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Air New Zealand is trying to overcome passengers’ near-universal zone-out during the mandatory safety video by enlisting hobbits, elves and orcs.

In a tie-in with Peter Jackson’s upcoming hobbit movie (which looks like ending up longer than the Lord of the Rings trilogy), the airline has this to offer on YouTube:

And yes, even Gollum makes an appearance – along with a Jackson cameo and appearances by Mike and Royd Tolkien, great-grandsons of JRR Tolkein.

El Reg notes that it’s much easier to get up to such hijinks if you have a deal with the Tolkein estate. Otherwise, like Victoria University associate professor Brett Alloway, you might find yourself in receipt of a lawyer’s letter.

As http://www.smh.com.au/world/little-folk-of-flores-denied-their-hobbit-status-20121101-28kx4.html reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, Alloway’s misdemeanour was to offer a public lecture about Homo floresiensis under the title “The Other Hobbit” – a usage about which the estate apparently became precious.

He’s going ahead with the lecture, under the much more mundane “A newly discovered species of Little People – unravelling the legend behind Homo floresiensis”. &reg

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