Put down that Kindle and pay attention to the airline safety video – it may be a little different from what you’re used to.
In advance of the first “Hobbit” film coming to theaters Dec. 14, Air New Zealand partnered with Weta Workshop, the special-effects and prop company behind the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” films, to create a special in-flight safety video for the airline with a Middle-earth theme. The movie features flight attendants dressed as elves, a captain that bears a passing resemblance to wizard Gandalf the Grey, and a cameo by “Hobbit” director Peter Jackson as well as everyone’s favorite ring lover, Gollum.
“Welcome aboard this Air Middle-earth flight,” the female flight attendant proclaims to an audience of passengers that includes normally dressed humans and also consists of what looks like elves, hobbits and dwarves.
Later in the video, two passengers imitate the rolling “r” pronunciation actor Ian McKellan (who played Gandalf) famously used when pronouncing the word “Mordor." Another passenger, leaning forward in his seat to demonstrate proper emergency procedure, spots the famous One Ring on the floor in front of him, only to have it snatched by Jackson.
“My precious!” Jackson exclaims and puts it on his finger, instantly disappearing.
Another Gandalf doppelganger is urged by a flight attendant to put away one of his favorite accessories from the film, his pipe. Later, the Gandalf-like passenger lights his staff to help other passengers exit the airplane, including Gollum, who is prowling along the aisle, and what appears to be a horse.
In accordance with the airline rules, a Ringwraith, one of the creepy hooded creatures that pursue protagonist Frodo in the “Lord of the Rings" films, turns off his iPhone (something we imagine would be tough with his sharp metal hands).
Check out the full video below.
Wellington National Airport in New Zealand is also celebrating the upcoming “Hobbit” release with a statue of Gollum that is more than 42 feet tall. For the week of the “Hobbit” première, the city of Wellington will be renamed “the Middle of Middle-earth.”