There have been two trailers for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, both of which got fans excited for the highly anticipated film. They were not, however, without their detractors. The first one gave us just a bit of flavor, reminding us why we love to journey to Middle Earth. They were mid-production at the time, and the piece was just a taste of what was to come. The second one gave us a look at the Dwarves, familiar faces to those who have read the books, but we really had no idea of how the story was going to be split up. Then director Peter Jackson announced that there would be not two, but three films, with material from the Appendices from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. So today’s (September 19) trailer release had a lot of pressure.
The newest offering more than outdid itself. So much so that there may have been squeals that only a dog could hear when I watched it for the first (and second and third and fourth) time. While we didn’t see the famous dragon Smaug (well, we did get a drawing of him on the map), we got some story structure and tons of creatures fans have been waiting for.
So much was packed in here. First off, the narrative and character. Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) starts off reluctantly, but ultimately, we see the spirit that makes him the perfect journey companion. More importantly, we learn why Gandalf (Ian McKellen) decides to take a furry-footed, peaceful non-warrior on this dangerous quest. He tells the band of twelve Dwarves that Bilbo is useful because Hobbits can move without being seen by most, and would be the perfect companion in a quest that requires theft. He also admits to Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) that the little Hobbit makes him feel brave in the face of his fear. We see Elrond (Hugo Weaving) as well, who isn’t exactly gung ho about the trip to the Misty Mountains.
We’ve also got a lot of Gollum (Andy Serkis), which is something many fans might be surprised by. He delivers the best line in the trailer, when he talks about the riddle game, saying, “If Baggins loses, we eats it whole.” God, I’ve missed him! Gollum also gives us a sense of where the first film might end. This is speculation, of course, but it appears that the first film might not contain Smaug in any way (unless we get a look at the eye after the credits or something like that). I’m guessing that it will end either with the Wargs (who look fantastic, by the way) battling the Dwarves and the Eagles swooping in, or with Bilbo emerging from Gollum’s cave and rejoining the group. A happy reunion before the battles to come.
The thing that is really important here is that the tone really comes across. We get a very clear sense of the humor of the film. The Dwarves, for all their battle prowess, are really funny and fans of the book can see the distinct personalities in the beloved characters, all within a couple of minutes. The trailer ends with humor as well, differentiating it from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. After all, The Hobbit was a book for children. In that same two minutes and thirty-two seconds, we see the danger the band is facing, from the Wargs and the Trolls, to Elrond’s warning and Gandalf’s fear. Even more touching was the first look (outside of the recently released photo) of my personal favorite character, Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy), the wizard who has an affinity for animals. The few moments he has, caring for a hedgehog is heartbreaking. Though he is a small presence in the book, he appears in the Appendices and the Silmarillion, and is likely to have a much larger presence in the film.
The trailer couldn’t be more perfect … unless it was longer, of course. We’d love to hear your thoughts on it as well. Let us know in the comments.