Thursday 8 August 2013

Weta Workshop: giving Disney's imagineers a run for their money

These are actual hobbit feet, perfect in every tiny detail right down to the filthy toenails. They were Bilbo's, since you ask, and they're on show at the Weta Cave here in Wellington along with many other wonders of obsessive minutiae.

Actually, some of the minutiae is extremely large, as you'd expect in a place where they've coined the word 'bigature' for outsized models - of castles, mountain villages, whatever else might be needed for some fleeting scene in a movie. No matter what it is or how brief its appearance onscreen, in a workshop on a block in suburban Miramar, just down the road from the Darlington Superette, fantastically talented, hardworking and slightly eccentric artists will create it, 100% perfect.

There's a tour around one workshop, containing more weapons, suits of armour, nightmarish creatures and just a few cute furry animals than you could shake a (rubber) sword at. Then a shop selling collectibles including The One Ring for a mere $4875 (uninscribed!) and a video of the short but busy history of Weta. It's well worth the bus-ride to get there - even people who've never heard of Halo will be fascinated. Guaranteed.

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