'Desolation of Smaug' Dragon Decal on Sides of Air New Zealand Plane

Monday, 02 Dec 2013 01:04 PM

By Michael Mullins

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The "Desolation of Smaug," the latest film installment of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" trilogy, is being promoted with some help from New Zealand’s national airline. On Monday, the airline unveiled a giant image of the dragon Smaug on one of its Boeing 777-300 aircrafts.

Smaug's image is 177 feet long and is displayed on both sides of the aircraft. The plane is expected to fly from New Zealand to Los Angeles in time for the Dec. 13 premiere of "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," The Associated Press reported.

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The dragon images are decals produced by the Weta Digital special effects studio, which worked on the movie.

The film, much like its theatrical predecessor "Lord of the Rings," was filmed in New Zealand where director Peter Jackson relied on the island nation's simple, natural beauty to transport the viewer, along with some special effects help, into the mythical realm of Middle Earth.

Air New Zealand also released a new online commercial celebrating the film and its connection to the Pacific island nation. Flight attendants with pointed elf ears and pilots with beards and large noses resemble dwarfs featured in the movie.

The commercial, titled "Just another day in Middle Earth," also features a cameo by Smaug guarding a pile of gold in one of the airplane's hangars. The narrator says, "You know a lot of people believe that what we see at the cinema is just a load of fanciful imaginings, but I'll have you know that Middle Earth is closer than you think."

This is the second time Air New Zealand launched a "Hobbit"-themed aircraft. Last November, they unveiled a similar promotion for the film "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."

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