Lord of the Rings Exhibit Brings Middle-Earth to Toronto
Thousands of fans hooked on JRR Tolkien's fantasy trilogy caught a glimpse of Middle-Earth at an exhibit of props and costumes from the much-anticipated film The Lord of the Rings, set to be released next month.
Over the past 12 days, fans in Toronto could enter the fantasy world of dwarves, elves, hobbits, orcs and wizards at an exhibit called "A Journey to Middle-Earth" at Toronto's Gothic-styled Casa Loma.
On Saturday, hour-long lines curled around the front of the former estate of Sir Henry Pellatt and tickets were sold out by midday, a sign the movie, set to debut December 10 in London and nine days later in North America, may be a blockbuster.
"The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" is the first movie installment of JRR Tolkien's trilogy -- two other films will be released over the next two years -- which set the benchmark for the fantasy genre.
The first volume in the classic good-versus-evil tale tells the story of young hobbit Frodo Baggins, who inherits a magic ring whose powers are so great its holder could rule Middle-Earth.
Visitors crammed into four areas at the museum to eye displays of props, including axes, swords, flags, glassware, cutlery, their tattered or polished costumes and sketches of the movie's sets and characters.
In two rooms, ceiling lights cast a ring of Rune letters in a revolving circle on the floor, while in another eerie music filled the dark, musty chamber as an orc with insect-like facial features worked on torture tools.
Every single prop for the film -- shot at more than 30 locations in New Zealand over some four years -- was made from scratch at Kiwi director Peter Jackson's request, an attention to detail fans appreciate.
"If this attention to detail translates to the screen, I think it's actually going to live up to the hype," said Todd Doldersum, 29.
"It's absolutely fabulous."
The film, according to promotional material, uses more than 900 hand-made suits of armor, 2,000 rubber and safety weapons, 100 special weapons, 20,0000 individual household items made by artisans and to add the Elven touch -- 1,600 pairs of prosthetic feet and ears, individually sized and shaped.
The exhibit has been such a hit that the museum had to turn people away on the day it broke admission records with 4,000 visitors.
"We're setting (attendance) records," said Casa Loma marketing director Lou Seiler. He declined to say how many people visited the exhibit, which closes Sunday after its Halloween opening.
The movie stars Elijah Wood as Frodo, Christopher Lee as the evil Saruman, Cate Blanchett as Elf-queen Galadriel and Ian McKellen as the powerful wizard Gandalf -- AFP
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