Hobbit fever is rising - New Zealand is stage again for the next Lord of the Rings saga! ‘The Hobbit’ book was written by JRR Tolkien in 1937. It is a prequel to the history of ‘The Lord of the Rings', here is a short summary:
‘The Hobbit’ is about the adventures of a hobbit called Bilbo Baggins, who one day is surprisingly visited by the wizard Gandalf and his dwarfs to be taken on a long journey. They encounter many creatures on the way, amongst those the lonely Gollum, who preciously guards an ancient ring with magical powers. It is Bilbo's fate to bring that ring to safety, a task that takes the Hobbit to the limits of his possibilities. He meets elves, dragons and orcs and in the end must survive a gigantic battle...
Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit, who misses his five daily meals (at least) during the journey and would have rather preferred to stay at home.
Gandalf, the fascinating wizard with his dwarf helpers, however he frequently disappears during the story to deal with mysterious important issues.
Thorin Oakenshield, proud heir to the Dwarf throne, who still has a lot to learn along the journey.
Gollum, the astonishing creature that lives by an underground lake and guards his magic ring like the most precious thing on Earth...
Smaug, the dragon who captured Thorin's Kingdom and for a long time guarded the treasure under the lonely mountain Erebor.
Even though ‘The Hobbit’ book is much less detailed than ‘The Lord of the Rings' the film will be released as a three part epic, the parts being called 'An Unexpected Journey' (2012), 'The Desolation of Smaug' (2013) and 'There and Back Again' (2014). It seems that director Peter Jackson didn't compromise on anything and the high budget of USD 240 million for the first film alone was sufficient for a great spectacle. It also narrates background stories not mentioned in The Hobbit but other Tolkien sources, such as Radagast the Brown, the heydays of Moria, the Fall of Dale and the Lonely Mountain, etc.
The film is not only made in 3D but also with a higher frequency rate of 48 instead of the usual 24 frames per second. The perception of action scenes turned out to be much more intense and when the camera moves there is hardly any annoying delay-effect left. Watch out for the 'HFR' logo.
At the box office 'An Unexpected Journey' proved to be just as successful as the Lord of the Rings sequels, all films gather around the incredible 1 billion USD mark.
The filming locations in New Zealand
Wellington Stone Street Studio in Miramar. Some old sets from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ were revived.
The well-known Hobbiton movie set on a farm in Matamata. The village had to be rebuilt since everything was dismantled after the last filming. The valley was especially irrigated so that in case of a drought the typical New Zealand green was still visible. This time the end result was a real theme park where you can enter the world of the Hobbits yourself.
Aratiatia Rapids below the Huka Falls.
Denize Bluffs, Piopio.
Turoa Skifield, Mount Ruapehu, Tongariro National Park.
Mangaotaki, Te Kuiti.
Eweburn Station, Te Anau.
Pelorus River, Nelson.
Rock and Pillar Range, Otago.
Earnslaw Burn, Queenstown.
Lake Pukaki and Braemar Station, Twizel.
Paradise, Treble Cone.
Mount Doom in the Tongariro region was no longer used for location shoots as the local Maori tribe did not agree with this use.
Bilbo Baggins - Martin Freeman
Gandalf - Sir Ian McKellen
Gollum - Andy Serkis
Galadriel - Cate Blanchett
Saruman - Sir Cristopher Lee
Frodo Baggins - Elijah Wood
Legolas - Orlando Bloom
Thorin - Richard Armitage
Kili - Aidan Turner
Fili - Rob Kazinsky
Dwalin - Graham McTavish
Oin - John Callen
Bombur - Steven Hunter
Dori - Mark Hadlow
Gloin - Peter Hambleton
Bofur - James Nesbitt
Ori - Adam Brown
Beorn - Mikael Persbrandt
Great Goblin - Barry Humphries (Dame Edna Megastar)
Radagast - Sylvester McCoy
Lord Balin - Ken Stott
Drogo Baggins - Ryan Cage
Nori - Jed Brophy
Bifur - William Kircher
Thror - Jeffrey Thomas
Thrain - Mike Mizrahi
Lindir - Bret McKenzie
Some Hobbit Facts (December 2012):
Length of first film: 166 minutes (plus 10 minutes of credits)
266 days of filming
3D with 48 frames per second (check for the HFR 3D logos at your cinema)