The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Directed by: Peter Jackson Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage Rating: Not Yet Rated Release Date: December 14, 2012
TRAILER SCORE: 9/10
Thoughts by TSR: “Magical” isn’t a word I like to throw around, but in this case it feels entirely appropriate. I’ll admit I had my doubts whether Peter Jackson and everyone involved would be able to recapture the magic. Now that I’ve seen this hugely successful trailer, I’m thrilled that it looks like they may have succeeded.
The trailer has a lot going for it, but perhaps the most impressive thing is that it’s out a whole year before the film’s release date. I was expecting 90 seconds of voiceover with a bit of new footage sprinkled throughout, so I was taken aback when I was instead wholly returned to Middle-Earth. The dwarf makeup is a bit questionable, but other than that it’s stunning.
One of my biggest joys is seeing Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins. I was pulling for Freeman – an actor I love on “The Office” and “Sherlock” – to get the part, so it’s great to see him in the role. In addition to Freeman, the rest of the cast looks to be in top form. It’s nice to see returning cast members, while newcomers like Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield make great additions. On the other side of the camera, much of the same crew is back. Middle-Earth still feels real, the costumes are spot-on, and Howard Shore’s score once again manages to induce chills.
The stuff that reminds us of The Lord of the Rings is great, but my two favorite parts are directly from “The Hobbit.” The first is the song the dwarves sing. I wasn’t sure if the songs would make it to the film, so I’m thrilled to see one used very effectively here. The other moment is the end, teasing the “Riddles in the Dark” chapter from “The Hobbit.” Bilbo’s meeting with Gollum (once again played by mo-cap maestro Andy Serkis) is my favorite part of Tolkien’s novel, so it’s fantastic to get a brief look at that.
This first trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is everything I could have hoped for and more at this stage. It shows the lighter moments, while managing to hint at the genuine danger ahead. December 2012 can’t come soon enough.