What did we learn from The Hobbit trailer?

Feature NP Horton 20 Sep 2012 - 08:54

The new trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has landed. And Nick has been analysing it...

When the first trailer for The Hobbit hit our screens, it was like going home again. Through use of familiar motifs, a warm sense of belonging hovered over the images – there was the Shire; there was Gollum, the Ring, and the evocative music. Jackson had returned to us, and we were once again about to visit Middle-Earth.

But what of the latest trailer, and the first since The Hobbit officially became a trilogy?

Well the trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (which you can see here) is certainly a different beast, and one which looks like it might be setting the tone for this trilogy. While recognisably part of the same film series and film world as The Lord Of The Rings, it has its own vibe, visual palette and sense of itself. Parts of this trailer are pretty funny, and there’s a definite lightness in the material – as befits an adaptation of a children’s book.

While LOTR was very sombre and grown-up, this feels like it might enjoy itself a bit more, with a real sense of adventure about the whole thing, as opposed to a terrible burden placed upon innocents, which is what the LOTR trilogy dealt with. The fingerprints of Guillermo del Toro also are apparent in the design of the film, particularly in the new goblins, which look like they’ve stepped out of a fairytale book. In fact this fairytale tone is set from the very start with Gandalf’s talk of a far-away land, and an opening shot of a crumbling ruin.

While not exactly giving much away story-wise of what exactly is going to end up in this first part of the new trilogy, there is a lot to digest about just what’s going to be involved. Rest assured they’ll be lots of helicopter shots of our heroes running across hills and mountains… We all know that The Hobbit is all about the Dwarves, and in particular Thorin Oakenshield’s quest to reclaim his lost home of Erebor. This is neatly summed up in the opening of the trailer, with introductions to Thorin and his companions, as well as their goal (and only glimpse of Smaug in the trailer)...


However it’s quite apparent that they won’t be quiet and reserved travellers, but instead expect a lot of the comedy elements to come from them.

We get ourselves a long, hard look at Martin Freeman as Bilbo in this new trailer, and so far I quite like what I’m seeing. He’s no Ian Holm, but instead a young hobbit without the weight of a lifetime and the One Ring upon him. He still sees life as a game, and is genuinely excited by the imminent adventure.

However it’s clear he’ll be doing his fair share of the fighting, as the famous Sting is shown in combat against the new look goblins.

Of course Sting isn’t the only familiar sight to appear in this trailer, which while setting out to be its own thing is very much aware of what has come before/after (depending on how you’re looking at it). So as well as some mighty Gandalf action we also see the return of the Lady Galadriel, in some very earnest discussions with ‘Mithrandir’ about choosing Bilbo...

... as well as Elrond in council with the Dwarves about their desire to reclaim their home.

But of course The Hobbit is renowned for introducing both Gollum and the One Ring, and the Riddles in the Dark scene is teased at in a moment which encapsulates both horror and humour, a sure sign of what to expect in this trilogy.

As for new characters promised, we don’t see many apart from the Dwarves, but the trailer does give us a good look at another member of the White Council, Radagast the Brown, played by Sylvester McCoy. Given a fair amount of screen time in this trailer, it’s clear his role is being expanded from the book, and here he is warning about a threat, ‘a dark power has entered the world’, which can only mean the Necromancer at Dol Guldur. It will be interesting just how much they show of Radagast in the final film, as the sub-plot of the White Council dealing with this evil is one of the most intriguing prospects of the trilogy.

We also get a sense of scale of what will be on offer, with various action sequences showcased, many of which will be familiar to fans of the LOTR trilogy – mines and mountains. However rather than just an avalanche on the mountain side, our heroes appear to be dealing with some sort of giant rock creature hurling stones at them instead. Colour me intrigued…

We also get some Warg action which is always welcome, and the famous troll sequence from the book looks like it will be brought to life vividly too.

So all in all I’m pretty confident in the film we’ll be getting in just a few short months. Different yet familiar, and seemingly more than just a copy of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy. I really like the fantastical fairytale elements that seem to be in place, and the sense that this is a world not yet under the renewed threat of Sauron and Mordor, a place where adventures could be enjoyed.

Martin Freeman seems perfect as Bilbo, his scenes with Gollum should prove a highpoint, and most importantly Peter Jackson seems to be having fun again with his filmmaking, and imbibing the film with this same sense of fun – just look how he ends the trailer on a comedy moment.

Roll on December...

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I'm happy to have The Hobbit extended into a trilogy. I feel confident in Peter Jackson's passion and vision for the franchise to deliver a different type of story set in the universe he created for the LOTR trilogy.

I'm looking forward to hopefully getting some expansion on other characters to make them more than just cameo's and add weight to their actions.

Good to see McCoy getting some respect too.

I still can't believe Bill Bailey still hasn't been cast though!

Like many fans, I've watched this new trailer dozens of
times and there is a lot to get me excited.
The one thing that just doesn't seem to fit to me is Elrond and
especially Galadriel. While her blank
stares, weak smiles, and deep somber voice worked well in Fellowship and seemed
to imbue the loss and devastation of the death of Gandalf, her performance, at
least in the two trailers, seems tired and at this point entirely cliché and
out of place. The Hobbit is first and
foremost an adventure story and I think there’s a reason that Tolkien kept the
larger more expansive (and far more significant) portions of the story mere bylines. The somber performances of the elves and
Gandalf and even Thorin seem a stark imbalance to the lighter tone of the main
storyline. I really hope these films don’t
get bogged down in an attempt to lay all this foundational backstory for LOTR
which, as everyone on the planet is acutely aware, worked perfectly well
without the need or burden any more backstory exposition.

Den of geek, have seen the other four alternate trailer ending? They're all as funny as the dwarves ending. I think it's on their website. Check it out!

I dont like any of the LOTRs films, but everyone else does. What am I missing? I have no want to see The Hobbit at all.

The only fantasy film I need in my life stars Val Kilmer and rhymes with Pillow.

With the
casting of heartthrob Richard Armitidge as the main dwarf, I for one
hope to see some kind of love interest – complete with dwarfen
lady-beard. Perhaps played by someone classy, like Keira Knightly.
This would satisfy the studio (and audience)'s desire for
traditional cinema tropes, whist at the same time avoiding
blockbuster clichés. Cause you know, she'd have a beard...

Pretty good analysis of an awesome trailer, thank you! Referencing this: "However rather than just an avalanche on the mountain side, our heroes appear to be dealing with some sort of giant rock creature hurling stones at them instead. Colour me intrigued…"
I believe that's a stone giant, the Hobbit had stone giants throwing rocks around and remarked that Bilbo hoped none threw too close to them, unless I'm mistaken? It's only a brief mention in the book.

I agree that Martin Freeman is shaping up quite nicely. In fact, I think he's captured some of Ian Holm's mannerisms and inflections in dialogue delivery without doing an outright imitation of him. I was delighted when he was cast, but seeing him in action just makes me more confident in his performance.

"The only fantasy film I need in my life stars Val Kilmer and rhymes with Pillow."

Well there's your problem right there!

Don't be too intrigued by the giant rock creatures hurling stones. I'm reading The Hobbit to my daughter and just read that part. All it consists of is a brief mention of giants throwing boulders during a storm in the Misty Mountains.

I bet u have the worst DVD collection on the face of the earth.

I am getting quite excited with Richard Armitage as Thorin. He could well be the revelation of the film for me

What did we learn from The Hobbit trailer?

- That there's a film coming out called the hobbit.

Guaranteed the first movie will finish with Bilbo and Gollum. Bilbo running out of the cave and Gollum screaming about his precious.

just looks like more of the same Zzzzzzzzzzz

Good points, Omniaural, and Eric, I'm sure the Elves will just be used to get the characters talking about the risks they're taking, the honor and nobility that they fight for, etc. Jackson and Walsh and Boyens showed that they can deliver an amazing screenplay that is worthy of Tolkien, and I'm quite sure they'll give us something fantastic again!

And I'm glad to see others recognized the stone giants! I'm also hoping we get to see Beorn. Can't want to see this!

There is a whole section of the book in Rivendell so Elrond's presence is in line with that. Jackson is using material from The Silmarillion and LOTR appendices to make the two film series tie in together better so we know we will see other characters (Galadriel, Saruman, Radagast, Legolas, The Necromancer) who are not actually in The Hobbit - I take your point about Galadriel's melancholic approach but I am waiting to see how the trilogy as a whole ties together before passing judgement.

I think what we leant is that this is likely to be a fantastic film in the style of the 3 lord of the Rings films, everything I see of The Hobbit makes it look better and better.

This trailer is so fantastic, its like a dream come true. Ive wanted to see a proper Hobbit film since first hearing the story read on Jackanory many many years ago. I was a bit worried when i heard there was a lot of CGI in it, but doesnt it look fantastic? So bueatiful compared to even the wonderful LOTR trilogy.

Same here. I've been reading the Hobbit to my nephew as a bed time story. He is enjoying as much as I am. There is one line referencing Giants and that's it. It pretty throwaway. I think Jackson is using Tolkein's original story as the frame to arrange some pretty spectacular set pieces and to give us more Middle Earth lore. There's two things Im looking forward to in December. Christmas and the Hobbit and Im far more excited about the Hobbit

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