Air New Zealand's new in-flight safety video features hobbits and other Middle Earth creatures and is tied to the upcoming premiere of the first "Hobbit" movie trilogy.

Perhaps hairy-footed hobbits can teach us all something about airline safety.

Most regular travelers pay little attention to those snooze-inducing in-flight safety videos. But Air New Zealand has found some magic by celebrating the upcoming premiere of the first in the “Hobbit” movie trilogy (which was filmed in New Zealand).

The airline’s four-minute safety video — at www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBlRbrB_Gnc — featuring the character Gollum and film director Peter Jackson has had more than 7 million hits since being posted last Thursday. The carrier calls itself “the airline of Middle-earth” and cabin staff appear in the clip as film characters.

The hobbits themselves would be proud. After all, author J.R.R. Tolkien created the mythical creatures as risk-averse.

Two of the author’s great-grandsons even make cameos. Royd Tolkien appears wearing prosthetic feet.

Big and hairy, of course.