INDEPENDENT NEWS

Guy’s World: Premiere Night In Middle Earth

Published: Thu 20 Dec 2001 10:58 AM
Peter Jackson's stature truly represented
It’s 12.01am, I’m in geek heaven and I’m loving it. It’s the first Australasian public screening of the Fellowship of the Ring. The hardcore fans are kitted out in their pointy ears and armour. All in the theatre sense several years of anticipation about to be well and truly satiated as Peter Jackson’s epic recreation of The Lord of the Rings’ first book unfolds onscreen.
“We’re a fellowship and we’re proud”
On the side of good
Most of these fans took their medieval regalia for a spin throughout town for the pre-stars-walking-down-the-red-carpet parade in the afternoon. Wellington is Middle Earth for a week, as decreed by the city council. There’s never been a better time and place to be truly immersed in fantasy.
The common people
My presssciouus!
The vibe on Courtenay Place is festive ahead of the appearance of the stars. Odd-ball diversions abound. and soon so many fans flood into the street for a glimpse of a hobbit that any hope of finding a place on the edge of the red carpet without media accreditation (doh!) fade.
A strange bird indeed,
and a gaggle of Mutton Birds sing on the Opera balcony
A living sado-masochistic water sculpture torments children
The young stars, hobbits Elijah Wood (Frodo), Billy Boyd (Pippin), Dominic Monaghan (Merry) and elf Orlando Bloom (Legolas) are manic live wires. What’s in the pipeweed boys? Folks walking down a long red carpet has never been so much fun and thanks to the big screen, the thousands in attendance could all share in it.
Female fans scream for unlikely sex symbol Elijah Wood, who is generous with his humour, his hugs and his signature.
But Wellington saves its biggest welcome for Mr Peter Jackson. He’s a true hobbit – absolutely overwhelmed by the occasion and a little bit uncomfortable with his place in the center of it. He signs countless autographs, delaying the premiere.
When he's ready, and only when he's ready, the stars enter the Embassy for, as Peter Jackson called it, the real premiere.
The hobbits goof off
And the movie? Its big, perhaps even a little unwieldy. A fantastic drama, a real emotional roller coaster – by turns tender and terrifying.
Later, after the stars have had their premiere and are getting Legolas at the after party, a television cameraman captures the stunned audience filing out of the public screening I've just attended. Some faces reveal tears just shed. With its cast of elves, hobbits, dwarves and wizards, The Fellowship of the Rings’ power lies in its humanity.

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