Those who showed Wednesday for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” premiere in Wellington, New Zealand, were not to be disappointed by the scope of the film’s premiere.
Tens of thousands of fans, some in elf ears and wizard hats, were witness to a red carpet a third of a mile long and a flyover by a “Hobbit”-themed Air New Zealand 777 jet as director Peter Jackson’s latest J.R.R. Tolkien-inspired effort was revealed down under.
Martin Freeman, who plays Bilbo Baggins, bubbled with praise for his director.
“He’s done it again,” Freeman said in an Associated Press interview on the red carpet. “If it’s possible, it’s probably even better than ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ I think he’s surpassed it.”
Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and Elijah Wood, who reprise their “LOTR” roles in “Hobbit,” made the scene, as well as Andy Serkis, well-known for his portrayal of Gollum.
There was heavy “dwarf” representation among the other cast members who showed, including Richard Armitage, who plays Thorin, along with Aidan Turner, Stephen Hunter, Dean O’Gorman, James Nesbitt, William Kircher, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, John Callen and Graham McTavish. Add to that list the wizard Radagast, played by Sylvester McCoy.
“The Hobbit” — the first installation of a trilogy — opens in the U.S. on Dec. 14.
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