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Boston LOTR Exhibit Reviews

July 31, 2004 at 4:19 pm by xoanon  - 

Tigger-ette writes: We have just come back from the Exhibition in Boston. From walking through stone dwarvish doors at the entrance to seeing Sauron towering over human adults and halflings, there is something for any fan of the movie. The layout is spaced so that if one display is crowded one can move around very easily, and visit it again when less crowded.

There are interactive displays which makes the exhibition more engaging for little ones that like to move. You can take home a picture souvenir of your (hobbit)self for $5.00 Do not expect every costume, but there are several of different points of the movies, armour of all middle-earthlings is displayed especially well. There are some great prints on the walls from different stages of the movie making.

On your way out you can pay homage to the Captain of Gondor in final repose. The gift shop is decorated nicely, but doesn’t have much in the way of special merchandise for the exhibition. There are some opportunities for special visits (and visitors) coming up at the exhibit. You can find out more information at www.mos.org.

Hope everyone has a great time tonight for the special midnight to dawn showing!

—–

Hobbitfan

I have just returned from the LOTR Exhibit. Today was the Members Viewing Day, and, as I’ve been a member for a while, I decided to go. I got there early, though it turned out my tickets were for noon. I’m thanking whoever may be up there that I did because, in an enclosed area of the gift shop, a certain New Zealand prosthetics supervisor we all know and love was setting up to turn someone into an orc. On further inquiry the someone turned out to be Lawrence Makoare!!!!! Got his autograph and watched his transformation, which took four hours (there was, of course, the brief interruption of the actual exhibit, which is bloody good fun). Truly amazing. After he was fully dressed, he went upstairs to the exhibit room to mingle. Luckily, I had tickets to the 3:00 pm showing as well, so was able to follow him. He made a few small friends (no one actually cried, which was good) and goofed around with other viewers. This was quite sweet, as he was obviously dying of heat.

P.S. Apparently, in addition to member nights, editing lectures, and the such, Sean Astin is going to be at the exhibit Oct. 15-16!

—–

Red

At the Museum of Science’s Members-only Event for the Boston LotR Exhibit (July 31st, 2004):

I’d been looking forward to this exhibit for more than a year; indeed, ever since I first heard news of its first stop, in Te Papa. Since I’m local this summer, I decided to make it a point to go. Firstly, do be sure to get to the Museum at least fifteen to thirty minutes early. This is so that one may buy and/or pick up tickets and still have time to get to the exhibit proper. Buy tickets ahead of time from the exhibit’s official site; lines will be horrendous once the season picks up. Don’t bother to bring a camera or a cell phone; one will be asked to leave it outside or leave oneself. The security guards are being very fair about this. Also try to avoid bringing in large bags. Sketchbooks are perfectly acceptable, of course. Once in the exhibit, one will not be allowed to leave and then come back, so do whatever else is necessary ahead of time.

Before one enters the Museum, one can see the New Zealand flag is flying between the U.S. flag and the one for the Museum itself. There are several large posters on the outside walls. There is a huge window netting with the FotR theatrical poster on, on the window bank over the entrance, of the sort that is only visible from the outside. Inside the main lobby, there are long, paired banners hanging from the ceiling: Aragorn and Arwen; Frodo and Gandalf; Saruman and A Random Orc/Uruk-hai; and Gimli and…Elrond? Not that I don’t wholly appreciate Elrond, certainly, but still. Hm. Ah, well. Moving on.

Before the entrance to the ‘Red Wing’ are the Argonath, as described by various other reports from earlier stops. One must walk down the wide corridor to reach the hall where the exhibit is being housed. Just previous to the stairs, however, was a curtained-off area where a staff member was applying Orc facial prosthetics to some poor soul or other (presumably also a staff member). Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay to examine the work being done, as the time-slot printed on my ticket was coming up. When in queue, a very nice staff member was giving out mallorn-leaf temporary tattoos: one to each ticket-holder. I believe that this was only for the members-only event, but I could well be wrong. I’ll find out tomorrow when I go again.

But back to the exhibit itself! The anteroom was a partial mock-up of Dwarrowdelf Hall, complete with pillar bases. There weren’t any Cirth to be found, unfortunately. At the entrance to the roped-off lines was a panelled blurb on the filmmakers. There were lots of said panels in a similar vein scattered about the exhibit, each pertaining to whatever props and/or costumes there displayed. Also all around the hall were framed paintings and pencil drawings by Alan Lee, John Howe, and other concept artists–simply beautiful. Just after entering through the doors was an absolutely huge sculpture of the Cave Troll and a Moria Orc. It had a rather startling effect, to say the least. Music from the multiple video features around the hall was played almost constantly; Howard Shore’s gorgeous score was an excellent complement to the physical features displayed (as it was to the film), and made the exhibit even more wonderful. Bravo!

To the left of the entrance was a whole wall of glass cases featuring various and sundry Elven items, including a sceptre with a lovely milk-white stone held by four leaf-shaped prongs, Elrond’s circlet, Vilya, and an ‘Elven telescope’ with a few characters of Tengwar worked into the design (first case). The second case held Haldir’s complete weapons kit from Helm’s Deep, including a gorgeous double-recurve bow, a quiver full of swan-fletched (of course) arrows, and his sword and scabbard. The last cases contained Gil-galad’s shield, as well as a regular Prologue Elven shield, with sword. The latter had no visible insignia on it, but was covered in organic designs somewhat remeniscent of the La Tene Celtic style. On top of these cases was Aiglos in all its (un-bloodied) glory. Both of these shields were of the same size and shape, but Gil-galad’s shield was emblazoned with his eponymous star, as befits a king. The design on the central boss was very closely based on the Professor’s sigil for the character.

A Gondorian saddle, -cloth, and -horse was on display near these cases. The leather was beautifully tooled, worn and scratched with real wear. The wooden seat had on seven studs for the Seven Stars, the White Tree on the sides, and the seabird’s wings on the opposite end. The cloth was a royal blue velvet, with white piping about the edges and the Tree on two of the corners. This, too, was worn, but stained instead with dried mud. The saddle-horse’s crosspieces were carved into an interlocking design.

Next was the forced-perspective interactive exhibit, as previously reported by others. Try not to be wearing green if you plan on trying this one out, as you’ll have to wear a smock so that the green screen won’t project the Shire onto your chest. An interesting experience, I’m sure, but it would be best to avoid it.

There were many ‘islands’ in the centre of the hall, displaying character costumes and related props. Aragorn and Arwen were on one, with his Ranger outfit, the shards of Narsil, and the reforged Andzril, and her riding and Requiem dresses with fabric swatches of the same, as well as her blood-red mourning dress. Also on this island was Thioden, replete with his battle armour and weaponry, as well as an assortment of Rohirric drinking and decorative horns, a ‘Royal Rohan Shield,’ Thioden’s royal seal with carved box and red wax sticks, and a plentiful amount of Rohirric belt buckles and aglets. All were heavily detailed and very beautiful.

As for the Hobbits, there was only Frodo’s costume shown. Props for that island included Thorin’s map, the mithril vest, Sting and its scabbard, the Red Book, the Phial, and a mallorn-leaf brooch–all Hobbit-sized.

Legolas and Gimli had their own island, with the former’s Mirkwood and Lsrien weapons, as well as his regular, travelling outfit, and the latter’s full armour and all five axes. The tooling and braidwork was incredible. There were also other Dwarven axes on display, as well as a curiously shaped Dwarven shield.

As an aside, the Museum of Science had little volunteer-run display of their own: two that I noted were on chainmail and Shelob’s ability to sense heat. However, the woman running the chainmail table had the unfortunate tendency to pronounce ‘mithril’ with two short ‘i’s. Ah, well. Non c’est la geek (or something like that).

Gandalf shared an island with Saruman (opposites attract) and Galadriel. Gandalf the Grey’s robes were magnificent–aged, worn, and definitely used. The Hat was, of course, the Hat. Quite a few scrolls from the Gondorian archives were shown: several were in Tengwar, and one notable page had an excerpt from the Appendices, on the Rohirrim: ‘They loved best the plains,…’ Narya was there, too, as was Gandalf’s pipe, a bottle (?), a shoulder satchel, and the now-infamous toffee bag. How very curious. Glamdring was present, with its scabbard and belt.

Saruman’s robes were a much darker white than had been expected. The many different textures used were evident, and told even further of Ngila Dickson and Co.’s talents. And his staff! The Orthanc palantmr was there as well, and looked as if it were made of a sort of piebald crystal agate; in reality, it was glass. Many sundries were cased here, among them bits and bobs of skeletons and preserved specimens, bones, teeth, a mortar and pestle, quills and ink, eggs: the lot. His book was opened to the page on the Balrog.

***(It was around about here that I met, quite by accident, a lovely woman who told me that she reads TOR.n regularly, as do I. If you happen to be reading this right now, please imagine that I’m giving you a great big geeky wave: Hullo! It was wonderful to meet you. I hope to run into you again sometime. You can talk; I will babble.)***

Galadriel’s beaded Mirror dress was next, and oh, my goodness, was it beautiful. Her mother-of-pearl brooch was in place, which just topped it all off. The beading and sequined designs are especially exquisite here, with a sort of snowflake-flower blossom design all over the cloth. My goodness. Celeborn’s neckpiece and belt were in a nearby case, as were Galadriel’s circlet and Nenya. Also in the case was a ‘Lothlsrien heraldic horn’: a beautiful piece of work, with gold and silver chasing, and a small banner hanging from the botton end. I didn’t recognise the insignia on it; I presume that it was one invented for the film. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

Not on an island, but against the wall, was a gigantic bust of Treebeard, accompanied by a miniature maquette. I was in awe. It was more amazing than words may say. Again, my goodness. Next to it was the ‘Ring Room’–a not-that-impressive display of the One Ring in a suspended liquid column. Ah, well. I prefer costumes, weaponry, and armour; what can I say?

Hanging from the ceiling above all of these islands were a multitude of banners: Gondorian, Rohirric, and Elven. The Gondorian banners included Boromir’s from Osgiliath, the sable and silver, and a beautiful multi-coloured, tasseled sateen wall hanging, with the White Tree in the centre. The Rohirric banners were multitudinous, with motifs of swords, snakes, and, of course, horses. Several looked as if they had been inspired by the White Horse of Uffington in Oxfordshire. The Elven banners were also varied, from Gil-galad’s heraldic gonfalon (which would have been bourne by Elrond)

to a pair of rather obscure ones with another, probably also invented, insignia.

Near the exit to the exhibit was the full-body dummy of Boromir in his Elven boat: truly realised were ‘”His head so proud, his face so fair, his limbs they laid to rest;/ And Rauros, golden Rauros-falls, bore him upon its breast.”‘

To greet us in the second room of the exhibit was a full set of Sauron’s armour and a bigature of Barad-d{r. Incredible detail. On yet another island was displayed a full set of Helm’s Deep Elven armour, with weapons. Similar to the fashion in which the Gondorian saddle had been shown, a maquette of a painted M{mak with war pavilion was cased.
Now here was another interactive exhibit, where one could put on a special smock, take up some foam ‘weapons,’ and be motion-captured into the body of (alternately) a Third-Age Gondorian soldier, a Helm’s Deep Elf, or a Helm’s Deep Uruk-hai. I tried none of these interactive exhibits today; perhaps on another visit. Near this were ‘touchable’ displays of PVC chainmail and (blunted) swords. Also here was an actual Rohirric chainmail corselet; fantastic. There was also an interactive facial-scan ‘Be an Argonath’ feature. Next to this was a truly fantastic Orthanc bigature.

There was a very large island devoted to the ‘monsters’ of the film: sundry Orcs and Uruk-hai were featured, as well as Lurtz’s and a Moria Orc’s complete kits. Many different macquettes were here as well, including two pairs of Orc contact lenses (!) in red and yellow. A model of Shelob’s head was present, next to a (thankfully) dead tunnel web spider specimen, and a huge maquette of the Cave Troll, ‘in the “Leonardo” pose’ (this time without the loincloth). On the opposite side of the island were many Nazg{l props, including a full set of black robes, crowns and rings for the Men and Ringwraiths (the regular Men had silver rings, while the Witch-king had his with gold as well), and a mock-up Wraith horsehead with reins and tack. Several swords were present, too, the only one not having a matching sheath being the Morgul blade.

I had saved the Armour Wall for last. From the left to right: a case of six Uruk-hai helmets, a different one for every purpose; an Uruk-hai swordsman with a nasty bladed bow and feather-duster arrows (also a curiously ‘T’-ended brutish-looking weapon); a Moria Orc; a regular Orc (as if any Orc were ever regular) with an odd hooked blade; a Warg rider which was, alas, minus its Warg; a Prologue Elven foot-soldier with gorgeous, gorgeous kit (especially the glaive!) and no visible insignia; a Prologue Gondorian with full White Tree and a long spear with the seven-ringed Minas Tirith design split by the wedge Mindolluin; a Rohirric spearsman (with bow and brown-red -fletched arrows); a Rohirric swordsman; a Gondorian Ranger (Faramir?), again with the ringed design all over his weapons and leatherwork; a Rohirric royal guard, with a larger round shield than the other Rohirric soldiers, and with the regal sun motif everywhere; a Third Age Gondorian with brilliant chasing and embossing; and, at last, a Haradric warrior with ragged clothing and small skulls worked into his belts. Nasty looking things, those were. The final item in the row was a case with more heroic helms: those of Elendil, Isildur, Iomer (two for him; the one with the horse’s tail is ‘regular’; his ‘guard’s helmet’ is much less ornate); a citadel guard, and two everyday Rohan soldiers. I would like to declare my undying love for Richard Taylor and the rest of Weta Workshop just now. My goodness me.

Well. So that was done…for the day. I drifted for a few minutes, then exited soon afterwards. It was a really amazing experience, on the whole. I’m so glad that I went, and I’m definitely going again tomorrow. Hope see you there!

—–

Daniel G

I was at the opening of the Boston Museum of Science LOTR Exhibit at Midnight on August 1st and I send you this short review along with a few pictures:

Find any reason to see this exhibit, it’s absolutely amazing. There is so much more detail on these props, costumes, armour, weapons than is possible to photograph except in studio conditions with a high quality camera. There is an original R2-D2 costume that Kenny Baker wore from Return of the Jedi in the same museum (in the computer exhibit) and it looks positively crude next to the LOTR stuff. It really looks more like an archeological exhibit than a movie exhibit. The exhibit items have been described elsewhere numerous times so I’ll skip that. I was particularly impressed with the cosutumes and the huge models. Orthanc which had been removed from the London exhibit for pick-ups is back as is a small (compared to the one used for filming!) version of Barad-Dur.

I was there with a group of fans dressed in costume (mine was Frodo). The museum staff was very friendly and allowed us to stay for however long we wished. The no photography rule was strickly enforced but we were at liberty to take notes and sketches. This ws the first time in its history the museum was open overnight and some fans took the opportunity to spend the whole night there. I left at 3:30am to crash out for a few hours but returned at 8:15am. The people visting during the opening – especially those in costume were extremely friendly and there was a feeling of true fellowship during the night. People were extremely polite and respectful of each other compared to other events I’ve been to.

I’m not sure how many people showed up but all night from midnight on there were lots of people that showed up in costume from the simple and cheesy to the awesome and jaw dropping (several Arwens and a Theoden among others). The actor who played Lurtz, the Witch-King, and Gothmog – Lawrence Makoare was there in full orc makeup and costume for more than two hours and later sat down for autographes and photos.

As it was the opening day the media were out in force. I was interviewed by 2 local TV stations and by 3 newspapers, one of which took 30 picture of me in front of the real Frodo costume! We weren’t allowed to take pictures but of course the media had free reign of the entire exhibit.

All in all a wonderful experience which I will repeat several times before it moves on to Australia.

Posted in Old Special Reports on July 31, 2004 by

Thranduil Statue

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