Nang Madatnan Si Gollum Papuntang Middle Earth (Bumping into Gollum on the way to Middle Earth)

There's something about memorabilia and authentic collectibles that make you savor the film and book experience.

[ Note from Noel : Happy birthdays to batchmates Raul delos Santos, Andrew Ong, Wilson Ong and Stephen Liao, kudos to the FILINARTIZTS group for their Festival of Carnivale participation in Wellington, interpreting an Ati-atihan inspired performance.  Mabuhay and thanks for making us proud to be Pinoy ! ]

WE GOT lost three times despite Google Maps and checking out the site, but getting there and taking it all in was worth it, and the pics are here to prove it.

I’m referring to the Weta Cave, the mini-museum and shrine put up by the partnership led by Oscar-award winning director and New Zealand icon Peter Jackson, and which is something no one visiting Wellington can afford to miss.

As you might guess, the mini-museum houses several life-size dummies used in Jackson’s obra maestra, the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy  (the majority of which was shot on location in NZ), including Gollum, Orcs (a warlike subhuman species created by LOTR author J.R.R. Tolkien), the creations of several Jackson collaborators (artists, special effects engineers, screenwriters, etc.) and quite a few mementoes of a few of his films before and after LOTR.

The star of the show with a great looker, bahala ka na lang kung sino ang alin 😉

If you’re a science fiction and fantasy buff, it’s a feast for the eyes and mind that you will not be able to replicate unless you visit a Comic-Con or similar multi-media extravaganza available only in the Americas or Europe.

If you’re an Lord of The Rings and / or Narnia fan and lap up anything connected with Middle Earth, alternate worlds or glorious wars of various ages before Man ruled the planet (it’s figurative language only 🙂 ) then the Weta Cave is probably on both ends of your There And Back Again itinerary.

But most of all, if you’re a Peter Jackson diehard and you’ve followed his work even before Lord of The Rings and have seen every item on his filmology, whether he’s contributed as screenwriter, producer or director, then this is a shrine that is the focal point of your pilgrimage.

Now, I don’t even consider myself a serious afficionado or any of the above (some people actually studied Elven, spoken by some of the LOTR characters), although I’ve read and watched the books and movies at least twice (Ganda and Bunso have done so more than double that), and didn’t even realize I’d seen quite a few Peter Jackson movies, but together with good bro Jude I’ve never strayed too far from the sci-fi and fantasy genre, and seeing the compact film and alternative culture-inspired museum was quite a treat.

Underneath a likeness of the Uruk-hai, one of the Orc subspecies used by Saruman in LOTR : The Two Towers

Along with rugby, its world-class dairy industry and an adventurous spirit (think Sir Edmund Hillary), Enzed is known for its cutting edge film and downstream industry, and the high point of global recognition it received came during the decade dominated by LOTR and the torrent of adulation that followed.

To be sure, and to avoid offending Tolkien fans, Jackson’s creations, collaborations and filmology are not synonymous with the great body of work of Tolkien, who is considered one of the greatest authors of the 20th century.  But it can’t be denied that Jackson’s efforts have entrenched the genre, and by extension reading even more deeply in popular culture, and in the process put NZ on the map.  That’s why you can’t help but feel he’s such a great guy, even if he’s a filthy rich multi-millionaire 🙂

But enough of that.  I could talk about all the ultra-cool busts of every major LOTR character, the prosthetics used in some of his movies, and best of all, the glittering future of more movies, notably Tintin (the comics versions of which I read in the 1970s and which will use hypermodern motion capture technology popularized by Avatar) and mouth-wateringly, The Hobbit, an LOTR prequel, but I wouldn’t be able to stop.  Let me just try to post a pic or two here, don’t have to tell you it was an eventful day for this accidental migrant.

Thanks for reading !