'The Hobbit' Featurette: Transforming New Zealand Into Middle Earth

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Every single behind-the-scenes video from 'The Hobbit' or the 'Lord of the Rings' films is, in its own little way, an advertisement for the nation of New Zealand. Peter Jackson's Middle Earth films have been completely shot in his home country, and it's now impossible to imagine J.R.R. Tolkien's fictional fantasy world without thinking of the gorgeous Kiwi countryside. A new featurette on 'The Hobbit' trilogy gives us a good look at how little work it was transforming New Zealand's landscapes into a land of dwarves, wizards and dragons.

In many ways, this latest look feels less about filmmaking and more about selling New Zealand to tourists. Though, it's certainly understandable, given the breathtaking vistas. The featurette rotates between footage of gorgeous country landscapes, cast and crew talking about them, and bits of footage from the movie trilogy. Things that sound hyperbolic on paper ("People didn't believe my photos weren't Photoshopped," etc) actually sound justifiable in conjunction with the actual visuals.

Anyone who has been following these movies for the past 12 years already knows most of what this featurette has to say. After four movies set in Middle Earth, surely we know that New Zealand looks awesome by now, right? Well, it turns out that a little reminder never hurt anyone. Now excuse us while we book go book a flight to Hobbiton.

'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' opens on December 13, 2013.1

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