Good News Everyone: New Zealand is going to get to see The Hobbit before the rest of us do.
Wait, no. That’s not the one I wanted to say.
Hobbiton is becoming an official, permanent tourist destination. There we go.
I think it would be fair to say that there are a number of you out there who regret that you had not the time, means, stature, energy, age, or other defining characteristics (like owning a horse, or knowing a martial art) that would have allowed you to become an extra in The Lord of the Rings back in the late nineties. And perhaps, like me, you comforted yourself with the knowledge that maybe some day you’d go see the set of Hobbiton, until you found out that it wasn’t actually being preserved. While you could go out and visit the sheep pasture in which the tiny town was constructed over the course of a year, and even take tours, it wasn’t being maintained by anybody, and would eventually be reclaimed by the land, much like the on location set of the Lars Homestead from Star Wars. Only seventeen of the original thirty-seven hobbit holes remain, and they’ve got no interiors, as those shots were filmed on a soundstage in Wellington.
But, of course, the Hobbiton set is now being rebuilt, for the The Hobbit(s). Before the beginning of filming at Hobbiton earlier this week, Peter Jackson announced first that his native New Zealand would be getting a release of The Hobbit a month before the rest of the world. Then he announced that Hobbiton was built to last, and will be a permanent maintained attraction of Matamata, the rural town in which it resides, with forty-four intact hobbit holes, a bridge, and the Green Dragon pub.
Brb, planning my 2012 vacation…