'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' Used In Air New Zealand Safety Video

If ever a country has fully embraced a film series, it's New Zealand and The Lord of the Rings. Since the release of The Fellowship of the Ring over ten years ago, the country has used the Peter Jackson-directed films as both a point of national pride and major selling point for tourism. Our own David Chen even took in some of the Tolkien-inspired sights on a trip to the country a few years back.

With a whole new trilogy of films on the way (the first of which – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – opens next month) New Zealand has already began a full-on Hobbit overhaul. It starts on your plane ride into the country, as Peter Jackson and several recognizable characters cameo in the pre-flight safety video for Air New Zealand. Or Air Middle Earth, as it's referred to in the video. Check it out below.

Here's the Air New Zealand video, courtesy of Deadline.

What's so radical (in its correct context, though its '90s skater context might apply too) is that, thanks to Peter Jackson and the Lord of the Rings, fantasy films have become so mainstream, we've arrived at something like you see above. Before that, fantasy was a small subculture, relegated to basements or the back aisle of the video store. Sure there'd been exceptions, but it was never as big as the Lord of the Rings made it, and will continue too. Now we're at a point where an airline can pack their incredibly important safety video full of references to the films, and almost everyone will understand most of it.

Seriously, does it get more mainstream than this? Air New Zealand obviously isn't United or Delta or something but starring in the mandatory safety video almost every single person coming to, or leaving, your country has to watch is pretty impressive.