It’s been quite a few months since the first trailer for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, something of a small miracle in modern marketing. The second comes with all the requisite trumpeting of a ‘Tolkien Week’ and multiple endings (count ’em – four!). As we’ve now got a trilogy to expect out of this madness, expect a barrage over the next few years. Let’s hope you aren’t allergic to Hobbitses.
Bilbo Baggins, is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakensheild. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever … Gollum.
At The Reel Bits, we don’t just post trailers now, we review them too. This is Trailer Talk. Check out our thoughts after viewing the trailer below.
Hmm? What? Oh, right. The trailer. We dozed off there for a minute. Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films redefined the words ‘epic fantasy trilogy’, which has left us with a slew of imitators and pale copies over the last decade or so. With this latest trailer, Jackson delivers exactly what you’d expect from the team that brought us those modern masterpieces. It’s grand, it’s got masses of characters and a worthy quest ahead of it – but haven’t we been here before?
Yes, The Hobbit was published some twenty years before J.R.R. Tolkien’s greatest legacy, and in many ways sets up the world that he fleshed out over the following two decades. However, he trailer is designed to evoke the exact same sense as the release of the last LOTR trailers over a decade ago, and the feeling of familiar is both worrying and comforting. It’s great that Jackson is back on board, as it gives the series some kind of continuity, but it also means that stylistically these films are identical, and this trailer literally offers us nothing new. As if The Phantom Menace had been based on a 50-year-old novel (and was good). That’s not to say this film will be bad, indeed we expect it to be quite the piece of work, but a good trailer teases a world we might want to spend time with. Here, Jackson is opening a door to a back room and saying “And here’s some other stuff I’ve been working on”.
It is troubling that this series of three films is based on a 310-page novel. That the final Twilight and Harry Potter films were split in two was bad enough, but we’re still not sure how this comparatively lightweight story can be given so much weight without feeling tedious. No doubt, there’s room to explore some of Tolkien’s other material and tie it in directly with the LOTR films, but do we need it? To add insult to injury, even this trailer has more endings than The Return of the King. Head over to the official site, and you’re given the opportunity to view and share no less than four different endings to the same trailer. We’re surprised that each of those endings doesn’t have its own teaser embedded within this trailer.
Bits Rating: ★★½