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Only days left to venture into Middle Earth


Story: Jack Foley

LORD of the Rings enthusiasts have until Sunday, January 11, 2004 to catch the exhibition at the Science Museum, in London, which will remain open until midnight, on Friday and Saturday, to ensure that people have every chance of seeing it.

The midnight opening marks the first time the Science Museum has offered such extended opening hours to the public for an exhibition.

But the decision has been taken due to the overwhelming popularity of the event, which has, so far, attracted more than 236,000 people in the four months since it opened.

The exhibition, which features some of the secrets behind creating the sets, costumes and massive battle scenes, cost £750,000, and will now go on to tour Singapore, Boston in the US and Sydney, Australia.

But fans be warned! Tickets for the show are available only in timed slots - and very few are remaining for the final three days.

The exhibition has been developed and presented by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in partnership with New Line Cinema, the distributor of the film.

THE Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy - The Exhibition, a unique visitor experience based on the famous films, will open at the Science Museum on September 16, 2003.

The family exhibition arrives before the eagerly awaited final instalment of the film trilogy - The Return of the King - and will be the only chance for European fans to explore for themselves the fantastic world created for The Lord of the Rings films.

Hundreds of artefacts from the movies, including models, armoury and animatronics will feature alongside interactive computer and mechanical demonstrations of the cutting-edge technology used to bring the story to life.

The exhibition includes:

l Demonstrations of special effects, including the combining of 'real' and 'digital' action and CGI (computer-generated-image technology);

l A scaling interactive allowing visitors to become Hobbit-sized in a scene from The Fellowship of the Ring - and then buy a print of themselves;

l A display on prosthetics, including Hobbit feet, Orc teeth and the contact lenses used to give the Orcs their unique look;

l Giant models, including Hobbiton Mill, Treebeard and a Cave Troll (pictured above);

l An 'armour corridor' featuring weapons belonging to Arwen, Gandalf, Frodo, and Aragorn;

l Outfits including Arwen's riding costume, Galadriel's stunning dress, and Gandalf's robes;

l Visitors will be transported into the world of Middle-earth where they will be met by Frodo and his Hobbit companions, the wizards, the Black Riders, the cultures of Middle-earth and the fearsome warriors - all in the authentic costumes created for the films.

The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy The Exhibition will enable visitors to experience first hand some of the awe-inspiring special effects used to make the blockbuster films.

Head of the Science Museum, Jon Tucker, said: "This excellent exhibition 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 exhibition culminates with a face-to-face encounter with the central icon from the films - the One Ring itself.

Due to the expected demand for tickets to see this exhibition, tickets can be pre-booked on 0870 870 4868.

The Science Museum will be running a series of adult and family events during the autumn half term and Christmas holidays investigating traditional and state-of-the-art film making techniques.

Groups and school booking line: 020 7942 4777; Opening Times: Daily, 10am to 6pm; Prices: Adults £9.95, Concessions/Child/Student £6.95. Groups £8.25 per person for groups of 10+ booked in advance
Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2DD.
To book in advance, call 0870 870 4848
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