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Jim Hopkins is a Herald columnist

Jim Hopkins: Drama in Hobbiton breeds cinemagic

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Mild-mannered Mayor Len Brown is also, in secret, the man of steel (rails). Photo / Herald on Sunday
Mild-mannered Mayor Len Brown is also, in secret, the man of steel (rails). Photo / Herald on Sunday

Such is the speed at which time now passes that we've already nigh forgotten last week's nail-biting, cliff-hanging, will-they-go-or-will-they-stay stand off with Warner Bros.

The fact that the entire nation was, like Pauline, lashed to the railway with the loco fast approaching is now but a memory faint; as old as the Treaty, as faded as the Shroud of Turin.

Yet there is still cause for jubilation, gentle reader. Mere extras we may be, but certain to benefit from what's been resolved. Because it isn't just The Hobbit we snaffled. The judicious application of a few mill here and a law change there has done more than make us Middle Earth.

It turns out that a veritable "slew of big-budget movies" will now be shot in Outer Roa. Which is marvellous news. And so you can appreciate the true magnitude of our triumph, here's a sneak preview of some of the pics that will soon be in the can when the screen explodes with high-octane local excitement:

Super Len 2: Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive. Or should that be faster than a speeding inquiry that drags on forever and more powerful than a million loco ratepayers unwilling to foot the billion-dollar bill? We don't know which it is at the start of this hot new choo-choo pic and, quite frankly, we still don't know when it ends. What we do know is that mild-mannered Mayor Len Brown is also, in secret, the man of steel (rails). And what Mayor Len can't get, Super Len can! Biff! Kapow! All tickets, please, for a white-knuckle ride.

Best scene: Frustrated by 50 years of endless delays, Super Len uses kryptonic powers to reverse the polarity of his cryogenic freezing chamber, returns to life and single-Lendedly drills a two-lane tunnel from Britomart to Newmarket, using only his super strength and a new pair of tights. Thrilling stuff for those who think The Hobbit is too realistic.

The Jambusters: Brad Pitt stars in this all-action square-basher as Major Mapp, the plucky Kiwi politician leading a crack commando team out to trim fat, cut perks and save money in the cushy back office of our cash-strapped Defence Forces. Amazing computer graphics let us watch Linton morph into Ohakea, the Navy morph into an IRB and the Air Force morph into a bus service. Co-starring Willie Apiata, VC, as an SAS leader patrolling the badlands of Afghanistan on a skateboard, wearing brand new, high-tech bullet-proof jandals. And you won't believe what he does with No8 wire.

Rowed to Hong Kong: Which is what Stephen Donald and Isaia Toeava should have done. That way they wouldn't have got there in time for the game, to the great relief of all concerned, with the possible exception of Mr Deans. This remake of the popular 1930s Road series stars Sonny Bill Williams as The Guy Who Should Have Played, Bling Crosby as Lady Gaga, No Hope as our chances if the selectors can't pick better and Dorothy Lamour as the Silver Ferns.

Two Drinks Max: Raised in an orphanage, Mad's son, Two Drinks Max, turns his bar fridge into a dune buggy and heads off on a post-apocalyptic mission into the dead heart of Grog's Own Country, hell-bent on smashing every illegal brewery he can find. A one-man shatterfest, Two Drinks Max breaks every bottle he can find - and a few hearts, too.

When not making passionate love to the Women's Christian Temperance Union, two-fisted Two Drinks slugs it out with marauding gangs of MPs, terrified the electorate won't tolerate a Pub With No Beer. Starring screen newcomer, Herald on Sunday heart-throb Bryce Johns as Two Drinks Max, with Nicole Kidman as Kate Sheppard's love child and Mel Gibson as Yasser Arafat.

Note: A deal hammered out with MEAA means the movie's New Zealand actors will get complementary mineral water and two scoops of caviar at morning tea.

I Was Monte's Trouble: Some insiders are calling it a Kiwi version of Brit pic Made in Dagenham, although this zany, low-budget romcom is more Dag in Maidenham, with Hamilton car dealer "No Maidens" Monte as the Dag. It's laughs galore when well-meaning Monte (silly boy!) recklessly tells a job applicant the truth about why she didn't get hired and then spends three years battling the Human Rights Commission and two militant feminists from Dargaville.

The Bobbit: A hapless Hobbit loses a vital part of his anatomy when his wife discovers he's been spreading a bit more than pixie dust around the neighbourhood. This AO version of the Tolkien classic follows our detached hero's journey as he tries to find the missing member and glue it back Hobbiton.

- NZ Herald

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