Lord of the Rings Tour

When analyzing the film industry of New Zealand, there is no better example of when our class took a trip to visit the various set locations of The Lord of the Rings. Upon arriving in New Zealand, this was the tour that everyone was most looking forward to most. The day started off with a tour of Weta studios which is responsible for the designing of The Lord of the rings movies. This was amazing to see. Not only were we able to see the attention to detail and craftsmanship that went into all of the design pieces, but as a whole, what a great team it was to work for. The 30 minute movie and tour around the gift shop was only the tip of the iceberg. The movie showed us how the creation of how Weta happened and how it became one of the largest design studios to this day. This company is also responsible for many other movies like Avatar, The Last Samurai, the Matrix, Tin Tin and many more. While the films were not produced entirely by Weta, they contributed hundreds of people and thousands of hours to make these amazing movies. There was an available tour where visitors could go see the craftsman hard at work as they prepared their various costumes, weapons, and sets. It would have been great tour to go on. 

Upon leaving Weta studios, we set out to find the various filming locations of the film series. We traveled to forests, valleys, rivers, and mountain sides to see where the set locations would be set up. We recreated a few of the scenes and were able to see why choosing these locations was an obvious choice. The scenery was beautiful! The amount of time and detail that was put into these set designs and the care that the crew took for the land they used was amazing to learn about. The tour guides had more knowledge on the film series than anyone I have ever known. This could be from the fact they have seen and read the books many many times.
We finished up the tour at the rock quarry where the scene for Helms deep was filmed. The captivatingly large hill can make someone believe that this is where a giant battle would take place. Upon walking up to this quarry, I was able to recognized which scene this was from. While the locations we visited had no sets built and was just scenery at the time, the tour guides did. Great job of helping us envision and even recreate some of the scenes. 
This amazing tour of the gorgeous city of Wellington and filming locations of The Lord of the Rings was the highlight of my trip to New Zealand. It was relaxing and educational to see how the movie industry can take the world we live in and transform it into middle earth and show off the beauty of both. 
Joe Bauer
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