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: 6/10
Thoughts by TSR: I’m trying really hard to separate this footage from how unnecessary it feels that Peter Jackson is stretching “The Hobbit” into three films. I understand that it will expand on the book, but it still reeks of overindulgence. Even putting that aside, however, I’m simply not over the moon about this trailer. The thing I’m struck by every time I watch The Lord of the Rings is how real Middle-earth feels. It’s totally believable as a living, breathing place. There is none of that here – at least not in this trailer. There’s an artificiality, a digital sheen that unfortunately keeps me at arm’s length.
Hopefully it looks better on the big screen because there are a handful of quality elements. Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield all look great. The dwarfs in general are appealing, showing off both the fun they bring to the story and the action that is required of them. And that’s the thing this does best: it sells the lighter tone while still hinting at some of the action and danger the group faces on their adventure. I also liked getting a peek at the "Riddles in the Dark" sequence – my favorite chapter from J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel – and it’s nice to see Andy Serkis as Gollum again.
I have plenty of reservations about this whole project, but as December approaches I know I won’t be able to resist returning to Middle-earth. Here’s hoping The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey provides a similar sense of awe as The Fellowship of the Ring did eleven years ago.