Re-sign: Wellywould? Surely Wellywon’t!


 “Don’t pay any attention to the critics – don’t even ignore them.” Samuel Goldwyn

Don’t play it again Sam-surely it’s a black and white issue that doesn’t merit a colourful sequel.

It’s a sign of the times, but as Charlie would have said, if he wasn’t in silent movies at the time, just not modern times.

In the week of the Vampire Strikes Back in the capital city and the annual Film Festival at Cannes a mega can of worms was opened in Wellywouldbe like they were oysters out of season.  In both cases once bitten twice shy.

No pearls were found, but there was a virtually digitised sign of things to come, namely “Wellywood”, near the end of the one runway at Wellington Airport, despite the fact that the jolly reference to things filmic comes after The End has well and truly crossed the screen. These days, Hollywood isn’t where they make films-it’s where they make deals-including the one last century to make Peter Jackson’s amazing three ring circus in the capital city and more scenic points north and south.  

Plonking down a bloody big sign (8 metres high, 30 metres long steel sign) which is  only good for planking*  is as thick as two planks.

The First Law of Holes says that, if you are in one, stop digging. But intransigent Wellington Airport chief executive Steve Fitzgerald is obviously wanting to single handedly save excavation costs. (He could have also saved more than 80% of the signage costs to if he’d been a bit more subtle and simply relabelled the proposed Miramar site for the sign Miramax* It would also have spared him a lot of cutting comments.).

Self driven into a cul de sac rather than an avenue Fitzgerald has said that there was no chance of the airport backing down over its plans. “It is sad that Wellington’s looking like it could be home to Lord of the Flies rather than Lord of the Rings,” he said, dropping another clanger, obviously oblivious to the fact that Lord of the Flies might ring a little more true for an airport.

“Wellywood” is absolutely, positively bally silly and very close to Wallywood. If you are going to celebrate Wellington’s film and special fx  status in a not very original way how about renaming the whole city Jacksonville or Wetaville or even Hunterville –no, that’s already taken, though located half way between Taupo and Wellington with a population of 507, it could be a good spot either for the sign or the CEO. (On her recent telethon tiki tour of Christchurch’s other Red Zone at least Rachel wore a hard hat, unlike a certain Prince of the Realm a little earlier, as she helped to raise money for the seismic city.). 

Many others don’t think the sign is a capital idea. Opposition has been mobilised. All bets are on. Punters and pundits have flocked to iPredict’s website*. Stock on the sign, one of the most-traded predictions on the site yesterday, was trading at only $0.2823 at 4.20pm, that is punters believe the sign is only 28 per cent likely to go ahead despite the CEO’s pontificating.

New Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown waded in last night and moved a motion at last night’s full council meeting asking Wellington International Airport to reconsider its decision to put up the sign, after the Council itself had earlier approved its resource consent. It passed by 10-4. As a city with a creative edge in the film industry she worried that the “us too” sign could undo much of the good creative and original work.

Tonight on TV, Weta’s Sir Richard Taylor was less animated than usual with his no comment comment as he received a well earned  Honorary Doctorate from Massey University. His silence spoke volumes, or should that be digital storage disks? But it’s Mr Fitzgerald who’ll get the third degree or worse if he doesn’t re-sign.

Terrence Mallick’s The Tree of Life split the critics at Cannes a few days ago. Takashi Miike’s  film Hara-Kiri-Death of a Samurai apparently milked its 3D format  for all it was worth with not one but three 3D ritual disembowelments in dying colour.

Mr Fitzgerald might have to spill his guts by performing his own metaphorical  hara-kiri. Peter Jackson could complete the circle and film the splatter  ritual  for Bad Taste II.

But how to get rid of the sign itself, supposing it gets to the construction stage? They could always call in the unfairly maligned Christchurch Airport Dump Truck to cart it away.*

Let’s give Sam the last word, too, since he was obviously looking in his crystal ball and referring to the vexed sign when he said “It’s more than magnificent – it’s mediocre.”

*Blinks  Mirimax not Mirimar?

#Lyall Lukey 26 May 2011 My other (bit more serious) blog 


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