The first trailer for round two of The Hobbit has been released, and what can we glean from it? Well, it’s about as jam-packed as you can make a two-minute trailer without giving away too much of the actual plot or content, so we can gather a fair idea of what we’ll be seeing come December.
But let’s break down the major points…
If anyone felt short-changed by the first part’s lack of incident, then feast your eyes on all the sword and axe swinging going on here. There doesn’t seem to be a shot in this trailer where a character isn’t fighting an orc or goblin, or dodging a blow, or being threatened (and threatening). It may be another three hour-ish epic we end up getting, but it seems they’ll be plenty of excitement this time round.
And of course, a lot of that excitement is going to be generated by this fearsome beasty. We knew the film was named after his dastardly deeds, but we weren’t sure if they were still going to hold back on the big reveal. But here he is, in all his scaly, dragon-y glory. Kept mainly in the shadows at the end, there’s still a definite sense of physical menace and sheer size that the more whispered threat of the Necromancer (only hinted at here) cannot compete with.
The Lonely Mountain
Of course, meeting Smaug means making it to the Lonely Mountain. Talked about, sung about, and even glimpsed in the first film, it’s somewhat of a relief that we’re definitely going to be making it to our journey’s end in this movie – there was a worry it would be another walking film. As much as I enjoyed An Unexpected Journey, I’m not sure I could deal with more tramping about.
Old faces – Legolas
Hello old friend, you haven’t changed a bit. Here’s Legolas in his younger days, featuring quite heavily in the trailer. He seems to have a back-story, “this is not our fight”, that while basically being the same as Elrond versus Galadriel in The Two Towers, could neatly explain why he was so happy to join the Fellowship and fight the good fight come The Lord Of The Rings.
That his experiences in The Hobbit made him realise the importance of the bigger picture could work well, or could be terrible fan-service. Also, there seems to be a lot of CGI de-aging going on with Orlando Bloom.
New faces – Tauriel, Bard the Bowman
Legolas isn’t alone in this film. Accompanying him (and playing the Galadriel role to his Elrond) is Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel. Not much is known about this red-haired elf other than that she’s a newly invented character (Tolkien was really not big into having women characters…) and has some sort of relationship with Legolas that one day Gimli will take the place of. Until then, she looks pretty kick-ass. Also showing his face is fan-favourite (me being the fan) Bard the Bowman, played by Luke Evans. He doesn’t have much to do in the trailer, but give him time.
Elves – Lee Pace as Thranduil
Last seen riding off on a giant stag and leaving the Dwarves to die is Legolas’ dad Thranduil, played by the charming Lee Pace. He narrates the trailer in ominous tones, and looks set to be a major antagonist this time round. The scenes of the trailer set in his Elven Mirkwood realm will no doubt relate to his capture of the Dwarves. Of particular note here are the shots of the party riding the barrels as they escape – it’s an iconic moment in the book, and to see snippets of it here whets the appetite for its film appearance.
One of the other iconic settings from the book we also gain a glimpse of is Lake Town – previously destroyed in the prologue of An Unexpected Journey, and now somewhat less glamorous. It’s the home of Bard the Bowman and Stephen Fry’s Master of Laketown (who I didn’t spot in the trailer, but please tell me if I’ve missed him).
One of my favourite added parts to The Hobbit trilogy is the extra material relating to Dol Guldur and the expansion of Radagast the Brown. Here we’re treated to both, as Gandalf and Radagast return to the Necromancer’s lair. Whether this is just exploring or a prelude to the White Council’s attack on the place (which could be a highlight of the trilogy) is unknown at this point, but this story adds a nice counterpoint to the main quest and bridges the gap between The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings very nicely.
The Pale Orc
Finally, just in case you forgot about him, we get a quick shot of Azog the Defiler. He’s still chasing Thorin and seems to have caught up with him here. I doubt they’ll finish his story in this film, as I imagine he’ll be commanding the orcs and wargs in the battle of the five armies.
What don’t we get – Cumberbatch
The dulcet tones of Mr Benedict Cumberbatch are not included in this trailer. Obviously keeping the goods back until a later date, we still have no idea what to expect from his Smaug. How will the dragon’s lizardy visage look when forming words? The reason a lot of talking dragons have stubby snouts in films and TV is due to the long snouts looking odd when forming O or W sounds. Perhaps he won’t move his mouth and talk directly into our head? We’d like that.
The incredibly heavy use of CG, and cartoony CG at that, is once again evident. While I can understand the decision, it seems a shame to step away from the model-heavy and more realistic look of the The Lord Of The Rings and into this more fantastical style, as I think in years to come The Hobbit may suffer in comparison. On a related note, get ready for another bout of 48fps. That should get the internet chatting again…
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug will be released in December.
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