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Last Updated: Monday, 7 July, 2003, 13:55 GMT 14:55 UK
Museum to reveal Rings secrets

By Chris Heard
BBC News Online entertainment staff

UK fans of the Lord Of The Rings movies will be able to explore the wizardry behind the special effects at an exhibition in London's Science Museum from September.

Visitors can uncover the cinematic secrets of Middle-earth during an interactive tour featuring hundreds of props and outfits from the film trilogy.

Original costumes, weapons and items of armour will be displayed alongside explanations of the groundbreaking technology used in Peter Jackson's movies.

Orc's head
Some of the films' best known artefacts will be displayed
The event, which is on tour from the films' home in New Zealand, opens at the London museum on 16 September and runs until 11 January 2004.

It focuses on the science and technology that made the films possible - from computer-generated special effects to animatronics.

Visitors will be greeted by realistic mannequins of characters from the films, dressed in the actual costumes worn by the actors.

These will include Frodo and the Hobbits, the wizards, the Black Riders, and elves from Middle-earth.

Exhibit highlights
Outfits including Arwen's riding costume, Galadriel's beaded dress and Gandalf's Robes
Displays of special effects such as CGI technology, and combined real and digital action
Interactive "scaling" display allowing visitors to become Hobbit-sized in their own photo
Separate areas of the exhibition will explain major technological aspects of the films.

One of the most fascinating themes promises to be the "scaling" section showing how the film-makers made normal actors appear to be Hobbit-sized - 3ft 6ins tall.

This involved a complex series of false perspective sets and props made in different scales, as well as different sized actors and robotic suits.

Themed areas
The transformation of Gollum: His digital creation using acting and computer-generated imagery
The Ring experience: A large curved enclosure evoking the Cracks of Doom where the One Ring must be thrown
Cultures and races of Middle-earth: Looking at the Rohan and Elven cultures and the characters Aragorn, Theoden and Arwen
Visitors will be able to place themselves into a scene from The Fellowship Of The Ring where Frodo joins Gandalf on his cart.

With the use of a "green screen", one person appears far smaller than the other. Participants can buy a picture to record their moment.

Among the costumes will be Gandalf's robes and hat made from hand-woven fabric in Indonesia, and the delicate beaded dress worn by Galadriel.

Galadriel's ring
Jewellery and costumes will form a central theme of the display
Visitors can also marvel at the miles of plastic tubing shaped laboriously over more than three years to create 12.5 million links of chain mail worn by the films' warriors.

The Science Museum will become the only venue in Europe to offer the display before it moves on to cities such as Singapore, Sydney and Boston, US.

Exhibit highlights
Giant models of Hobbiton Mill, Treebeard and a cave troll
An "armour corridor" featuring weapons belonging to Arwen, Gandalf, Frodo and Aragorn
A display on prosthetics such as Hobbit feet and Orc teeth
Science museum staff said it was set to break all visitor records - despite a bumper year already.

Jon Tucker, head of the museum, said: "Visitors are at an all time high already, with 2.7 million visitors per year at the moment.

"We think this exhibition will be absolutely huge, and fans will be flocking to see it."

The BBC's Brenda Emmanus
"Hundreds of props from the movie, alongside cutting edge technology, bring the exhibition to life"

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