Review of The Hobbit Motion Picture Trilogy Location Guidebook – Ian Brodie

Posted: December 20, 2015 in nonfiction, Review
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The Hobbit Motion Picture Trilogy Location Guidebook

The Hobbit film trilogy was a visually stunning series and along with its stablemate, The Lord of the Rings, was filmed on location entirely in New Zealand. The franchise has a considerable fan base and a number of these fans wish to experience the film more than just on the screen. Hence the continuation of the Hobbiton film set and this book, which offers the devotee of Peter Jackson’s vision of The Hobbit the opportunity to see Middle Earth in the flesh as it were.

The book is divided into two main sections, North Island and South Island, along with the usual preambles, forewords, introductions, indices and recommended itineraries. More on the latter below, first on body. Locations for The Hobbit are not spread out evenly in New Zealand but tend to be clustered about a few key nodes. Thus Matamata, the location for Hobbiton, provides a handy base to access several sites sprinkled across the Waikato and King Country, such as the Waitomo Caves, Aratiatia Rapids. Similarly, there are strong clusters at the top end of the South Island near Nelson and in Central Otago. The section on Wellington features not only the external locations but also Weta Workshop, which is a tourist attraction in its own right. Each cluster of locations is given a handy map with the relevant topography and traveller’s information.

Each location shoot features pictures of the location in the raw, along with at least one accompanying screen image. Included in the text are quotes from cast and crew members describing their impressions of the area, as well as explanations of some of the special effects Weta carried out to transform the wilderness to the screen. The deconstruction of the Weta magic helps, because what appears on screen is not always the scenery with additions but is sometimes a pastiche. Some sets, on the screen mere yards apart, are sometimes considerably further – Beorn’s House being a prime example. No, you’ll have read the book to find out more.

The suggested trip itineraries are included in part not only because accessing remote areas on any landscape takes time, but because the development of the book was in part assisted by the various regional tourism boards. So sometimes recommendations on where to eat or stay fall into the text. Now, this is a coffee table type book, but don’t leave it on the coffee table as I did. I spilt some coffee and the last few pages suffered slow dismemberment as I tried to unstick them. I’d recommend this to those not only keen on visiting the locations but anybody who appreciates location searches and good photography.

HarperCollins New Zealand

Supplied by HarperCollins New Zealand

Reviewd by Steve

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