Air New Zealand has been playing up its role in the new movie The Hobbit coming out this month. Witness their new Middle Earth-themed safety video released earlier (a bit long, at 4:27 compared to United’s 3-minute briefing):
But why shouldn’t they? Every picture I see of New Zealand, on and off the screen, makes it seem like an amazing, beautiful place. It’s no surprise that it was chosen as the setting for production of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and now the two-part interpretation of The Hobbit. New Zealand reminds me of one of my favorite landscape painters, Albert Bierstadt, who was known for being excessive in every sense. He used huge canvases, dramatic lighting, and exaggerated mountains. To quote the Wikipedia article:
Bierstadt sometimes changed details of the landscape to inspire awe. … He painted what he believed was the way things should be.
And New Zealand definitely inspires awe. Lucky is better traveled than I, and even he agrees it’s one of his four favorite places in the world. So it’s natural to be envious as you see and hear the actors describe what it was like to be there during production. The good news for Tolkien fans? It looks to me like Hobbiton may become a permanent attraction.