New Zealand's tourism industry has benefited greatly from Peter Jackson's films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, so it was natural for airline Air New Zealand to partner up with Jackson, branding itself as the "official airline of Middle-earth." Alongside its plans emblazoned with imagery from Jackson's films, the airline also produced a Hobbit-themed air safety video in 2012 to go along with the first Hobbit film.
After a second Middle-earth Air New Zealand promo film in 2013, the third and presumably final collaboration between Air New Zealand and The Hobbit has been released, just in time for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Much like the movie that inspired it, it's an incredibly elaborate affair. While 2012's air safety film was fairly modest, mostly featuring Middle-earth garb and a cameo from Jackson inside the airplane, this year's film was shot all over New Zealand, including the set of Hobbiton, and features a dozens of actors in pretty elaborate costumes, including a host of decked-out orcs and elves.
Beyond beyond the expected Jackson cameo, Elijah Wood (who made a cameo in the first Hobbit movie), Sylvester McCoy (the wizard Radagast), Dean O'Gorman (the dwarf Fili), Weta Workshop's Richard Taylor, Japanese baseball player Naoyuki Shimizu, and New Zealand film director Taika Waititi also make appearances. It's a supremely goofy yet charming and fun video — and it's certainly more entertaining than most airline safety instructions, particularly if you're about to take a 14-hour flight. While there aren't any more Middle-earth films in the immediate future, we're sure that Air New Zealand will continue to take every opportunity to keep tying itself to Jackson's films.