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Red Carpet’s DOS party in Wellywood!

Hobbit fans catching site of Peter Jackson at last year's Wellington Premiere Party

Hobbit fans catching sight of Peter Jackson at last year’s Wellington Premiere Party

Red Carpet Tours wants to invite Wellington fans to celebrate the release of the Desolation of Smaug with them in style: at Miramar’s Roxy Cinema, right in the heart of Wellywood. The Roxy Cinema complex has received accolades internationally for its authentic Art Deco design, and incredible sculptures and artworks that showcase Weta Workshop talent. Its co-owners include Richard Taylor, Tania Rodger, and Jamie and Anne Selkirk.

Jed Brophy (Nori) and William Kircher (Bifur) will be among the Hobbit film talent invited as special guests for this party.

There will be Costume prizes awarded, hearty Hobbit food and drink, great music and lots of Hobbit fun ! It’s a wonderful occasion to get together with like minded fans and celebrate the release of the ‘Desolation of Smaug’ along with an international party of fans brought to New Zealand by Red Carpet Tours !

Date: Wednesday 11th December, 2013

Time: 8:30pm – Midnight

Location: The Roxy Theatre, Park Road, Miramar-Wellington.

Cost: NZ$150 per person. (Strictly no door sales.)

Party ticket includes: Entry to the party, entertainment, hearty Hobbit fare, especially invited guests ~ Jed Brophy (Nori) and William Kircher (Bifur) and prizes for best costume. Tickets are limited.

Book Now

Posted in Events, Fans, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Jed Brophy, Meet Ups, Premieres, The Hobbit, Uncategorized, Wellington, William Kircher

No casualties in powerful Wellington quake

Reports are coming in from central New Zealand – that is the lower North Island, where Wellington is, and the top of the South Island  – about damage from a powerful 6.5 earthquake that struck at 5:09pm local time. This has come after two days of smaller quakes, all centred around the Cook Strait. There have been no reports of casualties and the worst damage reported so far is the collapse of a concrete facade in central Wellington and damage to one of the ferry wharves. Citizens are on high alert however. TORN readers concerned about the situation can follow it on Stuff or on Radio New Zealand Quakes are tracked on GeoNet We are unaware of any impact on the Hobbit film production at this point.

Posted in The Hobbit, Community

Hobbit tours build on a decade of successful adventure

Red Carpet's Premiere Tour group dressed up for their Hobbiton visit

Red Carpet’s Premiere Tour group dressed up for their Hobbiton visit

Red Carpet is steadily adding new locations into its tours in the light of the new Hobbit movie, says director Vic James.

“We’re pretty excited because since the Unexpected Journey came out, we’ve been able to add new sites and new people,” James says. “We visit landowners and check out new locations on a regular basis, as information and invitations come to hand.

“The Premiere Tour last November was the first to visit some of the new places and when the time is right for further landowners to allow visits, we will add them in.”

The north island leg of the tour includes, as before, Hobbiton and the central volcanic plateau that served as Mt Doom. A new feature are some rapids where the dwarves’ more hair-raising barrel-riding scenes were filmed.

The ‘top’ of the South Island is a beautiful addition to the tour, James says.  Nelson, with its sunny bay ringed by mountains,  is reached by a ferry cruise through the beautiful fjords of Marlborough Sounds. There’s a stop along the way at Pelorus Bridge, scene of Bilbo and the dwarves’ barrel-riding adventures.

Red Carpet’s LOTR tours always include visits to extras, artisans, actors and crew members for the films. Halfdan Hansen, son of the real-life Ringmaker for LOTR, has  his studio in Nelson and has created a new version of the Ring, invisibly weighted with some denser metal so that it lies strangely heavy on the palm of the hand.

In Nelson there is also the option to take a two-and-a-half hour helicopter flight to Dimrill Dale and South of Rivendell.  The flights have been a huge success with tour guests.

Olympus Rocks - a place to hide from the spies of Saruman

Olympus Rocks – a place to hide from the spies of Saruman

To accommodate the extra locations, tours are now 14 days duration. People can also choose to join the North Island 6 day or the South Island 10 day options. “It’s a long way to come to not see it all,” James says.

Posted in Events, Fans, Locations Sets, New Zealand, Community, Tours

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Chronicles

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Chronicles

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Chronicles

As we’ve come to expect, Weta and Harper Collins have produced another sumptuous, richly-bound volume detailing the process of turning words and imagination into the films we see. It’s written by Daniel Falconer, who’s had a hands-on overview of the road to executing Jackson’s vision since the beginning of LOTR. Thus you see many sketches exploring the different concepts that inform the finished designs we see on screen, and a wealth of objects you only dream of studying at leisure and in detail. It’s full of insights into how the film’s creators saw the character and history of The Hobbit’s people, creatures and places. The actors get to speak about their characters too, so we learn for instance that Sylvester McCoy loves animals in real life – he whistles to birds and they whistle back! Definitely a book to treasure. It’s full of spoilers too promising scenes that we can hope to see in the extended edition DVDs if nowhere else – scenes with the Old Took and Belladonna Took, Gandalf’s first meeting with Bilbo when he was a young boy, and a closer look at more Shirefolk such as Lobelia Sackville-Baggins, Old Gammidge and Old Hob. Check out some scans below. [Purchase Today!] (more…)

Posted in Books, Books Publications, Characters, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise, Shop, The Hobbit, Tolkien Gift Guide, Uncategorized

Hobbit Premiere Party and the giving season

Hobbit party logoWe’re happy to announce that the Red Carpet Tours and TORN Premiere Party in Wellington raised $2600 for our chosen charity, Duffy Books in Homes.Thanks so much to Peter Jackson, Weta, Stansborough, Harper Collins and Asni the Harpist for donating beautiful things we could offer in our party auctions and raffles. Thanks to the generosity of the Red Carpet Premiere Tour too, who raised more money in a spirited round of bidding during their farewell dinner a week later.

Originally half the proceeds of the party were to benefit TORN itself, but after a quick palaver among TORN’s senior staff we decided to give it all to Duffy Books in Homes. The Duffy scheme provides books to New Zealand children in areas where books can not be taken for granted as part of the normal furniture of life. Duffy role models travel the country fostering a love of reading. It’s a great scheme, and one long supported by both TORN and Red Carpet’s founders Vic and Raewyn James, who were schoolteachers and principals before they went into tourism.

Posted in Events, Fans, Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Meet Ups, Miscellaneous, Premieres, The Hobbit, Community

Tehanu’s Review: Thumbs Up to a Richly Dramatic Telling

Twenty-five minutes in to the film, I suddenly thought, “Wait, people said it takes this long to get used to the 48fpm and the 3D. I’ve only just noticed it – and it’s fantastic!” Perhaps there’s something wrong with my eyesight, but for me at Wellington’s Embassy at least, the colours glowed, the sparkling detail shone, and the screen showed a sumptuous feast of Middle-earth from the first frame. I was immersed in the reality from the first frame.

We were impressed by the clever way the introduction, which frames the story, wove this film neatly into the start of FOTR. You couldn’t help but smile fondly at Ian Holm’s cameo with Elijah Wood.

After a glance at the Bagginses in the Shire, we got our first glimpse of the dwarf kingdom, which was filled with details I think Tolkien would have loved. There was the lovely rhythm of Old English in lines such as (near as I can recall) “The dragon laid waste/ Death he dealt” –  a cadence that Tolkien himself fell into readily enough. A nice touch was the rhythm of the countless hammers on the anvils as we first see the smithies of Erebor – for a second I’m sure I heard the unmistakable, frenetic anvil rhythm of Wagner’s Rheingold. I’ll have to see it again to check if I was imagining things.

Talking of sound and music, the sound could well win another Oscar for sound editing. The sound was as deeply 3D as the picture, and used to striking effect during the Riddles in the Dark scene. Just as you can imagine that, lost in the dark, one’s ears would magnify everything and prick the emotions unbearably.

The music disappointed me though. The cues for what we should feel were too obvious, and I wanted more new themes. It made sense to have an established sound-world for each place or character, but I kind of sighed internally when the angelic choir struck up again to signify Rivendell, or the music moved so obviously towards a restatement of the Ring theme or the Shire theme. It all felt a bit recycled, and unless some new themes or orchestration are introduced, I’m going to be heartily sick of them by the end of the third movie.

What’s with the rampant contrabass trombones in every film score these days, too?  Lately they’ve become de riguer for every action scene. Great instrument, but you can have too much of a good thing.

Some critics have complained of the film’s slow introduction, but the action is worth the wait – to me the film felt very well paced indeed. You get a glimpse of Smaug right near the beginning – and like James Cameron’s Alien, a glimpse, combined with superb sound effects, works tremendously on the imagination.

The acting was as I expected it to be: Superb. I’m speaking as a person who would be enthralled by watching Sir Ian McKellen or Martin Freeman reading a laundry list. But Richard Armitage I haven’t seen before, but he was equally compelling. The writers’ choice was to keep the film tightly focused on their story arcs. Their evolving relationship is at the heart of the film, and if things are sacrificed, they are in favour of this. You will find a chapter of Tolkien’s Unfinished Tales very illuminating in this respect – Tolkien described the initial distrust between Gandalf, Thorin and Bilbo absolutely like this. The relationship between these three is the crucial dramatic arc of this story.

Some scenes are framed slightly differently than in the book: Bilbo leaving Bag End for instance, or his encounter with the trolls. They keep much of the dialogue we know and love, but the changes reinforce the central drama of Bilbo, who chooses to follow his Tookish side rather than being bullied into the quest by Gandalf. The troll scene was always a bit unbelievable when I read it – 13 dwarves taken unaware and popped into sacks? The film version solves that.

We get to see some of the dwarves in more detail than others. Balin, Fili and Kili stand out from the crowd a little in this film; over the course of three films no doubt we will see more of the others.

Radagast was a bit of a scene-stealer, and provided a necessary link between the Dwarves’ quest and the goings-on at Dol Guldur, with its hints of the larger story of the rise of Evil in Middle-earth. Sylvester McCoy had both charm and force as the dotty but spirited Brown Wizard.

You get to see a bit more of Saruman too. Gandalf is placating and mild before Saruman’s ruthless beaurocratic coldness. How much does he know under the surface?  It’s an interesting scene as they fence with each other, Gandalf appearing to give way and offer no resistance – surely just a harmless old man. You get the sense of a game that has been played for a long time between these powers; Elrond and Galadriel are present too.

Riddles in the Dark  was a tour de force by Freeman and Serkis. They acted the hell out of it, and it was fantastic. As others have said, the Oscars need to institute a new award, for best CGI character. In a film that relies so heavily on CGI, when it really counted, PJ fell back on good old theatre technique for scenes like this to give performances that were intimate, rehearsed and honed to perfection.

It was an excellent film and I can’t wait to go again.


We were lucky enough to go to the midnight screening at Wellington’s Embassy theatre. Fully half the audience were in costume, and the buzz of anticipation was incredible in this audience, which included many extras no doubt anxious to see whether they’d made the cut. People were entertained by having their photo taken with an orc in full Weta prosthetics, or just watching the parade of magnificent costumes. What a great crowd to see it with!





Posted in Film Screenings, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, The Hobbit

Shire Waytes at Te Papa

The Shire Waytes

The Shire Waytes

Wellington Ringers: if you enjoyed our first band at the Red Carpet / TORN Premiere Party, the Shire Waytes are performing more folk/medieval/Shire music at Te Papa in Wellington, noon, Saturday 1 December.

Posted in Events, Fans, Other Events, Wellington

Red Carpet Hobbits in Hobbiton

A cute little article about some of the people on the Red Carpet tour. You’ll see their faces and costumes on just about every pic of the party, the red carpet and general fan madness in Wellington. I’d like to give a big shout-out to all the people who have visited NZ for the premiere due to TORN and Red Carpet (amounts to the same thing, with most Red Carpet clients discovering the tours through TORN. Their costumes and enthusiasm added hugely to the atmosphere of the Premiere week in Wellington.

Red Carpet Tour visitors to Hobbiton

Red Carpet Tour visitors to Hobbiton

Posted in Fans, Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, New Zealand, Premieres, The Hobbit, Community, Tours, Wellington

Summer looks good: The weather in Elvish

Missed this one: TVNZ did the weather in Elvish yesterday. Short version: New Zealand will have good weather for travellers through summer.

Posted in Uncategorized

Best interview with Peter Jackson I’ve heard

Somehow in the days before The Hobbit, Radio New Zealand got Peter Jackson to sit down with them for a 22-minute interview on Morning Report. I think this is one of the most interesting, relaxed, open interviews with PJ that I’ve heard in years, so big ups to interviewer Jane Patterson for it. (more…)

Posted in Miscellaneous, Peter Jackson, Production, The Hobbit

A world of fans here for the Premiere

Jed Brophy giving his time to the fans

Jed Brophy giving his time to the fans; meanwhile a storm of organisation is happening just out of sight in the background!

The great buzz at the Premiere Party owes a lot to the presence of over a hundred fans from all corners of the earth who came to Wellington on a Red Carpet tour. There was a glorious mix of accents as they streamed into the Amora Ballroom last night. We have Vic, Rae and Julie from Red Carpet to thank for getting the party idea off the ground and then bringing it to fruition with months of hard work. Their work is far from over – they have a whole lot of new Hobbit locations to show their tour group when they take the ferry to the South Island the day after the premiere. In the meantime here’s a picture that sums up Tolkien fandom – there’s Jed Brophy in the middle, sharing his time generously with fans whose appearance is a tribute to their imagination and creativity. In the background – you can’t quite see them, through the door – are the hard working people at the entry desk making everything happen – Vic, Rae and Julie.

There’s a gallery of excellent photos of costumes at the party here, thanks to Fotografdracula.


Posted in Events, Fans, Headlines, Meet Ups, Premieres, The Hobbit

Hobbit Premiere Costume Party – an amazing night! and Red Carpet Tours Premiere Party was a hit. Happy fans, stunning costumes, wonderful music and to top it all off, we were visited by Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis, Richard Taylor, Tania Rodgers, Gino Acevedo, Philippa Boyens, and a whole parcel of assorted dwarves – Stephen Hunter, Peter Hambleton  and John Callen, to name just a few – well, I’ve surely left some names off the list and I’m sorry for that. But it was a wonderful, wonderful night, and we’re just bowled over at the generosity of the stars who gave their time and enthusiasm so generously. It was fantastic to be able to thank them and show our appreciation for their hard, hard work.

Huge thanks to William Kircher (Bifur) who entertained the crowd with his great band California Dreamers – their Misty Mountains song was a huge hit. Jed Brophy (Nori) was great with his band The Last Resort, and Jed also did a superb job as MC, keeping the crowd happy and keeping everything going smoothly.

Pics will no doubt follow (there were plenty of you out there with cameras, so please send us your faves); meanwhile check out the amazing scenes captured on local media and the reports coming in on Facebook.

Update! Reports are coming in from some of our discussion board members who attended the party. Read their reports on our TORn Moots and Other Event board here.

The Dominion Post

NZ Herald


TV3 Campbell Live

Facebook party page

Posted in Events, Fans, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Meet Ups, Premieres, The Hobbit