Pressed for time we’d decided to skip the Weta Workshop special effects film works here in Wellington. We were in the “business” and even knew a few special effects artists personally back in a former life in Pittsburgh. Marce even got a mention on the IMDB and no small amount of fame as Severed Head #2 in a video game, Black Dahlia. No lines but I wonder if screaming counts as dialogue?
The next morning we were still reverberating from the impact of the Gallipoli… I hesitate to call it just an exhibit, so let’s call it an experience… so we changed our plans and squeezed in a quick trip to the people who designed the amazing Gallipoli experience. The Weta Workshop is located in the suburbs of Wellington, not far from where we were.
No photos please, greeted us once we were finished with their monster garden entrance, kind of like trolls on heavy doses of steroids. We entered a shabby little bungalow and, you guessed it, into the gift shop.
Props, swords, T-shirts, knives, masks, kids…the kids weren’t for sale of course but there were a lot of them, and we were encouraged to watch a short movie in the Bat…no the Weta Cave movie house. It was free. What a diverse, talented bunch of blokes these Weta folks are. Not many women but I recognized a lot of Hollywood blockbusters in the video and you soon realize that working on the Gallipoli Exhibit was from the heart and not just another entertainment for them. There are expert craftsmen, model makers, armorers, camera operators, makeup artists, even software developers because very often they had to invent software to do things they needed like having a massive army of creepy things that don’t exist attack another massive army of creepy things that also don’t exist. They called that program “Massive.” Like I said, they’re a clever lot but we gotta go!
Out the door, up Victoria mountain for a spot of lookout viewing. You can see why the Weta folks choose to shoot The Lord of the Rings trilogy in New Zealand. The commute for them wasn’t bad either.