Hobbit fatigue sets in

By Heather McCracken

I have Hobbit fatigue.

There's been such a hubbub over the movie, which had its world premiere in Wellington this week, that on Wednesday afternoon I exhausted my tolerance for Hobbit-related information.

I can pinpoint it exactly - it was at 5pm, when Federated Farmers released a statement claiming the Hobbit would help farmers sell more wool.

The country has gone Hobbit mad. If you've been in the capital recently you'll have seen it festooned with banners and flags, and a fair set up on the waterfront flogging Hobbit-related merchandise.

Even here in Wairarapa, the Masterton District Council changed the date of its meetings this week so the mayor could attend the red-carpet premiere.

The release is certainly a big event for the region, but I'm not sure that swanning around with celebrities should trump running the district.

The justification for all this is that The Hobbit's good for New Zealand - having the film made here boosts economic activity, tourism numbers and brings New Zealand a huge amount of publicity overseas.

The Hobbit and the Rings trilogy has apparently put New Zealand on the map, at least among a certain community of people who only look at maps related to fictional worlds.

But I'm still not sure that justifies the level of Hobbit mania this week.

The man behind The Hobbit, Peter Jackson, a sometime resident of Wairarapa, told a television reporter this week that he sympathised with those who were sick of the hype, and that he'd be glad when we could actually talk about the film.

Agreed - and I'll probably line up to see it when it's released next month, like just millions of others. But until then, a Hobbit moratorium is in place.


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