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Woaw... they cleaned up Hobbiton!

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Woaw... they cleaned up Hobbiton!

1. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 10y

I've personally been to the Hobbiton set in Matamata twice, and one of the things they (the tourguides working for the Alexander family which owns the land) told both times was that New Line still owned the set, and they weren't allowed to change anything about it. A simple change like planting a field of wildflowers took months to get approved, and the request to put some doors back into the holes had been winding its way through the organization for years (without any results).

The hobbit holes themselves definitely getting long in the tooth. They never were designed to survive for more than a couple of months, and so the effects of the weather made for example Bag End look like this. Yet just now I was looking through the recently uploaded photos, and noticed Darth Newton's photo of Bag End of three days ago. Wow, that looks so completely pristine and clean and white!

I'm amazed New Line ever allowed them to do that. Does anyone who's been on this tour recently know anything more about when this happened, why this happened (were the holes completely collapsing?) who did this (did New Line people come in themselves to fix, or did they allow the Alexander family to do it?), and if there's any hint whatsoever of this having to do with the rumors of the upcoming "The Hobbit" movie?

2. Posted by me.da (Full Member 96 posts) 10y

Strangely disturbing to see the pic of a dilapitated hobbit-hole....
Almost expected to see an unshaven Frodo slumped outside in a fourth-hand suit holding a bottle in a brown paper bag...:( Glad they cleaned it up, a bit of social reform for the marginalised hobbits ;)

3. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 10y

Wow, that made me laugh so hard!

4. Posted by Kathi20 (Respected Member 270 posts) 10y

I used to live 10min from 'Hobbiton' and visited it once back in 2003. Kiwis know how to make money: showing people a few holes in the ground, taking them to a mountain, where they made some bits and pieces of the movie and charge them a few hundred dollars...
(and people from overseas (tourists) love it )

who cares what it looks like now? My friends went on the 'Hobbiton tour in 2005 and they still got told exactly the same stories. (I assume they showed you the 'ribbon' in the tree as well?) There's not much left to see anyway, so why wonder about those few walls that are left...

5. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 10y

Why wonder? Because it's Hobbiton.
To me (I realize this doesn't hold true for everyone), the Lord of the Rings movies Mattered. For the first time ever, someone took a fantasy book and made a movie of it that not only didn't suck, but that went far above and beyond the wildest dreams of any fan, showing that most of the people making it shared the same love for the book. And it wasn't just any book, but LotR! The book which has shaped and defined the entire genre for half a century.
And Hobbiton was at the heart of it all. It was the most carefully chosen location, with the most elaborate attention to detail, setting the tone of the movies right then and there. And the landscape that it was set in wasn't digital effects - it's real, and it's right there.

Your reply makes it sound like the tours are some kind of scam - just to see "some holes in the ground".
Sure, it's expensive (these people are more than welcome to make some money as far as I'm concerned; I've done much more expensive activities that gave me much less enjoyment), and what's there isn't all that much - not tangible at least. Before I took the tour, I'd expected to come back pretty disappointed with what I'd get for the money. But I wasn't. Far more than just "a few walls", I saw the exact rolling green hills that matched so effortlessly to my mental image of the Shire (when you're in Matamata itself, there's none of that around - you really have to go to that farm to get the effect); the same location, out of all the possible locations in New Zealand, that was chosen to be Hobbiton by some of the most qualified people to make that decision. And I got told the background story of how it all came to pass (which, yes, stayed 90% the same between the two times I visited - but that's okay, because they're telling the right things). And most of all, I got to be there. Maybe that's something you have to be a 'tourist' for to realize, maybe living locally you don't see it anymore - but New Zealand is an extremely gorgeous country, and this was easily one of its prettier bits (which makes it very pretty indeed), and I consider myself lucky to have seen it in real life. :)

So, yeah, I care. The place is a bit of history (already), and a bit of international 'cultural' heritage. I'll have the same kind of interest in it as I'll have in what happens to the physical location occupied by my university; a related kind of interest, I assume, to that shown by many people in specific D-Day beaches.
And if the set is being cleaned up, and better preserved for other people to more easily recognize how it was... then that makes me happy, and I'd like to know more about it. :)

[ Edit: Edited on Nov 21, 2006, at 12:05 PM by Sander ]

6. Posted by Kathi20 (Respected Member 270 posts) 10y

I guess, because I lived in NZ for quite a while, at some stage it just felt 'enough of 'Lord of the Rings'".

I haven't got anything against Hobbiton or the other 'Lord of the Ring' sets, I just don't agree with the prices they charge people for it.

Yes, you r right- NZ is an amazing place and when you go there the first time, or go back after some time you'll notice the beautiful scenery and green hills/grass. (that's human being: getting used to things after some time)

I lived 15min outside of Matamata, (on a farm) and I can only agree with you, that it's amazingly beautiful there. They couldn't have chosen a better place for 'Hobbiton', but I think it's sad that 'Money makes the world go round'.
Looking at green hills or scenery in general, shouldn't cost that much!

7. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 10y

Heh, fair enough. :) And luckily almost all other gorgeous nature in New Zealand is absolutely free to look at. *g*