Review of the London Exhibit
The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy – The Traveling Exhibition, Science Review, London, England
I went in the first hour of the first day, yesterday.
First, make sure you book to guarantee entry. Only fifteen tickets for each entry-time slot have been kept back for people who come on the day. Demand has been a lot higher than expected (fourteen thousand tickets sold before opening) It's a good idea to book early in the day if you can, because there will be queues to collect your tickets, and queues to get in once you have done so, because people tend to linger in there and they don't want it to get too crowded.
When you have collected your ticket from the desk, you must go downstairs and put your bag and mobile phone in the cloakroom, which is free. They will ask you to keep any cash or credit cards with you, so make sure you wear something with pockets. And especially, make sure you have in £2.50 in a pocket to pay for a picture of yourself on the forced-perspective set: for this you get two pictures, one with you hobbit-sized and another person normal, and another the other way around. It's great fun.
Allow at least two hours to get round the exhibition if you are interested in most of it. You can stay longer.
Afterwards you can get good food at the café at the far end of the main hall on the floor below, and you can also book tickets to see both films at the Science Museum's IMAX cinema. I have seen both of them in IMAX size elsewhere, and I heartily recommend it, especially for The Two Towers, which at 6 metres high and 26 metres wide will completely blow you away.
Notes and highlights for me:
Costumes on show include
- Legolas' full kit (so visually simple, and so beautiful. The form and decoration of the white knives is exquisite)
- Aragorn's full kit including sword, ring, and Evenstar (the Evenstar is beautifully done)
- Gimli's kit for the Council scene (small-sized and magnificent) (Note: there is question on this outfit belonging to one of the other dwarfs IT is not his standard outfit.)
- Theoden's armour, shield and sword, and various kit not seen in the theatrical version of The Two Towers, including his seal. I recommend comparing these with the artefacts from Sutton Hoo which are on the first floor in the British Museum. These were recovered from the famous Sutton Hoo burial mound, and are thought to have belonged to the pagan Anglo- Saxon king Raedwald: the relationship between his kit and Theoden's, and especially between his helmet and Eomer's, is obvious. Notice also the small boars on Theoden's shield, and the ones on Raedwald's purse. Entry to the British Museum is free. See http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/
- a Hobbit-sized version of the Mithril coat, and the sword Sting
- Frodo's hobbit-sized kit with the Lorien brooch
- Arwen's chase dress and her beautiful sword, which Elrond is seen using in the prologue
- Arwen's steel-blue "Requiem" dress, the one in silk velvet with a heavily beaded neckline and a purplish silk underdress with long pale lilac brocade sleeves cut on the bias. I want this dress! It looks wonderfully elegant and wearable, especially if like me you are fairly tubular in shape.
- Galadriel's dress with the cloak, and her glorious mother-of- pearl jewel in its place. The dress is a delicious creamy colour, embroidered all over with chain-stitch sprays of flowers in paler thread, and beads which are mostly transparent, some cylindrical, and some squarish and white, which give the effect of sequins. Airy, translucent, but with that dignified drape - it looks as though she was designed by Gustav Klimt on a very calm day. I was puzzled by the back of the costume: it looks from the front as though the cloak should have a hood, and I remember her wearing one, but there doesn't appear to be one. The back of the cloak just drapes gently all the way down, rather like a cowl neckline. I noticed from the back that the cloak is gathered at the shoulders, and split from the back of each shoulder to the ground.
- Gandalf's grey costume including the first of the various staffs he has. The costume and hat have a wonderful texture, coarse but soft-looking: it has a great appearance of comfort.
- Saruman's costume. Like Galadriel's, it is a long way from pure white.
This one is quite a dark cream colour. I suppose this allows plenty of scope for what they do with the lighting and colour casting. I noticed that signs of wear on this costume include what look very like small spots of blood on the left sleeve.
- Wraith details
There are also many examples of armour and weapons, including
The model ('bigature') of Saruman's tower, Orthanc, is absent. There is a notice explaining that it's needed for filming.
I haven't mentioned any of the TV displays, but other people have mentioned them, and many of them are very similar to the extras on the DVD extended edition of the Fellowship, so I imagine others are similar to the forthcoming DVD extended editions of The Two Towers and Return of the King. All in all, more than worth my £9.95 to get in.
For more detailed information on the costumes described here can be found in our Character section. Our site FAQ is <here>.
This page was last updated 04/22/08