I'm not Baggin it but I'm glad it's over

By Eva Bradley

So many words have been said about The Hobbit lately that it is hard to think of any new ones to add to the tired collection. But for what it's worth, here's mine: Phew. Phew that it was a success, phew that Wellington broke with tradition and didn't blow anyone's party dress above their bottom on the red carpet, and - mostly - just phew that it's over.

I'm not a Hobbit grinch. I'm as happy as the next guy that we've had a rare opportunity to bask in the global spotlight for something as groovy and 21st-century as movie making. It's so much better for the national self esteem than beef and lamb.

But a bit like chocolate at Easter time and goodwill at Christmas, you can have too much of a good thing.

Like most Kiwis, I tuned into several of the various news sources and live feeds to check out the red carpet action and swell with pride at the appearance of one A-lister (Cate) and a rogue selection of B and Cs.

I enjoyed reading a review of the film in the paper the following morning and getting a run-down on the premiere. But did I really need to read slew of separate stories examining the event from every angle, including how hot Peter Jackson's daughter is looking these days and whether or not the PM should have gone with the mint green tie?

Or even gone at all?

It's hard to imagine any Hollywood hit being important enough for Barack Obama to bust out his best suit, let alone suspend all matters of national significance in order to amend government policy to facilitate the filming of one.

But that's New Zealand and I'm inclined to love it. Heaven forbid we lived in a country so dangerous, big, corrupt or politically volatile that we couldn't turn our back on hard news for a day (or in the case of The Hobbit, several years) in order to focus unashamedly on something so positive and pleasant as light cinema entertainment.

Only this week a friend was having a moan on Facebook about the lead story on the front page of the paper covering something he considered unworthy of the attention, and a number of his friends agreed, having a go at the paper for a lack of any "real" news.

But in a world where violence, financial ruin and personal tragedy increasingly dominates headlines, shouldn't we cherish the days when the worst thing to happen in our community is that a cat got stuck up a tree?

I was over The Hobbit long before the premiere, but I'm not so cynical I can't appreciate the simple beauty of living in a small country where we celebrate the making of a movie with a collective patriotism bigger countries can only dream of.

That's not to say I'm unhappy that post-premiere there may now actually be space on the front page for other news stories to feature.

And if the successors of Robert Burchfield feel like deleting such words as "Hobbit", "Dwarf" and "Elf" from the dictionary for a few editions, I won't complain.

Otherwise we need to think up some new words to say in time for the next release in the trilogy. And "Wellywood" can't be one of them.

Signed, yours faithfully, Gilraen Arnatuile (apparently, my Elvin name).

- Wanganui Chronicle

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