James Brown writes: Tonight’s One News bulletin here in NZ had a very cool story, which I thought might be of interest, on the $2-million LOTR exhibition which opens at the Te Papa museum in Wellington this Thursday. Not sure if you will have heard about this exhibition, but it looks amazing. It will be at Te Papa until the end of February, then it will be touring science museums around the world for the next 2 years.

The story had some fantastic shots of some of the props and models in the exhibition, including a huge cave troll maquette, Sauron’s armour and the Hobbiton mill ‘bigature’ from Frodo’s vision in the Mirror of Galadriel. I can’t be the only one who has noticed that the spiky millwheel looks an awful lot like the infamous wizard-kebab picture. If this is a hint that we will get to see the scouring of the Shire in ROTK, I for one won’t mind if the details of Sharky’s death are altered slightly. The coolest shot, though, was an extreme close-up of the Boromir model we saw go over the Falls of Rauros. It’s an amazingly detailed and lifelike model. The skin colouring and texture is eerily convincing. And I’m pretty sure I remember Richard Taylor saying in the DVD commentary that the model was made in a hurry at the last minute. Wow. I can’t wait to see the exhibition.

The story was preceded by a little piece about how our Prime Minister is a big fan of FOTR, but still prefers the books. Here’s a transcript:

There’s been high praise from many quarters for the Lord of the Rings movies, but today the Prime Minister announced she prefers the books. Helen Clark, who’s also Minister of Arts and Culture, says good as Peter Jackson’s films are, no movie can do justice to a great piece of literature.

CLARK: ‘The definitive impression of Lord of the Rings will always be for me what I read in 1967.’

Helen Clark says she makes it a rule never to see a film when she’s read the book. But she made an exception for the first Tolkien movie, and will see part two this week.