housed the Minas Tirith bigature and the model of Bag End as seen by Frodo in Galadriel's mirror.

The Elven boat that carried Boromir's body was on display, with a dummy that looked uncannily like Sean Bean himself. Weapons were on display, both behind glass and others out in the open available for you to touch and feel.

One of the really neat touches was the forced perspective demonstration with two versions of Gandalf's wagon, visitors are able to get a photo taken with a guest, one looking decidely Hobbit-sized.

My favorite model on display had to be the Corsair ship proudly displayed at the main entrance to the Te Papa Museum. It's sails held high, this 'miniature' model looks seaworthy as is!

If you can get down to Wellington from now until August I highly encourage you to stop by and take a look!

4-12-06 Latest News

“Lord of the RINGS EXHIBITION” Returns to Te Papa
Xoanon @ 7:04 pm EST

Te Papa, New Line Cinema and principal sponsor Air New Zealand are delighted to announce the return of the most popular exhibition in New Zealand’s history - The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy - The Exhibition. Opening at Te Papa on 14 April 2006, this interactive and immersive exhibition with many brand new exhibits explores writer/director/producer Peter Jackson's epic trilogy based on the J.R.R. Tolkien masterpiece.

The exhibition first opened at Te Papa in December 2002 attracting 220,000 visitors, and since then seen by over a million people worldwide. The exhibition has been shown at science museums in London, Boston, Singapore, Houston, Indianapolis, and the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.

The exhibition covering over 1000 square metres of gallery space will be significantly refreshed to include stunning new items from the film trilogy. These include Aragorn’s coronation crown, Arwen's coronation crown and dress, and Gandalf the White’s robes. The impressive and large scale ‘miniature’ of the great fortified city Minas Tirith and Corsair’s boat will also be on display for the very first time, as will preliminary sculptures of Gollum’s facial expressions used to develop his character.

Items never before seen in New Zealand also include a model of a mumakil, maquettes and information about the making of digital creatures such as Shelob, and Anduril, the sword of Aragorn. Visitors will be treated to all-new interviews with the cast and crew about their personal experiences and relationships during the making of the films. Original artworks developed for characters and scenes will also be exhibited.

“The return of this internationally successful exhibition gives visitors one last chance to explore the magical world created by the vision of director Peter Jackson and the groundbreaking technology behind the movies,” said Dr Seddon Bennington, Te Papa’s Chief Executive. ”From skilled artisans to computer wizardry - this exhibition displays kiwi ingenuity at its finest,” he added.

Air New Zealand Group General Manager Marketing, Network and Sales Norm Thompson said there was no questioning Air New Zealand’s involvement in the second exhibition following its huge support for the movie a few years ago when the airline visually themed all its jet aircraft.

“We are proud to be supporting the return of New Zealand’s most popular exhibition. Not only does it showcase our country’s talent, creativity and innovation, it’s a great way to celebrate the movie that put Middle-earth on the map, our people under the international spotlight, and inspired people to visit our beautiful country,” said Mr Thompson.

The exhibition will see the return of models of Ringwraiths, Orcs, the Cave Troll, and Treebeard, as well as costumes, jewellery, and weapons of characters such as Frodo, Arwen, and Aragorn. Magnificent miniature sets and models used to create the epic world of Middle-earth returning to this exhibition include Frodo's vision of the ruined Hobbiton Mill, the Tower of Orthanc, and Sauron's tower, Barad-dur.

Visitors will learn how some of the amazing special effects in The Lord of the Rings films were achieved, and how make-up techniques were used to such great effect.

Behind the scenes footage demonstrates the revival of traditional crafts to create ‘authentic’ medieval weaponry and armour, such as chainmail. This craftsmanship is demonstrated in twelve complete sets of armour in the armour corridor.

Animatronics, a combination of animation and puppetry that brought characters such as Treebeard to life is explained through audiovisuals.

A scaling interactive explores how actors are made to appear to be hobbit or wizard-sized using an ingenious mix of trick photography, forced perspective sets, and props made at different scales. Visitors can enjoy first-hand experience of the films’ special effects by being photographed in a set from the film to see how the technology works.

This second season of The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy - The Exhibition at Te Papa has been made possible though the support of New Line Cinema, Peter Jackson, and principal sponsor Air New Zealand.

The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy - The Exhibition
14 April - 20 August 2006
Level 5, Te Papa

Admission charges apply.
Adults $12, Children (4-14 years) $6.50. Family concession available.

Developed and presented by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in partnership with New Line Cinema.

4-11-06 Latest News

Xoanon Tours WETA Report!
Xoanon @ 11:35 pm EST

Earlier this morning I was allowed access to the coolest place on earth, WETA Workshop. Located in a non-descript area of Wellington near the airport, this small groupings of offices and warehouses has produced some of the best practical and special effects seen in this century (and the last one too). Not only that, but it is also a digial studio, miniatures unit, production facility and more. If you've seen, held, or heard anything from Lord of the Rings, King Kong, Narnia and a few other films in the last few years, chances are it was made here.

My tour began with a meet and greet with Richard Taylor. Richard gave us a detailed background of WETA. From its humble beginnings to the huge powerhouse operation it is today, Richard outlined it all for us. The conference room at WETA HQ is most likely the most 'polished' place on the complex. It is filled wall to wall with photos, plaques and awards on one side, and the other side is full of WETA Collectible statues, busts and figures. One shelf in particular holds 5 golden Oscars that Richard proudly displays for all guests. He promptly took them out for us and passed them around. Richard was kind to take time out of his busy schedule (two cell phones that kept ringing) and was not short on words detailing their work on King Kong as well as LOTR and Narnia, easiest the three biggest projects they have taken on so far.

The details that went into the Skull Island people was so complexe that I felt I was listening to an anthropolgy course about real natives than a film production house. Richard and his team really work on these characters from the ground up to make sure they seem believeable to the movie going public.

We were next shown the WETA showreel. This, I assume, is shown to producers or toymakers or any sort of suit who need a quick demo of what WETA can do. All the 'money' shots from the LOTR Trilogy, King Kong and Narnia was seen on this video. We were given a great DVD copy to take home and enjoy as well.

Next we were introduced to an old friend of any TORN regular, Daniel Falconer. Daniel took us on the rest of the WETA tours. After saying goodbye to Richard we headed down into the main complex of the building that housed the metalworkers, leather area, paint, sculpt, models and more. The folks at WETA seem to pride themselves that they are still very down to earth, which in itself is kiwi philosophy. You can tell by walking around the complex that they don't like to pamper themselves with things that will only get in the way of their work. However you can also see how proud they are of some of the major work they've accomplished. All along the buildings there are props, art and photos from earlier work. Swords and other weapons, maquettes, paintings, models, clothing, along every hallway and around every corner. I got the feeling they use it to inspire themselves to achieve even better and higher quality of work.

These days the team seems to be in between major projects. The buildings were not that busy today. Daniel assured us that during LOTR production people were working 24/7 on models, props and other things. Today we saw some great Narnia bookends they plan to have out by Christmas. We also saw one of the Venture 'bigatures' alongside a corsair ship being repaired for the grand opening at the Te Papa museum (It seemed very surreal to see those two together). There were also a few smaller jobs being worked on like a plane wing model and some sculpt work for a children's feature.

WETA's latest pride and joy is a new computer animated feature called 'Jane and the Dragon'. Canadian fans can currently see season one on YTV. We were given a tour of the digital studio they use to create the show, as well as the 'mo-cap' stage where they shoot the main characters. (Think of an entire show being made the same way they made Gollum and King Kong with Andy Serkis). We were then privy to a special few minutes of an as-yet unfinished episode of the show. I have seen the show on YTV before back home and think it's a great show for kids. You can tell the folks at WETA are very proud of it.

That led us back to the main offices where we started. It really went WAY too fast and I know the folks with me and my wife wanted to hang out a bit more just to smell that air of creativity around the place.

I know a TON of fans have made the trek to Camerdown Street to see the studio and only managed to get a shot of the front door, so I feel extreemly lucky to be able to get down here and see a place I have only read about for years. Thanks to Richard Taylor and Daniel Falconer for the tour and special thanks to UBISOFT for the trip!

4-08-06 Latest News

Xoanon @ 3:46 am EST

Among the medieval entertainers, hawkers and vendors at the Middle Earth Festival in Downtown Vacaville on April 22 & 23, there will be a surprise - a Green, Eco-Friendly vendor area. Visitors will discover advanced technology vehicles such as the Honda Civic GX (dedicated compressed natural gas) and a unique home refueling appliance on display.

J.R.R. Tolkien was not a fan of the internal combustion engine, but he did care for the good, green, clean earth. In that spirit, there will be information on recycling, environmental education, and clean air. Pending are demonstrations of all-battery electric vehicles. This includes the NGM (no more gas) vehicle formerly known as The Sparrow, a single passenger, three wheeled electric vehicle.

A City of Vacaville representative, Ed Huestis, will be on hand with the green vendors. Mr. Huestis is the Transportation Systems Manager who oversees the city's electric and compressed natural gas vehicle programs. He will have information on the incentives available for clean air vehicles.

On Saturday, which is Earth Day, staff from the city's recycling, and environmental education programs will have activities for children.

The Middle Earth Festival, a unique celebration of J.R.R. Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, will have arts, crafts, and merchandise vendors, entertainment, food, games for the kids, contests, and music. There will also be forums on the themes of Tolkien, a Troll Stroll, and Demonstrations of Old Time Skills. There is no admission charge for this family oriented festival. Most activities are free.

For more information on the green eco-friendly aspect of the festival, please contact Betty Lucke at (707) 448-1021 or Ed Huestis at (707) 449-5424. For general information on the festival, go to www.middleearthfestival.com or contact the Downtown Office at (707) 451-2100.

The Exhibition Returns to New Zealand
Xoanon @ 3:37 am EST

Linuxelf writes: The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy: The Exhibition, returns at Te Papa museum Wellington. A quote from the site:

"It’s back home by popular demand – and full of great new stories and exhibits.

After its record-breaking season at Te Papa in 2002/03, and the blockbuster international tour that followed, this exhibition has been seen by over one million people around the world – but none have seen all of its latest attractions.

As a visitor to this, the exhibition’s last-ever season, you’ll be among the only people in the world to gaze upon Aragorn’s crown, or examine the astonishing miniature of the great fortified city Minas Tirith. There are also exclusive, all-new interviews with Peter Jackson, and the cast and crew.

You’ll get up close to a host of stunningly detailed props, costumes, and creatures, including Gollum and Shelob. Here, and in other exhibits, the show zooms in on the groundbreaking technology that New Zealand’s own Weta Workshop and Weta Digital developed to make movie history. You can be photographed in a film-set to see how scaling special effects work, and encounter the One Ring itself in a dramatic, atmospheric space."

14 April 2006 - 20 August 2006
Level 5 Entry

Admission charges:

Adults $12.00
4 - 14 yrs $6.50

Family Prices and Concessions available. For more information go to tepapa.govt.nz

3-29-06 Latest News

Problems with the (Musical) Helms Deep?
Xoanon @ 10:36 pm EST

Ming writes: I attended the LOTR stage show in Toronto this afternoon, and I regret to say that the Helm's Deep scene is still error-prone. During the performance I attended, Saruman's orcs were scaling the walls of Helm's Deep when, abruptly, they all left the stage (was there some kind of signal, I wonder?) and the raised platforms on the stage descended. I sat for a moment in bewilderness (though I had a very bad feeling about it, pardon the other-movie reference) before the voice of God announced that they were experiencing some "technical difficulties" and that we should remain seated. That announcement was repeated twice before the voice of God decided to have an "unscheduled intermission".

During this break, I spoke to one of the ushers, who told me that this was the first time this had happened since the show officially opened last Thursday. I said I hoped they wouldn't skip the scene entirely, and she assured me that they wouldn't do that.

When we were called back into the theater soon thereafter, the voie of God thanked us for our patience and audaciously said "I'm afraid you will have to take my word" that Gandalf had returned and that, with his aid, the battle of Helm's Deep had been won by Theoden's army (I don't think he even spelled it out so clearly, which must have left Tolkien virgins in a daze -- though the confusing Khazad-Dum scene probably already did the job, as would the even more confusing destruction of the Ring).

During the second "scheduled" intermission, I asked to speak to the house manager, from whom I requested a free pass to see another performance of the second act. Unfortunately, he said he didn't have the authority to grant such a request, and gave me TicketKing's customer service e-mail address. I will be going back to New York on Saturday morning so if I don't receive a favorable response by Friday, they're going to have one very disgruntled hobbit. I have not come all the way to Toronto and spent so much money on an orchestra seat (no trifle for a college student!) to miss what I've heard is one of the most spectacular scenes in the show!

3-27-06 Latest News

LOTR Musical Clip on NBC's 'Today Show'
Xoanon @ 3:41 pm EST

In case you missed THE LORD OF THE RINGS segment this morning on NBC’s “Today”, you can access it here.

The stage version of The Lord of the RingsR30;is a robust, serious, quite faithful transposition of the saga. This is the one LOTR (to use the fans acronym) you can consume in a single evening and say with a pleased smile, “Yes, that’s it”. It is a musical that becomes a spectacular morality play, an adventure with a soft and stricken heart. The Ring Fellowship has staged the season’s definitive megamusical, 560 Km north of Times Square. For now, Broadway is off-Toronto”

Time Magazine
“A breathtaking theatrical adaptation, directed, designed and choreographed, produced with searing attention to detail. I was completely transported, not just by the story but also by the way 21st-century stage know-how melded with old fashioned stagecraft”

Daily Mail (UK)
"Scenically, technically and imaginatively The Lord of the Rings is a marvel. Under Matthew Warchus' implacably disciplined direction, hardly any of the effects are gratuitous... Rob Howell's sets, a forest of invention with withered branches as the governing motif, pull not just the stage but the auditorium into Middle Earth, as does Paul Pyant's lighting, which, in its beauty and variety, calls for the coining of new superlatives... The adaptation, by Shaun McKenna and the director, is outstandingly intelligent."

National Post (Canada)
The world premiere stage production of THE LORD OF THE RINGS opened March 23 at Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre. J.R.R. Tolkien’s world renowned book trilogy has sold in excess of 200 million copies and now, THE LORD OF THE RINGS has arrived on stage.

A Kevin Wallace Limited Production, presented by Kevin Wallace and Saul Zaentz, in association with David and Ed Mirvish and Michael Cohl, THE LORD OF THE RINGS began previews on February 4, 2006 at the 2,000-seat Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

An international creative team, led by acclaimed director Matthew Warchus, award-winning set and costume designer Rob Howell and celebrated choreographer Peter Darling, has combined all three books into one unmissable theatrical event. With a thrilling score, a spectacular design, and featuring an ensemble of over 70 actors, singers and musicians, THE LORD OF THE RINGS features book and lyrics by Shaun McKenna and Matthew Warchus and a score by India’s most popular composer, A.R. Rahman, and the renowned Finish group Vårttinå collaborating with musical supervisor and orchestrator Christopher Nightingale.

For tickets and schedule visit:

Go back to Special Reports Archives