Thursday, May 30, 2013

Exploring Weta Cave in Wellington

While we're on the Lord of the Rings bandwagon, let's get into my visit to the Weta Cave in Wellington, New Zealand!

The Weta Workshop is a special effects and prop company that produces set, costumes, armour, weapons, miniatures and creatures for movies like the LOTR Trilogy, The Hobbit, Avatar, District 9 and The Chronicles of Narnia to name a few.

Now - The Weta Cave is Weta's mini museum, theaterette and shop on the corner of the workshop itself. That's where I went!

The mini museum is free... It's really tiny - it looks more like a shop than anything else, really... but you get to watch a 20 minute video of some of the coolest things Weta has produced (which I really enjoyed), AND most importantly, you are allowed to take photos.

So I went nuts!!!

These trolls are right outside Weta Cave

Having a little fun with them...

Holding hands with Lurtz, the leader of the Uruk-hai's!

Apart from Lord of The Rings fun stuff, they've got a few other cool displays from other movies like District 9, The Chronicles of Narnia, King Kong, plus a whole bunch of other New Zealand local TV shows and movies I'm not familiar with.
THE WATER HORSE!!! I love this movie!
They do offer a "behind the scenes look" on the Weta Workshop itself where they take you on a tour of the prop room and see a little bit of the workshop (through a glass). It costs 20 bucks to do it, and you are not allowed to take photos, sadly.

I thought about it for a good 20 minutes, going back and forth, thinking about whether or not I should do it... In the end, my good senses overruled my "need" for photographic proof and I went for it.

I was SO glad I did the second I stepped foot in that workshop. For a movie geek like me, it was like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory in there... I wanted to touch and EAT everything, even if most of them really didn't look that appetizing (like Elijah Wood's face mold for example).

We saw guns, we saw chainmailles, face molds, swords, monsters, a 10 foot tall Navi, a miniature Rohan (or was it Isengard?)... And a GIANT Treefolk (you know, like Treebeard?) sitting in the middle of the room.

That "shirt" Aragorn is wearing is chainmaille. Like a body armor shirt thing made of chains.
No photos, no touching. I was going crazy... Did I ever tell you guys that I failed The Marshmallow Test?

Anyway... We spent almost an hour in there with our guide (who was an actual prop maker/set designer) explaining how meticulous their staff was when it came to their work. It takes tremendous amounts of time, blood, sweat, and tears to accomplish even the tiniest little prop or costume. For instance, one of the guys assigned to chain each chain of the chainmailles actually lost his fingerprints from all the manual chain linking that he did! Insane!

This "Contract of Bilbo Baggins" for example, a prop used in the movie, The Hobbit, was
written by hand... and this is about 6 feet long! 
Oooh, and as a bonus, we actually also got to see a few guys in the process of making actual props for movies! I heard that they were doing final edits for the new Superman movie in the next room (or building) too! Eeee! Henry Cavil!

I had a great time... It would have been so much better if we were allowed photography, but I understand the privacy.

The next time you guys visit Wellington, YES, visit the Weta Cave for sure!
Should you go and do the backstage tour? I'd say, if you can spare 20 bucks, Why Not? If you are as big a movie geek as I am, it will be worth it. :)

Actual Feet used by Bilbo Baggins