LOTR - Science Museum Exhibit - Press

Last Update: 16 Sep 2003

Source: TheOneRing.net
London Science Museum LOTR Exhibition - The Opening!
Today, Monday the 15th marks the opening of the highly anticipated Lord of
the Rings exhibition in the London Science Museum. TheOneRing.net was there,
got a chance to chat to all the VIPs present, shoot some footage and bring
you this exclusive report!
The exhibition opens for the general public tomorrow, today the press
(gathered from all over the world!) got a sneak peak at the exhibit,
which is said to have sold more tickets than anything else the Science Museum
has ever hosted. No gathering masses around the museum today though,
just lots of Finnish students, one or two tourists and a bunch of press
people eagerly awaiting the launch of the first European LOTR-exhibit.
Other then that very few people on the street seemed to be aware of the

Naturally TORn arrived early, about two hours early, but that was okay
because it gave us a good chance to check our equipment, hobnob with the
BBC and of course eat doughnuts. While waiting none other than Ringer
Spy Irascian walked out the door. He was present at the 'UK' presslaunch
whereas TORn of course was there for the 'international' launch, a bit later
on the day. Enthusiastic is too humble a word to describe Irascian's opinion
about the exhibit. He revealed that he took something in the region of
300 pictures and was going to write up a transcription of the press-conference
that was given during his session. Hopefully that'll appear online within a
few days!
While still talking another familiar face turned up: that of
Herr-der-Ringe-film.de webmaster Círdan. He flew in all the way from
Germany that morning to report on the opening of the exhibit, and if that
doesn't make him a lucky enough person he also amitted having "heard and
read" the new ROTK-trailer, due sometime next week!

Anyway, we are not here to talk about that, heheh.. The hour drew nearer
when the exhibit would open its doors so we made our way inside the
(huge) London Science Museum, up a flight of stairs, past some security
people and right into the arms of.... the Argonath! The two giant polystone
sculptures of the Pillars of Kings welcome every visitor to the exhibit, just
like they welcomed the Fellowship into the final part of The Fellowship of the
Ring. Crouched beneath the left statue was WETA Workshop's amazingly
detailed Gollum-statue, which was quicky removed later on for reasons
unknown. Apparently Andy Serkis was supposed to attend the presslaunches
but he didn't show, maybe that's why they brought it out.
To describe the exhibit word by word would probably do it no justice. It is rich
and detailed and has a little bit of everything (although sadly enough not a
whole lot from The Return of the King, maybe next year?). Costumes like
those of Arwen, Gandalf, Galadriel, Frodo, Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas and
Theoden are displayed throughout the exhibit alongside the outfits of Orcs,
Uruks, Rohirrim and pretty much every other character in the movies.

The exhibit also features a wide range of props and weapons (ranging from
Galadriel's gifts to the stuff on Sarumans desk in Orthanc). Highlights include
a display with Frodo's 'gadgets'; the mithril shirt, Sting, the Phial, Bilbo's
Red Book and Thror's map, lots of nice things to oogle over! Another display
showed the piles of parchment, books and other assorted mess that Gandalf
worked through in Minas Tirith.
So what else was there? Highlights for me personally were the 'bigature' of
the Hobbiton Mill-Set which looked absolutely fabulous. Another memorable
item was the larger-than-life statue of the Cave Troll and Moria Orc and the
model of Treebeard's head: magnificent stuff! Of course there were the items
one would expect at an exhibit like these: The One Ring itself of course,
lots of helmets and other weaponry, a huge statue of the Dark Lord himself
and many, many other things. You'd best go and see it for yourself because
there really is much more then one person can absorb in three hours' time.
One last highlight was the very scaling area where two people could sit down
on two parts of a cart against a green screen and then, by some magic camera
- and computer imagery appear to be Hobbit-sized and 'Gandalf-sized'. Of
course anything that can make me look Hobbit-sized is rather spectacular!
Apart from various media-people from all over the world (ranging from Holland
to Brazil) the London Science Museum had invited some very interesting
guests. The above mentioned Andy Serkis unfortunately didn't show, as did
Billy Boyd, however we still had the immense pleasure of running into
Lurtz-actor Lawrence Makoare, WETA-founder and Oscar-winner Richard
Taylor and British author and Tolkien Expert Brian Sibley.
Lawrence Makoare was, for the largest part of the day, dressed up in his
Lurtz-outfit, which must've been hellish given the warm weather. Richard
Taylor also seemed a bit under the weather, though that might have been
because of the long flight in from New Zealand the day before. Nevertheless
both took some time out to answer a few of our questions. Expect to see
some extremely cool footage of this event and these interviews later
this week in TORn Digital!
After three almost three hours of wandering around the exhibit it was time to
head out (at least we didn't think so, but the people from the Science
Museum really wanted to leave). Alas, three hours is far too short a time
to spend amongst such admirable craftsmanship. Looking back on it now
I still see pictures of the event (check them out in our scrapbook!) and
remember not having seen that bit of the exhibit, which really is too bad.
The London Science Museum Exhibition runs till January 11th and any
information you want to know about the event can be found at the website: www.sciencemuseum.org.uk. European fans should be sure to check it out,
as London is the only venue in Europe the exhibit will attend. Don't miss it!

Source: The Independent

It's a hit - but should the Science Museum showcase props from a Hollywood
movie? Some 260,000 people are expected to see the new 'Lord of the Rings'
exhibition - but critics say it is further evidence of dumbing down
By Louise Jury, Arts Correspondent
16 September 2003
Devotees of The Lord of the Rings will think they have died and gone to Middle
Earth. From today, hundreds of props, costumes and gadgetry from the epic
production of the J R R Tolkien trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson, go on display
in a £750,000 show in London.
The exhibition is being held at the Science Museum in South Kensington,
founded from the proceeds of the Great Exhibition. The aim of the founding
fathers was to deliver to the masses knowledge of Western science, technology,
industry and medicine.
What critics were asking yesterday was how this Victorian spirit of intellectual
improvement could be reconciled with a self-conscious blockbuster exhibition
based on a fantasy movie already seen by a global audience of millions?
One thing is certain, there is no questioning the demand. More than 17,000
people had booked tickets before the exhibition opens. Visitors are being told
to book in advance, or risk being turned away. Some 260,000 people are
expected to cram into the show before it closes on 11 January, which would
make it, pro rata, the most popular show seen at the Science Museum.
What they will see is the shimmering costume of the elf queen, Galadriel,
the weapons of handsome Aragorn, the Hobbit home of Frodo and even
examples of his hairy prosthetic Hobbit feet. Visitors will be able to shrink to
Hobbit size, 3ft 6in, and have their photograph taken as if on set. And they
can hear the computer whizz-kids behind the giant battle scenes explain how
they created thousands of computer soldiers with fighting brains of their own.
It is an exhibition destined to be a hit. But, like the Star Wars exhibition at
the Barbican Centre, its blockbuster appeal raises suspicions that the
institution's very integrity is being put in jeopardy.
The fear is that the pressure to satisfy the Government's demand to widen
access to parts of the community that has traditionally not visited museums is
encouraging an unstoppable drive to populism. On top of that is the ever-constant
pressure on budgets. The museum is charging £9.95 for adults and £6.95 for
children during the week, rising to £11.95 and £8.95 respectively at weekends.
Profits will pay for refurbishment of the building's entrance for schoolchildren.
Julian Spalding, the former Glasgow museums director and author of The
Poetic Museum: Reviving Historic Collections, said there was no legitimate
reason for a publicly funded institution to put on any show simply to increase
visitors. "The question they always have to ask themselves is, 'What good are
we doing? What are we giving to our visitors that they wouldn't have any
other way?'.
"Is this a legitimate use of Science Museum space? Computer animation is
part of popular visual culture, but a museum needs to tackle it from an
independent point of view. They're just making a virtue of a commercial
activity. The Versace show [at the Victoria and Albert Museum last year]
and this show are trade shows, because it's one product."
David Barrie, the director of the National Art Collections Fund charity,
said two important factors were driving nearly all museums and galleries.
"All our museums ... are pressed for money," he said. "And one of the things
they have to demonstrate to Government is that they are attracting the
widest possible audiences. That does lead them to seek out exhibitions
that are going to achieve these objectives."
Neither of these factors was bad in itself, he said. "The only concern one
might have is that sometimes there's a desperate desire to generate income
that might force people to do things that otherwise they might not want to do.
The fundamental issue is to what extent do the ever-more pressing funding
needs of our national museums and galleries distort their normal exhibition
plans. It's probably difficult to tell."
The former chairman of the Institute of Contemporary Arts Ivan Massow
was more blunt. "It's a PR stunt and the kind of things that make these
great institutions simply PR halls," he said. "When the Government doesn't
properly invest in culture and art and museums for the sciences then our
institutions are forced to turn to commercialism and lose the very essence of
what art and science is trying to achieve. What's become important to them
is their survival, not their purpose. It's not their fault."
Yet Jon Tucker, the head of the Science Museum, said it was perfectly fitting
for it to take the exhibition, which was devised and originally hosted by the
National Museum of New Zealand. "It's absolutely packed with insights into
the various technologies of the film-making industry and some of the
technology is absolutely ground-breaking," he said.
But he admitted that the movie was also a way of jolting people who did
not think of themselves as interested in science into visiting the museum.
"We know from research amongst our visitors that once they're here they
find we're much more interesting than they thought we were going to be,"
he said. "But we're quite careful to protect the quality of the experience."
Jill Nelson, director of science communication for the British Association for
the Advancement of Science, said scientists were divided over the balancing
act required between popularising science and trivialising it. But it was legitimate
to try to attract new audiences in to the Science Museum - and it was reasonable
to assume that an exhibition on The Lord of the Rings would bring in a
different audience.
Brian Sibley, author of several books on The Lord of the Rings, described the
show as wonderful. "What we're seeing here is a display of the work of
craftsmen and technicians, which is absolutely suited to being seen here -
or across the road in the V&A," he said.
"You can absolutely see the attention to detail."
Barbican Centre
Attracted ridicule in 2001 for "The Art of Star Wars" exhibit, which displayed
tired props from the film including pod racers, the R2-D2 robot and Ewoks
in glass cases.
Imperial War Museum
Home to a "1940s House", a reconstruction of the pre-war suburban home
that featured in the Channel 4 series of the same name. The promotional
literature offers visitors the chance to "see the house that Granny grew
up in - find out what she had for tea."
National Gallery
Charles Saumarez Smith, the director, surprised art circles last year by
announcing that the gallery was to exhibit Rolf Harris's work. The pieces,
from the presenter's BBC1 show Rolf on Art, featured works based on
masterpieces such as Monet's Waterlilies.
Natural History Museum
Launched a massive marketing campaign this summer to publicise its
Tyrannosaurus Rex exhibition. Visitors judge whether the T Rex was a
hunter or an opportunistic scavenger.
Science Museum
Accused by critics of dumbing down in the past two years with exhibits such
as the 'Grossology' show, pictured top, replete with burping and farting
Victoria & Albert Museum
Sparked controversy last year with its retrospective of the work of designer
Gianni Versace, particularly for displaying the dress that Liz Hurley wore
to the premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Source: BBC
Stephanie was one of the first people to check out the LOTR exhibition at
London's Science Museum.
It's one of the hottest tickets in town - more than 14,000 fans have brought
advance tickets to see stuff from the blockbuster films.
"When I went in there was a huge cave troll at the entrance. It was a bit scary,
but it was a great way to start the exhibition and gave me an impression of
what was to come.
I've watched all the LOTR films and I've read the books. All my friends are
big fans, and they were jealous when they heard I was going to the exhibition.
There was a model of Sean Bean's character in a boat. It looks exactly like him.
Loads of my friends like Orlando Bloom and his elf costume was in there - the
sleeves were really short!
You can see how they do the scaling down of Hobbits compared to humans.
You sit on a cart in front of a green screen and another person sits on the
smaller end of the cart.
You can have a picture taken of the effect.
There's loads to do in the exhibition.
There are video screens next to the costumes. It shows behind the scenes
and what the actors thought. You can choose which video to watch.
There's a model of Gollum too. It's meant to be life size, but it seemed
too small.
Frodo's my favourite character. Elijah Wood's costume's not there, but
I saw the one worn by his double.
The exhibition is amazing. It covers everything from the film.
You need hours to see everything. I'd definitely go again!"
Stephanie, 12, Derby

Source: The Mirror
"Rings" lords over Science Museum
Sep 14 2003
LONDON (Reuters) - The fantasy saga "The Lord of the Rings" is breaking box
office records again -- and this time it is at London's Science Museum.
"It has sold more advance tickets than any other show in our history," said a
spokesman for the museum staging an exhibition about the epic movie trilogy.
"We have sold 14,000 tickets so far and it is still going like hot cakes. It has
sold more than our James Bond and Star Trek exhibitions put together," the
spokesman told Reuters on the eve of the exhibition's press launch.
From Hobbit feet to Orc teeth, the exhibition lifts the special effects lid on
the Oscar-garlanded trilogy which won millions of new fans around the world for
J.R.R. Tolkien's classic tale of good and evil in the fantastical Middle Earth.
For ardent fans who cannot wait for the worldwide December release of the
last movie in the trilogy, the exhibition offers a perfect foretaste.
On display are hundreds of artefacts, including armoury, models and costumes.
Animatronics and interactive technology reveal how one of the 20th century's
most popular stories was brought to life.
Ardent fans can even become Hobbit-sized in a re-created scene from
"The Fellowship of the Ring" and then buy the inevitable souvenir photograph
Science Museum chief John Tucker said: "It provides a unique behind-the-scenes
look at the science and technology which made the film trilogy possible -- from
the computer-generated special effects to the development of the complex
animatronics that created such stunning results."
The three films were made back-to-back by director Peter Jackson in his native
New Zealand with a $300 million budget and a crew of 2,400.

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